It's a mix of four ingredients poured over ice—here's what our nutritionist has to say.
We're safely through the first week of the new year, but you may feel like you're still in holiday party mode—or, that your body is, at least . If anyone understands the long lasting effects of indulging in too much food, it's Padma Lakshmi: the host of Bravo's Top Chef often endures hours of eating at a time, busy tasting and judging contestants' rich creations for a living.
But Lakshmi is quick to admit that she often needs to detox and reset her digestive system, taking to Instagram this week to share a 4-ingredient hack of a recipe that she's using to help herself reset after endless holiday events. Our editors' ears perked up when she revealed the name of the concoction: something she calls "cranberry Drano."
"So, the holidays are over, most of us have indulged—and we probably need a detox ... just like I do every time I do 'Top Chef' because I'm full of food," Lakshmi explains in her Instagram video. "And at New Year's and after the holidays, you're full of food and drink. So one method I have found that works for me is something I call 'cranberry Drano,' because it clears all the pipes, it gets things moving, and it just kind of makes you feel purified."
The drink comes together very easily, using four ingredients that you may already have lying around your pantry: unsweetened cranberry juice (not the same as cranberry cocktail juice, which you should avoid), fiber powder, a packet of Emergen-C, and hot green tea steeped with honey. Simply throw these ingredients into a glass and pour over a handful of ice cubes, and voila! "Drano" is served.
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Lakshmi says that this isn't meant to be a meal replacement, and she also stresses that this is what works for her. But given that Lakshmi's concoction contains only four wholesome ingredients, we wanted to ask an expert if it could truly cure post-holiday bloat—so we asked Brierley Horton, MS, RD, Cooking Light's nutrition director, her thoughts on "cranberry Drano."
"Based on the ingredients list, I don't think this would be a harmful thing to drink, but at its core, it is a barely unsweet juice with concentrated vitamins. It's probably not a cure all to severe digestion problems," Horton explains.
While Lakshmi doesn't clarify which brand of clear fiber powder she uses, Horton suggests that Miralax or Metamucil could be a solid choice, which will definitely help "move things through your system." This component is the key to digestive help, as a tablespoon is a decent amount of the congestion-fighting agent: but this solution could also be enjoyed with "whatever you find palatable."
"There's nothing about this that is bad, per se, but it's not going to quote on quote 'detox' your system completely," says Horton. "Unless you suffer from severe constipation, you could resort to over-the-counter powders, but it's also important to make sure your diet is rich in whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables, as this can help you naturally hit 25g of fiber each day."
As for the drink's other components, Horton says that cranberry juice is chock full of polyphenols as well as lots of disease fighting compounds—alongside vitamin C, which has been shown to help shorten the duration of winter colds, this combo could help boost your immune system rather than your digestive tract. Green tea is similar, as it has been shown to be an agent against disease and boost natural immunity, Horton says.
"The real value here might be in the other three things that she adds to this drink, which are adding phytochemicals and other agents that are very good for your immune system."
The bottom line: Lakshmi's "drano" could be a very refreshing way to kick off your new year—but, as always, it seems that true solutions are best found from natural foods.