It’s that time of year, where you are just fed up. Little energy, the flab is out and your tummy is making odd signs. If you missed out on a good start in January, perhaps your excuse can be the Chinse NEW YEAR.
A thorough spring clean is needed for many of us – and after decluttering at home, I’m ready to attack my body. And I promise you, I won’t be nice. I’m giving it a good old punishment with NO food for 5 days…yes you heard right. No food at all – just liquids!
I’ll be honest though, it’s not entirely new to me. My first cleanse was over 12 years ago, in a remote beach in Goa, India. One week before departure we were told to cut all foods we would generally crave and our 1 week in India was spent drinking juice, eating psyllium, doing yoga, having massages and doing….yes…enemas. If you don’t know what an enema is, let me reveal that it includes a 1) plastic bag, 2) a tube and 3) you doing a shoulder stand…!
Let’s just say it all came out (!) and after our 3rd week of slowly adding more foods to the diet, we had officially graduated with stars and a colon so clean it could be used as a marble run. Never in my life have I had so many compliments post-holiday, and it wasn’t the natural weight loss, it was my clear eyes, my fresh skin and puuuure radiation.
And yes, since then, the discussion has gone back and forth in the media, does detox really work? Or are our colons completely capable of dismissing all the bad stuff and keeping itself clean? I will let the experts carry on the discussion, but can only say, that personally, it makes me feel great.
Now, let’s start – and get preparing. This part I find to be ultra important.
With all the times I have done a cleanse, I always make sure to prepare myself the week before. It makes the it less painful if you consider how you want to do your cleanse. Not eating for 5 days is hard enough, so I always make sure that I have minimized my intake of toxins before I start. In Goa, we did a 7-day cleanse, and this meant 7-day stepping down and 7-day stepping back up before and after. So since then, I have learned to cut out or minimize the following:
I’m not fanatic about it, but I know avoiding carbs, sugar and alcohol will make my following week so much easier. And to be honest, I actually quite enjoy it, because I start to feel the benefits of cutting out the foods that my body often don’t agree with (and I just haven’t had the stamina to cut out for good).
I asked our nutrition contributor Rene Wright: Why is it important to prepare yourself and start cutting down on certain foods before doing a juice cleanse?
It is important to start cutting down on certain foods such as gluten, dairy and sugar! This is so that you can give your digestive system a break and also reduce the amount of inflammation in the gut and the body. Many people are addicted to these 3 items, as they are in most processed food and the bad bacteria in our gut thrive off these ingredients! When we give these up, we may have a reaction called herxheimer reaction, or detox symptoms, which can cause headaches, nausea, diarrhoea or constipation. This can be due to the toxins being released from the organs and cells, or it can be due to withdrawal symptoms. The reason we give these 3 up first, is so that when you start with your juicing, your body is ready to digest the nutrients in the juice so that it isn’t competing with the sludge, mucous and toxins the body is having to deal with. Basically, a fresh start!
My husband I and are doing the cleanse together and have chosen Antidote as our juice provider. After much research and trying out other brands previously, I found that they had a nice range to choose from at a decent price. After speaking to their owner, I also felt confident that their ingredients were fresh and from a good source, striving to be organic. I did question their choice of bottles (plastic) but was told that not using glass is a choice that has been made because of the weight and transport issue + keeping down costs. The plastic they use is recycled, and they will happily take back your bottles for recycling also.
Antidote also gives you some great tips for pre-cleanse preparations + benefits of cleansing on their site and are happy to help you with any questions you might have.
Now, 24 juices were delivered to us this evening and I’m going to get a good rest before we start.
Ok. Here we go! A tough start to the day as I hadn’t really considered the fact that there was a BIRTHDAY in the family on our first day of juicing. I’ll admit that the smell of coffee and hot croissants were a slight killer when all I could suck into was a very green juice.
So, my first learning:
#plan your cleanse – clear your diary!
With my second juice, I put myself into suffering once more. I had a very green juice while holding a meeting – in a beautiful café with more coffees and croissants and it wasn’t made any easier when my 4th-afternoon juice was together with my kids and cupcakes to celebrate the birthday! Learning #1 was now one I wouldn’t forget!
My resilience had been put to the test, but thankfully the juices are super tasty and there’s a lot of them. Also, as the day progresses they do get slightly more exciting. After about 4 green vegy based juices, it was a treat to get my 5th red juice from Antidote for dinner (although not competing with the lush pasta casserole!) and for 9 o’clock dessert – a yummy nut mylk to fill me up for the night.
I asked our nutrition contributor Rene Wright:
Anything warm before bed that doesn’t contain caffeine is good for creating a good environment for sleep. Just as a warm bath and a bedtime ritual is good. It depends on where you’ve sourced your nut mylk (spell this way, rather than milk, as it isn’t dairy) is it bought or homemade? Where are you buying your ingredients? Have you activated and soaked your nuts? Coconut is an excellent choice and very easy to make. I can add a coconut mylk recipe into the DIY juice cleanse if you like? As long as you have a blender or nutribullet, you’re good to go and it tastes good too. Also, coconut is full of good fat and you can add turmeric, cinnamon and a few drops of stevia to sweeten it if you like. It is also full of electrolytes, so a much better choice than nuts.
By this stage I was tired though, but just getting out of a 6-week bronchitis might have something to do with this too. Anyway, I’m super proud of getting through this day of temptations and have learned my lesson – 1 down, 4 to go!
So I woke up really early, as in 5 am… I wasn’t too surprised, not only is your tummy waking up asking for food, but there is a sense of alertness that I’ve experienced on cleanses before that just makes me wake up easier.
As I was up anyway, I thought I’d join the 7 am condo ‘boot camp’, sort of knowing that burning off about 800 calories in 45 minutes might not be the way forward when that’s about all I’m getting in one day! I got through it, warned the coach, tried to take it easy and felt surprisingly energetic for the hours that followed. And yes, although it can be tough at times, moving is important on a cleanse – but good to consult an expert on these things of course. This is what our nutritionist and cleanse expert Rene Wright has to say when I asked her how you can aid your cleanse:
Gentle exercise, such as walking, swimming or yoga is recommended to help move the lymph, as this is where a lot of the toxins from your organs and cells end up. Shifting your lymph so that the lymph nodes can deal with the toxins is a good idea. Massage will also help with this process, as will drinking plenty of water to flush out the toxins. Juices and salad will do the same thing. Although we live in a hot climate, infra red saunas or hot yoga are good to sweat out the toxins too.
An early start again, this time I decided to get the body moving with a short bike ride, not burning off all my energy.
I thought I’d try with the ‘oil pulling’ that Rene recommended yesterday and one of Antidote’s guide tips too. You basically choose an oil of your choice (coconut oil or walnut probably the more tasty ones when consumed raw) and then swish it around your teeth. Antidote says 10-20 min., Rene about 5 min. I would say 5 min. is my absolute maximum. Having oil in your mouth like that takes some getting used to – to me, oil are to be swallowed in capsules, for your skin or combined with other foods. However, I think it’s just a habit to get into, and perhaps doing it while in the shower when you’re otherwise occupied anyway.
So how’s the progress? Well, over half way now, and the fatigues is definitely hitting my husband more than me. Probably because he’s a man and in need of more calories, but his preparation was also somewhat less, so getting headaches from time to time. He also forgets to hydrate with alkaline water, coconut juice or herbal teas, the juices seem like they’re enough, but it’s super important with more liquids + it aids the detoxification.
#learning 3: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
My tummy is also managing fine, although not as efficient results as when you use enemas (did you see my banter on colonics and enemas on Instagram Stories?). However, I’ve only very late realised that you can get them on Trove of Gaia’s website and colonics are not allowed in Singapore anymore. Leaves us with the questions on whether they are good for us? Have a look at this article – it will give you the general idea.
One thing I do though is adding a little probiotic powder into my morning juice, in that way the tummy gets going too.
2 more days!
I woke up in the middle of the night last night, a feeling of jetlag in a way. A mental clarity that I’ve experienced before when on a cleanse. In Goa, India, I would wake up in the morning and get all these great ideas for tv-concepts (working in tv at the time) and consequently, all the thoughts I had were just sharper and to the point. One of the great side effects of being on a cleanse.
My energy levels are still also really good, and I’m feeling less hungry. I feel almost embarrassed that this cleanse is not leaving me suffering more, would make a more interesting blog. But I guess I am not going from one extreme to the other – I’m fairly health as it is, I prepared myself pretty well and although I can be pretty weak when tempted – when I’ve dedicated myself to a project I generally don’t deviate. To me, it’s easier to do it 100%, because if I start slacking, then I’ve already derailed and the goal becomes fussy. We’re all different hey? I guess the point is to do realistic goals that we know we can achieve. If you have never done a fast before, try just doing 1 day first or choose a juice pack that is not as tough as the Vitality Cleanse we opted for.
I would definitely suggest trying the suggestions out on how you can improve your cleanse though. With all the extra time on your hands, you might as well use it to improve your project. For me today it was body brushing. I have done I previously, but it takes getting used to, an odd thing to do when you haven’t tried it. But it’s actually not bad and it almost feels like your brushing the energy into your bloodstream. Here are a few words form Rene on the subject:
Our lymphatic system runs alongside our cardiovascular system (heart, arteries and veins), but unlike the cardiovascular system, it does not have the heart to pump the fluid through the vessels.Therefore, the lymphatic system can become stagnant and because the main purpose is to filter and detoxify the body through a complex system of vessels and nodes, it is imperative to use exercise or movement to help circulate this system.Body brushing is a simple and effective way to move the lymph in your tissues (as it is very superficial) from the vessels to the nodes in the various parts of your body.When using a body brush, one should brush along the skin in the direction towards your heart.
Right, brushed and 4 days in, on this positive note I will have to say that I really MISS the taste of food! And, very glad I only have 1 days left, how I ever did 7 days is beyond me. Night!
I must admit drinking my last green liquid breakfast felt good! On day 5 you really begin to miss chewing and not just smelling everyone else’s food. One of the things I’ve started feeling is that only my sense of feeling more alert, but all my senses seem to have been enhanced.
Today I thought I’d treat myself – first with a vinyasa yoga class, followed by a lymphatic massage. The yoga felt good, like an internal massage in a way, and weirdly I was as if I was more flexible than normal. Our rest at the end sent me off to a deep sleep though, yoga is a tough work out on day 5.
For me it was important that the massage was detoxing, ie. draining my body for whatever toxins were yet to be discarded and also massaging my tummy to aid the digestion. When I did my first cleanse in Goa 15 years ago, we had to massage our tummies before doing the enemas and were also advised to get a thorough ayurvedic full body oil massage – NAKED. Did I mention it was a man that did it? I still can’t actually believe I did that – but wauw, did I feel rejuvenated afterwards!
So, a lot of +++ for doing a cleanse. Having now completed my last day – I thought I’d list the changes my body has been so lucky to endure:
#clearer skin and eyes
#no cravings + less appetite
And can I just say – soo many compliments with people saying “wauw you look great” – probably help that I have looked….well not great for a while with bronchitis and stress loads taking its toll.
And also, I want to thank Antidote for their amazing juices – I have tried Singapore competitors before, and Antidotes tasted better and come with the cheaper package than many others!
IF however, having juices delivered isn’t in your budget, we are soon to publish our own detox recipes – watch this space. In the meantime, please have a look at Absorb The Glow’s great juices and our power health shots – amazing for focus, the mind and getting more energy! Thank you for following – and please – any questions you might have for Rene and I – let us know!
I generally reverse my preparation, introducing something new every day. Here is the advice from our contributor Rene Wright:
Ok, so once your cleanse is done, it’s good to ease back into eating slowly.Breakfast: I would encourage a green juice for breakfast, preferably as part of intermittent fasting, so around 10 or 11am.Lunch: I would have a simple salad with avocados follows:Green Leaves (spinach, romaine, rocket)Cherry Tomatoes – a handful1 whole Avocado cut into chunksHalf a cucumber, chopped upDressingOlive OilLemon juiceA Garlic clove, mincedSalt and PepperDinner: I would encourage you to eat a small piece of protein (not larger than the palm of your hand) with cooked greens.