My Winter Detox
I have a LOT of plans for 2020 and I knew that I had to be in top physical form to make them happen. I consider myself a healthy person with good eating habits but I felt the need for a bit of an energy cleanse and I knew that there were things I could improve upon in my diet: including more living foods for example. After a bit of research, I decided to do a juice fast. This isn’t something that anyone can recommend another person to do as it has to be right for the individual but it felt right for me. I had never done anything like this before as I have always considered myself a healthy person and I never felt the need to do any kind of detox.
New moons are all about setting new plans and ideas into action and what better time to fine tune your health than the first new moon of the decade. A couple of weeks ago (actually during the full moon) I released some toxins and negative energy during a juice fast and now I’m totally ready and organised with a new healthier me for this new year and decade. It is up to you to decide what needs changing for you to optimise your health and energy levels. Of course this doesn’t have to include a juice fast, for you it might just involve adding a juicing routine to your week or some more salad and raw food to your diet or even just cutting down on coffee or foods that might not be that good for your body.
What is a juice fast?
A juice fast involves just drinking juiced fruits and vegetables and water for a period of time and not including any solid foods during that period. It is important to sieve all pulp out of the juice to ensure that there is nothing for the stomach to digest. The idea is that after a few days one's stomach goes into hibernation and your body is able to expel toxins more effectively it is also said to kick start one's immune system. I also allowed myself to drink my favorite herbal tea from South America (yerba matte) a couple of times a day, which made the fast bearable in the winter. It is important to drink lots of water during a juice fast. I extracted my juice using a slow masticating juicer every mealtime to give myself something to do and to take my mind off eating. You can also juice once a day and store it in the fridge ready for each “mealtime”.
I was excited about starting my juice fast which I took as a good sign that it was right for me. I decided to do it for 7 days and that I would juice the rainbow ie. a variety of different coloured vegetables and fruits in every juice. I chose to mainly juice vegetables and usually used lemon to sweeten my juice. I did juice a few fruits such as watermelon (including the skin which is exceptionally high in nutrients). It is important to juice only organic produce and drink filtered water during a juice fast so as not to add more toxins to your body. I drank 4-5 juices a day and lots of glasses of filtered water in between.
Which fruits and vegetables are best for juicing?
Most root vegetables are good for juicing such as carrot and beetroot. They produce quite a high juice yield and are relatively inexpensive. I also like juicing cucumber and celery and green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach. Ginger and turmeric root are good additions for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Lemon is great to neutralize the chlorophyll taste of leafy greens and celery and it also adds sweetness. Some people add apples to give sweetness but I don’t find it necessary. I did add some grapes on occasion for variety of flavour and I also added watermelon, including the skin for its high nutrient content. I did also juice some fresh herbs towards the end of my juice fast when I was low on green leafy ingredients: the flavour wasn’t great but my stomach sang with joy at the cleanse and it felt very healing. I also added fresh fennel to a few of my juices for variety.
My favourite juice recipe is: carrots (750g-1kg), raw beetroot x2, whole celery, 1 lemon (peeled). It makes about 1.25 litres of juice. I usually drink some and store the rest in a sealed jar in the fridge. When I was juice fasting I made slightly smaller amounts to drink straight away.
Can anyone do a juice or a water fast?
This a very good question. Obviously, it would only ever be considered by adults and NEVER children or adolescents. Some people just can’t fast and become too weak or ill to continue. This is why this is a controversial topic. For some people, it could even be dangerous to fast. It is important to reiterate that no one can recommend another person to fast or even how long to fast for. I actually broke my fast earlier than planned and introduced vegetable milk on day 6 and 7 just because it felt right.
How did I break my fast?
I broke my fast with a matcha latte using homemade tiger nut milk. I was careful to break my fast slowly and gradually reintroduced solid foods starting with vegetable milks and superfood powders on day 6 and 7 whilst I continued juicing. I then reintroduced raw vegetables and salads on day 8.
Is fasting good for weight loss?
I cannot say as I didn’t do it to lose weight and I didn’t weigh myself before or after fasting. I actually can’t remember the last time I stood on a set of scales. To me, health is about how I look and feel and not about my weight.
How did I motivate myself to complete the fasting period?
I found that meditation and a daily facial gua sha practice kept me busy and gave me something else to focus on during the fast. I also found that having a juice later on in the evening kept me from feeling hungry at bedtime.
What did I gain from fasting?
For me fasting increased my connection to spirit and enabled deeper meditation. It gave me more clarity of thought and motivated me to remove some foods from my diet that I didn’t feel were nourishing me. As a result of fasting, I felt encouraged to create some healthy recipes for myself including a life changing gluten free and vegan bread recipe with the added bonus of using sprouted grains for extra health benefits. I also taught myself how to make raw hummus using sprouted chick peas. I would say that as a mother I have sometimes been more focussed on my children having a healthy diet and I sometimes forgot to ask myself what I needed in my own diet.
I am now back into juicing daily alongside my normal diet and making sure I get my daily dose of activated nut and seed milk and adding more sprouted, living foods into my diet. As a result, I have increased energy levels and great motivation and clarity for the year ahead. More than anything fasting motivated me to fine tune and optimise my gluten free/ vegan diet.
Please note that I do not promote or recommend fasting of any type despite having benefitted from it myself. I do however recommend juicing as part of a healthy diet and incorporating raw and living foods into your diet in order to maintain overall skin and body health.
In my next blog, I will be sharing my “life changing gluten free/vegan bread recipe” and introducing more ways to incorporate living foods into your diet alongside our living skincare routine.