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Lessons learned from a juice cleanse

Recently, I spent some time with a relative who has a chronic skin condition.

With my practitioner hat on, I’d advised my family member to go on a cleanse – existing on a diet of juice for several (or more) days. During any sort of cleanse, the skin is detoxified very thoroughly, which is extremely beneficial for ongoing skin conditions.

With the recent change of season offering just the opportunity to cleanse, I asked my hubby if he’d be keen to join me in an Easter holiday juicing extravaganza. I figured, we could experience the process directly, relate back what we’d learned and help our relative get started.

So off we set on this five day juice fast. Here are our top five discoveries…

1. Chia seeds

Before we even began, the first nugget of great advice came from the lovely lady who tallied up my shopping at Moshims. She asked me whether I “used the chia seeds I was purchasing for juice?”. I replied “no, I wasn’t” but I asked if she did. “Oh yes”, she replied, “when we observe Ramadan, we use the chia seeds to help us feel full.”

As Christoph Waltz’s character says in Inglorious B**terds – “that’s a bingo!” So we totally stole that idea and ran with it. We added a dessertspoon of chia seeds to each juice we made and we never felt hungry.

2. Empty, not hungry

Ok, let’s get into the whole hunger thing. No, we did not feel hungry. Six juices packed with micro-nutrients and lashings of chia seeds – seriously, not once did we feel like we were deprived. We both got some crazy cravings – I suddenly wanted cornflakes with milk and sugar on top and my hubby talked about greasy burgers for an hour or so. FYI, I used the habit drops found in the Martin & Pleasance Fresh Start Slim & Cleanse kit, to help me stop having cravings and they totally disappeared around day four.

We mostly got the empty feeling after 9pm at night, when we’d finished juicing for the day. I observed I usually go to bed still feeling a bit full from dinner and the cleanse really jolted me out from that behaviour. Going to bed feeling empty was no bad thing, I definitely woke up the next day feeling clearer headed and with more energy.

3. Strength in numbers

One of the joys of doing the cleanse with someone, is that you can really support each other – and in ways you often don’t expect. For example, my hubby is quite technical, whereas I’m more intuitive. When he tells me about the juicer’s parts and how they work, I’m telling him about how much I like the juicer’s chrome finish. It’s crazy – but it works for us.

During our cleanse, I asked my hubby to drive the juicer half the time. He made discoveries about using the juicer and optimising its performance, in ways that I never would have thought to. It was also fun, not having to be the juice boss all the time and it felt like we shared the journey, working out what did and didn’t work for us both.

And just a wee note on making a cleanse work for two people. My hubby and I are very different physically. He’s moderately built but gymnastic – I’m thin, but slightly floppy muscled. The plan that we followed worked totally fine for me, but my hubster struggled around day 3 with severe muscle aches. We realised he wasn’t getting enough fuel and added some extra juice and fruit to his plan. Consider and adapt as necessary, is what we learned. Don’t soldier on if your symptoms become severe – your body is trying to tell you something’s not working!

4. I’m moody! Oh, so are you

Oh yes we were! Especially days one and three. I went to bed for a siesta for an hour or so to get over it. And that’s a key to the first few days of doing a cleanse: REST! Don’t do your normal gym routine, don’t keep up your normal social calendar. Take some time out to listen to what your body is telling you, you’ll discover heaps!

(BTW, feeling scratchy and taking it out on your other half is always tricky, but if you both know it’s going to happen, it’s way easier. In fact we laughed about it, knowing we were going to feel a bit awful and not to take each other too seriously. By day four, most of the grumpiness had passed).

5. If in doubt, add a (whole) lime

We followed the recipes from Joe’s five-day reboot, but I’m the kind of cook who often sees recipes as a starting point, rather than an instruction manual. Mostly, this approach results in yumminess, but it also results in a few duds 🙁 To the rescue comes the humble lime! One to two whole limes – zest and all – can resuscitate most failed juice combinations and return them not only into the land of the drinkable, but sometimes, inspirational. If all else fails, add lime!

We thrived, rather than survived

A five day cleanse is really only the start of helping with chronic illness – such as skin conditions, asthma or digestive problems. But it is an excellent way to get your body to reboot with the nutrients your cells need to go from sluggishness to wellness. A longer cleanse is necessary to get to the deeper layers of the body – so always check in with your GP/health professional before starting out on your cleansing journey.

Not only did the hubby and I survive our cleanse and are still talking to each other – we feel like we thrived! We’ve both lost 1-2 kilos and feel more energised and ready for the winter months ahead – so “that’s a bingo!” 🙂


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