I wanted to share with you some of my views and knowledge on fasting and detoxing, as over the past 7-10 years my curiosity and passion for this has pushed me into starting my own cold pressed juice company!
Fasting is one of the oldest ways to self heal the human body. It is known to naturally encourage the body to rid itself of toxins. The human body takes on average, 18 hours to process each piece of food that is consumed, therefore, if you consider three meals a day with snacks, your body never stops working. Common sense told me that we must have to give our bodies a rest at some point.
How did I get into it…? Well basically about 8 years ago I was travelling a minimum of two to four flights a week. My daughter had just been born and I found myself excessively run down. The typical drag yourself out of bed morning routine and grabbing a coffee (or 10!) wasn't working and I needed to get my immune system boosted to maintain work and be a dad. So, I started reading books by Dr Bragg and Norman Walker which are truly inspiring and question how we live and give amazing insight into the body’s ability to heal itself powered by plants and natural foods. I also started watching films such as Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Foodnation. I became both fascinated and alarmed at the state of a good proportion of the population, and the mass consumption of processed foods. There are some amazing case studies with people loosing 100lbs, changing their lives, reversing diabetes and against the odds going on to live a long healthy life. I took on board all of the information, and wanted to make a change too.
There was a lot of information that pointed towards juice cleansing as a great way to detox and rejuvenate the body. Once I started reading the impressive stats out there it started to make sense to me. The modern diet is heavily driven by meat, dairy, caffeine and sugar and we are constantly digesting this food which takes up a lot of energy and effort. This all made sense and I decide to do a 3 day juice cleanse. I was looking forward to eliminating all the above and replacing with nutritious fresh juices.
I prepped well for the cleanse by eliminating all caffeine, sugar and alcohol for 5 days before. To be honest I don't eat processed foods or drink excessive alcohol so that side was easy. I do though, like a cup of coffee in the morning so that was a hurdle. I replaced it with green tea and after a couple of days it is surprising how your mind adjusts with its habits.
I have to say, the hardest hurdle was the whole process of making the juices every two hours, oh and also cooking for my daughter! Her food had never looked so appetizing! You have those normal moments when you try food whilst cooking and suddenly realise and spit it out.
The first day for me was so hard as I had headaches and just felt grumpy and hungry, oh and really tired. I had read what to expect so I wasn’t worried, but it still didn’t make me feel any better. By the time 5pm came, I was ready to give up but instead I went to the gym and sat in the sauna and came out ready to troop on. I did though have an early night, as it was better option than staying up hungry. Quick stretch, bath and bed and the first positive thing happened, I slept 11 hours straight and didn't wake up which for me is very strange as I tend to wake up a few times each night. The next morning I started off with warm water and lemon and then continued the same routine of juice every 3 hours. I managed to do some light exercise on the TRX at 11am and the second day was MUCH better. In fact, I started to feel a sense of clarity and perspective without the daily caffeine and sugar spikes which make it hard to be level headed. Juice cleansing or general fasting for me is as much about eliminating bad dietary habits as juicing. Once you are out of the habit of something, your body simply stops craving it.
I actually felt and looked my best on the third day of the cleanse. My dark circles had disappeared and my skin glowed and my eyes were bright. I had lost 4lbs and of course looked lean and defined but for me that wasn't the reason I had started. I had always had a small patch of eczema on my eye but this had virtually gone by day 3!
I felt mildly hungry but it didn’t make me miserable and I knew I was near the end and felt a huge sense of achievement.
Ever since that first juice fast, I have adapted a few habits that I stick to. Firstly, I always give my body a good 12hr window between food, so if my dinner is at 8pm, then I do not have breakfast the following day till 8.30am. I also drink a pint of water every morning, in order to flush my system and rehydrate.
The weight loss is obviously a big incentive for most people to juice cleanse and in my company JUICEMAN, a huge percentage of our clients cleanse to loose weight. However, the benefits exceed expectations and we have had many many wonderful stories about the amazing differences it has made to our clients lives. If you have any kind of known health problems though, I would always recommend you to seek advice from your doctor before embarking on a cleanse.
When is a good time to do it ??
Perfect time to fast or cleanse is seasonally and ideally for 3 days. Also take into account that having smoothies, soup and juice is also a great way to get a healthy fresh natural diet and eliminate the bad habits in the modern diet. So, if full juice cleansing is not for you, go for a softer approach. A change is a change!
What benefits can come from Juice Cleansing and Fasting?
1. Your Stomach Gets a Rest.
Juices require less of the stomach’s digestive processing. Remember to gently chew the juices to add oral enzymes to further ease digestion. This is especially helpful for older folks who often don’t produce enough stomach acid. By eliminating solid foods the stomach works less to extract nutrients.
2. Gut Health & Repair.
Consuming a phytonutrient-dense rainbow plant-based juice diet allows food to be assimilated quickly through the intestine — consuming less energy, while the toxin-free, nutrient-dense liquid food helps to repair the gut itself. Modern diets too often consist of toxins (including saturated fats, refined carbs, foods with additives, pesticides and allergenic foods), also taking medications (such as antibiotics or antacids), and even stress can impair the intestine’s functioning. I recommend following your cleanse by daily probiotics.
3. Your Liver Gets a Rest.
An organic juice cleanse rests the liver’s overload. Your liver is the body’s main detoxifying organ and it has a lot of work to do. Every single piece of food that you eat is absorbed through the intestinal wall and moves into the liver for detoxification and preparation before being allowed to enter the rest of the body. If your diet consists of too many toxins then the liver has a tough job eliminating toxins.
4. Reset your habits.
Juicing eliminates the habit of comfort eating, and makes you feel satisfied with less food than usual. This provides a big psychological boost to help get over the hurdle of changing habits. Juice cleanses eliminate dairy, wheat, gluten and fermented foods from the diet (as well as coffee and alcohol). Eliminating key problem foods will then help you define what foods are causing your body problems when you slowly reintroduce them. I always say that deep down we know what is good for us.
5. Floods our body with super nutrition.
Being on an all- natural plant juice cleanse/detox gives us not only the vitamins and minerals but the all-important phytonutrients that are powerhouses for the clean-up and healing process. Juices are by nature raw foods — and retain nutrients that would be destroyed by cooking, including some B vitamins and especially (digestive and anti-inflammatory) enzymes.
6. Lose weight.
As you are feeling better and having more energy, you also naturally lose weight. Some of this is water bloat, but also some is fat. A juice cleanse (three days minimum) is a great way to jump start a diet or new way of eating. It not only helps control appetite and cravings, but is naturally lower in calories, while supplying the body with probably more concentrated beneficial energizing and healing nutrients than it has seen before.
7. Improve energy.
After the first day’s adjustment period (mostly missing crunching, and any coffee/alcohol cessation symptoms), most people begin to feel much more energy and clarity (by consuming only fresh juices) than they ever did with frequent caffeine drinks.
8. Rehydrate the body.
Most of my new clients consume inadequate fluids, often having diuretics such as coffee or tea as their main beverages. Drinking sufficient fluids (5-6 glasses/day) makes the body function more efficiently, increases energy (often successfully removing the afternoon blahs/brain fog), and helps insure proper elimination of toxins.
9. Reduce physical problems.
You begin to feel generally better, not just with your energy, but with many chronic symptoms such as headaches, rashes, general aches, congested sinuses and chest, and bloating/cramping/gas. Too much of the time our body is fighting off the things we do to it (especially with food — but also with lack of sleep, inactivity and stress). Take a break, rest the body (and mind) and flood it with nutrients.
10. Allow maximum detoxification.
To optimally support all phases of the body’s natural detox process, you need a very broad range of plant-supplied nutrients like anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories. By providing the body with super-nutrient dense foods juicing allows the body to have more of the resources it needs to support the phases of detoxification, and even to begin to help remove the cumulative toxins stored in the body.
11. Heal our cells.
Switching to an organic plant-based diet allows cells to work optimally to re-establish efficient internal messaging and manufacturing processes, allowing the mitochondria to create energy without having to fight off a plethora of free radicals and inflammation, and reducing some of the impediments to proper DNA functioning.
12. Insulin levels.
Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning.
13. Human growth hormone
The blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold. Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, and have numerous other benefits.
A Few Extra Tips
- Block off 2 days either side to enter and exit the cleanse.
- Cleanse with a buddy for support and banter.
- Avoid stressful commitments and travel.