Sunday, March 18, 2012

Juice Cleanse

Papaya, spinach, lemon and orange juice.
Juice Cleanse Recipe.
Everyone has heard of a liquid diet or juice cleanse by now, with exception of those having permanent residence under a large rock. With most buzz words or fads there are misinterpretations and misuse of the intended benefit.

Juice cleanses are for overall health, not a weight loss plan or quick fix of any sort. The crappy news about life is achieving what you want takes work, time and commitment. A juice cleanse is just a part of the overall healthy lifestyle.

This was supposed to be a happy motivational piece so I'll stop being Debbie Downer and get on with it already...

Yeah Juice! A spring juice cleanse is as necessary as spring cleaning your house.  During the cold months you tend to eat more bread, starch and meat in an instinctive hibernating behavior to 'survive.' So just like your house builds up dirt, dust and an unidentifiable funky smell during all of these months being cooped up indoors, your body also has been fighting to rid itself of stored fats laced with all sorts of toxins we take in on a regular basis. Most of us are used to eating fresh greens and veggies that are in season during the warm months and even into fall, supermarket produce mid-February just doesn't have the same appeal or nutritional value. As soon as the spring weather hits I'm ready for a cleanse.

The cleanse itself is meant to give your digestive track a break and for your body to take in a significant amount of plant nutrients over just a few days, this in turn helps clear your digestive track of anything that may have built up and to flush toxins that have been stored in your fat cells. Everything in life needs a resting period and your digestive track is no different. During this time it is very important to take in the daily recommended amount of water; at least 8 glasses.

To clear up a common misunderstanding about a cleanse; it is in no way related to anorexia or anorexic behavior. It is to be done during a short period of time and never taken to excess. Since you're taking in a lot of nutrients your body never thinks it's 'starving' like what can happen when you go without eating. Your body will actually begin to use its fat reserves, instead of store more fat like what happens when you go without eating, and with the fats that are flushed out many toxins that are stored within them will be stirred up in your body as well. The importance of water is crucial; as toxins are stirred up you need to flush them out or there is the possibility of becoming sick. 

How to start a juice cleanse:

Mentally prepare.
Haters gonna hate, but I like to start by mentally preparing myself for the cleanse at least a week in advance. Going without solid food is not easy. I have no line of bullshit that I can give you to tell you that it is. So prepare yourselves people.

Do oranges get any more beautiful?
Heirloom navel oranges from
Whole Foods
Find the best produce.
This is the one time that I will insist you go as organic as possible. If it is not organic, wash it well and peel it. We're trying to get toxic buildup out, so putting in a glossy coating of wax and pesticide is obviously counter productive. There is still no fresh produce available where I am at in the world, but I trust Whole Foods and spent the big bucks to make sure I'm getting quality ingredients.


Think outside the box.
The box holds us in fear of things like adding celery and kale to an apple pear juice. Raw foods in juice form taste significantly different from the cooked mush versions we grew to hate at an early age. Adding a few stalks of kale to a juice consisting of apple, pear and lime will change your world. It is important to not just drink fruit juices during your cleanse, you want a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure you're taking in a variety of vitamins and minerals. Think things like raw beets, carrots (surprisingly sweet), cucumbers, kale, spinach, papaya, zucchini, lemon, ginger. The possibilities are endless and the results are usually nothing like you imagined. You're friggin juice cleansing, no reason to hold back now, step over fully into the hippie world.

I'm not going to list a bunch of recipes here because they are all over the internet - just search for something like juicer recipe or juice cleanse recipe. Today I will tell you  I had a papaya, spinach, lemon and orange juice for lunch.
Green juice but it tastes so good!

Drink a lot of water.
Before, after and in between your glasses of juice you should be drinking water. If you feel overwhelming hungry or light headed drink a large glass of water and you will be surprised how much better you will feel. Again, 8 glasses people. Very important.

Smooth move.
Literally. You want to make sure you're regularly 'going #2' to make that as clear as I possibly can. Even though you are not eating solid food, you will continue to go to the bathroom fairly regularly, if not more at first. Smooth move senna tea every night before bed will help to keep things moving. 

3-5 days.
I have found the most benefit when I do the juice cleanse for a minimum of 3 days up to 5 days and then ease off of it and gradually move back to solid foods. I usually plan out a breakfast, lunch, dinner and one or two 'snacks' in between. Yes were still talking about juice and have not moved onto exciting things like steak and potatoes. I juice enough for a tall 12 oz glass for each 'meal' and maybe around an 8oz glass for an in between snack. Your body will actually tell you if you need more or less as long as you're drinking enough water in between.

Easing off of a cleanse.
Trust me, if you rush back into Funions (wtf are those anyway?) and fried fish you will feel like someone punched you in the gut for no damn good reason. It hurts. You're going to want to start with things like non juiced fruit and vegetables, rice, oatmeal, maybe work into some toast. By day three after your cleanse you will be eating more regular again. See how your body handles what you put into it as a sign of how to proceed. This is the time you want to analyze what you eat and make changes to your diet. Think of it as starting with a clean slate and you now have a choice of how you want to eat and the lifestyle you want to live.

Spiritual. 
Here's the witchcraft part that you can only relate to after you have done a cleanse. Think of it like the Seinfeld episode were Elaine and George both give up sex. All of a sudden George can think clearly, he's smart, he's moving ahead in life. All the time he usually spent thinking of sex he suddenly has free to use for bettering his life. Elaine didn't fair so well, but I think we are all 'Georges' mid cleanse; you suddenly have all this free time and energy because your body is not using as much energy to process solid food and you already know that dinner is just going to be a big glass of juice that takes 5-10 minutes to make and drink instead of up to an hour. I find myself more appreciative of life, of what I have and what I am capable of. Instead of thinking about how much it sucks when all your friends are eating fried chicken, burritos, Big Macs or someone happened to bring donuts to the office that day and everyone seems to be enjoying them a little too much, think of how much power you have. Juice cleansing is not for the weak minded.

The Do's and Dont's.
This is intended for someone who is in a state of general good health. You should never cleanse when you are pregnant or nursing, with a heart condition, diabetes or any serious illness. Everyone is different and everyone's body will react differently. During your cleanse try to take life easy, set aside some time for meditation or if you are not comfortable with that try to at least engage in a few quiet moments during the day since your mind will be clear and you will be relaxed.

Also, my chickens loved the leftover pulp and scraps. Toss them in your garden or outside your window for the birds and wildlife to enjoy.

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