Greetings! It’s always a good idea to start out a new year with some kind of cleanse. Not only are you backing up your healthy intentions for the new year, you are also detoxing the inevitable excesses of the end-of-year holidays.
In my article about the movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” I quoted the experts that 10 days of green juice fasting is enough to do a “re-set”. Ten days is probably a lot to commit to if you are relatively new to fasting.
ALERT: Before starting a fast, make sure to check with a medical professional to gauge whether you are in good physical condition and/or to supervise your fast. Also, it’s vital to have someone checking in with you several times a day to monitor your progress. If you feel light-headed or extremely weak or nauseated, do not continue your fast! Furthermore, coming off a fast should be done slowly and according to recommended procedures.
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A few things to bear in mind:
- No one is here to judge you or spy on you! If you start and find it too difficult, that’s fine. Just do what you can.
- It helps to have a support system. I’ll be checking in on the Facebook page often throughout the day to see if you have any questions or concerns and to essentially motivate, coach and share information.
- Freshly made juices are always preferable as many of the nutrients and anti-oxidants deteriorate within 20 minutes of juicing. But you can make large batches ahead and keep them in a tightly closed jar or thermos.
- If you run out of juice and you feel hungry and can’t find fresh-made, grab one of the commercial ones like Naked. While it’s not ideal, it’s still juice.
Let’s start with 3 or 4 days and in the spring we can revisit the idea of a longer fast.
Your shopping list:
Greens, greens, greens – these are the most alkaline foods on the planet and the main focus of a juice fast is to balance out your body’s pH (when toxic it is acidic)
Examples: Baby spinach, green chard, kale, collard greens, parsley, dandelion greens, watercress, cilantro, romaine and other lettuces (but not iceberg) edible weeds like purslane, lambsquarters. Try a variety of greens for nutrient combos and taste changes
Carrots – nice for a taste change but they are sugary and should not be the main ingredient
Lemons and Limes – although they appear acidic, they help to alkalize the bloodstream and also are great flavor enhancers to juice
Low-sugar fruits – Apples are ideal, as well as pears. Berries are good. If you want to do fruit combos, just stay away from the very sweet ones, like bananas, grapes and oranges. Other citrus fruits are okay – grapefruit is a good detox fruit.
Celery and Cucumber – Excellent for detox – celery is a great nerve tonic, cucumber hydrates you from the inside out and super for the skin.
Other veggies – check out some of the recipes below and choose more veggies that appeal to you. Beets are high in sugar and should be organic to avoid the genetically modified version – use sparingly.
Herbs will also add loads of chlorophyll and flavor, like dill, mint leaves, basil
Garlic and Ginger – also good for boosting the immune system, cleansing organs and adding flavor boosts.
The Big O?
Do they need to be organic? That’s up to you — but I would suggest that you consult the Environmental Working Group’s website to learn about “The Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15”. For instance, apples topped the list of the most pesticide-affected fruit in 2011. Personally I won’t eat an apple that’s not organic, but I am more permissive on other produce. Remember that the aim of the fast is to detox — clearing our organs and bloodstream of all of the environmental toxins and waste products — so it’s advisable to not add any more, especially during the cleanse.
What if you get hungry?
And it’s a good possibility that you will, so plan ahead. Make lots of juice and carry it with you. Make sure to check out health food stores or juice bars in your area to see if they have organic juices. (I just stopped in at the one closest to me and they do, as well as wheatgrass, so if I’m out and about I can get some sustenance.)
Here are some suggestions to help you cope with hunger:
- Drink lots of water in between juicing! It will keep your tummy feeling full and also help flush out the toxins. I always try to buy a brand of alkalized water (Le Vai), which not only tastes better, it helps to balance the pH. I also add a few drops of mint-flavored liquid chlorophyll to make it even more palatable.
- Have a cuppa! Hot or warm tea, as long as it’s herbal and decaffeinated, will be soothing. I love mint blends, also a lavender/chamomile blend by Traditional Medicines. If you need it to be sweet, stick with stevia as even xylitol can be irritating to your stomach and intestines.
- Get some coconut water – very hydrating, loaded with electrolytes and satisfying, but get one that is as pure as possible and no sweeteners added!
- Make a green smoothie! Green juices will go right to your bloodstream and detoxify your organs — the idea is to have as little fiber as possible to accomplish this. Smoothies are loaded with fiber — they will keep you feeling full but the detox effect will not be as swift. However, if you are feeling really hungry, supplement with a green smoothie so that you don’t suffer. Here is an article I wrote on Green Smoothies with some recipes and I will have more of them on the dedicated fast page.
- 50/50 – Something I plan to do (since I’m not a big fan of my centrifugal juicer) is to make some smoothies and run them through my nut milk bag to get some of the fiber out — best of both worlds. If you don’t have one of these handy bags, pick up some cheesecloth or you can strain through a sieve.
For those of you who would like to green juice or smoothie fast all day but enjoy a salad at night, here are some guidelines:
- Make it a combination of salad and dark leafy greens (dandelion leaves are fantastic for clearing the liver!)
- Sprouts would make an excellent addition
- Add more veggies, like tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. but nothing too starchy
- No nuts or dried fruit!
- Use a spritz of citrus on top and some oil (olive, macadamia, grapeseed, sesame)
- If you prefer vinegar, make it apple cider — it has a great alkalizing effect.
- Don’t add cheese or meat – nutritional yeast is “okay” but better without.
- A small amount of sea salt and other spices are okay but the lighter you make it, the easier it will be on your system to detox.
What to expect:
There are some ways to mitigate the detox effect — I’ve covered a lot of these in a 3 part post last August when we did a group Master Cleanse. Check out this page and especially my advice about getting some epsom salts as they have been indispensable to me whenever I fast. Remember, this is a time to GO EASY on yourself. Even if you last just a day or two, you are to be commended because most people would never take even a day off of eating solid foods.
Juice for thought:
Well, the correct saying is “food for thought” but I didn’t want to tempt you. When you take a few days off from whatever you habitually do (and eating is the biggest habit of all, as we do it so often in a day!) you EMPOWER yourself by teaching your busy mind that you are in control and not dependent on things outside yourself.
Recipes, recipes and more recipes!
This post is getting super long, so I am now directing you to a dedicated detox recipe page that includes some of my favorites, some great detox formulas and info from Raw Fusion contributor, Liat Catty, and green smoothie creations from my colleague, Kelly Marra of Raw Food Coaching.
New! Easy Detox
Do you find it difficult to complete detoxes, like the Master Cleanse, that demand deprivation and difficult regimens? Check out my brand new program, S-Tox™: A Smarter Way to Detox. S-Tox is a simple, stress-free, satisfying way to detoxify your system. You enjoy wholesome Super Smoothies, Scrumptious Shakes, Soul-Soothing Soups, Satisfying Salads, and Sensational Snacks — that keep you feeling full while flushing away toxins. Best of all, a health coach will guide you through the process!
Your S-Tox™ complete smart detox package includes:
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