January 03, 2012

Juicing and Cleansing

This morning I visited my local health store to stock up on some liquid iron (a supplement I take every now and then), Super Greens powder (containing spirulina, barley grass, chlorella and wheat grass) and other essentials (raw chickpeas, sunflower seeds, flaxseed oil, etc). I can just imagine how busy these stores get right after New Year. Everyone has made that (same) New Year's resolution to lose weight, to quit smoking, to live healthier. People are desperately seeking for a (preferably) quick diet solution that will help them lose those extra kilos.

Although I can't exactly say I over-indulged during my break (see my Christmas menu here and New Year's menu here), I felt like it was a good time to reassess my relationship with food. Having done a three day alkalising cleanse in the past, I didn't really want to set up any time restrictions, nor do a full-on juice fast, but rather just replace some of my meals with fresh juices, leaving one light meal (a salad with greens, flaxseed oil and some sunflower seeds) to have each day. I will go like this for 3 days, 5 days, a week - whatever feels right.

This method works well for me, especially since I have already quit sugar and dairy and consume no alcohol and nowadays very little caffeine, if at all. My juicer has been churning all spring and summer and I've become a little addicted to my fresh vegetable juices in the morning and my daily green smoothies. Juicing is a great way to cleanse and even if you are not keen to do the whole fasting thing, you can easily add fresh vegetable juices in your daily diet and perhaps try a green smoothie as a light meal or just as a snack. For a real super smoothie, try mixing in some flaxseed oil and Super Greens powder.

I'm a strong believer in eating right for your body type - we are not all the same so how could one eating plan possibly work for everyone? I also like to experiment and see what effect these experiments might have in my health and general wellbeing. I can honestly say that quitting sugar and dairy have made me feel better. This to me is enough proof to keep me on this clean path. Equally, eating meat never suited me and I have no desire to go back being a carnivore. Thus, I think each person should first understand their body type (Deepak Chopra's book below is a great way to start) and then make the necessary dietary/lifestyle adjustments. What works for me, might not work for you. It is as simple as that.

Here are some of my favourite vegetable juices to get you started. You can really let your creativity go wild! Almost anything can be juiced, even sweet potatoes, onions, garlic and cabbages! Just remember to use seasonal produce and preferably choose organic. If you're using conventional produce, washing the ingredients with white vinegar-water mixture (with a ratio of approximately 1:3) might help reduce the amount of toxic residue.

Green Beauty Juice

 1/2 bunch of celery (with leafy tops)
 1 long cucumber
 a knob of ginger
 juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Wash all the ingredients well. Juice the celery, cucumber and ginger. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Drink immediately (or preferably within 2-3 hours).

Green Smoothie

 1 portion of Green Beauty Juice
a large handful of spinach
1/2 avocado, chopped
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil
2 teaspoons Super Greens

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately or within 2-3 hours.

Gorgeous Beet Juice

2-3 beets (can use the leaves as well, if you wish)
a knob of ginger
juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Juice the beets and the ginger. Drizzle with lemon. Drink immediately.

Other tasty flavour combinations include:



bok choy

Other tips for cleansing

I try to dry-brush my entire body every day or at least a few times a week. Here is a good guide for dry-brushing.

I love having a (rather large) range of herbal teas in my pantry at all times. Some of my favourite flavours include licorice root, peppermint, different warm spice mixes (like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves) and dandelion root tea. Herbal teas are a great caffeine-free alternative for coffee.

Exercise-wise, it probably goes without saying that rigorous training, whilst cleansing, might not be the best idea. I prefer walking, swimming and yoga (even when not cleansing), but I also allow my body to rest more during the cleanse.

These are just some of the books I've been reading lately:

Dupont, C.M. Enlightened Eating - Nourishment for Body and Soul (2006)
Deepak, C.  Perfect Health - The Complete Mind/Body Guide (2001)
Junger, A. Clean - The Revolutionary Program to Restore Body's Natural Ability to Heal Itself (2009)