For those of you wondering what it feels like to experience a short detox, I've written a little detox diary to explain exactly what I (Nancy) ate/drank and how it felt. My plan is to do 3-4 days on only juices, smoothies, and some whole fruit, maybe a green salad. Most importantly, all my food will be uncooked for maximum detoxing. Fruits are extremely cleansing whether they are blended or eaten whole. Veggies supply important healing substances but are harder to digest when raw, so they are most useful when juiced, at least for the duration of a cleanse.
I will only have a little bit of natural fat, such as flaxseed or avocado because too much fat will slow down or stop the body's detoxing mechanism. This is also the reason that on a true detox, there is no cooked food. A little bit of warm veggie broth is fine and may be needed if I get chilly (feeling cold is normal.) The point is that all food consumed must be very easy to digest; digesting cooked food takes a lot of energy which the body needs in order to naturally cleanse itself.
Why am I doing a cleanse if I already eat pretty clean? Well, I fall off the wagon sometimes, celebrate with rich food, desserts, enjoy wine. Also, it's just good practice to detox once each season and my body tells me when it's time for a cleanse. I've been feeling rather polluted, so it's time for the spring detox.
For starters, I am still eating meat about one day a week, but I want to transition to a plant-based diet this year. I'm not calling it vegetarian or vegan, just making a goal to minimize or phase out animal products for health and ethical reasons. Let me be clear that I don't judge anyone who consumes animal products; almost everyone I love does. I also happen to be an A+ blood type and we're optimally vegans. I don't know if I'm totally down with the blood type diet, but I do know I feel better when I eat lighter foods.
Also, I eat a bare minimum of junky food, that is to say processed sugary things like the stray donut in the teacher's lounge. That's another reason I want to do this cleanse; I'm eating way more sugar than is healthy or feels right for my body. I'm talking about even the natural kinds such as honey, agave, maple syrup, turbinado and cane sugar. Every time I do a detox, I easily get rid of sugar cravings, so that's what I expect this time as well.
To prep for my four days of a mostly liquid diet, I ate lots of salads and green smoothies. In the evening I enjoyed cooked buttercup squash, brown rice and beans, plus steamed vegetables. I did not have any coffee for several days, drinking pureh tea for my caffeine fix. So going into the detox, I was "cleaner." I believe this is really important because the longer you prep, the milder healing effects you'll experience.
I prepared mentally by watching lots YouTube videos on juice fasting and raw foods, movies such as "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead," reading books like "Heal Yourself 101" by Markus Rothkranz, and Jason Vale's "The Juice Master: Keeping it Simple" which has lots of recipes including detox recipes for a 3 day detox. I'm not doing his prescribed detox, but Jason's book is inspirational and helps me get excited about the cleanse.
Although with a little planning you can certainly detox while you're working or going to school, I have 4 days off for spring break, so I will be able to rest and prepare juices and smoothies whenever I need to.
Fresh pressed carrot-apple-lemon-celery-cucumber-turmeric-dandelion-baby lettuce juice
6 a.m. I got up and had a cup of very low-caffeine, green tea. One of my goals is to get off daily caffeine so I've been decreasing it gradually these last few weeks. The past year I've noticed that I'm becoming very sensitive to caffeine, particularly in coffee. If I have more than 1 cup of coffee a day, I get a migraine headache. Not fun, and not worth it.
7 a.m. I did some light calisthenic exercises and then meditated for 15 minutes. See my Morning Routine for how I train myself to have an optimistic day.
9 a.m. I'm often not hungry for breakfast for several hours so I waited 'til I was, then had 1 1/2 pints of juice. I juiced a dozen small carrots, a couple big handfuls of baby greens, a small handful of mixed sprouts, a lemon with a little peel left on, two stalks of celery, a couple of cauliflower florets, a granny smith apple and one orange. The dandelions are just coming up now, so I threw in a couple plants with their leaves and roots. Dandelions are fantastic liver cleansers! I also stirred a teaspoon of ground flaxseed into it since the body needs a small amount of fat to better assimilate beta carotene from the carrot juice. All of this made a quart total but I put a pint of it in the fridge for later. A whole quart is just too much for me at one time.
10 a.m. I took a short walk with my dogs (the lettuce beggars below.) Movement is important; it gets the lymphatic system circulating which aides the detox process. Detox is all about the liver and the lymph doing their jobs.
12 noon. I drank the pint of leftover veggie juice. It had lost some of it's sweetness so I added a little stevia. I've been drinking lots of lime-infused water and herbal tea which satisfies my appetite. I strongly recommend same tasty tea in between juices to keep from getting hungry. Good Earth's caffeine-free Sweet and Spicy is a must for me. When I'm intermittent fasting, I drink several cups of this and it's easy to go for hours without needing to eat. Read about intermittent fasting here and see why it's so good for you to let yourself get a little hungry between meals.
1 p.m. I was very tired and took a 45 minute nap. Cleansing takes energy, so when we feel tired we need to rest.
2 p.m. I was getting just a little light-headed and hungry, so I blended a smoothie. I prepped this when I made my juice this morning, so all I have to do is take it out of the fridge and add some greens, amla berry powder (natural vitamin c), stevia, spirulina, maca powder and unsweetened, cold-pressed black cherry juice. Here's what's in it: one orange, a cup of pineapple, a cup of frozen mixed berries, a half inch chunk of ginger root, one banana and a large handful of mixed baby greens. My goal is to have my smoothies be one-half greens,one-half fruit. If you are a beginner, you will probably want to start with less greens and increase as you get used to smoothies. The verdict on my smoothie? Delicious and filling!
4 p.m I took an Epsom Salts bath: pour a cup or two of Epsom Salts into a tub of hot water, stir to dissolve and soak for at least 20 minutes, then rinse off in the shower. Magnesium chloride helps draw out toxins through the skin. And some good news, I've not had any trace of the caffeine withdrawal headache I would normally get in the afternoon if I don't have coffee.
5 p.m Some days I will probably only drink juices and smoothies, but today it's snowing and I feel like a more substantial fruit salad. This is a Markus Rothkranz recipe I love: cut up mango, blueberries, jalapeño, a little garlic in whatever proportions I like. I top with a few sprouts and squeeze lime juice over the mix. Yum. Really.
7 p.m. I was a little hungry so I finished off the pint of leftover lunch smoothie and ate a banana. I continued to drink herbal tea this afternoon and evening because I'm a little chilly. I read a lot, watched health videos and "Welcome to Me" with Kristen Wiig.
8:45 pm So tired! I'm going to go to bed and let my liver take the night shift. I have to mention that I noticed my senses are magnified this evening; smells, sights and sounds especially. Interesting.
Dear detox diary, I slept solidly last night and woke up at 5:45 with a clear head (yay!) and lots of energy. After drinking a cup of white tea, I brought in firewood, fed the birds (and the dogs of course) and prepped my breakfast smoothie. I don't feel like eating, so I'm drinking rooibos tea until I get hungry. I made Heal All Tea (from Dr. Robert Morse's clinic) yesterday and I'm drinking that also.
I'll simplify the next couple days' diary as they will remain largely the same as Day One. In short:
That morning smoothie at 10 a.m. kept me full for 4 hours. I added more greens than usual and I think that really helps with satiation. I was tired much of the day and a little foggy in the afternoon. My hunger wasn't very strong today, which was nice. I wasn't chilly, either. After I ate the salad I felt pretty good; I hope the avocado didn't slow down the detox!
Biggie and Abner begging for lettuce. Romaine is their favorite.
Dear detox diary, I woke up with a mild migraine today. I'm pretty sure it was the woodsmoke from the wood stove yesterday because I went outside to get some fresh air and it was pretty smokey. I am very sensitive to any kind of smoke and I didn't eat any food triggers, so I'm blaming the smoke. I took 2 separate doses of homeopathic remedy called Migraine by NaturalCare which pretty much took it away.
I meditated 15 minutes, then felt good enough to do a short session of strength training: free weights, squats, push ups, hamstring curls, etc.
I also did a Quantum Touch session on my husband. Giving QT always energizes and distresses me, so it's win-win. If you don't know about Quantum Touch, please look into it. I am a student now, working toward certification as a practitioner.
I ate/drank the same things as yesterday, but didn't intermittent fast. Oh, and I did a coffee enema to support my liver's hard work.
I didn't need to nap today as I'm not as tired. Went to bed around 9 p.m.
Mixed berry green smoothie
Dear detox diary, I was planning to transition off the cleanse tonight, but only because I'm running out of produce. Especially since I have to share lettuce with Biggie and Abner. I feel so good, however, that I don't really want to stop! I dug out some raw recipes and am planning to have one of my favorite raw soups for dinner. Transitioning to cooked foods can wait a couple days.
For my first meal around 9:30 a.m., I juiced the remaining carrots and green apples plus half a cucumber, a 1" slice of ginger, and a half teaspoon of barley grass powder. I shared with my husband, so actually consumed about a pint.
About 11 a.m. I had a quart of beautiful green berry smoothie, consisting of pineapple, oranges, a banana, frozen mixed berries, a handful of mixed baby greens and the previously mentioned powdered superfoods plus a sprinkle of ground cardamom. I highly recommend adding cardamom to your smoothie now and then just to change things up...it's so tasty!
I took a half hour walk today with my dogs and plan to rebound for 5-10 minutes later today.
I ate a salad for lunch around 1 p.m: delicious butter head lettuce, sweet pepper, red onion, dried cranberries, uncooked sweet peas, and this amazing dressing I made yesterday. The proportions are approximate; I didn't measure.
Yummy Detox Salad Dressing
Now for dinner around 6 p.m., I made my favorite raw soup. This is seriously good, especially when I've been drinking a lot of sweet smoothies and juices. Again, I don't measure, just blend in the food processor and taste/adjust as I go. I used to take this to work for lunch often. I think I'll start again.
Raw Pea Soup
Just process with the metal blade until it's smooth. Taste and adjust as needed. Make a double batch for tomorrow's lunch!
Went to bed around 9, feeling happy and satisfied that I completed a cleanse.
When I don't want to immediately jump back into cooked food, I know I've had a successful cleanse. My healing symptoms were mild, mainly because I've done a lot of detox work over the last 5 years. If I had only juiced or done a water fast, I'm sure I'd have felt a little worse. For my summer cleanse, I'm looking forward to a juice-only detox.
I'm excited that I don't even care about eating meat or desserts right now. I'm thinking of all the delicious raw recipes I want to try such as nut cheese and chia crackers, Thai-spiced cabbage, sprouted lentils on Mexican salad, or garlic naan bread in the dehydrator. I promise to try them all out and let you know how it goes.
I'll leave you with one bit of advice to motivate you to try a raw detox or if that's too daunting, even a short term cleanse of no packaged/processed food will do amazing things for your body and get you on the path to health: watch this documentary on YouTube:
Jason Vale's Super Juice Me