Is juicing and detoxing for everyone?
I am a neat freak. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I love to disinfect and sterilize everything that moves. Therefore, with all the pollutants that we breathe in on a daily basis, all the sneezes and coughs that we are exposed to, and all the pesticides and junk that enter our food chain no matter how carefully we shop, I believe in detoxifying and cleaning out your system. My grandfather, a man wiser than he gave himself credit for, had a particular adage that he would tell us when we were getting sick:
“If you ever feel like you’re coming down with something, give yourself a good physic!”
I can personally attest to the fact that this works. When I’m feeling “grippy” as my grandmother would say, I up my fiber intake or, as a last resort, take powdered fiber to clean myself out. And it does work. I think that some of these “old wives’ tales” really are based in truth, which is why juicing and cleansing is becoming so popular right now.
I’m not a fan of juicing and juice fasts, but I do think that having an occassional blend is okay. I know people who love juicing — who do juice fasting on a regular basis and claim to feel extraordinary during the process, like Charlie’s mother from So I Married An Axe Murderer with her Juice Tiger (wait till the end of the clip to see her).
Last weekend, I decided to go to Whole Foods and check out the BluePrint Cleanse line that happened to be on sale. My cousin did this before her wedding and she lost a lot of weight and claimed that she felt the best she’s ever felt in her life. Of course, she also did Soul Cycle and Physique 57 throughout the process instead of resting your body like you’re supposed to — so her results are probably atypical.
I pushed my way through the crowd of people who had surrounded the BluePrint Cleanse kiosk at Whole Foods and picked up a bottle of their green juice. I like the idea of a green juice because, well, I want to add more greens into my diet and apparently green juices can clear up your skin (yay for adult acne.) I was all ready to throw a few in my basket at the affordable sale price of $8.99 per 16 oz bottle when I looked at the ingredients:
28 grams of sugar? Holy Moses. I know that the juice consists of fruit, which consist mostly of sugar, but the only two sweet fruits in the drink are apples and lemons — it’s not as if there are bananas, oranges, pineapples or strawberries in it. I would rather just eat a whole apple, which usually consists of around 23 grams of sugar, but also has the fiber to slow down the sugar absorption in your system. I didn’t even know if the apple skins were included, and I wasn’t sure if the process of bottling the juice and shelving it affected the nutrients at all.
I decided to pass. I’m extremely sugar sensitive to begin with, and I couldn’t help but think that overloading my system with 28 grams of juiced sugar in one sitting would be good for me. That’s typically what I consume in one day!
To further validate my point, I headed over to the Vitamix demonstration. I’ve heard a lot about the Vitamix, and I was excited to see some fruit and greens pulverized into a delicious, frothy concoction. The young man giving the demonstration threw in a half an orange, a banana, kale, spinach, agave nectar, lemon, and ice before hitting the power button.
Before long, my mom and I were handed Dixie cups full of a beautiful green juice that was absolutely delicious. We ooo’ed and ahhh’ed over it:
“Look, no pulp!”
“Look, no big chunks of spinach leaves!”
“Look, no shards of ice!”
We then thanked the young man, and continued with our shopping. This was at about 2:00 in the afternoon. I had eaten a late, post-gym breakfast at around 12:30 (1/2 cup fiber one cereal, 1 scoop protein powder, and Almond milk). However, about 15 minutes after I drank this little bit of juice, I suddenly became starving. I’m not sure if it was the grocery-store effect (being around delicious, tempting food) or the sugar in the juice that caused me to spike and crash. I know that fruit is supposed to be eaten on an empty stomach in order for your body to absorb its nutrients to full capacity, but this just felt like a fruit overload to me. I decided it was a message from the health Gods telling me that concentrated fruit was a no-no for me.
Instead, my mom and I went home with our own ingredients and decided to try and made our own detox drink — the lemon detox diet drink, which can be found everywhere online. It is made by adding the following ingredients to 8 oz water:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
dash of cayenne pepper
1-2 tablespoons organic maple syrup
fresh grated ginger (my addition, I love ginger!)
Now I know what you’re thinking – 2 tablespoons of maple syrup is an un-Godly amount of sugar, especially since I was bellyaching about the sugar content of the BluePrint Cleanse. However, maple syrup doesn’t have the same affect on me that fruit juices do, and I’m not sure why.
I had one of these this morning — it is delicious and really cleans out your upper respiratory system first thing in the morning. To get the full benefit of the cleanse, you are supposed to drink about 6 cups of this throughout the day without eating any food, but I only had 1 glass in the morning followed by my protein powder. I didn’t notice any major changes the first day, but when I had one the next morning… Let’s just say that this cleans. you. out. I don’t really eat junk, but I still felt like all the junk in my insides was flushed out. How can that not be good for you?
This week I felt like I had the flu or a cold or some other nasty bug coming on, and I drank 5 glasses of this drink throughout the day while supplementing with raw foods only (apples, spinach salads, prunes, etc) and I think it helped. I slept during the day and had very intense dreams — not sure if the two are related, but maybe so.
The other detoxing drink that I highly recommend are the Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar drinks which include active enzymes. I’m an Apple Cider vinegar junkie to begin with: I use it in my salad dressing to balance my stomach ph, in my neti pot as a natural mucus thinner and antibacterial, and as a rinse for my hair to get rid of buildup) Read about the other uses for Apple Cider vinegar here and here).
I stumbled upon these one day last year at Mrs. Greens and decided to try one. I picked up the ginger blend and sipped a bit of it on my way to work. I kept it at my desk and sipped it slowly for the first hour or so that I was at work.
Then, an unexpected and peculiar thing happened.
I started to sweat. A lot. Now, I’m a sweater to begin with, but this was different. Have you ever felt like you were coming down with something — the flu, a cold — taken Theraflu or Nyquil, gone to bed and started sweating? Or, instead of medicine, did your mom or grandmother ever give you a Hot Toddy when you were getting sick as a kid? Mine did, and this felt exactly the way the Hot Toddy made me feel: like my body was sweating out toxins. It was unbelievable!
I wasn’t sick at the time I drank it, so I can’t attest to it preventing any oncoming illness, but it was definitely an experience. It just further reaffirms my credence that Apple Cider Vinegar is a multifarious elixir, and my detoxifying agent of choice.
Finally, I have to share my recipe for my detox bath:
The recipe is simple:
2 cups Epsom Salts
2 cups Baking Soda
3 teaspoons Hydrogen Peroxide (if you have chlorinated water, which I do)
1/3 cup ground ginger – I use Frontier Brand
You can also add essential oils such as lavender or eucalyptus to this, but I never have those on hand. You can also add apple cider vinegar to help counter-act the drying of the salt and soda and to help soften your skin. The ginger works to open your pores while the salts draw out any toxins.
I make the water as hot as I can stand it and stay in for 30-40 minutes. Depending on who you ask, people say that it takes a varying amount of time to detox your body. I figure the longer, the better. Be sure to loofah yourself off when you get out to remove any toxins that have accumulated on your skin. I always rinse off and rinse my hair with a 50/50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water just to clean it off.
My favorite thing to have when I get out of the bath — besides lots of water, since the detoxing can be dehydrating to your system — is a cup of Yogi Ginger Tea:
I brew 1 teabag in a teacup and add fresh grated ginger, 1 teaspoon of honey, and 1 lemon slice. After letting it brew for a few minutes, I strain it into another cup and drink it while it’s piping hot. So delicious!
Have you jumped on the juice fasting/detoxing bandwagon? If so, what was your experience like?