My 10-Day… Uh, Make That 5-Day Juice Cleanse
For months I’ve been waltzing around the decision to commit to a juice cleanse. Although the concept intrigued me, I was scared of not being able to eat for days on end. And mama likes to eat.
The practice of juicing has helped thousands of people detoxify, lose weight and repair their immune system. Juicing gives your digestive tract a much-needed break, providing your body with intense bursts of nutrients while removing the fiber associated with the energy-intensive process of digestion. Because it absorbs the juiced nutrients within twenty minutes, the body is free to do other things, like clean out the toxins and sludge lodged throughout your intestinal tract. In essence, juicing helps to heal any adverse conditions brewing in your gut; the more nutrient-deficient your diet is, the greater the benefit.
Curious? Go watch FAT, SICK AND NEARLY DEAD.
Because my vocation is so physically demanding, I could never peg down a time where I could step away from teaching and just chill for a few days. But a free and clear week presented itself at the beginning of February, just after our annual Super Bowl party where I got REAL TOXIC. I was ready!
On Day 1, I convinced myself that I was going FULL OUT and committing to a 10-day cleanse. I spent the first morning making several juices, my objective being to drink 3 green juices and 2 of another color each day. Check my signature creations:
· CINQO VERDE: kale, cucumber, cilantro, pear, lime
· MINTY NUM-NUM: carrot, celery, grapefruit, mint
· RED SUN: blood orange, apple, ginger
With my resolve having already been tested for a whole 60 minutes, I sipped soberly on my first green juice and meditated on how AWESOME I was, how STRONG I felt and how PROFOUND this experience was certain to be.
Day 2 brought with it an odd sensation. Not hunger, exactly… more like: Emptiness. My stomach didn’t have anything in it, a strange but not unpleasant feeling. My digestive system was nourished and quiet, able to better hear its inner signals, and I discerned more clearly when I was actually hungry and needed that next juice. I learned that feeling full does not necessarily mean feeling satisfied, and I had definitely been mixing up the two.
Did I hear the angels of epiphany yet? No, but I was learning. I was hopeful.
Day 3 revealed to me what a major procrastinator I am! It was alarming to discover how many times I regularly get up from my desk to nibble at something – a carrot or red pepper if I’m lucky, but usually it’s a kid’s snack like a pretzel or a cracker. My little habit of breaking up my workday with food literally ate up half my productivity! So on Day 3 I packed up my juice, zipped up my computer bag and headed for the local library, where I completed more work in 5 hours than I would normally accomplish in a week. If there’s one thing this cleanse is giving me, it’s a reprieve from distraction and a laser-like focus. Cool.
(Mahlon going On the Juice, Day 3)
Day 4 taught me that
· CHEWING IS AWESOME.
· I really love preparing food even though I’ve never really loved preparing food.
· Juicing is BORING.
Now don’t get me wrong. This cleanse has awarded me some incredible gifts – greater clarity, focus, and the fantastic physical benefits of weight loss, bright eyes, a clear complexion and feeling better in my own skin. But someone please poke me in the eye with a stick.
I miss crafting and cooking dishes in the kitchen, I miss sitting down with my family to a meal, I miss the texture and variety of real food, of the physical process of chewing! Day 4 helped me appreciate the rituals surrounding the creation and consumption of food, and I can’t wait to get back to it with a greater sense of excitement, mindfulness and, above all, gratitude.
Having made the decision to cut my juice cleanse in half (I’m only human, people), Friday marked my 5th and last day, and although I had wanted a MAJOR REVELATION, I had instead learned small and surprising lessons from my experiment. To sum it up:
· It is NOURISHMENT and not VOLUME that produces satiety. The more nutrient-rich the food, the less you need to eat to feel totally satisfied. Use this Whole Foods ANDI Chart to find the superfoods that truly nourish you.
· The CULTURE of food – making it, sharing it and appreciating it – is just as nourishing as eating it. Never take our bounty for granted. Slow down, give thanks and enjoy a home-cooked meal with the ones you love.
· Often it’s the LITTLE lessons that whisper change, rather than the cinema-style A-HA! moments we long to experience. So listen to the small, the subtle, the unexpected, for they are the building blocks of AWARENESS.
Here's one of my favorite health gurus, Kris Carr, making her signature green juice. Watch and learn!
Thirsty to get On the Juice? Read The Holy Kale's Juicing Guide to get ready, set and go. Good luck!
I’m going to go eat an apple now – SO DARN EXCITING, THIS CHEWING THING (crunch crunch)!!!
Xoxoxo - Lara