Summer cleanse, let’s do this!

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October is coming to an end, which has been a hectic (the most common Afrikaans word :D) travel-wise for me. Last time I’ve been sleeping in so many different places was on Asia backpacking trips. People who know me also know that I love healthy food and being active every day, thus I’ve occasionally missed my normal life while on the road. During the road trip across the country, we too often ate our meals as snacks in the car. I ate more milk chocolate than in years, white bread and a lot of processed food in lack of options. Then my parents arrived and eating since has been completely opposite; big breakfasts,  huge seafood and steak dinners, milky coffees and chocolate brownies. Even thinking about all the amazing food we’ve had makes me happy 🙂 but I am more than happy to invite more stable November to come. I feel slightly sluggish mentally and physically, which is why I am dedicating November to mindfulness and well-being, besides finalising my uni semester.

I always wanted to do a juice cleanse and can’t think of a better time or place than here in Stellenbosch, not that the Summer has arrived as well. I ordered a 5 day cleanse for Juice Revolution and started off this morning. I’ve now been on juices for few hours and can already feel a slight headache… My coffee lover cells are mad I guess 😉 Since I started spontaneously and the 5 days are in between my parents visit and a planned dinner on Wednesday, I could not stick to a vegetarian diet three days before and after, as I could not help myself eating lamb shank for dinner last night 😀 Oh well, 5 days is plenty of time for my body to cleanse. I wanted to keep myself motivated by doing some research on the benefits of a cleanse:

1) Rest the stomach. For the tens of millions of people who are on acid-suppressing drugs — and for older folks who often don’t produce enough stomach acid — making the stomach work less to extract nutrients can be a huge benefit.

2) Rest and repair the gut. Toxic foods (including saturated fats, refined carbs, foods with additives, pesticides and allergenic foods), taking medications (such as antibiotics or antacids), and even stress can impair the intestine’s functioning. There can easily be an imbalance in the gut microbiome (flora and fauna balance) as well as actual breaks in the intestinal barrier (“leaky gut”) — allowing substances into our bodies that should not get a free pass. Consuming a phytonutrient-dense rainbow plant-based juice diet allows food to be assimilated quickly through the intestine — consuming less energy, while the toxin-free, nutrient-dense food helps to repair the gut itself.

3) Rest the liver. The liver is our main detoxifying organ. Every molecule of food that is absorbed through the intestinal wall (fiber is not absorbed) moves into the liver for detoxification and preparation before being allowed to enter the rest of the body. Problem is, there are too many toxins for most of our livers to handle — with many passing unchecked into the general circulation to wreak havoc in distant cells. An organic juice cleanse rests the liver’s overload.

4) Reduce your appetite. Juicing doesn’t really shrink the stomach — although it feels like it does. Juicing eliminates the habit of comfort eating, and makes you feel satiated with less food than usual. This provides a big psychological boost to help get over the hurdle of changing habits.

5) Ease food decision-making. Juicing focuses on consuming fresh whole food produce every few hours — and reduces the enslavement of thinking constantly about what the next meal is going to be. Not only do we feel sated, but realize we are no longer slaves to our addictions with (often very harmful) foods.

6) Eliminate harmful foods. The juice cleanse eliminates dairy, wheat, gluten and fermented foods from the diet (as well as coffee and alcohol). In my experience, the majority of patients over 40 are relatively insensitive to wheat. Being off this — and other common trigger foods for a period — then reintroducing them can help define what foods are causing our body problems.

7) Floods our body with super nutrition. Being on an all-produce diet gives us not only the vitamins and minerals but the all-important phytonutrients that are powerhouses for the clean-up and healing process. Juices are by nature raw foods — and retain nutrients that would be destroyed by cooking, including some B vitamins and especially (digestive and anti-inflammatory) enzymes.

9) Lose weight. As you are feeling better and having more energy, you also naturally lose weight. Some of this is water bloat, but also some is fat.

9) Improve energy. After the first day’s adjustment period (mostly missing crunching, and any coffee/alcohol cessation symptoms), most people begin to feel much more energy and clarity (by consuming only fresh juices) than they ever did with frequent caffeine drinks.

10) Rehydrate the body. Drinking sufficient fluids (5-6 glasses/day) makes the body function more efficiently, increases energy (often successfully removing the afternoon blahs/brain fog), and helps insure proper elimination of toxins.

11) Reduce physical problems. You begin to feel generally better, not just with your energy, but with many chronic symptoms such as headaches, rashes, general aches, congested sinuses and chest, and bloating/cramping/gas. Too much of the time our body is fighting off the things we do to it (especially with food — but also with lack of sleep, inactivity and stress).

12) Allow maximum detoxification. To optimally support all phases of the body’s natural detox process, you need a very broad range of plant-supplied nutrients like anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories. By providing the body with super-nutrient dense foods juicing allows the body to have more of the resources it needs to support the phases of detoxification, and even to begin to help remove the cumulative toxins stored in the body.

13) Heal our cells. Switching to an organic plant-based diet allows cells to work optimally to re-establish efficient internal messaging and manufacturing processes, allowing the mitochondria to create energy without having to fight off a plethora of free radicals and inflammation, and reducing some of the impediments to proper DNA functioning.

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Yes please! I also found several arguments against juice detoxing, thus like many other things in life, you have to try it yourself to see how it affects on you. It will not be easy 5 days for sure, but I also take this as a way to challenge myself and see that I can do this. Have you guys ever done a cleanse? Would you like me to tell more on how it goes?

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