I can already see you rolling your eyes.
Juices?! As in… no food?!
Well, no solids… yes. For three days. It happened, I did it, and it was amazing for my body, my mind and my blood sugars.
More detail on that in a bit, but just what exactly would possess a food loving self-confessed greedy pig to give up foods for 72 hours?
Ever since my life-changing visit to the yoga retreat last year I have been paying a lot of attention to what I’m putting into my body in order to make it as nourished it can be so that I feel strong and healthy. Looking at food labels is nothing new in my life, but for many years previously as I battled with my weight I try anything from a zero tolerance carbs policy to drinking shakes – without any concern for the actual ingredients involved. That week in Spain, however, my eyes were dramatically opened to concentrating far far away from the ratio of carbs minus Weight Watchers points multiplied by the square root of Atkins.
The thinking that for the past year has made me the happiest and inwardly healthiest I’ve ever been is thus – on a very basic level, we are entirely made up of cells, as is the food we eat. The food we eat slowly and literally becomes us. Therefore if our food is full of toxins, chemicals, artificial ingredients and things that sound like they were intended for outer space, we simply cannot function properly, we will not be at our optimum, we will not be focussed or maintain clarity in our day to day lives. I appreciate that for many, moderation is key and this is all complete hooey, but the evidence of the extremes of this is plain for all to see – we as a nation are pretty sick, tired and sad.
So if I’m all about nourishing myself with natural ingredients, why resort to giving up food entirely for three days? A juice cleanse is not a faddy diet and should not be seen as such, nor undertaken as such. It’s a way to reset the system, give the liver a rest (it’s the liver’s job to detoxify us of all those nasties we inhale/ingest/imbibe in the modern world on a day to day basis. Tough job) and remove all the blocked bits that are clogged up by too many nights on the Sauvignon and one too many slices of generic office birthday cake. A (SHORT) cleanse will return your body back to its factory settings, while the very nature of juice means that the fuel it provides is quickly accessed by the body, giving it a little rest from its normal heavy-duty task of endless digestion. I felt like I needed it – a year on from the yoga retreat and despite still being mostly veggie (the 10% of time I’m not, I eat fish) I’d lost some of that ridiculous serene yet sparkly zen-like presence I’d uncovered at Kaliyoga. Life is busy… it happens.
And so newly launched Nurture Juices were kind enough to let me try their 3 Day Cleanse – 18 juices, raspberry protein powder and pre & probiotic sachets. I was slightly daunted – I eat exceptionally healthy most of the time, but I eat a LOT. More than most. I also chose the day after my London to Brighton ride to start this thing – the day after I’d burnt nearly 2000 calories turning the bike pedals over and over. But social commitments and a bid not to get dumped by a frustrated foodie fella (I jest… kind of) meant that this was the day of reckoning.
Monday – Day 1
I’d carb-loaded pretty substantially the day before to give my body the fuel it needed to drag me 54 miles to Brighton, so Monday morning I woke up HUNGRY. I had to be careful not to sink the first of my six juices in one go. Instead I sipped thoughtfully, enjoying the taste of pink grapefruit, coconut water and himilayan rock salt. Nonetheless, I’m very much a breakfast person and I found myself reaching for the second juice 90 minutes later. I had a day off and had woken up late so I figured it was just catch up, right?
The six juices are designed to give you all the nutrients you need in a day – and a whopping 10 portions of fruits and vegetables. There are naturally occurring sugars in these, of course, but the nutritional info on the bottles meant I could just count carbs and inject accordingly like every other day. Each and every one of them tasted amazing – I’m one for healthy foods anyway and I’m not afraid of a green juice. They were all different, and all delicious – packed with natural yumminess that covered everything from immune boosting to anti-imflammatory to system alkalising. That day I won’t lie – I was a hungry lady and sank a lot of herbal tea to keep me from reaching for anything more substantial. I busied myself with some writing and a serious marathon of Orange Is The New Black (OBSESSED), but stubborn pride was pretty much what got me through the first day. I had six units of insulin all day – although part of this was down to the post cycle metabolism spike.
Tuesday –Day 2
An over-corrected night time hypo set me off on the back foot in the morning (I’d prepared for blood sugar upset and fixed it with juice btw, not chocolate biscuits…), but a couple of correction units and I was good to go. Back to work. I was a little worried about this, but I found that being busy actually made things easier. I looked forward to each juice but was happy to find that the hunger pangs had fully subsided. Of course I was peckish, but my stomach wasn’t growling. Knowing that I couldn’t eat any food whatsoever made the team biscuits incredibly easy to pass up; there was none of the ‘oh just one then’ moral dilemma that normally ensues at the waft of a chocolate hobnob. I even managed to refrain from ordering in my favourite vegan restaurant when I inadvertently suggested to my hungry vegetarian friends that we give the spot a try. Social destitution aside (YES destitution. I also shunned the wine. This is not something I take lightly), there was a just a fleeting moment of lust when the falafels came out, but come on… three days is not difficult. There are wars, poverty and climate change being fought. Concerned friends and colleagues questioned how on earth I was functioning, but honestly I felt great. I was focused and I had energy and I felt wide awake. The theory behind this is that the very nature of juice means that the nutrients from each one can be absorbed quickly with minimal effort by the body, which speeds up the detoxifying and alkalising process.
Wednesday – Day 3
I was fully expecting some sort of serious energy lag on day three, but I instead cycled into town, did a full gym workout and popped off to work before sinking the first juice. I KNOW. I definitely felt less bloated than normal and there were a lot of ahem… ‘movements’ due to all the fibre in the juice. I bounded my way through a day of apple, mango, kale, lemon, spinach, cucumber, apple, beetroot, carrot, ginger, blueberry and the rest and couldn’t quite believe it when I got to the evening and was having to think about the food I would need for breakfast the next day. How on earth had I actually done it? I still have no idea really; I just did it, and I really enjoyed it. My body DID feel rested, and cleansed, and content. Day three was an eight units of insulin kinda day. Happy days by all accounts, and my blood sugars were solid, stable and much more predictable. I’m sure that by day four or five the reduction in calories would have left me more than a little sleepy but I honestly after three days felt revived, not deprived. Who’d have thunk??
Post-cleanse I sussed that it probably wasn’t a good idea to immediately laden my body with a truck load of stodge, so for the first breakfast I griddled some veggies and added a bit of tahini, and did the same for lunch with an egg for protein. Not a million miles from my normal diet but the cleanse definitely got me out of a digestive lull – I found myself wanting much smaller portions and I was 100% craving nutrients the whole time, not cakes, bread and biscuits. My blood sugars remained stable and my insulin needs were definitely lower through the week. Heading off to Glastonbury the weekend after probably left my liver wondering what the hell was going on, but I would happily cleanse every 1-2 months from here on in to give my body a rest and reap the benefits. There are plenty out there at varying costs, and I have friends who have appeared armed with their own juicers and DIYed it. It definitely wouldn’t be for everyone, but if you’re in any way interested in plant-based nutrition, alkalising or general detoxification – and I assume you are if you’ve reached the end of this waffle – I’d highly recommend you give something like this a go.
The three day Nurture Juice Cleanse costs £170.99, but you can purchase it for just £49.99 (70% off) until Wednesday 23rd July 2014 by entering the discount code YOUNGFUN at the checkout. Hurrah! Head to wearenurture.com
*Disclaimerrrrrrr* (sorry). It is advised that you consult your doctor or medical professional before embarking on a drastic change of diet. It worked for me, it doesn’t mean it will work for you. Etc etc.