Let me begin this post by saying, I know nothing… Ok, I kind of know some things but in this vast universe of information and changing information every day, I feel as though I know nothing on a regular basis. My intention of this post is only to inform of my experience and my thoughts and ideas about cleansing. You should always do your own research and judge for yourself when trying anything new with nutrition. Everyone is different and different things are going to work for different people according to their own biochemical individuality.
The past couple of weeks for Vaughan and I have been particularly stressful and we have definitely not been making the best nutritional decisions. I’m sure you’re familiar with those times. The instances when we feel all off balance and will eat just about anything to get food in our stomaches and satisfy a craving of indulgence that temporarily makes us feel better… Or several cravings of indulgence. Toward the middle of last week, after feeling stressed out, bloated, and disgusting we decided to jump head first into a cleanse in an effort to reboot our systems. Actually, I’ll be really honest here.. I had absolutely NO intention of cleansing as I have never been a big fan and love eating too much but Vaughan was committed and I know how important it is to have a partner in crime when doing something difficult. So I told him I’d jump off the cliff with him.
Vaughan decided on the Master Cleanse, as he has familiarity with that one and knew it was something he could do with some success. Me on the other hand, well, I don’t like the idea of consuming salt water every morning to”flush” out all matter of anything in my system. In fact, I’m not a fan of any kind of fasting either, which this one pretty much is. Although, this cleanse claims to be a “juice cleanse” but basically you are drinking spicy lemon sugar water, of which I do not qualify as the type of “juice” I mean when I speak of juice cleansing, as there is very limited nutritional value in the Master Cleanse’s “lemonade” mixture. So anyway, back to me hating fasting. You know those Snickers commercials where the guy is hungry and turns into a crazed lunatic until he gets a snickers? That’s me! Only worse! To the point that any of my close friends know when I haven’t eaten in a while. Could you imagine a couple days straight of feeling this way? NO BUENO! I’ve been hearing a lot about juice cleansing lately and decided I would try that.. But on my own terms.
Vaughan originally wanted to stick with his cleanse for 5 or more days but I immediately decided to limit mine to 3. I don’t eat bad, only occasionally and I can’t imagine anything longer than 3 days is going to give much drastic of a different result than I would get in those first 3 days. I wasn’t looking to starve myself or lose weight, I was just thinking I would give my digestion process a little bit of a break, and looked at this as a way to get rid of the crap I had been eating. So I decided I would juice on my own instead of buying one of those ridiculously overpriced cleansing juice systems that are now all the rage at Whole Foods. (Someone’s making a $hit ton of money). My goal was to try to maintain as much nutrition as I could while still getting some of the perceived benefits of a cleanse. So here’s what I did…
- I juiced a full mixture of veggies and herbs each day and only added berries (no other fruit) into my “meals” once a day. I wanted to get rid of the sugar and fruit. Although tasty, it is way too high in fructose. Contrary to the FDA, it’s not good to eat too much fruit anyway because of the spikes in blood sugar. But even worse when juiced because the sugar now has an opportunity to go directly into the blood stream without passing go and collecting $200.
- I drank homemade beef broth throughout each day. Homemade broth provides us with so many beneficial nutrients. It’s pretty much the cure all in my world. I could go on and on about broth but I’ll leave that for another post.
- I consumed fish oil and coconut oil each day, both of which are great fats. Plus the coconut oil is a natural laxative which will help push out any excess in the intestines.
My goal was to still consume as many nutrients as possible. When you stop eating, your metabolism also starts to slow down and that doesn’t help anyone. I wasn’t looking to shock my body.
Here is how I felt… I never got that ‘I want to destroy the world because I’m starving’ feeling, but my body was constantly craving food. Not sweets or carbs, just substance. By the end of day 2 I had a headache that lasted with me the next couple days. I didn’t have any ebbs in flow of energy but day two was just horrible all day. I was so exhausted and dragged through my entire day. And on day 4 when I finally got to eat again, which I made sure I ate healthy and clean: eggs, sweet potatoes, olives for breakfast, well… it didn’t stay put for very long. In fact nothing did that entire day. Then I started to get a sore throat. I’ve read, by those who are proponents of cleansing that sore throats can come on and that’s the toxins leaving the body. I call bullshit! Show me the evidence. That’s my body telling me that it’s weak and needs some real nutrients to help give my immune system a kick. Plus, there is no way I would be able to juice enough to provide myself with the amount of nutrition I need each day.
I keep trying to find real legitimate research that supports cleansing/fasting and still haven’t managed to stumble across any. All I keep coming up against are unsubstantiated claims that anything bad you feel or go through while cleansing is positive in disguise. Personally I don’t buy it. I am very in tune with my body and understand what it needs and how things affect me. Unfortunately, juice cleansing (or fasting) is not for me. Not to say that some of you out there won’t find some real benefit in it. On the other side of the coin, the mind is the most powerful tool we have and if we truly believe that we will benefit from cleansing then we will indeed find benefit from it. I went in with more of a quizzical approach. Very interested in how it would affect my body. There is a great post about some of the claims with juicing and how so many claims are being made without any real support.
Our bodies are awesome when we treat them right. Our liver, kidneys, and intestines are natural toxic cleansers and when given the opportunity to do their job, they are damn good at it. If you really want to cleanse, get rid of the crap, starting with sugar and processed foods. Give your body an opportunity to run like the well oiled machine it is. And in return, it will give you all the euphoria, energy, and health you need to make it through your days. We don’t need to starve ourselves to get healthy. In fact, our bodies don’t like that much and will tell us so! BUT… If a cleanse is what you need to kickstart eating healthy and jump in. But be careful. Listen to your body and don’t push it too long.