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I get so many curious questions from people about the Evolution Fresh 3 Day Juice Ritual I test-drove last September [Read the two part series here and here], and my general thoughts on cleansing + detoxing in general.
It’s such a hot topic these days, and dare I say, almost borderline trendy. Not shocking, considering how much our culture is about extremes when it comes to eating, working out and being healthy.
The quick fix mentality is appealing– I know it.
Eat whatever you want for weeks or months at a time– live it up! You only live once! What’s life without dessert, wine, chips, candy, snacks, pop [insert whatever else here].
Do it until you feel sick, tired, fat, angry, cranky or guilty [insert whatever else here].
Then “cleanse*”. “Detox”. Go on a diet. Join a crazy gym or buy an extreme workout program online.
You start. You’re being so “good” now, so you can pretend like that other stuff didn’t even happen. You’re different now.– that was all in the past. You’re on a new kick.
You actually feel horrible as you start your new plan [headaches, fatigue, anger, sore muscles, cravings], then finally feel great and tell yourself you’ve never going to go back to your old ways.
Until, of course, you do.
Even with the best of intentions, most people just do.
Extremes have a habit of just leading to more extremes (usually of the opposite variety). Really bad eating followed by a extreme cleanse followed by bad eating once again doesn’t do much good.
Unless you start actually changing some of the ways you think, eat and go about your daily life as a value. Not a trend.
So. My thoughts on a cleanse or detox.
I actually don’t think it’s a bad thing to do- not all of them at least. The concept of cleansing has been around for a very long time– and for some good reasons.
I think it’s all about how you approach it and what your purpose is.
Good [healthier] reasons, in my opinion, would be for one of the following:
1) To help your body’s hard-working systems rest and recover, to ease your digestive load and infuse your body with more good nutrients and minerals so your body can actually become more efficient at detoxing itself naturally on a daily level.
2) To break addictions to addictive foods that may have snuck in over the course of time and that you can’t seem to get through your day without [sugar, caffeine, flour + chemicals in processed foods are the big ones]
3) To get out of your current in-a-rut food routine and just do something different.
Not-so-good reasons would include any of the mentalities I mentioned in the first few lines of this post, or:
1) To lose weight. If you’re looking to lose weight, doing a body reset — no matter how healthy, won’t get you that quick fix. [Eating healthy as a regular part of your life will]. Yes, you may feel less bloated and better energy [all awesome side effects], but doing a cleanse to lose weight won’t change a lot long term. So, if concentrating on only putting good things in your body for a set time helps you get started on that track and a cleanse gives you more structure to get started, by all means do it. Just have a plan for after you finish.
2) As a form of punishment to yourself. Just don’t go there. Eating good food isn’t “being good” and eating bad food is “being bad”. Guilt and a negative relationship to food, your body, and your in other areas of your life will ensue.
So, what are the best kinds of ways to go about doing something like this? There are a dizzying amount of options out there.
As you can probably guess with my philosophy on everything else, I think real is best. Real food nutrients and fluids over anything packaged or strange sounding or consisting of not eating for days at a time.
Which is why I did the Evolution Fresh 3 Day Juice Ritual the last time I wanted to do a little reset. It’s my favorite and I love the quality and integrity of their stuff.
What is a juice “ritual” you ask?
It’s just what Evolution Fresh calls buying a 6 pack bundle their cold-press juices so you can infuse more nutrient + mineral goodness into your bod in a way that doesn’t take a lot of energy or effort for your body to process. Essentially a way that you can easily buy juices for 3 days in a row to help you rest and reset. There are no other “rules” that go along with it, which is why I like– it’s much easier to incorporate into a healthy lifestyle reset instead of something extreme and rigid.
Last year, I did it and did one day of all juices and water, then had the juices and some food as I needed to as I progressed. I had a great experience with it, but wanted to try a few tweaks and changes from last time this round. Like any good experiment, I asked my friends Evolution Fresh if they were curious too. They said yes, and so generously offered me some juices to test out my theory. Love them, really. So. Here were my changes:
a) Incorporating a real-food meal plan to combine the fresh juices with more stabilizing foods. Last year, the days of all juice was too much natural sugar for my body, so I wanted to see if I could find a happy medium between a low digestive load on my body and great, easy to absorb nutrients in the juices.
b) Focusing on mostly green juices [just because I like the challenge and love my greens dearly]
c) Reducing the total juices to 3-4 a day instead of 6 [I am a smaller person and needed to take something out to have any room for the grounding food.
d) Getting a little group of clients together to do it as a group and test out my "food plan" to pair with it [so much more fun]
Picked up my first 2 days of juices. I opted to pick out all of my own, which they call a custom pack (so fun) and walked out with: 3 Essential Greens, 2 Sweet Greens with Lemon and 1 Spicy Lemonade for each day.
With the plan of doing 3 to 4 juices per day this time, I knew I would have some leftover juices in the fridge. Perfect to freeze and blend into smoothies down the road, or keep drinking after my initial 3 days were done.
My General Food Guidelines: All real food, focusing mostly on veggies with some added protein + healthy fats, and eating only as needed [To my specific meal plan to pair with the juices, just ask for more info here]. Oh, and I stayed away from sugar and alcohol too.
Day 1 is always fun. You feel pumped up and ready. Like you can hear your body’s particles saying- yes! we love you! hooray! We’re gonna feel sooooo good! So, what’s not to love about that?
Day 2: I woke up feeling great. Because this is not terribly different than how I normally eat, this was in line with what I expected to feel like, but maybe not normal for everyone. My testing group all said the same, with exception to one, who was just coming off of a bachelorette weekend the day before. They did love having a plan for food, and even the non- cook’s said it was super easy to do and took the thinking and planning piece out of the equation, which put their mind at ease.
I felt good just knowing I was putting such good stuff in my body and giving it a break. I was totally energized enough for my spin class at Fly Fitness and feeling good. Throughout the day I felt a bit more tired, but knew that was probably to be expected and took it as a good sign that my bod was kicking into gear. I just drank more water- lots of water-, had the spicy lemonade late afternoon [invigorating] and had a great little lunch and dinner [what does it mean when lentil salad with avocado looks so decadent? I'll take it].
I went back to pick up my last day of juices and mixed it up this time with 1 of the Essential Vegetable juices just for kicks (with some carrot and apple). And it seemed like a sweet treat. I got more of the Essential Greens and Essential Greens with Sweet Lemon to round out the week [intense, yes. But if I'm doing it, I might as well go all the way].
Fun facts from today:
1) If you are on the run and have to buy a fresh juice from any Starbucks store, you can ask them to blend your juice with ice for a little refreshing slushy.
2) Those that eat clean [real food most of the time] [hey hey clients of mine], have a relatively easy time doing something like this. No headaches, no dizziness, no crankies. Just a good little mix up to the routine. Those that don’t, don’t has as easy of a time. Not a shocking realization, but good advice to those that aren’t starting with a clean foundation to give yourself a day or two to ramp up the goodness – veggies, water and exercise, and ramp down the sugars, intense doses of caffeine and other things.
3) A little fizz is good. I mixed in some sparking water to some of the juices and liked the bubble texture. Only if it’s cold though!
Woke up and felt great, again. Why stop a good thing? This day I used 2 of the green juices and continued with clean lunches and dinners. And did the same for Day 5 actually too. Then reduced to 1 a day or when I felt like I needed a little boost. See the lifestyle part of it?
Overall, I think I found my favorite way to reset– the food component helped me feel more balanced and energized throughout the day and made it feel more like a healthy everyday life. Which makes it less of a big deal to continue to do. Which is a good thing to set yourself up for better success in the long run, wouldn’t you say?
And that’s what it’s all about.
*Please consult your own doctor before embarking on any cleansing or detoxification program.
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