I have embarked on a radical journey to improved health. I firmly believe that if you truly take care of your body and live a healthy lifestyle it is the best insurance against any kind of dread disease, as they call it in the insurance industry. This year I am very conscious about all choices I make that impact my body, directly and indirectly.
At some other time I will talk about all the things I’ve done already this year but in this post I just want to outline my experience with this particular juice fast/detox I went through last week. I’ve investigated juicing as a healthy way to enhance nutrient intake for a long time but the logistics around it, not to mention prohibiting prices of good juicers, have kept me from juicing for the time being.
Until one day at a networking meeting Fiona Stander from Juice Revolutions stood up and said: “If you want to embark on a juicy lifestyle but haven’t got the time to buy, clean, cut and juice your vegetables I’ll provide them for you, ready to drink.” She was the answer to my needs! And so without much thought (I had done the thinking already and wanted to include juicing into my lifestyle) I started on her flagship programme, the 7lbs in 7 days detox.
In a nutshell that means for 7 days I had nothing but juices, the green variety mind. That means plenty of vegetables. I don’t really know but it feels to me I’ve ingested more green nutrients in this week than in the whole year ;-). The programme is made up of 5 distinct juices every day. On the whole there are usually 3 green ones, all your green vegetables and others, and 2 a bit more fruity. It’s important to point out that this is NOT a fruit juice detox we’re talking about! That would be a plain disaster for the body due to the acidity and sugar content of fruit.
I knew the first day or 2 would be shadowed with the typical detox symptoms. When your body doesn’t have to digest any food it immediately goes into working on getting rid of toxins and all that stuff that shouldn’t be in the body it has otherwise no time to work on because of the ongoing digestion factory. I have done two one-day fasts earlier in the year, the first one also leading into a week of salads only. That was a good thing because now I knew what to expect in those first days.
Having said that, because I did that detox programme before, this time round it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the first time. My body has had plenty of time and ammunition (aka good food) so far this year to work on getting rid of those toxins. I am glad I started on a Friday though, because that allowed me to take those first 3 days really easy. I started off with a bit of a headache and slight dizziness but after 2 days I was fine again.
When you contemplate doing a similar detox than please make sure you’re taking it easy. It’s half the success. Plenty of water and rest and all will be fine. And it was for me, on day 3 I already felt like a new person. My energy surged and I was very happy I embarked on this journey.
Logistically it was total bliss. Fiona made sure I had my juices available at the right time. Either fresh or blast frozen. My orange packages included 5 juices for the day and a night cap Hot ’n Spicy tea which is the best thing ever (some Apple and Cinnamon “concoction”). It serves as a mental booster and strength giver in very unexpected ways. The packs also included important supplements (Spirulina, Wheatgrass and a probiotic) and a herbal Pukka tea as well as tip sheets for the day.
Having the logistics taken out of the equation, not having to shop for all the ingredients, never mind cleaning and juicing them and then cleaning the juicer, has made all the difference. I could never have done this programme if I had to do it all myself. I probably would have given in by day 4. This way I was able to continue my fairly active lifestyle, but have moved as many meetings and other “have to’s” as I could. That allowed me to take a nap quite often in the afternoons which was really nice.
Day 4 and 5 were not so easy for me. Maybe because it was Monday and Tuesday and I did have to concentrate on work and other things, but again with Fiona’s support and the way the programme is structured it was easy to stick with it. On day 5 I had to attend a client’s function and I admit it was a bit hard to watch all these people eating breakfast. Thankfully I didn’t have to stay in the room at that time and just made myself busy outside.
In the evening my body started to have typical head cold symptoms, big sinus build up and some serious coughing. I went to bed wondering if I needed to break the fast or if it was helpful to be on it and decided to leave the decision until morning. As I woke up the next day, all symptoms were gone and I was up and running at full energy. My theory is quite simply my body didn’t have to digest any food and was thus able to concentrate all energies on killing any germs and viruses in the system over night. Aided by having all necessary nutrients in the body to do so effectively. It was quite an eye opener to see the body’s self healing function in this dramatic and personal way.
Overall hunger feelings were surprisingly rare. Yes there was the occasional empty feeling but the next juice was always coming up soon and if it got too bad I simply had a cup of Rooibos tea. That also helped combat the cold. Unfortunately in the week I did this our weather decided to pull a real Cape Town winter, with rains and cold temperatures, so I was very cold for the most part.
Why would anyone embark on a 7 day juice fast and what were the results?
Many people might think I did this to lose weight but in all honesty, this is a bad reason to do this. If you need to lose weight it is my firm belief that you should work on the cause rather than the symptom. In my case that’s an unhealthy lifestyle, too much quick food, take aways and too little exercise. I know for a fact that if I change my lifestyle, my weight will self regulate.
So I have to work on the issues that make me eat all those foods I shouldn’t be eating, and the laziness of the missing exercise. Those are mental issues. They require an honest introspection and analysis of what’s going on in your thought patterns. I’ve studied human behaviour for years (at the university of life) and have learned many techniques to figure out what I am really thinking and believing subconsciously and how to change that.
A fast of this nature also brings with it a detoxifying in other areas. It’s a good idea to work on a mental detox – what are some limiting beliefs I can let go of? Ideally you undertake such a fast on a retreat somewhere to really go deep, I don’t have that luxury so a slower than otherwise week had to do. I’ve worked with a coach to unearth some of the things in my mind I need to let go of and that too was very helpful.
I’ve also let go of some clutter in the house and did a bit of a digital clean up. Doing a programme like the 7lbs in 7 days detox shouldn’t be done in isolation, it’s always good to look at something like this in a holistic way and fashion. Get your support team around yourself and it will be even more effective.
When it comes to my support team I had 3 incredible people helping me along the way. First of course Fiona who has always been just a phone call away, went out of her way to make sure I have everything I need and was always there with encouraging words. I accompanied my detox with a neuromuscular massage at the beginning and at the end of the week.
Claude van Staden of Massage to Wellness is a specially trained massage therapist in this particular type of massage which unblocks the lymph system and gets it flowing again. I went to him at the end of last year with swollen ankles and wrists. With his detox programme coupled with a massage I lost all the water retention I had and quite a few kg’s of fat as well. Since then I have been getting these specialist massages as often as I could and it has made a huge difference in my agility. The lymph system is our waste system and if it’s blocked you can just imagine it’s not a good idea!
I need to warn you though, those are not the candle light type massages to relax :). While he uses wonderful aromatherapy oils which he puts together himself depending on what the client needs, these massages are of the painful variety as he follows the lymph system around the body and drains it.
When I went for the 2nd massage at the end of the programme he immediately noted the smoothness and tightness of my skin. Many people have commented on a certain glow around me. I myself have noticed the change in my skin on day 3 already. It’s much softer and smoother.
Last but not least I had a great amount of support in my son Raphael who despite only being 9 years old understands the importance of a healthy body and healthy eating. He’s been encouraging me and loves it that mom does what she can to be healthy. He had to endure some rattiness on my part, and he did so with great empathy and understanding.
The reason I went through this programme is because I wanted to kickstart a healthier lifestyle. Winter had taken its toll and I had fallen back into old habits. Sometimes you need a radical shock to the system to re-calibrate it again and I was hoping this fast would do it, and it most certainly did.
The most important thing it did to me was to help me reduce portion size. It’s astounding when you go through this to realise how little your body actually needs to do its work well. And with a whole week of nothing but liquid intake it is a long enough memory to refresh at any time. As I write this I’m on day 7 after the fast and have no cravings of an unhealthy kind at all, certainly eat much, much less and am thankful I did it. The kickstart to a healthier lifestyle did indeed happen.
My personal results are only interesting in so far as to realise how amazing the body is and how it adjusts to what it gets and what it needs. I lost the 3lbs alright, but not in body fat. That level didn’t move much. There are 2 reasons for this. First my body clearly went into survival mode – there’s a famine coming, do not let go of any fat. And secondly because it was so cold it naturally uses the fat to retain heat. If it’s cold it won’t let fat go easily either. It takes a bit longer and more for the body to finally relax and realise there’s no famine and to let go of the fat stores.
In fact now on day 7 while I haven’t done any measurements yet, I can see and feel something has shifted in that area, I’ve tightened the belt this morning more than yesterday. On that note, Fiona does main body measurements during the programme and discusses everything with you. Every person is different and everyone has a different outcome.
What’s the follow up? Now I’m on a 14 day Turbo Charge Your Life plan that includes one or two juices per day and a whole recipe book of yummie foods that are quick and easy to prepare. My son Raphael loves the new food himself and declared yesterday that I’m the “best mom chef ever”. He’s also getting much healthier lunch boxes for school and so we’re both well on our way to be true “health nuts” – said with all the love and care for all the health nuts, as we need to help show the rest of the world that it is possible and how.
Raphael and I visited Fiona’s juicing operation as I was hoping he’d be more interested in green juices if he made them himself – I was right, he loved it. Here’s a little video from the day.
Over to you – have you done one of these before? Could you imagine doing one? What stops you from doing a juice detox?