10 November 2010
Just think how much time you spend cleaning and looking after your external body. Skin is thoroughly washed, scrubbed and moisturized, hair is shampooed and conditioned, teeth are brushed and flossed day and night, tired eyes might get a couple of slices of cucumber on them t0 soothe and add sparkle.
As a clean appearance is so vitally important to most of us, shouldn't it follow that we spend time ensuring that our internal bodies are also cleansed and rested on a regular basis? After all, it is the condition of our internal organs and bodily systems that dictates whether long life and good health will be ours. Good inner health also has the added advantage of reflecting itself externally in our skin, hair, nails and eyes. It's well worth cultivating.
Why we need to detox
The average modern lifestyle has its advantages, but it also has its down side too. Pollution (in the air, water and food that we eat), a poor diet, too much alcohol, smoking and stress can all contribute to a build-up of toxins in our bodies and a sluggish metabolism. Fatigue, blemishes, lacklustre hair, dull skin and eyes can all be signs that we need to eliminate toxins, rest and refresh our hard-working bodies. A regular juice detox plan can help cleanse the blood and tissues of toxins, while Providing essential nutrients for distribution around the body. Juices are particularly effective in cleansing the digestive system and the main organs of elimination: the liver, kidneys, digestive system, and colon.
Other methods such as body brushing, hot and cold showers, saunas, and salt rubs encourage elimination via the skin (the body's biggest organ of elimination) and the lymphatic system - a network of tiny vessels which transport waste and bacteria away from cells to be neutralized or disposed of. In addition to their cleansing powers, fresh juices provide an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, which can replenish and strengthen existing stocks of nutrients. Juices are also easy to digest and therefore restful on the stomach and intestines, for they contain plant enzymes which aid in their breakdown.
Another important detoxifying role played by juices is their strong alkalizing effect. Like all living things, we have a pH balance between acid and alkaline. We should be more alkaline than acid, but over-acidity occurs in many of us because we eat too much protein, and sweet, fatty and processed foods. This has been linked to a weakening of the immune system, fatigue, and the overgrowth of the parasitic yeast Candida albicans. Juices help to re-establish a correct pH ratio.
What a detox plan involves
There are two detox plans described in this chapter - the One Day Juice Plan takes just 24 hours and is a fast (ie no food, only liquids allowed). The One Week Vitality Plan covers seven days and includes plain, natural foods as well as juices. The section entitled 'Extra Ways to Pamper Yourself' includes a number of treatments you can enjoy to enhance the detoxification process, such as body-brushing, Turkish baths, and massage.
It is a good idea to start your detox plan at the weekend or on a day off. This gives you time to relax properly, sleep if you feel like it, and indulge in some of the professional therapies and home treatments suggested. If you decide to do the One Week Vitality Plan, you may have to buy and cook some foods that you wouldn't normally eat, but don't let that put you off - the results are well worth it. Remember that the plans are guidelines, which you can adapt to suit yourself. You may stick rigidly to the plan, or you may slip up with the odd bar of chocolate or slice of pizza, but don't give up - half a detox is better than none at all. The more you get used to the concept, the easier it will become to complete a plan.
What to expect
Many people find that a cleansing plan gives them more energy, and better-looking skin, hair, nails and eyes. During the One Day Juice Plan, you will undoubtedly feel hunger pangs which hopefully you can quell. You may also feel sleepy, even a little moody. If you usually drink a lot of tea and coffee, you may well develop a headache which indicates that your body is suffering withdrawal symptoms. During the longer One Week Vitality Plan, you may experience more changes. The most common ones are unexplained mood swings, and a blow-up of blemishes or catarrh, but these indicate that your bodY is eliminating efficiently. As in the 0ne DaY Juice Plan, you may feel tired, or develop headaches. All these symptoms should clear up two or three days into the Plan, but if they are causing persistent discomfort then return to your normal diet.
How to prepare
Before going on a juice detox plan, try to keep your diet as simple as possible, so that you prepare your body for the changes in store and avoid giving your digestive system a shock. Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables (raw, steamed, stir-fried), brown rice, wholewheat pasta, wholemeal bread, pulses and beans, and sprouting seeds and beans (alfalfa, mung). When breaking the plan, ease back into your normal diet gently, reintroducing foods which have been 'forbidden' only gradually. If you have been on a One Day Juice Plan, your stomach will have shrunk, so don't overburden it with large portions.
Things to avoid
During both detox plans avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, tea, coffee, dairy products, chocolate, sugar, meat, fish, spicy foods and wheat.
If you're really keen and enjoy detoxing, you could do a One Day Juice Plan every week, but no more frequently than this. Although a juice detox is beneficial, you need to eat a well-balanced diet to keep healthy. The One Week Vitality Plan can be done once a season, or twice a year, in the summer and the winter. It should not be viewed as a permanent diet as it is too restrictive and will not provide you with a balanced diet (even people losing weight need to eat sensibly).
Exercise while detoxing
Avoid intensive, competitive sports and exercise, and instead treat your body to gentle workouts such as swimming, walking and cycling. You can also practice more con-templative forms of exercise such as yoga, meditation and other relaxation techniques.
Juice plus points
Water is often used in detox diets, and has an important part to play in flushing out the body. But freshly made juices have several advantages over plain water. For a start, they are bursting with vitamins and minerals, and also provide energy through their simple sugars and complex carbohydrates.
Compared to pre-packed juices, fresh home-made juices contain many more nutrients. Manufacturing processes often destroy vitamins and minerals, and leave a product nutritionally depleted. Neither do fresh juices contain any extra additives such as sugar, flavourings, colourings or preservatives.
Fruit juices are stronger cleansers than vegetable juices. The strongest juices of all are made from citrus fruits, which contain high amounts of citric acid. Non-citrus fruits contain either tartaric or malic acid and have a more gentle effect. Vegetable juices are much milder in their action, and are excellent restorative drinks.
In the One Day Juice Plan, the emphasis is on fruit juices because they are stronger short-term cleansers, however, during the One Week Vitality Plan they are combined with vegetable juices for a more balanced effect. If you find that vegetable juices agree with you better, drink vegetable combinations during the One Day Juice Plan.
A word of warning
Children, the elderly, those with diabetes and candidiasis, and those recovering from illness should not follow a detox programme without professional supervision from a naturopath/general practitioner/dietary consultant. The detox plans are not weight-loss diets and should not be used as such.
How much juice?
In both the One Day Juice Plan and the One Week Vitality Plan, you should drink up to three 8fl oz/230ml servings of juice a day, some diluted. As you become more used to the potency and effects of fresh juice, you can increase the amount to six 8fl oz/230ml servings, but to start with put the emphasis on moderation.
Detox quantity guide
Here ore quantities of fruit and vegetables needed to make approximately 8fl oz/230ml of undiluted juice, using a juicer
Quantities of certain vegetables needed to make approximately 2fl oz/50ml of strong juice to be mixed with milder juices
Quantities of lemons and limes needed to make approximately 1 fl oz/25ml juice to add to other juices
Quantities of lemon and lime juice needed to make approximately 8fl oz/230ml of lemon or lime water
*Lime water is milder than lemon water and can be drunk more often as a result
The one day juice plan
This plan recommends the use of fruit juices only (with the exception of carrot juice, which is also an excellent liver tonifier) as they are such powerful cleansers. It is best to stick to just one type of juice throughout the day, in order to give your digestive system the least amount of work and maximum amount of rest.
You should aim to drink up to three 8fl oz/230ml servings of your chosen juice over the day, and dilute each serving with 4fl oz/115ml of water. This is because fresh juices (particularly fruit ones) are high in natural sugars, which drunk neat and without foods could make you feel a little dizzy. Drink two to three pints of other liquid during the day too.
Choose one juice from the following list and make sure you have enough of the raw material to last you all day. Remember that in winter, soft fruits are not easily available.
Shopping List (each entry is enough for one day's juice of that particular fruit/vegetable)