Like most people, my Christmas was pretty indulgent. It was so much fun spending time with family and friends and with that amazing social experience comes lots of delicious food and of course, booze. I’m not normally a teetotaller, in fact, I would have to say my main vice/weakness is fine wine & champagne. But these days I’m very very moderate in my consumption, usually limiting myself to a glass or two on the weekend and abstaining during the week. The festive period extended out from Christmas into the new year as we enjoyed a holiday in the south west with a group of friends. Even during festive periods, my eating is limited to grass fed protein, lots of veges and healthy fats but there was definitely more coffee and sugar than normal (these foods are not part of my daily life). I returned from the holiday somewhat refreshed but also feeling sluggish, heavy and noticing some changes in my digestion. I have a cleanse protocol that I supply my clients with however this is so similar to how I eat generally that I decided to kick off with a 3 day juice fast with my good friend Jen at Living Synergy. This was the second juice fast that I have done with Jen although this time I opted for a shorter one. My initial 5 day fast was challenging but I was left feeling lighter, clearer and cleaner.
So Why a Detox?
The human body has a sophisticated system for eliminating any unwanted toxins or waste from our bodies through our organs of detoxification. The major organs of detoxification are the digestive tract, kidneys, skin, lungs, liver, lymphatic and respiratory systems. All of these systems break down the relevant compounds into other forms that we can eliminate through either bowel movements, sweat or breath. Although our amazing bodies facilitate a detoxification process on a daily basis, we do a lot of things that put extra pressure on all of these systems, such as;
- Taking pharmaceutical medication
- Not getting enough sleep
- Putting chemicals on our skin (skin creams, soaps etc)
- Drinking alcohol
- Eating processed foods
- Breathing polluted air
- Over consuming supplements
Doing any kind of detox allows the body to more effectively remove all of these toxins from the system, through the various organs associated with detoxification. Having said that, given that the human body is working tirelessly to detoxify as many compounds as possible on a daily basis, one of the best things that you can do is eliminate these stressors/toxins as much as possible. Reducing the toxic load by improving nutrition, reducing medication and supplementation, sleeping more, limiting alcohol and using clean personal products will go a long way to allowing your organs of detox to be strong and robust which in turn will help you to feel better.
So Why a Juice Fast?
Having a relatively “clean” lifestyle, a juice fast enables me to step deeper into the cleansing process. Juice fasting starts with the digestive system, one of the most burdened systems in our body. Most people eat at least three times a day so our digestive systems are constantly working to assimilate the nutrients we provide them with. Fasting provides a well earned rest for these busy organs. In my experience as a health coach, most people have some inflammation in their upper digestive tract which is super sensitive to things like gluten, grains, dairy, coffee, alcohol and stress. Drinking a mostly green juice (fibre removed) instead of eating solid foods allows some of that inflammation to subside. Juice fasting is also a great way to check in for any food intolerances. Once you start eating again, you will receive more obvious feedback from your body about any foods that you may be sensitive to.
For me, the fast was really to allow my digestive system a well earned break and to expedite the detox process in my liver which I could feel was somewhat sluggish. Despite not having had coffee for some weeks and limiting alcohol and sugar, I still suffered with headaches and fatigue for the first two days. I ensured that I took the same supplements as last time to support my adrenals, liver and stomach and believe they facilitated the process well. The fast was particularly challenging as I spent quite a few meals in the company of people who were eating, however on day four I felt lighter, brighter and clearer than I had on day one. I am now no longer dependent on my morning green tea to give me that extra hit and feel a calmness that was not there before. I’m pleased to be back to eating solid foods but am paying attention to how different things feel in my body and making choices according. I feel I am helping my body to detoxify better.