These were the days I was really dreading – how on earth are you supposed to survive, let alone go about your normal daily routine, on just a few juices and/or soups?? I’ve never done a liquid / juice detox before – apart from trying the cabbage soup diet (sort of detox?) once in my early twenties (a rather unpleasant experience for all concerned!). Some people swear by them, but they can play havoc with your blood sugar balance and gut, leaving you feeling totally exhausted, headachy, very faint and with a dodgy tummy, not to mention the lack of vital nutrients which if done long term can be very detrimental. So no wonder I was feeling rather nervous.
With the children safely ensconced in school for the day (having arrived back late last night), I made sure I had a quiet day at home – nothing too strenuous, just reading some articles and case notes. Started off with the first of my three UltraClear shakes and a spinach, carrot, apple and raspberry smoothie with a handful of seeds added for some extra protein and oils. It was actually really quite filling and I nearly forgot to have my mid-morning UltraClear shake. However the Beetroot and butternut squash soup I had for lunch left me feeling pretty shaky and hungry even after my mid-afternoon shake, so gave myself another bowl of soup which tied me over until my supper of 2 bowls of hearty puy lentil and broccoli soup. Went to bed feeling tired but happy that I had managed to survive the first day of liquids in one piece. Made a mental note to make sure my soups contained some sort of protein, such as lentils and beans, and starchy vegetables to help keep my blood sugar levels balanced and avoid the sugar rush headaches and shakes, and mid-afternoon energy dips.
Why liquids only?
The reasoning behind the liquid only days is to provide the body with food and nutrition in its most easily digestible and absorbable form. Thereby giving the digestive system a well-deserved break and reducing the energy and nutrient load required for digestive processes (normally about 10% of our total energy requirements). These liquids can be either juices, smoothies and soups – take your pick, preferably homemade with a wide variety of organic fruit and vegetables, beans and legumes. Plus you can have as much as you like – really no need to go hungry. Also, in order to ensure that optimum nutrient requirements are met, the UltraClear shakes (more about these and the other supplements in a future post) are increased to three a day.
I don’t do much juicing, mainly due to the reasons mentioned above (juicing leaves behind all the pulp and fibre behind, which is extremely important for health as much as the phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, and the not so healthy high levels of fructose (fruit sugar), that is extracted in the juice. Not to mention that most juicers tend to be a right pain to clean.
Instead I make smoothies using the magnificient NutriBullet. If you are thinking of getting a juicer / smoothie maker / blender, I would thoroughly recommend one of these little beauties. It has a small but very powerful motor which blends fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds (including the all-important fibre and skins) to a smooth smoothie in seconds. Plus it is very quick and easy to clean (only two parts – the blade and cup which is also BPA free), and comes with a great recipe book full of delicious nutritious smoothie recipes. It can be bought on www.amazon.co.uk which also has hundreds of 5 star reviews for the machine (just in case you don’t take my word for it). My family and I love it, and along with my bread maker, gets used on a regular basis – perfect for a quick breakfast as you are dashing out the door for work or school drop off (handful of washed spinach, frozen berries, cored apple and some nuts and seeds = perfect, well balanced start to the day!). Plus brilliant for packing in all those fruit and vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables – you hardly know that they are there!), particularly for children and greenvegaphobics. Another great smoothie maker / blender is the Vitamix – the real crème de la crème of blenders, however it does come with a hefty price tag. For those juicing fans out there – please let me know which juicer is your favourite and I can add it here.