I’ve now completed my very first ‘5 day juice detox’ as part of the World’s Biggest Juice Detox event, and as you can see from the above pictures, they looked and tasted gorgeous! As I mentioned in my post last week when I set out on this venture, my ethos is to favour the long-term, sustainable and healthy lifestyle choice of eating clean for most of the time, aside from the occasional treat. ‘Diet’ is not a word I typically associate with nor do I cut out entire food groups; the last 5 days, in my book, have been extreme, but in the name of investigation I have guineapigged myself, as detoxing is such a controversial topic that evokes equal passion from its devotees and critics alike. Views vary from beneficial and essential, to dangerous and pointless…. Below are my 10 observations from the week, along with the thoughts of a qualified doctor and nutritionist. Enjoy! Faya x
The reason I’ve never attempted any type of detox is simply because I felt that if you live a healthy lifestyle all year round – eating well and working out, then surely that is the best long term chance you can give your body to stay in its healthiest operating condition. I don’t believe in a ‘quick fix’; my experience is that real change takes time and dedication, and brings lasting results. It’s a controversial subject and since opininions vary so drastically I felt I wanted to ask someone who knows far more than me on the topic – Dr. Michelle Storfer, nutritionist and founder of The Food Effect to give her insight on the matter;
It gives your system a direct dose of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, plant-based protein and fibre without the body having to work hard at breaking it down. Convenient and tasty, good juicing can boost energy and immune levels whilst leaving the skin glowing. But I’d be wary of replacing all meals with fluids, as part of the weight loss is merely the initial water-weight you lose during the first few days of the ‘cleanse’, and much of the shed weight will just be put back on when you return to solids. It also creates the potential problem (depending on the ingredients) of blood sugar spikes as there’s no fibre to slow down the intake process. A mixtures of apple, spinach, cucumber, carrot, pear, kale and berries will be low-GI and full of goodness, and should be sipped to complement a well balanced diet!
(For more from Michelle, she’s on Twitter and Facebook)
MY 10 OBSERVATIONS:
Below is a short summary of my overall experiences, how it affected me, and what I’ll take from it.
1) SOCIAL IMPACT: Unless you want to bring a bottle of juice to a restaurant, and perhaps ask the waiter for an extra large glass (not happening), socialising over food, and dining out are out of the question. The detox tends to go hand in hand with becoming a temporary recluse!
2) SKIN: I noticed a genuine difference in my skin after just a few days – it felt smoother, looked clearer and was less dry. By the 5th day, the effects were even more pronounced, such that some friends even remarked upon it, where they usually would not.
3) CAFFEINE: I stick to one or (at the most) two coffees/day – doing the detox highlighted to me that I crave caffeine far more than I was aware. It has led to the positive resolution to cut-down to one a day!
4) SUGAR: I didn’t crave anything sweet – the fruit juices had plenty and then some. This is not a low-sugar diet by any means and does introduce large amounts of relatively simple sugars into the body in short spaces of time. The plus side is that it’s very hydrating at the same time.
5) LIGHT-HEADEDNESS: Yes, it came and went throughout the day. Manageable bouts of woosiness, but not crippling.
6) CRAVINGS: I wanted peanut butter and olive oil (weird combo, I know) more than anything in the world, (bizarre as I normally never have peanut butter). I can only presume that my body was demanding some [healthy] fats from me. Also, at times, I quite wanted solids, obviously!
7) WORKOUT IMPACT: I felt as though I didn’t achieve as much as I normally do; my intensity wasn’t anywhere near as high and I struggled with the weight / endurance. Afterwards I was famished and all I had to refuel my body was a glass of juice which didn’t feel satisfying enough to have replaced the expended energy.
8) SWIMMING FOR SPORTS RELIEF: I saw my swimming coach and she refused to train me unless I had a bit to eat! And so, guilty admission, I did; A small bowl of brown rice and tuna! I’m sorry, I broke the rules but I had to prioritise my 1 hour swimming lesson for sports Relief with my coach Charlie. I did find that digesting the solid food after 4 days of liquids was a bit of a challenge for my body, and had some mild abdominal pain, but me & my stomach came to an agreement and we made it in the end.
9) RECIPE DIVERSTY: I discovered some delicious recipes which I will definitely be using again, and some great ideas for a healthy-themed cocktail party with friends (just add a splash of Vodka!).
10) HEADACHES: Yes, every evening like clockwork. However, bed is a fabulous natural antidote to this, and the extra sleep I managed to steal also works wonders for that excellent rejuvenated & detoxed feeling.
So there it is, a very short summary of my week. Detoxing isn’t my cup of juice and it’s unlikely that I’ll be doing it again. I do however love the idea obtaining minerals and vitamins organically, fresh from the source, rather than popping a multi-vitamin pill. Nature seems the best form of medicine. and eating well can restore and work wonders for the body. I will continue having one juice a day alongside a balanced healthy way of eating. I do plan to use fruits with less sugar, and include more vegetable-based recipes to make sure the glycemic index and load isn’t counterproductively high. As Dr Michelle Storfer suggested ‘one a day alongside a balanced, healthy diet is the ideal way’. Enjoy the pics below and feel free to let me know your experiences too!