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That’s not quite accurate. Diary of a mostly raw fruit and vegetable cleanse. Much better, right?! 7 days of fruits and vegetables, piece of cake!

photo by Suat Eman

Cleanses seem to be a big topic these days. You see people with their Organic Avenue or BluePrintCleanse juice bottles everywhere you turn. Some people are aggressively, and I mean aggressively, against them, some people swear by them, some people try them out of curiosity (especially lately with all the attention they are getting) and some to lose weight. Personally, I wouldn’t say you need to do them regularly to be healthy but I do think they can be a great addition to a healthy diet. And while the pre-packaged juices are convenient (I like Organic Avenue best), you can pretty easily make your own at home.

Ideally, you would get all the right nutrients in the right ratios and whatnot. Certain vegetables in unique combinations to get a variety of vitamins and minerals and some nut milk to add fat, etc. Really when you are embarking on a three- or five-day cleanse, you don’t need to be that worried. As long as you follow a healthy diet overall, you will get the nutrients you need. The cleanse is supposed to give your digestive system a rest so your body can devote its energy to repairing the rest of your body. If you don’t get the right amount of Omega 3’s for this short period, it’s not going to harm you. (Of course, if you are currently underweight or have a known health concern you should consult your doctor or refrain from doing a juice cleanse.)

My Best Friend

There are plenty of ways to go about cleansing, it doesn’t have to be juice-only. You could just eliminate certain things from your diet, like common allergens or all white forms of sugar for example. Or you could eat only raw vegetables until dinner and then eat a healthy, balanced cooked meal. There are tons of options! I am not going to get into the specifics of how and why to cleanse here – it would need to be a series of entries! But let me just say I think it can be very beneficial if done right.

After seeing Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, my husband agreed to do a cleanse. It’s an inspiring movie, I recommend it if you haven’t yet. Of course, without hesitation, I jumped on top of his willingness! Seeing him not eat pizza or burgers or heavy foods for an entire 7 days? Sign me up! In the movie, Joe Cross lives on nothing other than smoothies for 60 days. That’s way too extreme for us – let’s just say Joe had a lot more ‘stored energy’ than we do. But to keep things simple and free of lots of complicated rules, we stuck to the raw fruit- and vegetable-only idea. It’s not the most balanced but it’s easy and gives our digestive systems a nice break. Juices, smoothies and good ol’ chopped up raw produce. Our friend Kathy just recently found out she has cancer so we decided to do the cleanse in her honor. If she can fight that beast and keep up her amazing positive attitude, the least we can do is a quick cleanse!

Today begins Day 5 already, I can’t believe it! The first couple days I was a bit tired and had a slight headache, not to mention a rumbly stomach. My husband, who was missing coffee and tends to eat a much heavier diet than I do on a regular basis, was suffering a little more. By the end of Day 3 we were so sick of raw produce. It was 7, 7:30, and then 8 pm and we were still sitting around saying we were hungry but couldn’t get motivated to eat any more vegetables. There was no way we were going to make it through 4 more days. We almost threw in the towel. Veggie sushi rolls across the street at Whole Foods was calling my name.

Out of desperation, at the last minute we decided we would add in some cooked vegetables and WOW I can’t tell you how good they tasted to us! Steamed vegetables with a bit of garlic and thyme? I would never have found this so exciting in the past. Not a trace of oil or salt? Boring! Our taste buds seem to be re-adjusted, which is reason enough on its own to do a cleanse in my opinion. When you eat foods with extra salt and sugar your taste buds start to need these things to find foods satisfying – but salt and sugar make you want more salt and sugar. Without them, we are finding so much pleasure in the natural taste of foods and able to stop eating when our bodies tell us they are full. There’s no getting confused by our heads telling us they want more even though our bellies are busting.

I’m totally rejuvenated and thrilled to be eating this way – not feeling trapped or limited at all! Day 4 I had tons of energy and continue to feel that way this morning. Tons! No help from caffeine or sugar or any other stimulant. Mr. Honey B is feeling great too!

It will be nice to add some fat soon, as my face is getting very dry. This way of eating is way too restrictive and missing in nutrients to continue for much longer, but it’s great for now. My digestion is loving it! Husband is almost giddy with his success in this department too – who knew I would be getting such details!? For two people who tend to have issues (and differing ones, at that) with this when not eating carefully, this is quite an achievement!

Come back in a couple of days to hear how the rest of the cleanse went! I’ll also talk about food combining, colonics and how to end a cleanse and re-introduce foods back into your diet.

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Need a Boost?

Are your energy reserves running on empty? You would not be alone! Lack of energy is way too common these days. Especially with the hectic pace we try to keep up in today’s world. There just aren’t enough hours in the day anymore, are there? I know, I hear myself say it ALL. THE. TIME.

Are you getting enough sleep? That, of course, is central to just about everything the body needs to do. You have to have time to relax and repair yourself from the inside out. It’s not just about the quantity but also the quality. You need deep, uninterrupted Z’s. No waking up because you have to use the restroom, you should have finished your water intake well in advance of bedtime. And hopefully you finished eating with time to spare as well – your body has enough to do to fix you up, it doesn’t need to add digesting a mountain of food to this list. If you have problems getting the rest you need, let me know. The arsenal of tips to combat this are too many to list here.

Get moving! What, too tired to exercise? Maybe that’s because you don’t exercise! You may need to start slowly and ease your way in, but the best way to build up stores of energy is to build up your strength – that’s your muscles and your cardiovascular stamina as well.

Are you getting a variety of whole, organic foods?** Without variety you cannot get all the nutrients your body needs. And even then, given that the quality of foods available to us isn’t always top notch, you still may need a supplement. Are you getting enough iron? Vitamin B? Antioxidants? (Tip: eat a rainbow of bright-colored fruits and veggies!) Are you eating enough, period? You need a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates and fat (the good kinds, that is) to fuel your daily routine.

On that note, are you eating a lot of sugar? Processed food, i.e. high fructose corn sugar? Drinking diet or regular soda? Too much alcohol? Coffee? Off-kilter hormones are another common culprit for low energy. You know how it goes… you eat some candy and you get some energy and then next thing you know, you have less than you started with! Caffeine has a similar effect. And the more you get, the more you need to get the same effect, until before you know it you can’t even get that quick burst of energy anymore.

Life is frenzied so make sure you have an outlet for stress. Did I mention that exercise is a good option?

If you feel you have an issue, consult your doctor. Lack of energy can be caused by any one of the reasons I mentioned. It can also be symptomatic of something more serious – anemia, thyroid issues, depression, etc.

**P.S. it’s not enough to just eat all the right foods, you have to absorb them properly. So make sure your digestive system is working properly so you get the benefits!

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