Claire’s Cleansing Advice
I’ve got a decade of cleansing under my belt but I still remember my first-ever juice cleanse as if it was yesterday.
I literally drank NOTHING but freshly juiced Carrot, Apple, Beetroot and Lemon for about give days straight. Sounds like torture to many I know…
I recall the first time was more of a mental exercise than a physical one. The mind chatter of “Am I hungry? Do I need food now? How is my energy? What am I feeling? When do I get to eat chocolate again?” IS exhausting. I also remember peeing out nothing except for slightly pink water for about two days.
Yip. You REALLY get to know yourself when you commit to a cleanse. I can’t remember what prompted it, I’m pretty sure it was our good expert and pilates trainer Susie who suggested it as she was trying it to. We still do that to each other (and why she’s on our panel of experts we turn to for advice at GFU). We are walking health experiments.
I remember feeling very light and amazing afterwards. Overall, it felt a worthwhile endeavour.
However, cleansing didn’t become a regular occurrence for me until I found myself living in Los Angeles a few years back. That city is obsessed with body business (sometimes too negatively), but mostly Californians make healthy living a priority. This place is the heart of holistic healthcare research, self-help, organic food, new exercise trends, supplements, power potions and all the rest.
That’s why it’s take some and leave some, right?
At Venice Beach, my home for two years, the wellness movement is as much a part of the landscape as the boardwalk is. That’s why I totally fell for the relentless springing up of Juice Bars. And I mean sexy, inviting, cool “can my house please look like this and can you all please be my new friends” joints.
These juice bars that offered healing tonics, shots, elixirs, potions, moon dust, magic in a bottle and gratitude platitudes aplenty were LITERALLY on every corner.
Self-indulgent and privileged, totally.
Delicious and impossible to ignore, absolutely!
Make you feel as good as they promised, hell yes, as soon as the pain in your wallet subsides.
That’s how I got into cleansing.
WHEN AND HOW CLAIRE CLEANSES…
I do three-day cleanses about twice a year. I usually cleanse around spring and autumn. This is an Ayurvedic approach - cleansing in the spring is all about throwing off the weight of winter and cleansing in the autumn is about acknowledging that we can get overly busy so it’s good to slow down and nurture the body.
I can just tell when my body has reached a place that feels especially acidic, inflammatory or has been under stress.
Cleansing like this became a way for my body to have a break, for my digestive system to do less work and to detox. But also to mentally reset my relationship with food.
You know when you’ve got to that point where you’re reaching for crappy food way too often, where you eat biscuits in the afternoon even though you “stopped doing that ages ago”. Or when salty fries seem to be a daily craving instead of a weekend treat? That’s my sign that I’ve gone off track, got lazy. My body is tired and craving bad fats and bad sugars just to keep the engine running. Cleansing for me has become a way to push the reset button.
Living in Venice what I learnt from my juice bar excursions is that most good places that sell cleanses offer a daily package. One, Three or Five Juices are the norm. You could generally buy a day’s worth of juice for something averaging $60USD a day for about six bottles.
It can seem like a lot, but when you check that all the ingredients are organic and the quality of what goes into them adds up, it makes sense. What’s important to remember is that you’re investing in your health.
CLAIRE’S TOP 10 CLEANSING TIPS
(Note to y’all this is derived from my personal experience only!)
I’ve been cleansing semi-regularly for over six years now. I’ve tried many juice combos and I often change it up each time. I’ve also found my own way to ease towards it gradually. That it’s less of a shock and more of a process that I’m in charge of and can actually enjoy. Some people are all or nothing. I get it. But you can take steps to make things a little easier in the lead up doing a cleanse. This is something I am a fan of!
Here’s 10 pieces of good advice, I’ve learnt from my own experiences:
- I HIGHLY recommend making sure your cleanse uses ORGANIC, COLD-PRESSED produce. Rather than looking for the cheapest option, choose the flavours you like best. If it doesn't say ORGANIC on the label then it probably isn't. And the key thing with a cleanse is that you are trying to give your body a rest from processing toxins, and unfortunately non-organic produce is often sprayed with chemicals for growing. So be picky on this. Check our Recommendations below.
- I decide on a week or time that I know is going to be easy-ish for me to focus on the cleanse. As in no major social events, no high stress work situations or particular food type temptations to combat. This is important! You will need lots of rest and sleep so make sure you can prioritise this. Otherwise you’re just making a tough thing even harder.
- Choose a cleanse you actually LIKE the sound of. If you screw your nose up at the idea of spinach, kale and cucumber juice, don’t do that one! There are actually loads of delicious flavour combos available. Pick the ones that excite you. Maybe don't do 6 bottles of the chocolate nut milk though..
- We don’t respond well to being told that we can’t have something right? SO rather than telling myself the mental story of “Now is the week when I’m not allowed to eat anything I like or have fun” I change the script. I aim for “Now is the week I’ve given myself to be kind to my body, do something good for it, make some different choices and its ONLY a week!” And I'll often make it a calm, inward looking kind of week. Maybe book a massage, do some writing/journalling, a bit of self-reflection. Its a nice, light clean time to take care of yourself.
- If I have decided to do a three-day juice cleanse, then I kind of work my way towards it for a few days beforehand. I start by cutting out the booze the weekend before, my liver generally needs the break anyway. Then I try not to eat any heavy proteins that require a bit more digestive effort. I’m a caffeine addict and comfortable with it, but I’ll stop the espresso the day before and I try and give myself a few days off coffee altogether. I don’t eat dairy anyway, but would stop that too if I did. The day before I’ll aim to eat super light - that’s salads and/or soups only, maybe a bit of quinoa if I feel like I need extra energy. That way when I wake up on day one of juices only, I’m not feeling nervous or scared that I’m gonna miss my eggs and my flat white
- The cool thing about using packaged cleanses is that the juices are generally tailored to the different times of the day you’re likely to have them. Of course you’re free to drink them how you and when you like. They might have a lemon one to kick you off right, green in the middle of day, orange and red juices in afternoon and a yummy nut milk for the evening one or even a salad (see LittleBird Organics below). Aim to do a cleanse when you are not menstruating. And if you get more hungry than usual, it can be good to add a salad or bowl of quinoa if you feel like you need it because it’s clean and easy for the body to process
- Listen to your body! Drink loads of water as it helps flush your system out. Herbal, caffeine-free teas are good to have on stand by for whenever you need a warm drink or boredom replacement!
- Reduce intense exercise during your cleanse. Instead opt for gentle movement, such as yoga, pilates or walking on the flat
- Make sure you are getting enough daily nutrients to support detoxification. This is especially important if you are doing a DIY cleanse and making your own juices. Our advice is to consult your naturopath or trusted healthcare professional before embarking on a DIY cleanse.
- THIS IS THE TOUGHEST - TRY not to go crazy and binge on all the things you 'missed' once your cleanse is over. That’s not the point! Be kind to your gut, your body and your mind for as long as you can. That’s when the real benefits kick in because you no longer crave the stuff that isn't good for you. Winning!!
For me cleansing like this is an interesting exercise in starting to listen to WHEN you actually get hungry. So much of our eating is done habitually, or circumstantially. For example, your lunch break might always be at a prescribed time. But it's remarkable how little you need to feel satisfied and full. Sure you might feel hungry again only a couple of hours later, but that’s ok as have another juice then. I like breaking my patterns and reminding myself of how to listen to my body’s real needs again.
RECOMMENDED CLEANSES IN AOTEAROA
LittleBirdOrganics - LittleBird Organics are one of our go-to choices for good cleanses in Auckland because we know they are sticklers for using organic ingredients. We love the fact that these come with tonics, hydration aids, juices, smoothies and an evening meal so you’ve got something substantial to snack on when you need it. Their cleanses come in one, three or five-day packs and you can choose between a green cleanse and the total wellness one. The cost ranges from $89 for one-day, $260 for two days or $430 for five days. Add an extra $5 and for the one-day cleanse, you can customise your meal plans. We love that you can return your bottles for a $1 credit at their Auckland cafe and they will re-use them.
Nomad Nutrition - Nomad Nutrition is based out of Mount Maunganui and crafted delicious, raw, cold-pressed juices with yummy names, such as Happy Heart and Immunity Rose. They champion organic ingredients that are sourced locally. Their juices are $8 each and you can buy a four-pack for $30 so to drink six juices will cost you about $46/day. Nomad Nutrition juice on a Friday and hand-deliver to anyone in the Tauranga/Papamoa/Mount Maunganui region. If you’re ordering online, you have to order by 5pm Wednesday and the juice is shipped Friday. A great option if you’re kicking back to cleanse over the weekend!
Greenroots Juicery - Greenroots Juicery is an online raw, cold-pressed, organic juicery that delivers around Aotearoa every Wednesday and Friday. They offer a selection of six cleansing packages tailored for your lifestyle for $99/day. Each package offers a daily selection of six cold-pressed juices, two organic super smoothies, nut mylk and two tonics. The only catch is if you live rurally as the courier has to be able to deliver overnight so if you do… phone a friend and get it to their place!
Good luck and let us know how your cleanse journey's go.
Yours in Good Health, Claire x