You might’ve heard about it, you might know someone who’s experimented themselves. I have been reading about the benefits of juice cleansing for a long time. It immediately appealed to me because it brought to my attention how many built up toxins would be in my system from my former years of bad eating habits and partying. The more I read the more I realised that this stuff gets trapped inside of us and unless we intentionally cleanse it’s in there forever, wreaking havoc on our state of health.
When we consume food a large proportion of our body’s energy is used digesting the food. Especially when we eat food that is particularly hard on our digestive system. By continually feeding we are keeping the body busy and there is no energy left over to detox the system. In the West we typically eat a lot more than we really need to, so our bodies are very busy bees indeed! We do an unintentional detox every night when we’re asleep, but to really clean out you have to commit to longer than that.
There are many different forms of fasting and I’m sure you’ve heard of one of them due to their increasing popularity. Intermittent fasting is another method I’ve experimented with, which is where you only eat during a specific window of the day (for example only between 2pm and 8pm). Then there are longer fasts; anywhere from a day to upwards of 30 days. Extended fasts can be with juice or simply water. I can only speak for juice fasting at this stage, but maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to experiment with water fasting.
I’m currently living in Ubud, Bali doing a whole lot of nothing. It’s been the perfect time for me to finally perform an extended juice fast! Bali, Ubud especially, is an ideal place to perform a fast because you have everything you need and for a fraction of the cost of home (Australia). The island itself is renowned for it’s healing and restorative abilities, which adds another layer of goodness.
So, you ask, what do you need to perform a juice fast? I have to emphasise that there are so many different ways of cleansing and fasting, and each of them can differ greatly. So I’ll outline the method I used, but please do your own research and find a method that really resonates for you. You will need:
Daily juice supply
You really want your juices to be made from organic fruits/veggies because otherwise you’re ingesting pesticides and other chemicals, which is what we’re trying to get rid of! Plus, juicing means higher concentrates of whatever happens to be in the fruit or vegetable.
I consumed three x 600mL bottles of juice daily. You can have more or less depending on how you feel, but I felt that this was a good amount for me. I bought my juices daily from the two places in Ubud that sell cold-pressed, organic juice (that I’m aware of): The Yoga Barn and Abe-Do Organic Warung (pure yumminess). If you want to shed some excess baggage (no comment), ensure the majority of your juices are vegetable (green) juices and keep fruit for the morning only.
You can make your own juice, and don’t be put off if you don’t have a fancy cold-pressed juicer. Just get started using a blender and a cloth or a nut milk bag. If you fall in love with juice cleansing, like I did, you can upgrade down the road.
Again, please use organic. I went with rosehip and peppermint. Herbal teas are great because herbs have all kinds of medicinal benefits for the body. Your local health food store should have a wide range of herbal teas. Do a little research and discover some of the benefits of different types of teas. I know there are herbs that are especially good for detoxing and cleansing so see what you find!
If you’re anything like me, this might freak you out a little bit. I’ll start out by saying that performing an enema is really only necessary if you’re fasting for more than three to five days. The reason that it’s important is because when you go into a fasted state your body is able to begin its detoxification process.
Toxins are expelled in a variety of ways (sweat, skin shedding, oil glands on head, through the tongue – hello morning breath), but the biggest elimination is through the colon. When you’re not eating anything your digestion essentially “turns off” and so there is no urge or desire to go number two. Not only are toxins from the body being deposited into the colon, but there is also all the build up from the years of abuse our digestive system has endured. We need to get this toxic waste out, and that’s where the enema comes in.
I performed a daily enema upon waking each morning. I would brew a cup of chamomile tea, let this cool, and then add more filtered water to it until it filled my enema bag. You want the water to be as close to body temperature as possible. Chamomile is extremely medicinal and has a host of uses for different ailments, and can be used in an enema for these reasons. You can do a plain (filtered) water enema, or even a coffee enema but I’ve yet to experiment with these.
Once you’ve filled your colon with as much water is comfortable, try hold it in there for 5-10 minutes so that it can dissolve the harder build up. Starting from lying on your back turn to lie on your right side for a couple of minutes, then onto your belly, then your left side, and back onto your back. This will help to get the water right up and around the colon.
There is a lot of information out there on how to perform an enema so I won’t go into further detail, but don’t be scared! I was admittedly nervous to perform my first enema, but once you’ve done it the first time you realise it’s actually kind of pleasant and strangely satisfying. After two weeks of no food I was very impressed with what I was still eliminating. Maybe I’m just weird.
Dry body brush
After performing my daily enema I would always follow with a 5-10 minute session of dry body brushing. Dry body brushing intends to stimulate your lymphatic system, which helps your body to eliminate toxins and cleanse itself. The skin is the largest organ in the human body and we want to keep it healthy!
Begin by brushing in long strokes towards the heart starting from the feet, as this is the direction of the lymphatic system. This encourages built up toxins held in the skin to travel along the lymphatic system and be expelled. A symptom of toxic waste being stored in the skin is cellulite, so this is great to help reduce the appearance of this (along with a low toxin diet and lifestyle of course).
Make sure you use a brush with natural bristles and always perform the brushing on dry skin (before showering). After the brushing hop straight into the shower as there will be a lot of dead skin sitting on the surface of the skin that you want to wash away. To improve circulation and lymphatic drainage even more, alternate between having the shower as hot as you can bear it and then fully cold a few times.
I think it’s best to plan to do a juice fast when you’re not obligated to work or do much rushing around. I know in this fast paced world we live in a lot of us aren’t granted that luxury. My energy levels throughout the fast remained surprisingly high however. I attended a yoga class each morning and went for short walks in the afternoon – it’s important to keep moving around because this stimulates the lymphatic system so more toxins can be expelled.
I believe I could quite easily do a seven-day juice fast whilst working at an office job, where I’m seated for most of the day. It might be more difficult if your job is more active. It’s nice to rest when your energy isn’t so high and it’s really important to listen to your body throughout and give it what it needs. If you feel like you’ve had enough and you need to break the fast then please do so, just be sure to break your fast properly with wholesome, raw meals (further information in links below).
After completing my 14 day juice fast I am feeling incredible. My skin is clear and glowing, my eyes are bright, I’ve lost those pesky kilos I gained over Christmas time, but most notably my state of mind is the best it’s been in years. My meditations went much deeper than usual and I felt a lot more open in yoga. I also managed to read almost three books, which have opened my mind to more possibility in life. My being feels light and positive, and I really feel like I’ve hit the reset button on all aspects of my life. There’s no doubt in my mind that fasting will become a part of my regular health regime.
Check these out and you’ll be on the juicing bandwagon in no time.
- The Gerson Therapy by Charlotte Gerson
How to Keep Slim, Healthy and Young With Juice Fasting by Paavo Airola
- The Ultimate Juice Fast Guide and Advance Detox Protocol
- 10 Tips for Before, During & After a Juice Cleanse
- The Important Part of Fasting and How to Break It
- Body brushing – the essential guide