Cleansing to detox your diet and your body is a great way to reset the internal systems that may have gotten out of whack after indulging during the holidays. Nutritionist and Food Coach founder Dana James, C.N says, “Short-term juice cleanses are an ideal way to reset negative eating patterns – you know what they are: M&Ms at 3 p.m., cookies at 10 p.m. and falafel sandwiches after too much vino.” The benefits of cleansing include better digestion, better sleep, more energy and brighter eyes and clearer skin. One of the drawbacks of cleansing, however, can be the cost.
Cleanses are all the rage with health conscious celebrities. The Organic Avenue Love Cleanse boasts followers like Gwyneth Paltrow. Blueprint Cleanse says Sarah Jessica Parker is a customer. At $350 for five days worth of product (Organic Avenue) to the “lesser” priced Cooler Cleanse at $290 for five days – and a typical recommendation from most brands is to cleanse monthly – it’s an expensive proposition. The average retail price on a Blueprint Foundation Cleanse is $11 per bottle, which adds up quickly if you follow the suggested daily consumption.
You can re-create the benefits of high priced celebrity cleanses by following your own juice cleanse. When you are on a juice cleanse, it’s just juices and water – nothing else. You’re not thinking about what you are having for lunch or dinner which can be liberating for some people. Juice cleanses provide an enormous amount of phytonutrients and antioxidants, about the equivalent of 10 salads per day. Sometimes nut milks such as cashew and almond milk are added to increase the protein content of a cleanse. (Protein is needed to help the liver detoxify.) Coconut water to ward off a mid-afternoon sugar craving (it’s naturally sweet and is rich in potassium, an electrolyte that helps decrease bloating) is also recommended.
It’s easy to manage your own juice cleanse program at home, and for a fraction of the cost of celebrity cleanses. If you have a juicer (and if you don’t I highly recommend that you get one for your kitchen – they are fantastic!) and a few extra minutes a day, you can blend your own delicious juices to consume for a period of days while you cleanse. Another great way to supplement your juice intake is with coconut water (I like Vita Coco, which comes in a variety of flavors) and nut milks. Almond Breeze is a favorite nut milk in our house.
The really big investment for the consumer who wants to re-create a cleanse at home is time. Says James, “Cleaning the juicer can be a messy and tedious, but it’s a saving of hundreds of dollars.” James recommends organic produce when possible, washing all the fruits and vegetables at the same time. “If you are active, or can’t survive on just juices for three days (James doesn’t recommend longer than this), then you can still get the benefits of a juice cleanse by eating vegetables and lean protein at meals. Have a green vegetable juice or coconut water in the afternoon in place of your usual afternoon snack and enjoy an apple for dessert.”
James’ top pick vegetable combos for an at-home cleanse are:
- Kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, lime, mint and apple for sweetness
- Carrots, beets, lemon and ginger
- Fresh coconut water (says James: “read the labels and make sure it is not from concentrate – try Vita Coco or one of the organic brands)
- Almond milk sweetened with dates and cinnamon (make this is a blender; see the Food Coach website for recipes)
Visit www.foodcoachnyc.com for more information, or check out Amazon.com for some great books with recipe ideas for do-it-yourself cleansing. You’ll feel so good when you are done that you will have a whole new attitude toward healthy eating.