Sometimes we all get to that point where our bliss begins to feel covered up by the day-to-day dust that accumulates on us—internally and externally.
When we get to that point, it’s time to shake the dust. This week, we are doing a five day cleanse to shake things up a bit and let go of whatever isn’t serving us.
Oh, juice cleansing…depending on who you’re reading, it’s either a magical cure-all or unnecessary quackery.
The truth is, it’s neither of those things.
Our bodies are designed to be self-cleaning and “detoxing” to a certain extent. Our livers, kidneys and lungs do much of that for us naturally. The “to a certain extent” part comes in because we do live in a world that is always creating new and exciting chemicals and we often make choices that slow down our bodies’ natural cleaning habits.
Lately, I’ve noticed a few things that tell me my own cleaning is in need of shaking up. My sleep hasn’t been stellar. My skin is looking a little blah. I’m also in the midst of cleaning out my actual home to move to a new one.
In other words, it’s a perfect time for a little internal cleansing as well.
What juice cleansing isn’t:
Juice cleansing isn’t a diet or weight loss plan. You might have a little shift in your weight on a juice cleanse, but juicing for all of your nutrition long term is not sustainable or a healthy way to nourish yourself.
Juice cleansing isn’t a cure-all that will get rid of everything that ails you, make you look like Gwyneth Paltrow, make you a better person, help you figure out what to do with your life, help you fall in love, change your life and cause world peace. Or maybe it will do some of that…but if you are truly in a health crisis, juicing should only be one tiny piece of a bigger plan with your health care provider.
What juice cleansing is:
Juice cleansing is a great way to let go of things that aren’t serving you anymore. When we take a break from our current habits, we notice what’s working and what isn’t—internally and externally.
Juice cleansing is a way to get more plant based nutrients into our diets in a short amount of time in an easily digested way.
Juice cleansing is a simple way to experience pratyahara in everyday life. We get so wrapped up in our habits and overstimulating ourselves. Simplifying things with a juice cleanse or other type of cleanse is a way to step back from all that. We can allow our minds to still and take a break from the constant ups and downs and labeling everything.
It’s helpful to pair this time of simplifying nutritionally with breaks from other excessive stimulation as well.
A strict juice cleanse isn’t for everyone!
Culturally, there’s been this trend toward defining ourselves by what we omit rather than what we include in our lives. Including more plants in our diets is a good thing—I think we’d be hard pressed to find anyone who disagreed with that. How exclusively we stick with just juicing vegetables and fruits, which ones we include and for how long, is a very different story.
People who are overly thin, easily depleted, or have a tendency towards a more Vata constitution may not do well with a strict juice cleanse. The leafy greens and fruits that are a big focus of most juice cleanses increase our yin energies; they are expansive, relaxing, cooling and cleansing.
If you find that a focus on these things is not a good fit for you, adding more root vegetables may help balance things, as will the addition of a small bowl of miso at some point in the day.
If I have been overly yin, feeling scattered or ungrounded, I love to add a bowl of miso at dinner time to help add a little more yang and feel more settled. (South River Miso Company makes a wonderful fermented miso paste you can keep in the fridge—a little of that simmered in some water is a perfect end of the day tonic to yang-ify a little if we get too spacey.)
First: I like to start off the day with room temperature water and lemon juice. The easiest way I’ve found is to get it ready the night before and set it next to my bed.
Green juice: I’m shooting for at least a quart of green juice per day. A variety of leafy greens blended with cucumber, celery, green apple and lemon are my staple for the week.
Beet+ juice: Beets are a great liver cleanser and blood building tonic. I love to juice beets and a few kind of berries together, or blend them together as a smoothie. I love this as a mid-afternoon or “lunch” juice.
A heftier smoothie post-yoga: Smoothies are a great way to pack in the superfoods. I like to make one with avocado, So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk, Amazing Grass and whatever other add-ins strike my mood (maca, chia seeds, berries, etc.).
Tea/Miso as needed: The point of a cleanse isn’t to ignore what our bodies are telling us. Sometimes cleansing is too much too fast, especially if it’s chilly outside or we have a physically taxing day. While adding lots of caffeine during a cleanse is counterproductive, tea is a wonderful addition to help move digestion along and add additional health benefits. Genmaicha (roasted rice & green tea) is a favorite staple of mine. A very simple miso broth is a good addition on days where you feel cold or too scattered during the cleanse.
Similarly to Kate, I am in need of a full body, spirit and soul shakedown.
This winter was a particularly long (and dark) one for me—I came up against myself again and again, and I worked hard to start breaking down the patterns and traits that have been leading the show up until now.
Locked into an intense six-month coaching program, each moment offered me a chance to plunge into the sludge and walk my talk—or walk away and pretend it didn’t exist.
I chose the sludge and everything had to fall apart for me to see how to sweetly, truthfully, courageously and lovingly weave it together once again.
And now, the days are getting warming, my heart feels inspired—and I finally get it: I am the author of my story and I have the power to design my life. My dreams, my heart—everything is possible, if I make it so.
This week originally included a trip to Boulder to meet les elephants, face-to-face, heart-to-heart.
(Tiny tribe that we are, we’re scattered all over the globe, and getting together in person, to rub trunks and inspire and laugh and learn and brainstorm, seemed like the perfect way to ground the heart of elephant journal. And, I was really looking forward to meeting Redford Lewis.)
Unfortunately, as it happens with life, plans changed, and our elephant trip was cancelled.
What’s a gal to do? My schedule was clear, my classes subbed out for those fews days and so, in a lightening bolt moment, I saw it clearly: I would turn this week into my own at-home-mini-retreat-juice-home-brain-heart-cleanse.
I’ll follow Kate’s plan above—and I’ve equipped myself with a couple of books for inspiration: Meghan Telpner’s UnDiet: Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health and Victoria Boutenko’s Green Smoothie Revolution: The Radical Leap Towards Natural Health.
Most importantly, I’ll listen to my body and the wisdom that my heart holds; I set an intention (clear my heart, body, mind and spirit) for the week, as well as some ground rules, to keep this week sacred.
(Rules include: meditate and practice yoga at home every day, no social engagements or conversations or texting, limited social media and computer time, read an article in The New Yorker every day, take Winston for a walk to the lake each morning and spend as much time in quiet as possible.)
It’s not just my body that I’ll be cleansing—I’m also using this time to go through each closet, drawer, cupboard and nook and cranny in the house; I’ll dust the bunnies away and purge all of the things that I don’t need anymore (like those oh-so-stylish jeans that make me feel like a veggie sausage).
Once my home has been cleared, I’ll move onto my mind by doing some writing purges—basically, I’ll sit with my intent and just let the words flow out without reading or backtracking or correcting or editing.
Apologies, doubts, a letter to my mother—the stuff that accumulates in my heart and mind of things I wished I’d said or done differently in my life—when we hold onto this junk, whatever it is, it takes up space and for me, anyway, becomes a block to my imagination.
So, my home will be clear, my mind will be clear and my body will be clearing itself—and then, it’s time to let my heart shine.
Kate and I will write each day about how our cleanse is going—you can also follow the moment-by-moment details of our adventures on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter with #kandbjuicecleanse.
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