I have had 'healthy eating week' in mind for a while and thought it would be perfect to do at the start of winter, before I slump further into eating comforting favourites for three months straight.
I've done a juice cleanse before and had good results so decided to get back in touch with Urban Remedy Cleanses to see if they would like to guest post for me about the juices and about making healthier choices when eating out. I know this is a problem for many bloggers and people who are out and about at least a few nights a week on a constant basis. Although the canapes and champagne are usually exquisite, after a while, I just want to come home and eat a plate of steamed vegetables for a week. This was especially true when I travelled a lot for work and would be away for weeks at a time eating out. It takes it's toll.
Claire Obeid is a yoga teacher, creator of The Wellness Project, and resident health coach at Urban Remedy. Passionate about creating balance, in mind, body and spirit, Claire believes that true health is a holistic practice that looks at the entire picture, not just a piece of the pie. Born and bred in Sydney, Claire stays balanced with a regular yoga practice, coastal walks, reading, meditating and cooking up a storm. She gives G.G. readers a look at Cleansing, what to do before and after and gives some hints on how to make better choices when eating out.
"As the resident Health Coach for Urban Remedy – a nutritional juice cleansing program – I know my fair share about cleansing! The joys and the pains of going on a juice only cleanse for 3-days teaches you a lot about what your body really needs. It forces you to reassess what you’ve been feeding it and whether or not you are living in optimum health.
Cleansing, regularly, at least at the turn of the season, aids the body’s natural detoxing process. Cleansing helps to accelerate this natural process of neutralising or eliminating toxins from your body for optimum health.
Something like the Urban Remedy Cleanse – a short, juice/smoothie only program packed with a heap of veggies, fruit, nuts and superfoods - is particularly efficient and effective because it does two things at once:
• It floods the body with easily-assimilated nutrients, vitamins and minerals – energizing and stimulating your body's natural healing abilities.
• By giving your digestive system a rest, vital energy normally used to digest food is freed up, allowing that energy to become available for other uses, like cleansing and detoxifying. With all this “free time’, your body will begin to scour for dead cells, toxins, damaged tissues, fatty deposits, etc, all of which are then burned for fuel.
Cleansing is important. We are all guilty (at some point or other) of not eating as well as we could. Too much processed and fast foods because they’re convenient. Too much bad quality fat and sugar because we are bored, lonely, tired, overeating. Ultimately, we are giving our bodies everything it doesn’t need, and nothing it does! Not enough vital nutrients required to operate effectively and efficiently.
However, the thing with cleansing, it’s not just about the 3-5 days (or however long) you are detoxing, it’s the before and the after that matters too.
Before kicking off a cleanse it’s highly recommending you gradually reduce or eliminate the following:
- Processed foods
- Sugar (especially refined sugar)
- Red meat
- White stuff (white bread, pasta and rice)
- Caffeine and other stimulants (including cigarettes)
If you're a coffee drinker, it’s also a good idea to ease off it unless you want to run the risk of headaches by going cold turkey. One of the biggest detox symptoms we hear from our clients is caffeine withdrawal headaches. Do yourself a favour and cut back beforehand.
Increase your fruit and veg intake to help make up for the cut-backs. I know, veggies don’t taste like a croissant, but still, much better for you.
As well as all of that (not too hard really), drink loads of water (sip slowly so it doesn't go straight through you). The more you can prepare and flush your system beforehand, the better your result will be.
No brainer right? And of course, after the cleanse, it’s best to avoid the same. But it’s after the cleanse that people get stuck. They want to reward themselves and that generally happens to be with food. I can’t tell how many times a client has finished a cleanse and hit their favourite restaurant only to
be struck down with a food hangover the next day.
If you ever decide to cleanse and you think you might weaken at the knees by the time you’ve finished, take a look at this little list. A easy cheat-sheet if you do head out to eat. Or even if you aren’t cleansing, this is a great guide to help you make better choices with food.
1) Plan where you are going first – choose something on the healthy side beforehand to prevent making a rash decision because one makes a good decision when they are hungry;
2) Eat slowly and reduce your portion sizes – after cleansing you won’t need as much food, so listen to your body and be kind;
3) Skip alcohol, sugary and soft drinks. Water (or herbal tea) is your friend;
4) Go green – choose something lots of green, purifying veggies;
5) Ask for the dressing/sauce on the side, not on your meal;
6) Avoid anything deep fried, battered, brumbed and creamy!;
7) Choose cleaner options like grilled fish, lean meat, steamed veggies, baked chicken;
8) Skip the bread – that includes pizza!;
9) Processed meat like salami, is not good for you even when you haven’t been cleansing;
10) Unless you have a really strong stomach overly spiced dishes can irritate your stomach so avoid spicy Indian and Thai if you can;
11)Ask for brown rice instead of white – if they don’t have it, skip it!;
12)Have fruit instead of dessert, or at least just have a taste of your friend’s if you can’t resist!"
Many thanks Claire!
The whole cleanse process is extremely streamlined and U.R. makes it just SO easy to do. You pick your level, choose how many days you want to cleanse for and it gets sent to you packed up in cute cooler bags with an ice pack, in lots of 6, with the juices clearly marked. Last time I cleansed I received emails from UR giving little encouragements and hints each day which were great. I didn't get the emails this time, so didn't know if this was because I was trialling it for U.R. or because I was a second time cleanser. Either way it didn't really bother me because I knew if I got into any dramas I could just email and ask.
There are heaps of useful posts on their blog which give additional hints and list things like expected withdrawal symptoms. I chose the level 1 cleanse for 3 days and strangely enough, didn't suffer many of the side effects at all. I thought it was actually pretty easy and the juices are much more delicious than last time (the dreaded beetroot juice still lingers in my mind). I don't usually have any caffeine, so I'm sure that if you are a hardcore caffeine addict, you may get headaches etc. I also usually pee a lot, so didn't notice much difference there, although I know other cleansers have noted that they are continually on the loo.
I actually really liked the soups and didn't feel hungry at all except when I started reading Gourmet Traveller and had to put it down. I had two extra permitted coconut waters, and then I was fine. The one side effect I did suffer was the 'cranky pants syndrome'. I seriously was the most irritable girl for the last two days of the cleanse. Heavens above- I'm glad I didn't have to talk to me on those days because to say I was 'on edge' was an understatement. Toxins leaving my body? I surely hope so!!
Level 1 = 2 juices + 2 smoothies + 2 soups
- Energising smoothie
- Metabolism booster
- Repairing soup
- Fat buster
- Purifying soup
- Calming smoothie
Juice 1: Mixed berries, mango, banana, acai, chia.
Hint of Banana, not overwhelmingly so which is a relief because I'm not a fan of banana in juice. Thicker smoothie style juice, quite pleasant seeds that you chew, so makes the juice feel a bit more substantial.
Takes me 1/2 an hour to drink the juices, with the exception of the pineapple and mint and lemon water which are 3 minute job only because they are so delish.
Juice 2: Lemon, cayenne, agave and water.
Super fresh, a bit bitey but really easy to drink- goes does almost immediately. I drank mine cold, but you can have it hot or cold and warming it would be a nice touch if it's a particularly nippy day. Obviously this juice doesn't provide much sustenance but is nice all the same.
Juice 3: Red lentils, carrot, celery, tomato, garlic, onion, veggie stock, rosemary, thyme.
I like the addition of soups, this one is particularly nice. Easy to eat and I would be happy to have this even when not cleansing. Garlicky, very orange and the carrot, lentils and tomato work well as a team. I even like the little pieces of rosemary floating around. It's also warming to have on a cold day.
Juice 4: Pineapple, apple and mint.
A classic juice which is easy to drink, refreshing and moreish. I actually order apple pineapple and mint if I'm getting a juice, sometimes with ginger. I'm definitely a fruit loving juice person rather than a veggie juice girl.
Juice 5: Asparagus, leek, broccoli, peas, raw cashews, olive oil, cumin.
This soup was totally green. The asparagus and cashews are my favourite flavours, but all work in harmony to produce some seriously greeny goodness. The soup is a good dinner time soup, so I left it until 6ish to eat and felt that it satisfied me completely.
Juice 6: Coconut milk, raw cashews, raw cacao, agave.
'The dessert juice'. I actually love this juice but I think it can be a bit polarizing. I like the raw cacao flavours that are very present, although when one of my friends had a sip (actually quite a large glug) she claims not to have like it at all. She also doesn't like dark choc so I sometimes discount her opinions (ha ha! just kidding). Basically I think if she didn't glug as much and sipped a bit more slowly, she could have come to like the juice, but I wasn't prepared to give her any more to try. They are not super sweet flavours that some may be expecting from dessert but I think it is earthy and delicious and is a nice way to finish the day.
The cleanses vary in price ranging from $75 for a 1 day cleanse to $325 for a 3 day cleanse. I also managed to independently arrange a courier to have it delivered to me in 'The Sticks' so don't be initially put off if you are not in the delivery area.
For me, the cleanse was about giving my body a break and having three days not to think about food. This is almost hilariously hard when you are a food blogger. However, the most important thing, was that cleansing allowed me to create a conscious shift in my thinking. After doing three days of cleansing, it is much easier to say no to some extra choc and replace with a banana. I'm never ever going to be a health guru or wellness warrior, I just simply love pork belly, scallops and degustation menus too much, BUT in my everyday life, I am trying to make small changes including eating more healthily and exercising every single day so that when I do go out, it is something super spesh, rather than just another day at the coalface (read: restaurant/cocktail bar/pub/cafe.)