Written by Dóra
For a longer time, I have been experimenting with my diet. From last autumn, I started to eliminate the animal products (the scary word for this is ‘veganism’), and feel how my body reacts to this. I can’t deny that this food experiment was combined with big life events, but still, the plant-based diet felt healthy and nutritious, AND doable! However, my belly did not always seem to agree with all these hard-to-digest meals, and it was often too active towards the end of the day (the kicking ‘food-baby’). In my head I had slowly developed the idea that somewhere in the (near) future I could do a juice detox too.
Here I would like to share my first detox experiences with you. But before I do, I want to say that nothing that I state here is THE one and only truth. It is born out of my curiosity and I don’t wish to convert anyone to vegan food and I don’t want to push anyone into habits they don’t want. But my own challenge and experiment might inspire others to start experimenting too, to read about this and to explore their own eating patterns…
Why suffering and hunger for 6 days?
I wanted to clean and reset my body, and give my digestive system a bit of a rest :). Also, I was so curious to feel how I can handle the hunger during juice fasting, because normally I am quite obsessed about food :D. And how will I feel: will I still have enough energy for my work, social activities and sports? Will I not be grumpy all the time? Will it affect my sleep? And what about my training sessions: can I still run/swim or will my arms and legs feel like pudding? And last: this experiment could make me more aware of my body, almost like a new form of meditation.
Let the experiment start!
So now what?
After some internet searching, I had made up my mind and picked what I want!
I found a bunch of juicing detox menus on the website of JUIZ-S, and chose the hardest option of course: 6 days without the light meal in the evenings. If I go, I want to go all the way! They make ‘liquid salads’ with 70% veggies and 30% fruits (which is often more the other way around), they say that they use a technique that slowly divides the juice and the pulp in a very cold environment in order to keep all the nutrients alive. They even give nutrition advice and online coaching if you feel like having that extra help.. (neeh not me) And apart from the 5 juices per day, they also offer a daily pack of nuts for the extra proteins. When you do regular exercise, they say that you can take some more nuts during the day (my saviour).
There was also another therapy that had fascinated me for a while: the Gerson therapy is said to activate the immune system and the body’s ability to heal itself. It is seen as an alternative therapy for all kinds of diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and immune-related diseases. Although I fortunately don’t have any of these, I was simply curious to combine parts of this with my juicing detox week! Therefore, I bought special Kaldi coffee to perform regular enemas during the detox week (yes, voluntarily!), which is said to be good for the detoxing of the gastro-intestinal system. A bit scary, but let’s do it!!
So now my week plan as follows:
|Juice Day 1 (first)||Start of the juice detox week on a Sunday|
|Juice Day 2||Work and a slow-pace run (30′)|
|Juice Day 3||1st coffee enema, work and swim (60′)|
|Juice Day 4||Work and open water swim (50′)|
|Juice Day 5||2nd coffee enema and work|
|Juice Day 6 (last)||Work and the first tiny meal in the evening|
|Bosbaanswim 4km||Good breakfast and a 4km swim to end this adventure|
How did it feel?
Damn, it was hard but soooo satisfying!!!!
There have been many advantages that I’ve felt!
I had a crazy good focus throughout the days, and work was therefore going very well. Also during the training sessions, I was focused and full of ideas and inspiration! I had the wild idea that this might be a hunter-like reaction to hunger: looking for prey, so you have to sharp and agile! 🙂 Also, my trainings felt great: my joints were flexible, I did not feel tired, and I did not swim slower than I would with food! Fantastic discovery!
In general, my mood was really happy and I did not get the grumpy attacks that I feared beforehand. With every passing day, I felt stronger in my determination that I will make it. I noticed that I was a ‘boredom-eater’ as well. This means that I often needed something to chew on in order to cover a little boredom or tiredness. In addition, I noticed that I was far less often really hungry than I thought.
The enemas were another funny adventure to do in a house with other flatmates :D.. I won’t bother you with the details of this, but you can always ask me more in person :). Just shortly, the instruction is to insert the body-temperature organic (unroasted) coffee and to keep this in for 10-15 minutes. Well, the first time I had hot-cold flushes, I felt nauseous and could keep it in for 2 minutes MAX!! I figured that this must have been a very effective detoxification! The 2nd time it already felt easy and relaxed! But 10-15 minutes are still quite ambitious for me haha! Great to tick this off my bucket list ;).
Well, honestly, there was not much that I could call a minus..
A juice week that is organized like mine of course costs money. So if you’re not sure how and what to drink, and you want to approach this seriously, you can’t avoid these costs.
And there is a constant hunger. No doubt! I was hungry so often, and then I fantasized about all types of food (but interestingly only about the healthy stuff), and about what I would eat as a first meal after the detox-week. Sometimes I even had sneaky thoughts about having a snack in the evening and that ‘noone would find out’. Haha! It’s crazy, but I was of course doing this for me, myself and I only! Noone cared if I would cheat or not… Even though I took the extra proteins every day with a handful of nuts, I didn’t cheat (proud)!
The first meal (celebration time) and a 4km swim
After the 6 days, it was finally Friday evening. I knew what was coming next… I will take a first little meal wohoooo! This was my moment of pleasure that I was looking forward to all week! I had planned what I want to eat, every detail was well-chosen: a brown sandwich with avocado, cherry tomatoes, some pepper and olive oil! YES! And then a little piece of my mother’s masterpiece: a Hungarian dish named Rizskoh, my all-time non-vegan favourite :).
After this juicing adventure, it was time to see how I perform on a longer swim distance: the 4km Bosbaanswim was on the menu with the team on Saturday! Finally I saw my team members again, and many of them came all the way from Hilversum (Nienke), Utrecht (Femke), Amsterdam Zuid (Gaby) and Oost (Josta, Marijcke and me) and brought their big and small supporters. Great to have a coffee before the swim in the sun, and to have a relaxed Bosbaan atmosphere. After entering the water, this relaxedness was just prolonged for another 1h19 for me! What a zen swim: no tired arms (I was focusing a lot on the relaxed recovery arm and long gliding phase that we have learned at Swimfantastic), no bored mind, sun in my face and a steady pace throughout the 4kms. The only thing that was bothering was the upcoming cramp in my calfs that was there from the first km! I even took the Powerbar elektrolytes of AthleteSportsWorld to help me to drink enough and to prevent this. This field of cramps during swimming remains a mistery to me, or how to interpret this in the context of this week….
Conclusions of this week
Wow, no matter how hard it was sometimes, I will definitely do this again!
I plan to build in the liquid salad moments into my life on a regular basis, and to do 1-day juice detoxes every now and then to clean and reset in a less intense way. It not only gave me great focus, it also made me aware of my eating habits. I can handle a bit more hunger now. I can feel and stop when I’m full. My motivation increased even more to eat healthy and pure food instead of the processed crap.
And I could recommend this to everyone (except maybe for people with metabolic diseases that need monitoring by a doctor)! It might feel like a huge challenge, but you can even do it during 3, 4 or 5 days, or with a light meal in the evenings.
A little motivator: a nice documentary about juice detoxing is the movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, made by Joe Cross. A fascinating story told by a man with severe overweight and a lot of medication for an auto-immune disease at the start. He decides to do the juice fasting throughout 60 days (my 6 days are a joke compared to that!)! Not only does he loose a lot of kilos, he also dumps all the medication and motivates many people throughout the land of the burgers and donuts.