Summer Detoxifying Cleanse
by Nomi Shannon
originally published in Alive Magazine, Canada’s foremost health magazine in 2001
With summer in full swing markets and gardens are brimming with luscious ripe fruits and vegetables. If you have ever thought about embarking on a cleansing program, now would be the time to do it! What exactly is a cleanse, you ask? Simply put,when your body does not have to constantly attend to the complex tasks of digestion, assimilation and elimination-it is able to more efficiently attend to some of its other functions, the most important being cleansing and healing.
Drastically simplifying your intake of food will allow your body to expend its energy on cleansing and healing. There are several ways to do this. Water fasting is the most extreme form. At one time I considered water fasting to be foolhardy. But after experiencing several water- only fasts, I have changed my mind. Water fasting can be an extremely profound and beneficial form of cleansing and healing. However, bed rest is a very important component of water fasting. Since this would be impractical for most people, it’s nice to know that wonderful results can also be had with juice fasting. Juicing extracts the liquid from the food, leaving the pulp behind; thus allowing your system to rest from the constant work it does while still taking in nourishment. A typical juicing plan would consist of drinking as much freshly made juice throughout the day as you want. If you like, you could start your day with fruit juices and switch to vegetable juices in the middle of the day. Many people use 100% carrot juice for fasting, however I would recommend 50% carrot juice and 50% juices from green sources such as cucumber, celery, spinach, kale, cabbage, sprouts or romaine lettuce. Carrot juice contains a great deal of sugar, but with the addition of greens the blood sugar levels tend to remain more even. Also, the chlorophyll in greens is an excellent internal (and external) cleanser and healer. Greens also contain protein, the darker the green the higher the protein. All raw fruits and vegetables contain enzymes, minerals and vitamins, and along with flushing out toxins, you are also rehydrating with these high water content foods.
It is wise to lead up to a juice fast gradually by cutting out flesh, dairy and wheat foods while adding more raw fruits and vegetables to your daily routine two to three weeks prior to starting your cleanse. This will greatly minimize any adverse detoxifying symptoms such as headache, fatigue, lightheadedness or nausea. These symptoms are indications that stored up toxins are rushing to exit your body. With a gradual lead up, you should be able to maintain your normal daily activities while on a juice fast. But it would be nice if you could get more rest and sunshine than usual during this time as your body is doing a lot of cleaning out and resting would assist the process.
You don’t own a juicer? Or, you have no time to juice? That’s okay. You will be amazed at the health benefits you can obtain by setting aside anywhere from three days to two weeks or more for eating raw fruits and vegetables only. The simplest approach would be to eat mono-meals, which means one type of food at a time. For example, breakfast could be peaches. Just peaches. Eat as many as you like until you feel comfortably full. Peaches are cleansing for the kidneys and bladder, plus they contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin C, potassium and folic acid. A large wedge of watermelon is also an excellent way to start off the day, as it digests rapidly and has alkalizing and diuretic properties and contains beta-carotene, thiamin, Vitamin C and potassium. For lunch a large green salad with a few embellishments like red pepper, cabbage or broccoli and a splash of lemon juice would be good. Dinner could be another large salad with different embellishments. But you don’t even have to get that fancy. Eat a red pepper, some celery sticks, perhaps a pickling cucumber (they are not waxed), corn on the cob (raw)-until you are comfortably full. Snacks can be any fruits or vegetables that you have in the house. Fill a large bowl with fruit and leave it on your counter to choose from throughout the day, and load up your refrigerator with lots of pre-washed vegetables. That will help keep you out of the bread bin.
Blending some of your meals is another option. Blending breaks the food down, making it easier to digest. It contains all the original fiber. Smoothies are an example of a blended food. They taste wonderful, take only minutes to make and all you need is a blender. Use a base of any natural or fresh squeezed juice, or water. Next, add a variety of fruit. For cold, thick smoothies, keep some in the freezer, cut in chunks and ready to use. Bananas are simple, just peel when very ripe, put in plastic bags and freeze. Other fruits that are good to have on hand either fresh or frozen are strawberries, raspberries, boysenberries, blueberries, mangos, papayas, peaches and pineapple.
For a delicious and filling breakfast pudding or snack, blend 1 banana and 1/2 an avocado. Top off with berries. Or, try 1 banana with about a cup of papaya, adding 2 teaspoons of tahini to the mix if you’d like it to be more filling.
Fresh raw soup is a quick and easy alternative to salad. For Summer Tomato-Basil* soup, place the following in a blender and blend until smooth: 6-8 medium tomatoes, 1/4 lemon, peeled and seeded, 1 avocado, a large handful of sunflower or clover sprouts, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, 1 tablespoon chopped onion, 1 small clove garlic. Pour into bowls and garnish with basil or sprouts. Serves 2. Or, try Summer’s Bounty soup*. In a blender, combine: 4 red peppers, seeded and cut up, 1 medium cucumber, cut up, 1 scallion chopped, 1 small clove garlic, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or other fresh herb, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, a pinch of sea salt, and a dash of lemon juice and olive oil. Pour into bowls and garnish with chopped cucumber, red pepper and sliced mushrooms. Serves 2-3. For dinner you could have a salad, a blended soup or just veggies or fruits as they come from nature. How much simpler can life be?
How will you feel at the end of a detoxifying cleanse? Most people report feeling lighter in body and mind, clearer skin, clearer thoughts, weight loss and lessening or the complete disappearance of bothersome symptoms like sinusitis, digestive disorders, mood swings, fatigue, high blood pressure and much more. With a new spring in your step and a flatter belly, the results of enjoying summers bounty will be well worth it.
*Soup recipes are from The Raw Gourmet, by Nomi Shannon (Alive Books, 1999)