Ottawa residents have been enjoying unseasonably warm weather these days and, given the welcomed change, many are starting to think of spring and even summer. Gradually, these thoughts of summer lead to a renewed focus on healthy eating and physical fitness. It’s time to get active, wipe the proverbial dietary slate clean and return to a healthy lifestyle!
Unfortunately, many of us are still battling the edible ghosts of the holiday season (yes, still). Wintertime tends to trap us into a rut, which then becomes difficult to escape. In desperate need of a jolt, I turned to a cleansing regime to reset my healthy habits. In the past, I have relied on ‘clean’ diets in order to reset my system, which means cutting out caffeine, alcohol, dairy, meat, and preservatives, while loading up on fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts. However, this year I felt I needed something more drastic, as well as convenient. I wanted nutritious meals that I did not have to plan or cook. Finally, it came to me. I would try a liquid detoxification diet, also known as a juice cleanse.
Why choose a detoxification diet? For one, detox diets rid your body of its toxin build-up, whether environmental or dietary. While the body naturally detoxifies itself on an ongoing basis, an accumulation of harmful toxins slow the cleansing process, therefore making it more laboured and less efficient. You can ease the progress by committing to a short-term detox diet. A large variety of such diet plans exist. Most focus on the elimination of culprits, such as caffeine, alcohol, dairy and red meat, instead focusing the bulk of caloric intake on raw organic produce. By detoxifying you aid the function of your lymph, liver and kidneys. Once cleansed, you may experience increased immunity, higher energy levels, a greater ability to concentrate, improved circulation and overall mood, reduced bloating, better skin, restful sleep, among many other benefits.
Given my need for convenience due to a hectic family schedule, I chose to enroll the expertise of Total Cleanse. Based out of Toronto, Total Cleanse offers several different cleanse and meal packages delivered directly to your door for a complete hassle-free experience. Cleanses range from Energize, Refresh, Revitalize, to Purify, as well as special packages for brides-to-be. All you have to do is follow the program, which can last from one day to five days depending on your preference. There are no gimmicks or supplements. The juices are jam-packed with super foods, such as kale, romaine lettuce, cucumber, celery, parsley, cashews, blueberries, honey, and coconut – plus, they are all unpasteurized and preservative-free!
During the cleanse, you drink six juices per day, every two to three hours, in an order specified on the packaging. For optimal results, it is best to follow the menu guide two days prior to the cleanse and up to five days after the cleanse to ease your body onto solid food again. The pre and post menus are chock-full of veggies, raw nuts and some grilled fish.
If you are considering a juice cleanse, take note that it is not for the weak. While the six juices per day do provide an acceptable amount of calories for an average-sized adult, liquids are not as satiating as solid food so expect to feel hungry. Certainly, I was not starving but I experienced latent hunger for the entire duration of the cleanse. However, I never felt light-headed and was able to function normally. If anything, quitting my morning cup of coffee is what proved to be most difficult. In addition to the caffeine withdrawal headaches, I also experienced a very mild ache in my kidneys and lungs (two organs that play an active role in the detoxification process) and felt cold. Having said this, the benefits I enjoyed were important: high energy levels, clear skin, weight loss and the complete elimination of bloating. After years of blaming my lower belly bump on the birth of my children, I realized that it was most likely the result of poor food choices.
While it is true that the process was not easy, the cleanse was worth the effort. The benefits I experienced afterwards were significant enough to justify three days of latent hunger. After months of feeling tired and sluggish I welcomed the renewed motivation and zest. My high energy levels are no longer caffeine-induced and allow me to keep up with my children.
In order to share this experience with our readers, Total Cleanse is offering a free three-day Purify Cleanse to one lucky winner. To enter, simply:
- ‘Like’ Ottawa Life Magazine and Total Cleanse on Facebook;
- Follow @ottawalifemag and @totalcleanseca on Twitter;
- Leave a comment on our website telling us what you do to stay healthy
We look forward to all of your responses. One lucky winner will be announced at the end of this month on March 30, 2012!
*** featured photo taken by j.sparksphotography***