It's that time.
Outside, it's becoming lovely and fresh. On nice days, we open the windows and air out the house. We clean all of the nooks and crannies. We follow nature's lead and freshen up our homes.
Some of us take that a step further and freshen up our lives. Spring is a great time to refocus our intentions, make new plans for the rest of the year, to rejuvenate our bodies and minds.
Like planting seeds in freshly turned soil, Spring rejuvenation is most effective when it comes with a physical cleanse. Turning the inner soil? Ok, maybe that's not a perfect analogy, but I suspect you see where I'm going here.
After months of being indoors, most likely getting less physical activity and eating heavier holiday and cold-weather foods, our body needs a cleanse of its own.
A physical cleanse is greatly enhanced by setting intentions and making goals, by re-prioritizing what matters in your life, or by deepening any spiritual practice you may have. This is also a good time to begin a new fitness routine, begin a creative project, or join in a new club or social gathering. These many addenda to a Spring Cleaning can be a fun way to put yourself back on track to a productive and happy year.
But, the physical Spring Cleaning is the essential, albeit more difficult, part of this rejuvenation.
Jason and I are about to undertake our yearly five day juice fast. I find this to be the most effective way to do a detoxifying cleanse.
Without getting too deep into the science, I will briefly explain how fasting and juicing are a powerful combination.
Fasting, or limiting caloric intake for over 24 hours, has a unique effect on a cellular level. When we eat, our body produces a very important protein called insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1. IGF-1 is responsible for the body's ability to make new cells. Important, right? Yes, very. But....
When we stop eating, the body stops making IGF-1. And when IGF-1 is not present, instead of making new cells, the body heals the DNA of our existing cells.
Health science nerds can understand my enthusiasm. DNA damage is responsible for almost all age-related disease, for cancer, and for aging itself.
So by merely abstaining from food for a period of time (greater than 24 hours), we engage this DNA-healing ability in our own bodies. We are essentially giving our bodies the ability to prevent cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, Type 2 Diabetes and much much more.
For more information on the science behind this type of "intermittent fasting", view this article on BBC News about the documentary that began intermittent fasting's growing popularity among the public.
So, fasting is great. But why go through all of the effort to juice produce? You have to buy, it clean it, clean the juicer... well, it's not really all that hard, and it's an essential part of cleansing.
While fasting (consuming only freshly made juices) allows the body to heal cellular DNA, juicing gives the body the tools it needs to cleanse. Produce is loaded with antioxidants. These nutrients are usually hard for us to get out of the plants' cell walls via digestion, but juicing allows us access to much greater amounts of these nutrients by breaking the fibrous plant cells apart for us.
Antioxidants are NEEDED by the liver in order for it to detox. Without antioxidants, no luck. Liver detoxification is how the liver breaks down chemicals we have circulating through our body (in the blood, stored in fat tissue, in lymph, etc) so those chemicals can leave our body. Otherwise, they are trapped inside of us.
That's a long-time accumulation of chemicals: car exhaust, cleaning products, plastic from your water bottle, sulfates in your toothpaste, herbicides on your produce, hormones in your milk, GMO chemicals in your bread, and so on.
An over-burdened liver can be responsible for, or associated with, a wide array of physical problems like being overweight or obese, high blood pressure, immune and autoimmune problems, digestive diseases, fertility and hormonal issues, neurological problems and more.
Giving our bodies a short break, like a five day fast, and including large doses of antioxidants through juicing is a powerful way to allow our livers to "clean house."
Jason and I do five days of fasting only because that is what works best for us. Many people choose to do 3, 7, or even 9 days. We drink lots of well or spring water between our juices, and try and watch inspiring documentaries during times of day when we may normally be entertaining ourselves through cooking and eating.
I highly recommend the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, which you can watch online for free. If you've never wanted to do a juice fast before, you certainly will after watching this inspiring film.
Below, I am attaching a downloadable guide to juice fasting that I shared at our recent Wellness Workshop on detox. Detoxification can be hampered by using the wrong combination of vegetable and fruit juices, so refer to the image for guidelines.
Juice fasting may not be for everyone, especially children, diabetics, and anyone with very serious medical conditions. Otherwise, juice fasting is an incredibly powerful, affordable, and simple way to prevent disease and rejuvenate the body.
If you are interested in learning more about juice fasting and detox in general, give us a call at Radiant Family for a consultation.We're happy to share our knowledge; the more happy and healthy we all are, the better our world will be!