by Kiki Athanassoulias
I went to California and did a juice cleanse.
God that sounds horribly overdone, but I’m about to tell you why it’s not. In fact, juicing is actually underrated. I promise I’m going to prove it to you with real, heartfelt evidence – and none of the silly “detoxing” reasons you’re tired of hearing.
Getting straight into it: I began my stay in Sacramento, California meeting with the oh-so-lovely Amina Cordano, who has a lust for life that is remarkably contagious. She also happens to be the owner of a local, cold-pressed juice company in the area, Whole Hearted Juice Co. – go figures.
While you’re already thinking how I’m sure most do – stop. This woman isn’t riding the “cleanse” trend, instead, she’s a powerful survivor who used juice to cure her “whole heart”, battle her way through cancer, and today, is one of the most courageous female entrepreneurs I have come to know. Not to mention generous – this goddess gifts away her juices like they’re going out of season. The Oprah Winfrey of Sacramento: “YOU get a juice, YOU get a juice, YOU get a juice”. You get the point.
After reaching out to her (straight up cold call style), she immediately became my new best friend. But this story isn’t about our friendship, this story is meant to open your eyes to a whole new perspective on juicing.
Put your caution and all the damage that marketing has done to our brains aside, and instead hear me out…
The TRUTH on Juicing (delivered by a real food advocate and anti-gimmicks holistic health warrior):
It gives your body a break.
Did you know that it takes approximately 18 hours to eliminate one meal? So if you’re a regular eater (hint: we all are), our digestive systems are working basically ALL the time. When fasting, the body burns stored fat for fuel. Most toxins that your body was not able to eliminate at the time of exposure are stored in your fatty issue. They are released when the fat is metabolized, and can then be processed for elimination. Other body tissues are also broken down during a fast, which makes way for a greater percentage of new tissue to be rebuilt when the fast is ended. As Amina says, “Fasting literally leads to rejuvenation.” No kidding.
It makes way for mindful eating (or sipping).
These days, we are all too obsessed with the idea of multitasking. Unfortunately, that has also found its way into how we eat, and reeks havoc on our digestion. By doing way too many things at once (i.e. driving to work, texting, all while shoving a bagel down your throat, etc. etc.), our bodies are constantly on high alert or “fight or flight” mode. This leaves us with little room to actually focus on digesting our food. Instead, we need to enter the “rest and digest” state – which literally shifts blood flow back to the digestive system and optimizes the entire process (including the gallbladder, stomach and pancreas).
Amina advises juice cleansers to take their time with each juice, swishing the juice around in your mouth whenever possible before you swallow (again – this helps to activate the enzymes in your digestive system), and look forward to the experience that each juice provides – rather than thinking about it as something you need to “get down as fast as possible”.
Develop a New, Healthier Relationship with Food
This is a concept we often don’t think of when it comes to a juice cleanse, but indeed it’s the perfect way to kick start your journey to happier, healthier eating. First off, you may become acquainted with certain ingredients (foods and herbs) that you wouldn’t have otherwise tried (my own discovery on my Whole Hearted Juice Cleanse were golden beets). Hopefully, you enjoy certain juices so much that you learn how to incorporate them into your diet in a long-term and sustainable fashion. Moreover, it’s true what they say: absence makes the heart grow stronger. While it’s important to note that a juice cleanse shouldn’t feel like you’re depriving or starving yourself in any way, it’s certainly still a treat when you introduce solid foods back into your meal plan. This reintroduction naturally comes with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation of what you have recently given up, and helps to makes the idea of eating and chewing more sacred and satisfying.
Whether or not you’re into this “hippie granola” stuff or not – juicing is not a trend to laugh at, but rather a transformational journey towards healing and optimal health. I invite you to open your heart to the power of juicing, and I hope it inspires & uplifts you as much as it for did me.