It’s a beautiful, sunny morning in Melbourne. The garden smells fresh after an early morning deluge of rain. I’m sitting on my verandah writing this and soaking up my daily dose of Vitamin D. Jen Cloher is playing. Feeling pretty darn contented.
Day 5 of the Jess Ainscough smoothie/juice cleanse. I feel good, today.
The key to doing a cleanse like this is being organised and planning ahead. Up until maybe 2 days ago I was still trying to throw things together, and with a diet of 2-3 smoothies and 4 juices a day, let me tell you, spontaneity is not your friend!
So in preparation for a full day’s work yesterday, I juiced up a litre of juice (Newsflash! I bought a juicer, it’s so much fun, but more on that later) the night before, and planned my smoothies so I could make enough in the morning to last me the day.
What a difference that made – yeah I know, I’m a slow learner when it comes to ‘boring’ things like planning – I had juice and salad and veggies throughout the day. Saturdays are our busiest day so I needed to be fuelled up and switched on all day.
I had done a lot of shopping last week in preparation (that word again, it’s like I’m a born again organisation junkie!) for the weekend as my organic shop isn’t opened on Sundays. I know I could go somewhere else but on my one day off I just wanted to chill at home.
Anyway, the point of this story is that I had a lot of green leafies at various stages of freshness. I also had all the ends from the spinach, chard, kale, and herbs that I get left with because they don’t blend. So I washed and chopped the ends of them all and put them through the juicer.
It took about an hour, but out of mostly stuff I would have thrown away previously (yes, I am ashamed to admit that) I made 2 green smoothies and 1 litre of juice!
It’s funny how much more care I take with organic food than I ever used to take with food before, it’s really precious to me (I’m mean it’s expensive, but it’s also so nutritious that I don’t want to waste any of it).
I have also been using the pulp that comes out of the juicer to feed my dog and add to my salads. (I can do this because my juicer leaves the pulp a bit moist, if you have a fandangled, super-charged juicer it’s probably not worth eating what comes out.) I have to say the dog loves it and she’s looking really healthy!
The last few days I have practiced yoga and chakradancing and chakra sounds meditation. This all feels right and I’m trying to practice moving my body in a gentle and healing way, rather the frenetic forced exercise I tend to do when I’m trying to “get into shape”.
I have been known to do 6am spin classes every day plus running in the evenings. While part of me misses the body I had whilst doing that, I know it’s not sustainable for me to force my body in that way. I’m searching for the middle way between depressive lethargy and manic over-exercising.
A lot of negative thinking has arisen. It’s like my inner Sergeant Major barks at me to jump through hoops 24/7 and it’s still not good enough. Jess Ainscough talks about detoxing the mind and refusing to entertain negative thoughts.
It’s interesting when these thoughts come up, often immediately following thoughts of joy and self-love, and when practicing yoga and meditation.
During yoga practice I looked at my body, the rolls of fat around my stomach. I looked at the yoga instructor and her lean body. I remembered what my body looked like when I was practicing yoga 6 times a week (as well as running and spin and kickboxing – no wonder I burnt out) and I instantly felt depressed and a wave of hopelessness spread over me.
Sergeant Major Bitch seized this moment to deluge me with negative thoughts: “Why didn’t you stick to that?” (I got injured) “why did you let yourself get so fat?” (I was depressed and unwell) “it’s too late, you’ll never get that body back” (it’s funny that when I had that body I still thought I was too flabby and not the right shape) “you’ll never stick to this” (yes, I will), and the ultimate clanger “why bother?” (because I’m worth it). I noticed my mood plummet along with my self-esteem. I had the urge to eat for comfort and to stop practicing yoga.
Instead I recognized the negativity and self-defeating nature of these thoughts. I asked myself, how do you want to feel today, tomorrow, in a month, in a year, in ten years? What choice in the present moment will help you feel the way you want to feel? The moment passed and I stayed with the discomfort of practicing yoga in a body that’s less nubile and flexible than it used to be.
I also am reading Marianne Williamson’s A Course in Weight Loss. Even though I don’t really need to lose weight, the book is more about how we see our bodies and how we use food to avoid experiencing ourselves and our feelings. It’s the third time I’ve started it. I had done some of the written exercises, I find them challenging, they go deep into why I hide in overeating and hide my body in a shell I’m not comfortable with. It’s very confronting. These feelings of hurt and shame and looking at my past make me want to comfort eat, but I guess that’s the point of the book, so I will persevere.
Enough of the heavy stuff, how about some good news?
I finally bought a juicer! I got my yearly bonus from work so I bought a juicer. It wasn’t top of the range, but I decided just to buy the one I could afford now. I have to say I’m really happy with it. At first I was shocked by how much went in and how little came out, but once I discovered I could put all my green leafy ends in, I’m producing a lot more juice.
Just a word of warning about green leafy vegetables. They will make you nauseous if you have too much. So if you make a juice with them and drink green smoothies it may be too much. Moderation is the key and maybe choose one or the other.
I think I may have overdone this today, I feel a bit squeamy in the belly, moderation isn’t my strong point either. See how I’m learning all these great new skills? Moderation, planning? Next stop sainthood!
As suggested by many juice enthusiasts I am using primarily veggies and maybe the odd apple. The idea of juicing is to get the nutrients without the bulk, but fruit without the bulk is mostly sugar, which is not very healthy.
The juices are absolutely delicious. It feels like pouring liquid sunshine and rainbows into my belly! Guaranteed to sweep those inner grey clouds away.
4 medium carrots
2-3 cups stalks from leafy vegetables e.g. kale, chard, spinach, celery
1/2 head red cabbage
1/2 red pepper capsicum
1/2 green pepper capsicum
1 clove garlic
1 chunk ginger
Prepare veggies for juicing, top and tail carrots, core apple, peel and chop beetroot and cut any daggy ends off the vegie stalks. Feed through juicer and enjoy the party in your belly!