Juice Cleanse Guide Part 1; Preparation and Mindset
Juice cleansing is an amazing way to reset the body, to help heal the gut and to even find a greater clarity of mind. Cleansing, despite seeming like a modern health innovation, has roots that go back as far as ancient India, and even before. Our diets have changed vastly since the early days of our ancestors who used to fast regularly and naturally as part of their hunter gatherer lifestyles.
Several thousand years into the era of farming and some of those practices were beginning to wane and human diets were beginning to change. Thanks to the abundance in food from the advent of farming, as a people we began to ingest more food more often, and our bodies began to respond differently to this new diet.
But for those who remembered the cycles of feeding and fasting that our early ancestors had lived by, they questioned the excessive intake and began to wonder, are we eating because we are hungry, or because it is there?
A big question to ask in any context, I know, but it was a question such as this that sparked the invention, if we can call it that, of meditation, of yogic practices including fasting and the subsequent spiritual heritage of India and all the benefits it confers to our modern world when it comes to looking after our minds and bodies.
So, with this in mind, we’re going to take a deep dive back in time, to consider the natural place of cleansing and fasting, why our bodies benefit from a fast and cleanse, and how we may stay sane, happy and healthy whilst endeavoring on this journey.
I say this because contrary to popular belief, a cleanse doesn’t just reset the body, it brings us face to face with hidden emotions and a whirlwind of mental activity, and knowing the affects going forward and how to best meet the process can be the difference between an agonizing cleanse, and a moment in time that appears to get close to that golden treasure of India, the mind’s illumination.
So, if you’d prefer your cleanse to be a walk-through heaven rather than a descent into hell, then read on and we’ll guide you through some key facts to remember for your next cleanse!
This is probably the most important tip we can offer. It may require a little context to understand but being prepared to go into your cleanse will make the single biggest difference to your cleanse.
Let’s first think about why we’re cleansing.
We come to a cleanse when our body isn’t functioning the way we would like. Maybe we are tired and feeling sluggish and fatigued all the time, maybe our mind and emotions are feeling dull and heavy, whatever the reason we come to a cleanse because we recognize an imbalance inside of us and wish to bring our bodies back to balance and back to health.
Being serious about this we want to find a way to bring our body back to its functional and optimum self, and cleansing is one of the great methods for this.
So, when you decide to cleanse you make a choice, you set an intention to look after your body. You recognize the lifestyle you have been living, somewhere along the way, has begun to have a negative impact on your body and so you wish to rectify that.
And therefore, cleansing begins before cleansing begins.
We are about to do something a little drastic to the body, a shock that our system hasn’t anticipated, shifting from as much food as it wants when it wants it, to being restricted to only having the right nutrients it needs at set intervals throughout the day.
Now, I don’t know about you but I find it hard to change routines that don’t affect my body all that much, to move from my comfortable circles into new territories takes a lot out of me mentally and physically. Similarly, our bodies are going to feel the shock of a sudden shift in diet, even if it is for only a short amount of time.
And so, before we begin our cleansing journey, let us take a look at our current diet and lifestyle.
Our bodies require fresh, organic, nutritious food, so if our diet is full of processed and artificial foods, even if it is good for you the body will reject all the delicious juices coming its way simply because it isn’t used to them.
So, before you think about cleansing, think about putting together a new diet in the week or two leading up to your cleanse.
Fill that diet with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables with sources of proteins that are plant based and keep drinking plenty of water. If your diet is meat heavy, try simply reducing the intake of meat each day leading up to the day of the cleanse, so your body has time to get used to the change and doesn’t suffer heavily from cravings.
At this stage we’re not saying consume less, we’re saying consume differently. Recognise this moment in time where you have a serious care for your bodily wellbeing, and use that seriousness to begin to implement changes that you know are good for your body, even if it is a difficult habit to break.
And if you find the preparation a difficult habit to break, imagine what it’ll be like when stopping all foods for the cleanse! So, stay with it, this is part of the process, as we said cleansing isn’t just for the body, it helps us to challenge the habits our minds have cultivated and to see if we might live without them, but we have tips for that coming up next!
Set and Setting: Mind and emotions will be affected
As we have just touched upon, we are not just going to feel our cleanse in our bodies, but in our minds and certainly our emotions too.
Well, the mind is the body, and so are the emotions. We talk about them separately to help understand them individually, but our entire state of psychological, physical and emotional health is all directly related to how happy and healthy the body is.
What does our mind love? Repetition, routine and predictability. Habit is the goal of the mind, its nature is to record the world, and navigate it in the safest way possible, this leads to repeating actions that have been successful, and ignoring actions that bear no fruit, a simplified version of the pleasure and pain response.
What do our emotions love? Expression. Emotions are the physicality of a desire to express something in life, it is what makes us living. An unexpressed emotion changes the emotion, from happiness to sadness, from passion to anger, from desire to shame and so on. Whereas a freely expressed emotion does the opposite, it turns anger into passion, sadness into joy and fear into excitement!
What does our body love? Action. The body exists to act. In acting it only seeks to survive and acts in anyway it needs to make survival a reality. It informs the mind of all its needs; hunger, thirst, sleep and so on, and acts in anyway it can to receive those needs. This is why we need to stretch and exercise; the body is movement and suffers without it.
So, our minds love repetition, our emotions love expression, and our bodies love action.
And what happens on a juice cleanse?
We break the repetitive pattern of the mind, we release and express emotions as our bodies adjust and we feel the changing state of our bodies in the form of emotion, and we limit the bodies capacity to act to its fullest by offering it less food than it is used to, even if the overall energy intake is similar.
And all of this leads to a single moment of culminating stress, where the mind, body and emotions have no idea what to do with themselves anymore.
You may even experience this in the changing diet in the week leading upto the cleanse.
IT may seem an inconvenience, the mind has set out on a path and that path comes with obstacles, but look at the importance in this, we are face to face with the routine and habitual activity of the mind. In the mind’s response to this process, we can suddenly see its activity very clearly.
It doesn’t like routines to be broken. And that makes it emotional, so now we’re mentally confused and emotionally volatile, all because we decided to offer ourselves some healthier food!
But this is the cleanse, we’re not simply cleansing our bodies, it is the cleansing of our bodies that purges the mind and the emotions too. And look at how difficult it can be for the mind and body to adjust in this way, even when it is good for us, allow this very obvious moment of difficulty inspire compassion and allow yourself to be gentle as the process unfolds, as you can be assured there are clearer times on the horizon.
Intention: So, our next tip is to create a mindset intention for your cleanse, and find some ways of emotional release for when those emotions get harder to process.
To hold an intention, to have a little vision board, or cleanse journal will really help to you exorcise those thoughts and emotions as they arise and keep you clear that every bit of difficulty that arises is part of what is being cleansed.
To go through a process of cleansing we cannot direct it, nor can we fight it. We can always stop if we wish and revert to old diets and routines, the mind will be instantly satisfied again, so never feel trapped by the process, there is always a way out by returning to normality.
But here you are, on the edge of discovering something all humans have looked for, how to live with this mind, this body and these emotions. To wonder if they control me or if I control them, to dig deep down into ourselves and discover who we are when not full of all this other stuff.
So again, before you begin the cleanse, prepare a journal, a space, an outlet for your thoughts and your emotions, track your journey from the moment the diet preparation begins, up until you begin your cleanse and for the weeks following the cleanse. You will learn so much about yourself when you do, and will not have just waited for a physical process of detoxification to help you feel better, but you’ll have been the one actively processing all of you, and meeting yourself a new with greater insight, clarity and surely a sense of love and compassion for how much you feel and contend with, and of course a sense of pride for managing to weather the storm and find peace among it.