Girl vs. Food: Welcome in the new year with fresh juicesWritten by Monica Mikolajczyk | | firstname.lastname@example.org
We bid farewell to the year by toasting several cocktails with friends and eating enough food to feed a small country. Then, we remedy this problem by welcoming the new year with promises of healthier eating and perhaps trying your hand at one of those “cleanses.”
We have to do something to rid our body of the 200-plus frosted sugar cookies, truck loads of chocolate peppermint bark, holiday ham, and eggnog (before we look in the mirror and don’t recognize the Santa-shaped cut-out cookie with frosting and sprinkles that we have shamefully become).
What to do? Many of us have heard of the Master or Lemonade Cleanse (basically water with lemon, maple syrup and cayenne pepper), and maybe some of us have even given it a shot. I sure gave it a shot, and another and another. I lost a few pounds, but fought a mental battle at least five times a day so that I wouldn’t eat my own arm. There has to be a better, healthier way, to cleanse my body and give my digestive system a rest (it hates me after the sugar and alcohol diet I took up for a month). As always, this inspired me to research this latest “cleansing” fad.
First topic to figure out: Why cleanse? Think of a computer’s hard drive. The more cluttered it becomes the more slowly it operates. We download countless programs and games, surf the Web and save what we find, and occasionally end up with a virus. Sometimes, we have to have the hard drive wiped clean, or buy a new computer. Now, imagine the cells in your body are all little hard drives that operate this magnificent computer — which is you.
Our cells want to be clean, speedy, and healthy but unfortunately we consume too many empty calories (sugar) and a large amount of toxins (preservatives). Unfortunately, all of that holiday cheer gets lodged in our cells and slows everything down (and contributes to the winter blues). So, we must cleanse in order to rid our precious little cells of this toxic build-up and bring us back up to speed.
Now, what type of cleanse to embark upon (preferably one that doesn’t make us feel as though we are ready to, literally, bite our friends’ heads off)? Liquids are naturally easier on our digestive system, which is why during most cleanses you don’t eat solid foods. So, how to clean up my cells and maintain a liquid-based diet for a few days without feeling like I’m losing my mind? Drumroll, please … A juice cleanse! And no, I am not talking about drowning yourself in the sugary, syrupy orange juice from the closest grocery store chain. I mean delicious, fresh, natural juices made in the comfort our your very own home with your very own juicer.
Juices created from fresh produce (think local, a farmers market or Claudia’s on Secor Road) are full of all kinds of enzymes. Enzyme? An enzyme is a protein molecule that works in our body to increase the rate of different chemical reactions. For instance, enzymes speed up our digestion, give us energy, break down carbs and turn them into glucose, and proteins into amino acids. Trust me, they are important. However, the enzymes in several of the foods we eat have been killed through processes like pasteurization.
So, normal bodily functions move slowly, or worse, don’t happen at all. The juice combinations you create will taste delicious, give you energy and clean you out (even incorporating one juice into your daily routine will work wonders). Your cells are holding all of this excess waste, and the juices with their miracle-working enzymes will flush all of this waste away (waste = toxins, weight, bacteria that cause illness, etc.).
It is true, you can cleanse and heal your body (and even shed a few of those holiday pounds) simply and naturally. A juicer that will do the trick can be found almost anywhere. Brevilles and Champion juicers are said to be top of the line, but I personally have an Oster that is a real champion (ha). Venture into any book store and you will see several informative books on juicing and juice cleanses that are designed for the novice juicer to the professional one.
So, raise up your glass (of juice) and toast to the new year, the new (healthier and informed) you, and the soon-to-be-new, clean cells that will be zipping around in your happy body.
Monica Mikolajczyk is a yoga instructor, firm believer in always choosing local, and a holistic health advocate who believes we all have the potential to grow and change if we simply allow ourselves the space to do so. E-mail her at email@example.com.