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 Juicing cleanse sceptic, Francesca Londoño-Brasington, is converted after discovering the benefits of going on a detox

At long last Summer has arrived taking us by surprise after the coldest Spring in 50 years. Gone are the numerous layers of jumpers, black tights, jeans and scarves – bikini season is well and truly upon us and those limbs are out to be seen! With that in mind, many of us who are looking for a healthy summer regime to kickstart this with a detoxing cleanse. Google the word ‘cleanse’ or ‘detox’ and hundreds of sites pop up offering diet plans/juice plans with promises of losing weight and feelings of happiness and vitality. But why are these cleanses suddenly so popular and do we really need to cleanse and detox our system?

The theory behind cleansing is to eliminate all the toxins that have built up in our systems from our every day lives. So simply put; a detox. Each day we absorb thousands of toxins from environmental pollution, food additives and pesticides to cleaning and cosmetic products. These toxins put our body under stress and often mean we become run down and ill. Different companies offer different types of cleanse but the most commonly known are cleanses that offer a juice plan which are said to rid the body of these toxins and restore it back to normality.

As part of my own research into cleansing, I was offered to trial a cleanse from Raw to Door. I have always been a bit of cleansing sceptic and I wasn’t sure if it would be for me, I like to eat! Plus I’d always wondered whether it was actually worth all the hype. However, after researching Raw to Door I thought I’d give it a go especially because I really liked the philosophy behind the company. Raw to Door is a cleansing company set up by Natasha Davey, a passionate healthy eater and foodie. After being uninspired by the cleanses available on the market, she decided to go alone and subsequently devised juice plans with a nutritionist, whereupon Raw to Door was born.  Along with the juices, Natasha already a keen cook, developed her culinary skills further and reinvented herself as a vegan cook which she has incorporated into the Raw to Door cleanse. Natasha’s main aim was to offer appealing, healthy juices and food that not only looked good but tasted good.  And I can verify, they truly do taste good! Over the years, Raw to Door have developed four different types of cleanse, three of which involve juicing only and a fourth gentler one which I opted for; Raw to Four. This involves juicing throughout the day followed by a vegan supper in the evening. All the food is organic, wheat, gluten and dairy free and may I add, absolutely delicious!

My main reason for being cynical about cleansing is because of the juicing process –  I’d always wondered how the juices remained fresh especially since I’d read that fruits begin to lose their nutrients as soon as they’d been squeezed. However Natasha explained that Raw to Door use a Norwalk Juicer which grinds then hydraulically presses using limited heat meaning the juice oxidation process is slower. The slow oxidisation rate gives the juices a longer shelf life proved by the fact the juices do not change colour. Also Raw to Door ensure the juices are immediately bottled and then kept chilled. This method yields 3-5 times more nutrients and enzymes than other methods and allows them to deliver a three day supply to clients with a four day shelf life.  This is unlike a home juice which you’d have to drink straight away for any benefits. Natasha is also keen to ensure her suppliers only bring her the freshest produce.

Another reason I hadn’t initially been convinced by cleansing, is that eating fruit and vegetables is supposed to be much better than juicing as you get more fibre from the whole fruit. Again, Natasha helped to dispel my concerns by reiterating that juicing provides far more nutrients in one go rather than eating a single piece of fruit. There is no way you can eat enough raw fruit and vegetables to get the same quantity. Plus the juice is quickly absorbed into your blood stream within 10-15minutes penetrating and restoring the cells. And yes, fibre is lost from juicing but the point is to give the body easily digestible food so it can use all energy on repairing the body. This really reassured me and made me feel like I was doing my body a lot of good whilst drinking the juice.

After having my worries put to rest, I felt incredibly inspired whilst cleansing as I knew I was feeding my body with vast amounts of vitamins and minerals.  Plus Raw to Door had a wide variety of juices and meals and I neve had the same meal twice, which made it more interesting However I do believe it’s important to research the company before signing up to the cleanse as not every cleanse will offer such fantastic, nutritious products and it’s essential to know what you’re consuming. Based on my experience, I’ve listed a few Pros and Cons which you might like to consider before embarking on your own cleanse:

Pros

With a company like Raw to Door, it’s incredibly easy – there’s no shopping involved, all the juices and supplies are delivered directly to your door.  This also makes it quite exciting as each box is different so you never know what you’re going to get.

You sleep really well. I really noticed I didn’t have that wired feeling before going to sleep – I felt incredibly relaxed and slept deeply each night. I’m sure part of this was the fact that my body wasn’t getting it’s usual caffeine fix and it has since inspired me to cut down my caffeinated green and breakfast tea to herbal teas.

You feel great and virtuous. I remember waking up early on a Sunday morning for a run – I really appreciated making the most of the early sunshine and it was fantastic feeling so good!

It gives you a chance to be a bit inventive when socialising with friends – obviously nothing that involves alcohol or food! As well as exercise classes and running after work with friends, I did some cultural activities including a Shakespeare/Dickens London Walking tour which was brilliant!

Cons

You need to plan carefully and organise a cleanse for a week when you aren’t busy, if your job involves socialising which mine does, this can be very tricky.

You can experience ‘detox’ symptoms such as tiredness and an upset stomach.

You have to have a lot of will-power as it can be repetitive and ultimately can get rather boring.

Verdict

Many doctors are anti-cleansing as they believe the body is capable of detoxing itself. On the one hand, although this may be true, in this day and age, we subject our bodies to much more than they were designed for. We do eat processed food containing additives and e-numbers, drink alcohol amongst other bad habits and none of these things our body was designed to cope with, in-effect we are over-polluting our bodies. I therefore believe that from time to time, it might be a good idea to give your body a rest, a chance for it to heal and regenerate. I believe a gentle cleanse, like the Raw to Four option, is enough and offers the body all the optimum vitamins and nutrients.  A more intense cleanse might be reserved for a special occasion like a holiday or a wedding; something you want to look and feel amazing for.  Cleanses are tough but the upside is that you feel great and sleep well. Don’t go it alone if you can help it, having a cleansing buddy always makes it much easier.

 

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