Juicing was such a trend a few years ago, and it felt like everyone was doing a “cleanse” or juicing regularly. I never found this to sit well with my health beliefs – I felt them to be a band-aid for a bullet wound, and a product of our quick fix society. They are a cash cow for big businesses and the only real health benefit that I could see is that they give our overtaxed digestion a much-needed break.
They buy into this notion of all or nothing; of “cheat” meals and “clean” eating. If you drink only juice for a week; you will feel a bit better, lose a little water weight and gain more energy – so you deserve to have that massive dessert as a treat at the end of it. The weight comes back, (and a little extra usually due to metabolic issues) your self-esteem takes a punch, and you commence the cycle of deprivation and binging all over again.
Our bodies are fantastic machines. They are capable of “detoxing” all on their own – it is why if we eat a high sugar meal we may feel a bit off after, but eventually come back to our resting point. It is also why hangovers don’t kill us… In spite of how they may feel at the time. Severely restricting protein, fiber and fat for a period of time does us zero favors and is extremely unnecessary to our organism’s functioning as a whole. We were not evolved with a juicer on our back. We evolved eating the entire plant.
I am a strong advocate for eating well consistently. Each day I believe we should be eating mostly plants, food in its most natural form. Our bodies know what to do with an apple – our systems have not evolved digesting twinkies or pop tarts, and the prolonged eating of these manufactured “foods” are at the root of our nations health and obesity problems. Doing a few painful juice fasts in between eating junk food will do you no favors – you need to make a change wholistically. (Is that even a word?!)
Whenever you feel like an indulgence, do not approach it as a “cheat”. I hate that term and I hate being asked about it. It implies that you are taking time off from your diet to do something that you are fixated on, and I do not do diets. I eat the way I do for my quality of life and I have learned to really enjoy the health benefits along with the meals I prepare. I truly believe that this mental switch is the key to sticking to a healthy lifestyle – you are not being deprived by your choices. Indulgence for me means identifying what it is that I would really like to eat, then finding the healthiest version of it. I love sweet potato fries, so I like to make my own oven roasted in coconut oil and Himalayan Sea salt. It is about thinking laterally about food; still moving forward but taking a step to the left to indulge. And when you do indulge, eat it slowly. Enjoy every bite, and acknowledge the fact that you could eat this every day if you wanted to.
I do believe that once people step off the restrict and binge bandwagon, and let their self-esteem remain at a constant level; their eating habits become much more natural and in tune with their sense of self. It is empowering to create meals that will help you live longer and better, and I truly wish that everyone on this planet could make this shift.