cleansing or not to cleanse
The ever-increasing number of cooking shows grazing the airwaves of the Food Network is a strong indication of just how intricate and pervasive the ritual of eating has become. We live in a culture where romances spark over dinner and friends gather to celebrate victories or lament over their heartaches with drinks and appetizers in hand.
Our addiction to food, and the ritual that surrounds gathering it, has become such an automatic part of our existence that we may not even realize how unconsciously driven we are to consume. Before starting a two-week iZO Cleanze, I had never before embarked on a fast and the mere idea of abstaining from food for two weeks already had my stomach rumbling.
But with a strong desire to kick-start a shift in my health, I eagerly embarked on what proved to be an eye-opening journey through the physical and social challenges surrounding the habitual act of self-nourishment.
I have read a lot on cleanses and raw food diets but had never before taken the plunge as they always sounded extreme for my taste. However, in speaking with iZO founder Tim Martin, I’m assured the daily blend of nutrients provides ample energy while sustaining muscle mass.
Each morning, I awake to find a freshly delivered cooler outside my door containing eleven pint-sized bottles of juice, tea, and elixirs prepared fresh daily. Each jar contains an intricate if not overwhelming blend of ingredients and as I peruse the contents of each bottle, my calculations show I will have ingested upwards of 200 ingredients per day by the end of my fourteen-day purification. Also included are hypertonic and isotonic vials to re-mineralize the body, liver detox, and natural laxative capsules and herb-infused footpads to soak up toxins while I sleep.
Designed to revive the body from the consuming process of digestion, the cleanse uses a natural force of enzymes to break down leftover debris lining the intestines and the digestive organs absorb the powerful raw nutrients of the fresh juices, restoring their vitality. Without using energy for digestion, the body can focus on maintenance.
The program also includes an intensive liver cleanse designed to extract rubbery gallstones trapped within liver ducts. While the majority of gallstones are harmless, lodged stones can obstruct various passages, disrupting bodily functions. As I approached the liver cleanse phase, I read the detailed instructions outlining two rounds of Epsom salts followed by the cleanse serum. I choked down the salts and immediately felt internal movement signaling that my duct valves were already beginning to loosen. When the time came to ingest the liver serum, I quickly gulped it down and settled into bed. In the morning, my body successfully released dozens of green stones.
Over the course of two weeks, many physical changes took root within my body. During the first few days, my energy levels remained low as I floated along in a daze. Headaches rolled in just after lunchtime and persisted throughout the evening. I later realized this discomfort was a fading plea for caffeine from my longstanding coffee addiction.
By the third day, my headaches faded and my energy levels stabilized. As I moved into the second week, I noticed my appearance was beginning to shift. My skin, which I had previously judged as dehydrated now carried a healthy glow. Upon weighing myself, I noted that I had lost a staggering six pounds. My energy levels continued to climb and I felt euphoric.
I considered my cleanse to be as much a social experiment as a physical one. Instead of holing up for two weeks, I made a concerted effort to keep my social engagements and experience the outside world sans food. My first restaurant encounter was awkward at best.
At dinner, I shyly placed my spicy lemonade concoction on the table as the waiter dished out entrees to all my friends. I avoided eye contact with food for fear the mere sight would derail my discipline. With each passing day, however, I felt increasingly liberated from food rather than exiled from it.
I happily toted my cooler to the beach and cooled my lips with tea as my friends nibbled on sandwiches. Along the way, I morphed into a cleanse spokeswoman of sorts—with my perplexing assortment of juices in tow, curious acquaintances inquired and listened intently as I detailed my experiences.
With the last sip of my 154th juice, the cleanse was complete. I felt detoxified, restored and slightly nostalgic for my flavorful companions. I am determined to continue supporting my body with whole raw foods.
The menu iZO has co-created with Euphoria Loves Rawvolution for transitioning cleansers has helped me to integrate new eating habits into my daily routine. In other areas in my life, I find I have more confidence in my ability to refrain from various situations that do not serve me. I am eager to continue making conscious choices, walking the line between a healthy body and flourishing social life, one nutrient-rich bite at a time.
Other cleanses that the YOGI TIMES team has experienced:
Arise & Shine Cleanse, ariseandshine.com
Check out our detailed juicing guide!