Ok, so luckily the January Blues are finally over and we live in hope that longer, sunnier days are on their way. But before the gloomiest of months drew to a close, one particular member of Grazia Team Beauty somehow managed to talk herself into jumping on the detox bandwagon, albeit rather late, and decided to embark on a detox.
My program of choice? Chris James' Mind & Body Cleanse; a 12 day 'urban detox' developed by the yoga guru himself. The challenge involves 4 phases and copious amounts of willpower, which, quite frankly is a real weak point for me. The detox kit itself is bursting with all manner of not-so-appetising supplements and an unreasonably enormous flagon of flaxseed oil. Along with the high vitamin intake, is buckets of water and fresh juices, no meat, fish or dairy, lots of fresh raw fruit and veg and wholegrain foods. Not easy for a girl with a lunchtime curry penchant. To make matters worse, the third phase of the detox involves 3 days of juice only, and not the yummy Innocent kind. Gulp. Read on to find out how the detox journey went as I navigated some murky (flaxseed-oil-flavoured) waters...
Phase 1 - Preparation Phase
Day 1 - Apart from getting used to ingesting approximately 10 horse-sized supplements pre-breakkie, day 1 seems surprisingly easy. Chris recommends a bit of light yoga and stretching before work. Unfortunately this goes out the window when ye ole alarm clock goes off rather later than anticipated. Had planned to make the Green Detox Soup recipe (Chris has some delish recipes on his website), but spotted some carrots and houmus in new Smeg fridge and munched that instead. Pre-bed Milk Thistle tablet seems like dream compared to the morning ones.
Brown rice sushi. Yum. No soy sauce. Boo.
Day 2 - A visit to Wholefoods on the way to work inspires healthy and clean lunch ideas although trying to find a decent, wholegrain muesli proved tricky (breakfast routine must not be sacrificed you know). After much deliberation found some surprisingly yummy but bird-food-like-muesli to have with rice milk. Once again failed on the yoga front but hope the healthy supper of curly kale might prove redemptive.
Day 3 - So far, so good. Finding a meat, fish and dairy free lunch option at Pret was impossible today. The 4pm pass-around of the Heroes box took willpower levels to the extreme but found a few dusty almonds hidden away at the back of the desk draw. A last minute dinner at Nobu with the Godfather (well it'd have been rude not to) slightly tampered detox routine and an apple martini (and one teeny-weeny spoonful of choccy pud) may or may not have been consumed...
Phase 2 - Pre-Purification Phase
Day 4 - So even more of those yummy supplements to get down. And...wait for it, a whole tablespoon of flaxseed oil which, it can't be denied, tested that gagging reflex. Eww! On a shoot today so hoping the willpower is strong enough to resist the sugary delicacies laid out on that table yonder. Lunch of watercress soup, beans, salad and rice fills me up but a 4pm crash leaves no option but a bite of a lethal pear tart. Oops. A spoonful of vanilla probiotic powder before bed seems surprisingly tasty. Am I going mad.
Day 5 - Awoke early to do some (gentle) stretching and yoga to prepare for the day (smugness). Make a fresh juice - carrot, apple, celery and parsely - which was surprisingly yummy and washed the flaxseed oil down a dream. A light salad and soup for lunch and afternoon grazing on M&S almonds kept the hunger at bay. Dinner time at home proves tricky as other half is on the Atkins diet. His fat, juicy steak makes my Borlotti Bean Stew a little intimidated. It's yummy though.
These count as juice, right?
Day 6 - Grazia Team Beauty lunch at Itsu, which is THE place to hang out when cleansing. Miso, Detox Broth and Edamame are the perfect pick-me-up. An evening peruse around Liberty's (sugar rewards being quickly replaced with costly retail therapy) was followed by friend's birthday drinks where cocktails and calorie-laden canapes were aplenty. Proudly stuck to water all evening but had to make a swift exit when the (fave) Jagerbombs came out.
Phase 3 - Power Phase
Broccoli juice and flaxseed oil
Day 7 - First day of the juices and smug about lack of hangover on a Saturday morning. Go to a nearby yoga class for some meditation and chanting to 'embrace' the days ahead. Nice. Treat self to an Ayurvedic massage (Chris says they are a must when cleansing so...) with the holistic and totally heavenly Loretta Heywood. After talking through the doshas, Loretta prescribes a vigourous massage using hot oils to dispose of those toxins which have been released throughout the cleanse. Leave feeling energised and healthy but struggle to find a nearby juice bar to top up energy levels. Boyfriend's suggestion of luncheon is hard to resist but chose a soup to keep within 'liquid' rules.
Day 8 - Proud of juicing today - broccoli, pear, apple and ginger is delish. Forbidden foods on the brain constantly. Think there's withdrawal symptoms going on. Other half having sense of humour failure over whirring noise and juicer mess. Day going slowly but Ski Sunday and Countryfile bring minor excitement. Starting to feel cleaner and possibly leaner.
Day 9 - Last day of juicing, whoop! Office proving a hard place to survive on juice alone (macaroons, cupcakes AND chocolates scoffed by girl next door). A hearty vegetable soup for lunch followed by just about every kind of herbal tea bag known to man. Feel anti-social and sad to miss out on lunchtime Itsu/Pret/M&S run (won't take those for granted ever again).
Phase 4 - Maintenance Phase
Day 10 - Phew. Food that requires chewing finally arrives. Chris recommends easing into this phase with lots of fruit and veg but desperate to get back to the granola days. Supplement count going down, luckily, and flaxseed bottle running out fast. Wahoo! Buy some watermelon (Chris says this is THE perfect food for the digestive system) for an afternoon snack but can't resist marmite toast for supper. Kid self that supermarket loaf is full of fibre and wholeness.
Day 11 - Looking forward to getting back to lunchtime fave of M&S Thai Green Curry Soup (Grazia Team Beauty is responsible for the Covent Garden branch's recent sell out). Fellow Team Beauty members chuckling away at my afternoon appetite for anything sweet and chocolatey and yes, a treat or two were consumed. Girls think all this hardwork is quickly going to go to waste - they will be proved wrong!
Day 12 - Make a vitamin enriched juice upon waking (who knew broccoli could be so darn tasty?) and feel good about endeavouring to keep up healthy habits. Attend a beauty breakfast where a choice of pastries, cakes or cookies will simply not do. Cleansed body and mind = new found phobia of junk food. Glad to see the back of this Cleanse and as a result spend the afternoon pondering over whether my Mind & Body really have been 'Cleansed'. Read on to find out the verdict...
5 yoga classes
6 flaxseed spoonfuls
1 sleepless night,
58 cups of tea (herbal),
= overall feeling of hip and healthiness. Experiencing unexplained attraction to healthier foods and more energetic . The juicer has a new found lease of life and I might soon be given shares in Crussh at this rate. Plus, I definitely feel a bit leaner after one too many cheese fondues out skiing over Christmas. A highly recommended Cleanse IF you can prepare meals ahead and have the willpower to resist all those office jaffa cakes, which sadly, I didn't always do. But if I can do it, then anyone can.
It wasn't me, honest.
**Chris James Mind & Body Cleanse, £79.99, www.chrisjamescleanse.co.uk
Loretta Heywood Massage, www.ayurvedawest11.com **
by Angelica Hermon