Once tired and worn out, Clare Neill, co-founder of Radiance Cleanse found juicing gave her a new lease of life
I wanted to share my personal story of how I discovered the many benefits of juice cleansing. This isn’t some trend-driven, jump-on-the-band-wagon story, more of a personal account of how juice cleansing is so much more than the sum of its parts and for me, was and still is the path to health and happiness.
Juice cleansing has come to have connotations of neurotic, rail thin women drinking foul-smelling green concoctions whilst contorting themselves into yoga positions and discussing colonic hydrotherapy.
This was pretty much my perception of it when I did my first juice cleanse in 2008. I was eating a very typical (if predominantly home-cooked) British diet, heavy in meat, carbs, dairy and sugar, drinking Diet Coke in the afternoons to give me a boost and not thinking of the consequences of nights out. I was your fairly typical 25 year old, but I felt terrible and couldn’t work out why.
The final straw came when my I started to experience memory loss. I’d always had a pretty sharp memory, but suddenly I just couldn’t seem to remember things. It was then that I went to see a nutritional therapist, who suggested based on my symptoms (and there were A LOT of them) that I had a candida imbalance and that my health had been deteriorating since I had glandular fever aged 16. She suggested that I overhaul my diet and lifestyle and go on an anti-candida regime for six months. The basics of this are no wheat, dairy, sugar, fungus, alcohol, yeast or anything fermented, plus switching to organic to avoid chemicals as much as possible.
It came as a huge shock, but I embraced the changes as I felt so terrible that I thought I had nothing to lose. I was speaking to my best friend, Christina, about it and at the time she was training to be a nutritional therapist. Her aunt ran juice cleanse retreats in Spain and she encouraged me to go on one. A spot became available on a retreat the next month and I decided to go, having no idea what to expect.
On the flight over, I was incredibly anxious. How would I cope without eating solid food for six days? What if I didn’t like the juices? Would I like the other people on the retreat? How would I cope without using technology? I needn’t have worried. The cleanse was a revelation in so many ways. Yes I lost weight, but much more importantly I regained health. It helped me change my relationship with food and myself. I came back feeling recharged and like a completely new person.
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Going on that juice cleanse changed my life more than I can say. It helped me take control of my life and gave me such clarity of thinking that I had the courage to make the huge leap, (which EVERYONE thought was completely bonkers) to quit my job in finance and have a change of direction, even though I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.
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Juice cleansing for me is about so much more than weight loss, it is about regaining health and restoring balance. I try to cleanse seasonally, but equally I will return to it whenever I need time to pause and reflect. It is something I do for myself that is completely about me. It helps me to reset any bad habits that have crept in and importantly, to regain focus on the things that matter.
My top tips for how to get the most out of your cleanse
1. Choose the time of your cleanse wisely – make sure you don’t have a hectic work schedule or social diary. Having time to relax and recharge is key.
2. Prepare for your cleanse for a few days beforehand by making changes to your diet, such as reducing wheat, dairy, meat and alcohol. The more time you spend doing this, the easier your cleanse should be. This is most important with caffeine, as caffeine withdrawal can leave you with terrible headaches and feeling sick. Reducing it gradually should prevent this.
3. If possible, get a friend to cleanse with you. It’s great having someone to cleanse with as it keeps you motivated and makes the experience more fun.
4. Book in some sort of massage or reflexology. This is a time for focusing on yourself and these are hugely beneficial treatments to help promote detoxification, especially Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage.
5. Many people new to cleansing are worried that they’ll feel hungry. More often than not, clients tell us that they can’t manage to finish all the juices as they feel so full! However, even the ones who do feel a bit hungry (often as they’re still training or rushing around) manage as we advise them to add in some snacks. Cleansing isn’t a competition and if you need to add in something solid, then this isn’t a disaster - it can just slow the process down a little!
My favourite juicing ingredients
I love the heat of ginger and find it sits well in so many juices, so long as it’s used sparingly! It’s believed to have anti-inflammatory benefits, to aid digestive issues and help banish nausea.
Not everyone likes the delicate aniseed flavour of fennel, but I think it can be perfectly balanced in a good green juice. I love the taste and again it can help with digestive issues. It also contains vitamin C and potassium.
Rich in chlorophyll, vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, iron, vitamin B6 and calcium, it’s highly nutritious and gives any green juice or smoothie a gorgeous rich green colour.
It’s great at promoting detoxification and is brilliant added to any juice to help bring out the flavours in the other ingredients. I use it (or lime) in every juice I make.
To find out more about Radiance Cleanse’s delicious range of juices and cleansing programmes, visit www.radiancecleanse.com .