Gorgeous greens - image from our fabulous new friend: Wellness W.A.
Hello, lovelies. Welcome to the “Re-Nourish” edition of Living Clean. Today’s installment is your foundation kit of your-body-is-a-temple-already rituals, ingredients and tricks of the cleansing trade to get you really re-nourished, deeply refreshed and hella re-energized. So, crack open a coconut water, and let’s get started.
The number one thing I would instill in you as an absolute must is green juicing. It’s certainly something I’ve got to get back into (yeah – I’ve totally fallen off the wagon, friends) – whenever I go green first thing in the morning, every morning, I don’t catch so much as a sniffle (even when the worst bugs are floating around), my energy shoots through the roof, and well – let’s just say that when I say “it’s cleansing” I really, truly mean it.
You can use most green veggies that are good raw – everything from broccoli stalks to spinach leaves. Make sure that when you add your fruit component, that it’s roughly a third or less the amount of vegetable that you juice (apples & kiwi fruit is great, and I’m quite partial to a bit of watermelon at this time of year…). This ensures your blood-sugar doesn’t spike too quickly first thing. Fresh lemon and ginger will give your juice a detoxification supercharge.
The Singaporeans know how to juice.
Here, I’m borrowing a pre-loved recipe from a previous post of mine, because it’s still my absolute, 100% favourite.
The Lean Green Clean
- 1/2 cucumber (or whole if Lebanese) – peeled if not organic
- 2 x celery stalks (include the leaves)
- 2 cups of baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 – 1 lemon (peeled)
- a good thumb-sized knob of ginger
- 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves
Sometimes if we make too much, I pop the remainder into an old agave bottle or jar, whack it in the fridge, and leave it to enjoy later onwards in the day. It beats a 3pm caffeine and sugar jolt hands-down. We use the Breville Ikon/Juice Fountain Plus, which is roughly the equivalent of this one.
Eat this shit. And lots of it. But seriously now, in my very humble opinion you can salad up at every meal while you’re cleansing (and beyond, my darlings) and not feel like you’re in any way in denial.
When I was a very young actor graduating from drama school, and on a get-trim-fast-fest while still needing to maintain incredibly high energy levels throughout the day, I had the best “breakfast salad” routine down.
Hot-to-trot “breakfast salad”
- Soak half a cup of raw, organic nuts in chilled, filtered water overnight to “activate” them (or get them in the sprouting state). Cashews, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds & pepitas are amazing for this – but go nuts (oh, sorry) and experiment with other favourite if it takes your fancy.
- In the morning, smash your nuts up manually – just a tiny bit – until they’re a little rough and chunky.
- Chop up a serve or two of raw fruit (in season, of course). The lower glycemic-index versions are best. Apple, peach, pear, nashi, melon, kiwi… play around and combine a couple if you like, depending on what’s available.
- Grate some fresh ginger. Not too much – you don’t want to be overwhelmed. But it should be enough to give your salad a good kick up the patootie.
- Mix all that good shit up together. You can add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like.
- If you feel like you need a bit of solid oomph, you can ladle a good spoonful of natural (unflavoured & unsweetened) soy yoghurt on top. But this is optional, and not nutritionally essential, ’cause you’ve got such nummy goodness in those blissfully activated nuts.
And as for lunch and dinner?
Really, this is all about picking fabulously fresh, organic-where-you-can, and most definitely in-season produce, and combining as much raw with lightly cooked ingredients as possible. Aim for 60-100% raw veg for at least lunchtime, if not dinner too (a little lightly steamed veg is totally fine, if you’re struggling to ease yourself onto raw, btw). Your body will definitely thank you for it.
The other awesome thing about raw and par-cooked vegetables is that they fill you up way faster than crap that’s had the shit cooked out of it. Give it a burl for a few nights, and you’ll find you’re not running back for seconds anywhere near as fast as you used to!
Quick tip: If you’re used to creamy sauces and salad dressings, a wildly delicious and hella healthy alternative is to use chickpeas (or just plain supermarket-bought hommus if you’re in a hurry), cashews and sesame seeds (or tahini) in place of the scary dairy. Talk about protein pack!
Cashews will need to be soaked for a couple of hours, chickpeas cooked (a can is cheating but totally acceptable if you’re short on time or patience, and would otherwise struggle with the chick), and sesame seeds or tahini paste can be thrown in with either as you prep you paste.
You just need a hand blender, a food processor, or a mortar and pestle and some awesome cardiovascular fitness.
Smash em up, season to taste (tamari, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, cumin powder… play around with flavour as you will). Et, voila: healthy creamy dressing and/or sauce.
Not much to say about this really, except drink up. Have a good stainless steel or glass flask on your person at all times with chilled, purified water. Stay hydrated throughout the day. A squeeze of lemon and a sprig of mint, or slice of cucumber can zazz things up a little if you’re getting tired of plain H2O. Whatever makes it easiest to get roughly 1.5 litres of it down your hatch every day – do it. You’re going to need to stay incredibly well-watered as you’ll be flushing out a f**kton of toxins as you cleanse, and you’ll need lubrication to wash them away with. *Slurp.*
Yep. This is really a consult-your-doctor one, but I would say that if your diet’s been a little hairy in the past and you’re struggling to add the fruit and vegetables back into it in the volumes required to pick your system up off the floor, a daily multivitamin (a good one, and vegan-friendly of course) for at least a month or two won’t hurt. Once your diet is richly packed with a wealth of seasonal, organic and raw fruits and vegetables however, you can probably rethink your need for this one.
It’s commonly recognised by most medical professionals that those eating a plant based diet are at a higher-than-normal risk of vitamin B-12 deficiency (it’s the only nutrient you can’t get from plants alone). Hell, I was put onto this stuff when I was still a flesh-muncher. You can get tested for deficiency (it’s not a bad idea all round), but it’s not one that I’d ignore at any rate. Ask your doctor or naturopath what the best route is for you.
Then there’s bacteria. The good type. The stuff that you commonly find in yoghurt. Well, the great news is that you can get non-animal-based capsules of good bacteria/flora to work wonders in your digestive system, and keep your gut-work happy.
In addition to these three reasonably essential puppies, for gut cleansing, it’s worth checking out psyllium husks and aloe vera juice to aid in the, er… release of solid toxins that have built up in your intestines. Yummy.
And finally, other supplements to consider are zinc (especially in cold and flu season), vitamin D, and magnesium. Spirulina (a superfood seaweed) also rocks my world. And as always, check it all out with your health care professional first – or at the very least, the qualified naturopath in the health food store. Seek out a good intergrative doctor, and you’re set for life.
Yeah. You do it without thinking. It keeps you alive. But while you’re transitioning to a life of living clean, begin to give yourself the gift of big, deep, conscious breaths. Detoxing is about so much more than just dumping crap out of your body. It’s getting the toxic evil ju-ju karma out of our lives, too. The junk-food of the soul.
Breath helps to clear this. Take in big, deep, hedonistically gorgeous gulps of it. Close your eyes and drown in your stillness. In the midst of chaos, the horrors of peak hour, on the verge of a fight, when you’ve eaten something you wished you hadn’t, on a day you just haven’t had a break and it’s breaking you, stop. Close your eyes and breathe. In, two, three, four, five. Pause. Out, two, three, four, five. Pause. Repeat.
Okay, so we’re really on our way here.
On Monday: a treat! That’s all I’m saying! Except that it will be a whole cocktail of fun… I’m saying that, too.
And then next Friday, we’re going to batten down our Living Clean hatches and set some grand and juicy goals.
Until then, mes chéris, Santé!