My partner and I decided it was time for some full body maintenance on the inside, so we decided to do a 6 day Juice cleanse, colon cleanse and liver cleanse. Living as vegans for the last two years we both have a healthy diet, with lots of plant based foods and not much processed convenience food. However we both were feeling stressed, low in energy and in need of a boost.
Our Health Goals:
I have been living with IBS for as long as can remember and have eliminated many foods such as gluten and dairy, however I still have had an ongoing addiction with coffee and IBS symptoms that weren’t going away. Along the journey I became aware that there are lots of reasons for IBS, however an inflamed digestive system that needs a clean can be one of them. It seems that the advice is to first eliminate trigger foods from your diet, then cleanse your gut of unwanted overgrowths of bacteria and other toxins, then heal the gut wall (as it really is inflamed and not happy!) then eventually re-introduce foods to test what can be tolerated and what is on the no list for life. So my goal was to cleanse the gut, bowel and liver and step closer to the root causes of IBS and an unhealthy gut function.
My partner wanted to loose of bit of weight and deal with stress, he also wanted to experience more vitality and have the energy to exercise after a work day. He hoped to reset his dietary habits and make a big shift in his lifestyle to combat long working hours, not getting any younger and lack of energy.
We decided to follow the six day Cleanse for Health program passed onto us several years ago. This included six days without solid food drinking homemade vegetable juices and a few extra cleansing drinks. We also decided to add to this two colonic hydrotherapy sessions to assist the bowel, large and small intestine cleansing, and we decided to follow Andrea Morritz’s liver cleanse, which aims to release a build-up of unhealthy gallstones from the liver.
The Six Day Juice Cleanse
So every morning we started the day with a Organic golden flaxseed drink. A tablespoon of flaxseeds (also known as linseeds) soaked overnight in water make a slightly thick gelatinous liquid. The purpose of this drink is to lubricate and soothe the digestive system. It basically calms and nourished the mucous membranes that line the entire gut.
Then we went onto a couple of cleansing drinks. The first was a cup of hot water with the juice of half a lemon and a tablespoon of Organic Cider vinegar. This drink has anti-microbial properties which cleanse the gut of unwanted bacteria and the cider vinegar is beneficial in removing mucous from the small intestines. The second cleansing drink includes Organic Psyllium husks, apple juice and detoxifying clay. The husks and clay work on softening, loosening and absorbing the toxins found the gut and intestines.
The cleanse program then involved a fresh homemade vegetable juice 1-2 hrs later. This cycle is then repeated in 1-2 hour intervals throughout the day. Additionally it was essential to drink lots of water (3-4 litres per day) to support the body healing and to stay hydrated.
The Cleanse for Health Program suggests a list of additional supplements however we decided to keep things simple and just add Indigo Herbs Love Your Liver Fortified Mix into our juices. This formulation is designed to cleanse and support the liver and includes a proprietary formula of vitamins, minerals and amino acids as well as superfoods, milk thistle, turmeric and grapefruit seed extract. The additional nutrients in this blend helped support the body detoxify and repair.
We also had a stack of Organic Chlorella tablets on hand to swallow if we got severe hunger pangs.
We took the week off work and made sure that we had plenty of time to rest and sleep if necessary. Cleansing is actually really hard work for the body as it is an opportunity to slough off dead cells, release toxic waste from the lymphatic system, bloodstream, spleen, kidneys and liver, release excess mucus from the lungs and sinuses and dump excess cholesterol. Whilst many people go off to stay at a juice cleansing retreat away from home, we decided to just relax at home so we prepared all our own drinks (and did a lot of washing up) and walked our dog everyday as normal. We also included sauna and skin brushing into our program. Skin brushing encourages the circulation of the lymphatic system and both of these therapies support the process of detox.
This kind of deep clean can also bring suppressed feelings to the surface for release, so self-nurturing activities are highly recommended. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time in my duvet on the sofa, my concentration wasn’t great so I found reading a bit of a challenge. However I practised yoga every morning and found that my practice was much deeper than normal, with stretches, breathing and meditation all being more seamless and less distracted. At times it was quite blissful and at times it was simply grim.
The Cleansing Program
- First Thing on rising: Linseeds soaked in water (overnight)
- Immediately after: Cleansing Drink 1: 1/2 Juice of a lemon and 1 tablespoon of Organic Cider Vinegar with hot water
- Cleansing drink 2: 1 heaped teaspoon of Organic Psyllium husks and ½ teaspoon of clay blended with a small cup of apple juice
- Vegetable and fruit juice: Include a minimum of 85% vegetable and a small amount of fruit for taste if necessary. You can use Carrots, Celery, Beetroot, Fennel, spinach, Kale, Rainbow Chard, Fresh herbs, tomatoes, pears, apples, pineapples, melon, the list is actually endless. I’ve even heard of people juicing potatoes! There are so many delicious juicing recipes out there that bring together great flavours.
- · Herbal teas: Unlimited
- · At least 3 litres of water per day
A period of fasting and drinking vegetable and fruit juices can also really boost the micro-nutrient intake and this can have a profound effect on health. This level of micro nutrition can really help the body’s cells rejuvenate and repair, and the other internal organs begin to regenerate. It also gives the body a rest so that the energy consumed can be spent on renewal.
The Colon Cleanse
Unfortunately not many people know that the whole intestinal tract can become weighed down by impacted faecal matter, mucoid plaque, parasites and unwanted fungal overgrowths such as candida. This is not unusual and in fact it’s not surprising as we have 35 feet of digestive tract, consisting of 20 feet of small intestines and 5 feet of large intestines. It’s no surprise that some of the matter that passes through here does not make it all the way out. Add to that the modern western diet that is often too high in sugars which feed unwanted bacteria and encourage their growth. The UK has the highest incidence of bowel cancer in the world and one in three people visiting their GP have a bowel condition.
Colonic hydrotherapy addresses this issue and many people use this therapy to treat constipation, bloating, IBS, flatulence and diverticulosis. We contacted the associated register of colon hydro therapists and found a therapist close to our home. We arranged a therapy sessions for Day 3 and Day 6 of the cleanse program to support our bodies process of release. The final colonic treatment was timed for the morning after the liver flush, as the unwanted gallstones that are released from the liver during this cleansing procedure empty out of the liver into the intestine so it’s really important that they are flushed out or there is a risk that they will be re absorbed.
The Liver Cleanse
The liver is an extremely hard working organ, its job is to process, breakdown and convert the body’s fuel supply. If it is impeded this can substantially effect health and wellbeing and even lead to disease. The liver cleanse program removes hundreds of stones and excess cholesterol that has been clogging the liver over time. It is safe and easy to do at home using apple juice, olive oil, grapefruit juice and Epsom salts.
We followed the Cleanse For Health Liver Cleanse and it is recommended that 1-2 litres of apple juice be drank for 6 days before the cleanse itself, this is because the pectin and malic acid in the apple juice softens the stones and bile ducts in the liver before the procedure. We didn’t drink this much apple juice because we were on a juice fast and we tried to keep our sugar intake to a minimum. However we had one large glass as one of our morning cleansing drinks (mixed with the Psyllium Husks and clay).
We decided to do the liver cleanse on the evening of day five, so we didn’t consume anything but pure water after 2pm, and then between 2pm and 5pm we drank as much water as possible. The procedure involves drinking 4 glasses of Epsom salts dissolved in water ( 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts to 100ml of pure filtered water) at 6pm, 8pm and then at 6am and 8am the next morning. No water can be drank at all until after 1030am the following day. It’s worth mentioning that the Epsom salts can encourage bowel movements including diarrhoea. Then at 10pm you drink 2/3 of a mug of grapefruit juice mixed with ½ mug of Organic virgin cold-pressed Olive Oil, we also added 10 drops of Black Walnut Tincture for its anti-microbial properties. This combination needs vigorously shaking in a jar with a lid so that it emulsifies. We drank this before getting into bed (I didn’t find it too awful but my partner said it was disgusting) and then we lie propped upwards on pillows for forty five minutes to let this concoction do its work.
We listened to a guided meditation that we found through google which encouraged us to visualise the liver releasing its toxins and invited us to breathe deeply and let go. The next morning is the difficult bit as we couldn’t drink until after 1030am, it’s quite possible that you might feel pretty grim at this stage as the liver is associated with feelings of anger, frustration, toxicity, a bit like a bad hangover. Then it’s time to rehydrate and go for a colonic treatment to flush all the gallstones that are released out of the bowel.
As many as 500 gallstones can be released, which are pea sized and full of bile, they have most probably been there for years and its quite a big deal to let them go. Six to eight liver flushes are recommended over a longer period of time to assist the liver fully releasing the build-up of gall stones and returning to a healthy fully functioning state. Approximately 8% of adult population, or more than 5.5 million people in the UK have gallstones, 50,000 will end up having there gallbladder removed. Most people assume gallstones are made in the gallbladder but there are made in the liver and then pass into the gall bladder.
How you might feel
People have very different experiences when cleansing depending on their diet and health condition before cleansing. If you do have an ongoing health condition it is recommended to get the support of your doctor beforehand and not to stop taking medication without your doctor’s support.
It is said that symptoms of detox can make you feel really awful. That can include headaches, tiredness, diarrhoea, grumpiness, emotional release and weakness. However this is totally personal, you can also feel increased vitality and lots more energy. This can also vary from day by day. Generally people can often feel dreadful to begin with and then adapt and significantly improve, often reporting feeling great by the end of the fast.
Preparation probably counts for a lot and it’s worth doing a pre-cleanse diet for a week or two before and removing things like meat, fish, dairy, processed foods, caffeinated drinks, sugar etc. However again this is down to the state of your normal diet, if its relatively clean then just a couple of days of eating lightly is fine.
How things went for us
We found it quite hard to keep up with the amount of drinks required and we did drop back to our own pace. We tended to have 3 cleansing drink rounds and 3 juices on each day. We fasted for 6 days and had our colonics on day 3 and day 6. We both had very different feelings and we were weak and fatigued at different times. Equally we both felt quite renewed and well at different times too. We cleaned the juicer out a lot! We still slept well and went for a long walk each day. I also did yoga most days and we both visited the sauna a few times (and did some swimming). The whole experience was very relaxing, we sat in nature and we noticed that our levels of sensitivity had greatly increased. We both had a magnesium salts bath and did some skin brushing.
However after we had completed this cleanse and broken our fast on the evening of day six with a bowl of vegetable broth we both continued to notice big improvements in our health and wellbeing.
My partner felt greatly refreshed and energised with a renewed positive state of mind and some energy reserves available to focus on better health care routines including continuing to juice daily and exercising more. He started making Chaga Mushroom tea towards the end of the cleanse and continues to drink it daily in place of his usual coffee, and he has found it greatly fortifying and healing.
I felt quite cold and weak after the fast and I felt like my body had been through a lot, introducing foods was difficult as everything seem to trigger my IBS symptoms. I decided that my body needed a couple of weeks of herbal adaptogens to help it reset and rebalance. Herbal adaptogens do what it says on the tin, they helped the body to adapt to extreme circumstances and nourish the adrenal glands helping the body overcome stress. In my case whilst the cleanse had done my body good i was struggling to adapt after such a deep detox. So I made warming drinks such as Adaptogenic Morning Cocoa and Golden Milk. These drinks really brought me back together and I used adaptogenic herbs like Rhodiola Rosea, Indigo Herbs SuperMushroom Nutri-complex, Liquorice and Cinnamon. This really worked for me and I started to feel a lightness of being that I hadn’t experienced in a while.
We both felt enthusiastic about coming back to a second cleanse quite soon, really inspired to eat the cleanest diet and remain determined to not return to our former coffee habit. Feeling this good really does make it worth it.
If you are interested in following a cleanse program here are some helpful links that could get you started.
For inspiration and further information on how a juice fast can radically improve your health watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead – a film by Joe Cross
If IBS is your problem then check out our blog - Why do I get IBS and what can I do about it?
For more information about the Cleanse for Health Program
For a fantastic therapist based in Axbridge, Somerset who also facilitates cleansing retreats - Caring Colon cleansing
To find a colonic hydrotherapist in your area and find out more about colon cleansing – Association of Registered Colon Hydrotherapists
To find out more about Andreas Moritz’s Liver Cleanse Program