|Photo by Michelle Meiklejohn|
Research over the past two years had brought me to the conclusion that moving towards more alkaline-forming foods was the way to go, so I used as my guide Dr. Robert Young's book, 'The pH Miracle' - a great introduction to this new way of thinking. The basic principles are simple - eat more green, preferably raw and avoid all those acid-forming foods that we have become addicted to; meat, dairy, sugar etc.... This is not a strict vegan philosophy but just a way of hugely reducing our dependence on the things that are killing us. Dr. Young recommends a 20/80% mix of acid-forming to alkaline-forming foods, which is quite achievable and, actually, much easier to digest.
Anyway, back to the cleanse. The menu was simple enough - our normal vegetable juice for breakfast which we have been drinking for the past 2 years which I make using my Easy Health Juicer. For two people take half a cucumber, one or two sticks of celery (including leaves), a big handful of spinach or similar leaves - I often use a leaf or two of Chard (known as côte de bette here in France), a slice or two of root ginger and a couple of slices of lemon or lime. This makes a good half-glass each of juice which I then top-up with water using the purified, alkaline, ionized water from our newly acquired Biocera jug. You also need to drink something between 1-2 litres of alkaline water between meals.
This purchase has been an absolute revelation to us. Ever since setting out on this journey in September 2008 I have known that the goal is to drink 3 - 4 litres per day of good, alkaline, ionized water but all the equipment offered to achieve this was just so ridiculously expensive that it was dismissed out of hand. That is until I discovered that Biocera make water jugs that produce, through mineral filtration, beautiful smooth, alkaline water at a fraction of the cost of the machines. Even facturing in the cost of replacement filters it still works out at less than 10€ per month. So off went our order, tout de suite, and we are now enjoying the luxury of healthy water.
Now, where was I? The rest of the cleanse menu, apart from the aforesaid water, was a mid-day and evening meal of fresh soup. This could be varied using any mix of vegetables which includes: onions, leeks, shallots, garlic, fennel, tomatoes, courgettes, asparagus (I use tinned as it's out of season), sweet peppers (bell peppers), raw carrot (grate into the soup at the end as, if cooked, carrots become acid-forming), spinach, all the members of the kale/cabbage family especially broccoli and cauliflower, cucumbers, avocado, ginger, lemon or lime, fresh or dried herbs and seasonings especially cumin, caraway (excellent for it's anti-gas effect!) - turmeric is good for a cleanse so be generous. Liquid is provided using a yeast-free stock powder (1teaspoon to 2 cups of alkaline water) and also almond milk and/or coconut milk (in moderation).
You can buy the almond milk from health-food shops but I make mine by soaking a cup of almonds (with their skins on) overnight. Throw away this soak water and put the almonds in the food processor adding a cup of alkaline water. Blitz, adding more water as required until you have a smooth liquid. This is then strained using a fine strainer - squeezing out the pulp to get every precious drop. The pulp is wonderfully versatile and can be used for a body/face scrub, made into a 'paté' by mixing in sesame or almond paste, finely chopped sweet peppers, chilli if you like it, onions, herbs - whatever takes your fancy, or, you can add a couple of spoons to the soup as a thickener. The milk will keep for about three days in the fridge.
To make the soup start by chopping the onion/leek and put into a pan with a little olive oil on a medium to low heat. Put the lid on and leave this to 'steam-fry' for a few minutes until transparent whilst you carry on chopping the rest of the chosen veg. At this stage you could add some curry spices, cumin, garam masala and fry those with the onions. Then add the coarsely chopped broccoli or whatever, maybe some courgette and red pepper. Leave to steam for a few minutes then add some chopped tomatoes and after another minute spoon it into your processor, add some of the stock and blitz under a coarse purée. Put this back in the pan, add the remaining stock, a splash of almond milk or coconut milk, adjust the seasoning using whatever takes your fancy. Warm, over a low heat, until hot enough to bear your finger in it - the secret is not to overcook it. We're aiming for an almost raw, but warming soup.
Let your imagination run riot - try out new flavour combinations, new herbs and seasonings and, yes, salt is allowed as long as it's is decent sea-salt. Over here in France we can get wonderful sea-salt flavoured with herbs and spices which adds just a bit more to the recipe.
Right, so what happened? We felt fine - made sure we were at home as, with all this increased water consumption, we were pee-ing for the nation! I did feel hungry between meals but just had another glug of water which helped enormously - and also made drinking the 2 L achievable. We did it for six days by which time we were both more than ready for something more solid and are easing ourselves into 'normal' eating by having some baked salmon with lightly steamed greens and a large green salad - the vinaigrette dressing is made using olive oil and lemon - never vinegar as that is just so acid-forming.
We have both lost weight (a good thing!) but have not felt overly tired. We have both had detox symptoms like sneezing, tingling, a bit of nausea and a need to blow my nose more often. We have still kept up with our three-times weekly swim so feel tip-top right now and ready for the Spring. We will continue with the morning green juice and the evening fresh soup but will have solid food for our main, mid-day meal - making sure it is still very green with a big salad.
Bon chance - give it a whirl and you will find a new level of energy and enthusiasm.