The Chris James Mind and Body Cleanse

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Posted by Laurel on Sunday 10th of April 2011




I'm well aware that beauty is only skin deep, and no matter how many lotions and potions I slather on I am sure that deep down a change in diet might be the new season kick start I need to my beauty regime. And so it was that a few weeks ago I decided to partake in the Chris James Mind & Body Cleanse...

A well-respected and much sought after name in the world of yoga, Chris James has an unrivalled passion for health and nutrition. With there seemingly being a million and one detox/weight loss/cleanse products on the market it's hard to know which to choose. The purpose of the Cleanse is to "inspire you to transform the relationship you have with yourself and your own lifestyle". Designed for those who over-eat and under-exercise, feel sluggish, bloated and overweight or need an immune system boost, it essentially consists of a strict diet which cuts out meat, dairy, bread, pasta, sugar, alcohol and caffeine (basically all the things my body survives on...) and encouraged to consume plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. There is a also a box of vitamins and supplements that are an essential part of the Cleanse, containing all the nutrients your body needs but will not be getting.

The Mind & Body Cleanse is divided into four phases, each lasting three days, of which the Power Phase (Days 7-9) is the most difficult; it's recommended that you plan in advance to do this over a quiet period (i.e. a weekend with nothing on when you are not a work...) - the reason for which will be explained later! So It was that I trundled off to Sainsbury's one Saturday afternoon to fill my trolley with healthy things and wave a sad, albeit temporary, goodbye to my diet of chocolate Weetos and eggs on toast...

The Preparation Phase: Days 1-3
The first step was to eliminate the 'No' foods and introduce more of the 'Yes' foods to my diet, i.e. lots of fruit and veg, pulses, seeds, fruit and herbal teas. Not a bad start - I did get more creative with my salads - but admittedly by day 3 I was a bit twitchy as my body got used to going without it's obligatory morning cup of tea and daily 3pm sugar hit. During this phase you start on the supplements before breakfast and dinner; these include Super Multi (an all-rounder including a number of vitamins and minerals), Milk Thistle (believed to improve liver function), Super Vitamin C (helps to eradicate the extra free radicals that are produced during cleansing) and Clean Green (a slightly vile smelling capsule derived from algae, loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. Apparently the worse they smell the better they are for you...). So far so good...

The Pre-Purification Phase: Days 4-6
During this phase the diet is streamlined even more to prepare the body for the Power Phase. It involved eating as much raw food as possible and increasing the amount of supplements; these were bumped up to 8 a day, including Flaxseed Oil (rich in Omega 3 fatty acids - vile to swallow) and a Pure Probiotic containing nine strains of 'friendly' bacteria. After the initial lethargic three day slump of going without sugar to pep me up, I had started to feel better by this point and seemed to be waking up a bit. It helped that the this was when the weather began to improve - if I'd attempted this when it was cold and rainy I fear I would have succumbed to the comfort of cheese on toast...

The Power Phase: Days 7-9
Otherwise known as the tough one. During the Power Phase one may only consumer fresh fruit and raw vegetable juices, at least six 300ml glasses per day. I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to cope... There are a number of great recipe ideas on the Chris James website, such as Green Wonder (melon, kiwi, pear and lime) and Carotene Catapault (carrot, red pepper, broccoli and sweet potato) but I quite enjoyed getting creative. One of the nicest juices is very simply a mix of berries - strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Yummy. I see why it's best to do this phase over a quiet weekend; within about 5 hours you are literally hallucinating about lasagne, followed by a tub of Haagen Dazs and a bottle of PInot Grigio. I feared I couldn't do it alone, so spent the night with a friend who had done a similar cleanse before so we could juice together as a team! It was hard work - my concentration levels went out the window as all I could think about was food. I felt tired and had to have a couple of naps, and admittedly I did cut the phase down to just two days; I couldn't take a day off work for it and I really would have been no use whatsoever had I been juicing in the office while everyone else tucked into chocolate buttons... In spite of this I didn't really feel hungry during the Power Phase; one of the supplements - Supercleanse - contains the naturally fibrous psylliam husk which swells in the gut to keep you feeling full.

The Maintenance Phase: Days 10-12
The first food after the Power Phase felt like a banquet, even if it was just a bowl of fruit! The aim now was to ease myself back into real food; fruit, veg and light salads to enable my body to get used to eating again, while still taking the supplements (I admit by now they were getting a little harder to swallow each time...). By day 11 I was ready to give up. I was definitely feeling a lot better than I did when I started, but by god was I craving real food again. Having said that, it was worth it. I lost nearly half a stone in the 12 days I did the cleanse, my skin was clearer, I'm sleeping better, I had more energy and I generally just felt a lot 'lighter', like I had a sudden new spring in my step. I'm not going to pretend it wasn't hard, quite possibly the hardest thing I have done since attempting A Level chemistry, but it was a great experience that I can definitely recommend.

The Chris James Mind and Body Cleanse box of supplements is available from www.chrisjamescleanse.com

Love Laurel x

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