Juicing While Watching Le Tour De France

imageIt’s that time of year again – I can’t believe we’re into July already and I’m still wearing my woollies and putting the heating on! (Even the telly has a scarf on!) Anyway, as I said, it’s that time of year again when our house and our family become completely overtaken by all things Tour de France (TdF): wall to wall cycling everyday, all afternoon, and the highlights in the evening! Oh, and we’ve even joined a Fantasy League.

My son and I spend hours going through the form guides, switching team members every other day for about two weeks before any cycling event, keeping it all hush-hush; my husband spends half an hour picking names he likes the sound of the night before, guess who usually wins?! This is the man who falls asleep every single time the cycling is on, doesn’t have a clue who half of them are and he nicks the win in the last couple of days. (I’ve even joined another couple of leagues to try to win some TdF goodies). But we’re not competitive. Not at all. Texts will be flying back and forth throughout the day and the occasional triumphant one will cross the ether late evening after the daily league update goes live. But we’re not competitive.

During the first week, I shall also be doing a juice challenge. imageThis time of year is usually when people begin to think about their upcoming holidays, about displaying the parts of their bodies that have been covered up all year with woolly jumpers, jeans and boots. Others want to rid themselves of that central heating pallour to their skin, get re-energised and kickstart a healthy-eating programme or reset their hormones and taste buds having decided to declutter their system of processed, fatty and sugary foods.

I signed up for Jason Vale’s free 7 Day Juice Challenge – there’s still time to join in, just visit the website* and sign up. You’ll receive an emailed shopping list, all the recipes and coaching videos for free. There’s lots of advice on how to begin, what to expect and lots of encouragement if you find yourself struggling, – like when your family are eating pizza! – and what to do afterwards.

Join me, raise a glass of juice and tell me who you reckon is in with a shout to win this year’s Tour de France – I mean the riders of course, not our fantasy league, because it really doesn’t matter, we’re not competitive at all!

Here’s to a healthy summer!

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*http://www.juicemaster.com/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Juicy Sweet Potato Surprise

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Sweet Potato Surprise made in my Retro Super Juicer* and stored in my Grip and Go* glass bottle.

Many of you will know from earlier posts that I love sweet potatoes: I love them baked whole with a nut roast, or as healthy chips tossed in coconut oil or even toasted!… But best of all, I love them juiced. Sweet potatoes are good sources of Vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, potassium and fibre.

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Juice the following ingredients:

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2 Sweet Potatoes, with skin on, scrubbed and chopped

2 Carrots, ditto

1 Apple

1 Pear

1 Kiwi, peeled

Several Romaine leaves, washed

(Did you know romaine lettuce contains protein?)

Blend with 1/4 of a ripe Avocado (for extra protein, fibre, Vitamin E – good for your skin and keeps you fuller longer).

Serve with ice, if desired.

(The Suprise? That you’ll like it!)

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*http://www.retrojuicer.com/

*http://gripandgo.co.uk

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Shelled Hemp Seeds: Superfood or Psychogenic?!

imageWould it surprise you that this Spicy Raw Hot Chocolate is made with shelled hemp seeds, as are the Oh-So-Chocolatey Hemp Seed Coins? In fact, milk as well as paper, textiles, rope, plastics and biofuel can all be made from hemp. Paper from hemp is environmentally many times better than paper made from wood (it can be recycled over and over again), and the cultivation of hemp plants uses far fewer chemicals than cotton and 50% less water.

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Hemp is undoubtedly one of the most versatile and environmentally friendly plants on the planet and its fruit are one of the most versatile, healthy seeds for the human body.

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Hemp plants thrive almost everywhere and are grown all over the world including Canada, France and China. Benjamin Franklin grew hemp and The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.

If This is the Case, Why is Hemp Production Banned in the US?

Oh ok, you want to jump right into it! It’s a good question, the answer to which I, and millions of others, fail to understand.

So let’s deal with the thorny problem of whether or not this reputedly hippy dippy plant is a psychogenic and worthy of being listed in the US under Controlled Substances.

The problem for US authorities since 1950 when the growing of hemp was banned, is that they failed – and continue to fail – to see the difference between Cannibis Sativa L. (hemp) and its sister variety, Marijuana, which comes from the same species but is definitely not the same plant. They are very, very different. Marijuana is 20% psychoactive drug, Hemp 0.3%, and even less when processed into milk or oil.

Therefore, NO, hemp seeds will definitely NOT make you ‘high’! (sorry).

(The US failed, however, to ban hemp products in 1970, and as a result, Americans obtain most of their hemp products via imports from Canada).

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Now We’ve Got That Out of the Way, What are the Health Benefits of Shelled Hemp Seeds?

Ah, now the good bit:

This little seed is so powerful in its health properties, you’ll wonder why you’ve never heard of it or used it before.

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First, the nutritional content:

  • 2-3 Tbsps of hemp seeds contain about 10-11g of protein, providing all 9 amino acids essential for human health.
  • They are one of the most easily digestible sources of protein, not likely to cause bloating when used in protein shakes, unlike whey protein.
  • 25% of the calories is made up of protein, more even than chia or flax seeds (16% – 18%). (Hemp Protein Powder is an efficient way of getting more protein when blended into a shake, useful for post workout recovery).
  • Hemp seeds have a perfect ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 essential fatty acids. Inflammation occurs when there is too much Omega 6.
  • They provide Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorous, Sulphur, Calcium, Manganese, Iron, Zinc, B Vitamins, Vitamin D and Vitamin E.

Why We Should Eat Shelled Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds have been shown to have many health benefits,  here are just a few:

  • Hemp seed oil has been used medicinally in China for 3000 years.
  • Because they are high in Gamma-Linolenic Acid, hemp seeds can be effective in reducing symptoms of PMS and Menopause, similar to Primrose Oil. It is believed they may help Regulate Hormonal Imbalances and Reduce Inflammation.
  • They may help reduce the risk of Heart Disease through the dilation and relaxation of blood vessels which lowers Blood Pressure and reduces Inflammation.
  • The ability to Reduce Inflammation can also help with symptoms of Immune Deficiency Diseases.
  • Other benefits include relief from Arthritis, Increased Energy, Normalising Blood Cholesterol, Better Skin.
  • Some studies show hemp oil can improve Eczema and relieve Dry, Itchy Skin.
  • Hemp seeds are more Allergy-Free than many other seeds.
  • They have been used as a treatment for patients with tuberculosis which renders them nutrient-deficient.

 Convinced? I Knew You Would Be! So How Do You Use Hemp Seeds? Here Are Some Ideas:

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Hemp seeds are delicately nutty (a bit like the author!) and can be used to make Hemp Milk, eaten raw when sprinkled on desserts, breakfast cereal/muesli, or blended in smoothies or ‘baked’ into raw treats. There are a number of recipes on the blog. See below or in Menu above for links to other recipes.

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Here is a simple and light breakfast or dessert recipe:

1 Frozen Banana

2 Dried Apricots

1 Small Glass Hemp Milk

Blend until smooth

Pour into a small bowl

Serve with sliced fresh Apricot, Sprinkling of Hemp Seeds & a Blueberry (or 2)

A wonderful, chilled start to a warm Summer’s day (I just know that as soon as I post this, it will be freezing and blowing a gale!)

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There are more recipes using hemp seeds in Nut Milks, Shakes & SmoothiesMore Smoothies! and More Raw Treats!

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Thank you to Timelesswheel for providing the prompt for this post!

Next up: Linseeds!

 We buy our hemp protein powder and shelled hemp seeds from http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Sources: Body EcologyAuthority NutritionSeed GuidesDr Axe

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Jason Vale aka The Juicemaster Shared My Skin Story on Facebook!

This morning I woke up to discover Jason Vale had shared my Juicing for Clear Skin story on Facebook! Whilst I am honoured to be one of the chosen ones, and I knew they were going to do it soon, I feel a bit embarrassed now it’s out there and my instinct is to dive under the duvet until it’s all over! I gave them a choice of photos, but the ones they used are my least favourite and least flattering 🙄

However, I wrote the original post to try to give people with skin conditions hope and inspiration, so I am sucking in my pride, vanity and embarrassment. It can be miserable coping with flaky, itchy red skin, while creams and medications so often don’t work and can make things worse.

So I am telling the world about Jason’s Facebook feature and wish everyone luck in their pursuit of clear, itch-free skin.

Here’s the link to my original post:

How I Juiced My Skin Clear – A Rash Decision? You Decide!

You can see the Juicemaster feature on my Facebook feed on the Home page of my blog or visit my Facebook Page where you’ll find recipes, Team Sky cyclobabble (bit of a groupie), shared juicing, vegan and environmental links, with a few pretty pictures dotted about.

If you’d also like to read about how I started juicing and the amazing benefits I gained both for my many health problems and my weight, plus tips on how to get started, read How to Begin or Do As I Say Not As I Did!

Thank you all for your continued support and I hope some of you feel inspired to give juicing a go, you won’t regret it!

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

Green Lady Blended Juice

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This blended juice was my husband’s improvised creation. Anyone who knows our family understands that this can be a tricky situation. He has always maintained a love-hate relationship with cooking: he loves to eat but doesn’t like the process of getting it to his plate!  He has generally lived by the mantra cook high, cook fast, done when smoke alarm sounds! He tries but must be supervised at all times especially if you are the one he’s cooking for: an ambulance once made an appearance when he added 2 heaped teaspoons of ground black pepper to pasta sauce instead of basil and I collapsed on the first mouthful.

He does, however, make our juices every morning, but strictly according to Jason Vale’s recipes, and, apart from the occasional beetroot explosion, these turn out well. Improvisation is not encouraged and I approached this morning’s juice with some trepidation.

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We generally use cheaper organic Gala apples for juicing and save the larger, tarter apples for eating on their own or as desserts. Today we had run out of Galas and so HB used one of my favourite large Pink Lady apples. Sacrilege in my book, so he didn’t ask first. It did, however, make quite a difference to the flavour of the juice.

I loved it. He is very proud of himself.

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All ingredients are organic, if the lemon is not organic, pare thinly to leave as much pith as possible. Pears are best used for juicing before they ripen.

Ingredients

1 Large Pink Lady Apple

1 Pear

A Thick Slice of Unwaxed Lemon

1 Celery Stalk, chopped

4″ Cucumber

1 Small Carrot

1 Kiwi Fruit, peeled

2″ Broccoli Stem

Handful of Spinach

Third of a Ripe Avocado

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Juice all fruit and veg except avocado, then blend with chopped avocado for about 30-45 seconds in a high speed blender until creamy smooth.

Add ice if liked.

P.S. HB vetted this before it was published!

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

Happy Star Wars Day! Yoda’s Youthful Green Smoothie

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 This Green Smoothie was created in honour of The Wise One’s special day!

It’s not guaranteed to bestow long life  – I think 900 years is pushing it a bit – and a wealth of wisdom, but a host of healthy anti-inflammatory nutrients including healthy fats, protein, B vitamins, electrolytes and Vitamin C, will nourish and hydrate your skin and body, while it’s omega oils will also feed the brain.

Due to it’s vegetable content, it’s perhaps more a lunchtime smoothie than a breakfast one.

All ingredients are organic except the live yogurt, but it has no sugar or additives.

Ingredients

Half a ripe Avocado, chopped

2″ of Cucumber, chopped

1 Apple, chopped

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 Tbsp CoYo Plain Yogurt

2 Medjool Dates, pitted and chopped

1 Glass Unsweetened Coconut Water

Blend and serve.

May the Fourth Be With You!

*http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

What Colour’s Your Wee?! Water: Part 1 – Are You Hydrated?

(Spoiler alert: We are talking water, wee and whoopsies!)

Whenever my 85 year old mum comes to visit, I am struck by… Oops, sorry, Mum… I’d better quickly explain that no, I am not going to be discussing the colour of my mum’s wee!!

Let’s start again:

Whenever my 85 year old mum comes to visit, I am struck by her antipathy towards drinking plain, unadulterated water. The only water that passes her lips is a sip to wash down her medication. She only ever drinks coffee throughout the day and a glass of wine with dinner. Very rarely, in hot weather, she drinks a glass of orange squash.  I can’t persuade her even to finish the glass of water when she has her tablets. Yet, a lot of the time she is tired, confused and has difficulty walking due to problems with her leg muscles. These are just three of the typical symptoms of dehydration.

Dehydration in the elderly is of particular concern as symptoms can be mistaken for those of dementia, and they are often given yet more drugs to help counter its effects and slow its progression.

But it is not only the elderly who risk becoming dehydrated. As we (hopefully) approach Summer, we all could do with assessing our intake of such a vital substance as we become more active, expelling more breath and perspiring more in the (slight intake of breath) warmer temperatures. (One can but hope!)

Water makes up about 60% of our bodies and is essential in lubricating our joints, spinal discs and chord, transporting nutrients, and expelling waste products and toxins; it regulates our temperature and keeps the tissues in our ears, nose and throat moist. Water helps keep your blood thin and your Blood Pressure down and flushes away unwanted fats. We need to keep hydrated to keep healthy.

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How do we know when we are dehydrated?

There are lots of signs that you are not taking in enough fluid:

  1. Constipation
  2.  Brain fog, feeling unfocused
  3. Confusion
  4. Headache
  5. Dizziness
  6. Muscle fatigue
  7. General fatigue
  8. Dry mouth
  9. Drowsiness
  10. Dark or strong-smelling urine: if you are well-hydrated, it should be straw-coloured.
  11. Stiff joints, disc problems
  12. In children, they are less active than usual
  13. Drinking too much coffee and/or alcohol  – they are diuretics

Many experts think that if you wait until you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. They advise drinking small amounts of water throughout the day.

Drinking large amounts of water infrequently can put your body under stress.

Carrying a water bottle helps. Preferably not plastic.

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(See Jerry Stainless Steel Bottles, a non-profit company supporting clean water projects in India and Africa).

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Image courtesy of Jerry Bottles

(Colour may be affected by medication or Vitamin supplements – 1 person I know had a shock after taking a Vitamin B supplement!)

How Much Water is Enough?

The European Food Authority recommends 2.5 litres of total fluid per day for men and 2.0 litres for women, whilst the US Institute of Medicine recommends 3 litres (13 Cups) for men and 2.2 litres (9 Cups) for women. These amounts can vary according to health, weight, intensity of activity and where you live, temperature and so on.

70-80% should come from fluids and 20-30% from foods.

Children need 6-8 glasses of fluid over and above what they access from food, with younger children needing smaller drinks of 150ml size.

A general guide is to take your weight in pounds, divide by 2 and that is your amount of fluid required in fluid ounces.

Getting children to drink water can be really hard. Adding a slice of fruit or a strawberry may help. Starting them off as babies is perhaps the best policy and if they see you drinking water regularly, they will soon adopt the habit. Schools could do more to ensure children have the opportunity to drink throughout the school day, they would see results in the classroom in terms of concentration and energy. Parents can also ensure they take sugar-free drinks in their lunchboxes as well as hydrating foods.

All of us can benefit from eating more hydrating foods. Cucumber is well-known for its hydrating properties  (I juice it every day), but also celery, carrot, tomatoes, beets, fruits and salads. Most whole fruits and vegetables are made up of 80-90% water and go a long way to helping us keep up our fluid intake as well as giving us all their essential nutrients.

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Your skin will benefit from all the extra fluid, vitamins, minerals and healthy oils while your eyes will be sparkly bright! Your brain will function better, you’ll feel more alert and focused. You may also get relief from some of the aches and pains in your joints and muscles.

Having trouble with your weight? Keeping up your fluid intake helps keep your weight in check: your body often interprets extreme thirst as hunger and so you eat more. If you ignore normal signs of dehydration, your body thinks, well if she’s not going to give me any actual fluid, I’ll have to get it the hard way – through food. And so you eat, and snack, until it gets what it needs.

If you don’t drink enough, you become constipated and your body reabsorbs fluid (and thereby toxins) from your stools. Now there’s a pleasant image!

I find cold water difficult to drink, so I prefer it out of the kettle. Hot water with a slice of wax-free lemon first thing in the morning is a great start to the day, it rehydrates, wakes up the liver and kick-starts the metabolism.

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I also drink a variety of teas: green tea with jasmine; licorice and cinnamon; lemon and ginger; chamomile and some fruit teas.

There are lots of interesting and flavoursome ways to increase your fluid intake and nurture your body.

We in the developed world are fortunate that hydration for optimum health is pretty much our main concern when it comes to water intake – give or take the odd chemical spill. There are millions of others who struggle to get enough clean water just to survive. We literally have it on tap, so let’s use it to keep ourselves and our families hydrated and healthy.

By the way, what colour is your wee?

(Watch out for the beetroot!)

This is Part 1 of 2 posts on water. Part 2 is about 3 socially responsible businesses who donate all their profits to clean water projects in developing countries. Please read and see if you can support their efforts.

Water: Part 2 – They Can’t Get Enough

N.B. If you are at all concerned about dark-coloured urine or any of the other symptoms listed, please see you doctor.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

5 lbs in 5 Days: Results & Final Thoughts

Just a quick post to finish off the juice challenge.  Had a really busy day with my 85 year old mum, my son and my two year old fireball grand-daughter. We are all exhausted – my mum is unused to so much activity, my son is sleep-deprived from a teething baby and had driven the hour and a half to our house, my husband has been preparing house and food all week for the visits as well as driving Mum around,  while our grand-daughter was here, there and everywhere, chatting and playing, completely oblivious to our yawns! I must have read 7 books – most of them belonged to her dad and his sister, so have seen better days, but the oldies are the goodies, as they say…

Foodwise, family visits are never easy when you are doing a juice cleanse, but today was a breeze. My family are used to me juicing by now – my son and grand-daughter also juice regularly – and so I don’t get the pitying looks or the questions about my sanity when they are eating pizza and home-made chips with salad while I just have the salad with a juice.

The two year old is a joy to watch at mealtimes, she loves her food and eats a variety of vegetables, salad and fruit. Yes, she had pizza which she loves, but she also had raw veggies and hummus, delighting in everything she ate. This is because raw salad-stuff, veggies and fruit were introduced from the beginning when she started weaning, she has always chosen her foods and watched them being prepared and soon began helping. Likewise, my grandson used to eat red peppers like apples when he was two and would raid the fridge for raw broccoli!

Having had a blended juice for breakfast, I felt no temptation to eat pizza or chips for lunch. Juicing really does reset your taste buds. I was ready for solid food though, I really needed to chew, and I enjoyed the avocado salad immensely. We had also grown some mung bean sprouts in preparation for my first solid meal.

For ‘afters’ and snacks,  everyone was happy to eat raw treats that had been defrosted (they keep so well),  and both Mum – who doesn’t like anything non-traditional – and the two year old tucked in to Easter Coconut and Almond TrufflesHome-made Raw Chocolate Treats and Chilled Sweet Hemp Treats.

 (In case you were concerned, my husband, son and I managed to sneak the occasional look at the cycling Tour of the Basque country this afternoon! 😉).

But, to the business end of this cleanse: the results. My digestion is calmed, my tendency to snack – however healthily – is calmed,  I have more energy and my itchy skin has calmed down. Last year’s extensive rash has stayed away,* but occasionally I do have a tendency to itchy skin if I stray from what I know keeps me healthy. My left ear and sinus had been blocked for a few days before the cleanse but are completely clear now.

And yes, I lost 5 lbs. (Update: another 1lb gone next day!)

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I hope you gained the results you were looking for or that these posts have encouraged and inspired you to take a step towards a healthier lifestyle.

Celebrate your success and your resolve and Juice On!

*How I was Inspired to Juice My Skin Clear

Copyright: Chris McGowan

5 lbs in 5 Days: Day 4 Are We Nearly There Yet?

imageDid you all enjoy the Berry Banana Crunch? 

It was certainly the highlight of a wintry day here where we had bone-chilling winds and face-scalding hailstorms interspersed with steely skies and sluicing showers!

Today you can look forward to Minty Sunshine, a refreshingly fruity/spicy/minty juice that perks you up in the middle of the day.

So, are you feeling it yet? That feeling of being on cloud nine, your mind clear, alert and bursting with ideas/goals/motivation? My eyes, so often tired and strained from too much reading and not enough sleep, feel so wide open – like those characters in cartoons whose eyes jump forth on springs when they are surprised by impending disaster! I am all ready for family visits starting later today, one the oldest member of our family in her 80s, the other the 2 year old whirlwind who’s already a juicer! I need all the energy I can get 😉

Tiger nuts* are soaking to make Horchata or Tiger Nut Milk in the morning as Mum said she would like to try it, and I think the 2 year old might like it too.

Thursday’s Thoughts

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From ‘The Secret’

I realised as I had my shower I hadn’t mentioned skin brushing when I talked about skin being part of the detoxing system. A great way to enhance the detox and renewal is to brush the skin with a dry loofah or Dead Sea Salts to slough off old flaky cells and stimulate the circulation. Do this before you go in the shower or bath. Work up from your toes to your belly using single upward strokes – go gently there and if you’re female avoid the breast area – use circular motions on your buttocks and upward strokes again up your back, then from your fingers to your shoulders, working your way towards your heart. It might hurt at first, but do it gently until you’re used to it and you’ll feel warm and invigorated. Then have a warm shower or bath.

You will feel so alive! (You can just see Graham Nash in this video)

Copyright: Chris McGowan

5 lbs in 5 Days: Day 1 Motivation

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Today is the first day of your journey to a healthier life!

Congratulations on making the decision and following through. The sun was shining when I opened the curtains, always a great start to a juice cleanse, and it felt so good to open the windows and breathe fresh air. Central heating is so stifling and dehydrating. My skin feels parched after the winter months and I can’t wait to see the results of a week of juicing, improvement in your skin is usually the first thing you notice when you begin juicing.

Don’t panic if you gain a spot or two! Your skin is a major player in detoxing, internal problems are often mirrored in your skin and when your body is cleansing, your liver and kidneys are working hard so your skin gives a helping hand to eliminate the rubbish you have accumulated. They will soon disappear.

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Turbo with a Kick, one of my favourites!

Today’s tips:

The timings on the app are for guidance only. When I did my first cleanse I found some gaps between juices too long and others too short. I was getting too hungry sometimes and forcing down juices at others. Don’t let your blood sugar dip too low but don’t force anything down either.

Sip your juices slowly while sitting down and try to do so without working or texting at the same time. Take time out to just juice.

I recommend investing in a set of stainless steel straws like the one in the photo. They are dishwasher safe and come with a tiny cleaning brush. It is better for your teeth to sip rather than drink juices and also better for you and the environment to ditch the plastic straws. They are inexpensive and can be bought on Amazon.

Rinse your mouth out after each juice but don’t use a brush until after 20 minutes.

DRINK PLENTY OF WATER AND HERBAL TEAS!

Get a good night’s sleep.

Juice Master

Copyright: Chris McGowan