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The Emotional Side of Cleansing

February 6, 2012
By Guest Blogger
|27Comments|


My husband and I recently did an 8-day juice fast. Not as big a deal for me, as a nutrition coach, but a pretty big step for my husband. His idea of “green” was sautéed spinach and eggs; healthy meant a hemp smoothie. Green juice? Never.

It turned out to be a pretty big deal for our marriage.

You know the physical effects of cleansing or juicing: glowing skin, (wow; like a moonbeam) weight loss, (a good five pounds for me, eight for him — darn those men) increased energy, and clear thinking. But not much is said about the emotional piece.

There’s a big part of the cleansing ritual that rocks our emotional world. The more intense the cleanse + the longer you go, the more profound your experience may be.

Juicers don’t come with a warning: Proceed at risk. Juicing may put you in touch with long forgotten emotional issues you’d rather leave dormant.

Each time I cleanse, I’m surprised at the insights, revelations, and forgiveness that surfaces. Old thoughts come in, sometimes days of negative stuff, comments, hurts, offense, fears.

Why am I thinking about that? That was years ago, pre-happy marriage. She was always passive-aggressive; why did I hang in so long with that friendship? I was wrong to say that. I could have done better. I’m glad to have moved on. I made mistakes; he made mistakes, some we made together.

Hurts, pains, fleeting moments of “a-ha’s”… healing again, moving through it all again. No big drama, but pin-pricks of pain that had added up.

Our 8-day cleanse was like that. Things floated in and out. We talked and processed. We made peace with others, and most importantly, we made peace with each other.

By day six we realized what had been going on — things had come up and out. They left. They were gone forever.

We felt clear and content. Satisfied with where we were. Actualized in our thoughts. We got real about ourselves and eachother. Somehow dealing with our separate pin-pricks had brought us closer.

“By day 6 we could say anything to anybody,” I scrawled in pencil on my calendar. We went to a party, sober and drinking green juice. We smiled, we laughed and we felt like we had a secret.

It was a wonderful secret. It said, I’m clear in my thinking, I’m 100-percent honestly present, and I’m tuned into you. Expect no pretense or posture. Here I am. A wonderful way to be.

We regretfully went off our cleanse after eight days. It was over.

We mourned the lightness of being, sadly knowing it was time to return to the real world. My husband woke on day 7 and said he didn’t want to stop. I feel amazing. He looked at me — I felt like I could never eat again. How weird is that?

I know. I knew. I’d been there before. We felt lighter, and his skin looked like a moonbeam. We’d connected and shared a crunchy couple of days, emotional turmoil + processing and emerged from the cycle on a higher level—in touch with our emotions and each other in a profound way. We were floating, hovering above Earth.

We’d both ignored things … previously thought silly things. But they were important enough to come back and demand to be dealt with .

We looked at each other and smiled, sadly.

“We’ll go easy,” I said. I’ll make a vegetable soup … and one day we’ll do it again.

Holli Thompson is a nutritional stylist who focuses on holistic health, cooking, and alternative medicine.



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27 responses to The Emotional Side of Cleansing
  1. I love this! My husband and I do yoga together and have felt many of the types of things you mention. It’s amazing what a deeper mind/body/partner connection can do. Maybe a juice cleanse is the next step for us! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks, Lisa. I’m happy to have inspired you, have fun with it! xo

  3. I love your story! It warmed my heart :)

  4. Awww, thanks, Danielle! You warmed mine.

  5. Reading this post is perfect timing for me. I recently read Crazy, Sexy Diet and have wanted to start juicing and have been considering how a detox might ruffle some emotional feathers. I’m very much aware that what I consume impacts my moods and perceptions of every day life. I’m going to share your story with my husband, because I think a cleanse would not only help us physically, but also help us grow together emotionally.

  6. Absolutely love this post! Holli, if you haven’t seen the film Fat, Sick & Almost Dead, please watch it! It compliments your post so well. I just saw it the other night and am obsessed. As a raw/vegan, Kundalini yogini, meditation junkie… I totally believe in the power of juice and can’t wait to go on my first juice fast soon! In fact, I just bought the Juice Fasting Bible – such a cool book that I’m dying to sink my teeth into. Obviously, I’m super psyched for Crazy Sexy Juices & Succulent Smoothies, as well. Feb. 14th is going to be an amazing day!

  7. I would like to talk about the other side of the clarity of juicing and relationships. Over the past few years I have done several juicing detox(s) and every time I am blown away by the clarity that comes once the junk leaves my system. I begin to see things that I have been either over looking or in denial about in my relationship. The clearer I become, the more I see all the problems that I have been numbing with food. In January I started the CSL detox and the same thing happened, however this time I am not going back to numbing with food – it is time I address the issues in my relationship and make some long needed changes. The clarity of juicing is wonderful – but some times opens up a emotional detox as well!

  8. Today is my Birthday and I am greatful, beause I have beat cancer twice in the last four years. The second round (last year) took by breasts, but I am determined to find my new normal. I am lucky to be in good shape and have had reconstruction which has made me physically whole. I have been putting off doing a 42 day juice fast since the fall. Your post has just reinvigorated me, and I plan to start next week after some prep. Thank you and I’ll let you know how it went… :) Corinne

  9. Several people asked what we drank for our cleanse, and I’d love to address that; we included as many fresh pressed juices as we wanted, generally up to 6 a day, and at least one nut milk.

    I’d also like to comment on mention of “never eating again”, and add that this comment was made by my husband in response to feeling incredibly healthy and clear, and referred to chewing food, not starving himself.

    Anorexia is a disorder that I, as a health coach, take very seriously, and do not recommend extreme cleanses to anyone who has had an eating disorder.

    Thank you for your comments, and for reaching out.

  10. I’m thrilled that I’ve inspired you to juice and cleanse in a healthy way!
    Some other juice cleansing tips;
    1) Cut back on your normal exercise routine and try to take it easy.
    2) Make sure that you are taking in enough juice; personally I like adding in one nut milk to get some protein.
    3) After the cleanse, ease back to whole food slowly with raw veggies, and salads. Go easy on meat if you eat it, and try to wait at least a week before having any processed foods, like breads or pasta.

  11. What sweetness! You made my day.

  12. I’m so glad to see a blog on the emotional effects of juicing. From personal experience, I would say that it was just as important as the physical benefits but the first time this happened, I was very surprised by it. Culturally I think we tend to want separate the mind from the body but in actuality, the two are intimately connected. One interesting idea would be to create some questions for the person on a juice fast to help guide them through the emotional muck you so eloquently described.

  13. I’m wondering if you made the pressed juices yourself or ordered them from a service like Blueprint. If you ordered them were you happy with their flavor & freshness?

  14. Hi, brillant post, thank you Holli. I came accross multiple detox programms that include brown rice for lunch. Is that cheating or does brown rice has detox properties? Thanks for letting me know your impression on that. Love. Céline

  15. Hi gorgeous Holli!
    So happy to see you as a guest in our rockin’ blog posse here at CSL! I really loved this post and have a dedicated daily meditation practice with my husband, Vic. We work out together and juice daily as well but I have been considering planning a joint fast come the Spring and your post has pushed me to a def YES! I love your style of communicating your experience-such an easy flow but with a deep connection that really moved me. So thank you so much for sharing your light and expertise with all of us. This post really lit up my day!
    love love love
    terri
    xo

  16. Terri, thank you, sweetie!! Your post just made MY day. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
    Celine, there are many different ways to cleanse, and finding the style that suits you is important. I believe in Cleansing with Style, (my signature program) meaning that everyone is different and you would not assume that because a 3 day juice cleanse works for your friend, it’s the best thing for you. Doing a whole food based cleanse, including brown rice, and removing inflammatory foods, and adding in juice or smoothies if you can, is a wonderful way to gently cleanse.
    A juice fast as I described is an advanced cleanse, and I do not recommend it if you’ve never juiced before, or if your diet contains processed foods and excessive animal protein. You could detox too quickly. Please begin slowly with an all juice plan, and try a day or two days first.
    Monique, I have tried Blueprint, and I love the taste. Organic Avenue and Cooler Cleanse are two other delivery programs. One thing to consider is that the more organic the juice, the better. I prefer 100% organic.
    Much love,
    Holli xox

  17. Holli, this was so enjoyable to read. I completely relate to the emotional side of cleansing – when I did a 10 day cleanse last month, emotions were cropping up all over the place! Sometimes it was difficult to navigate through them all. BUT – as you mentioned – beautiful clarity and energy came with it. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!! You’ve inspired me to go make a big batch of green juice. xox – Jenny

  18. I just bought a juicer last week and I am loving it!!! starting off slowly with one or two juices a day. I was at a party over the weekend and met a woman there that said I needed to get your Crazy Sexy diet book. I ordered it yesterday through Kindle for i phone and am loving it!! I can’t wait to get to the recipes!!

  19. We are unquestionably connected… whenever I do a fast, emotions and mind are effected, I never considered the relationships aspects of it or how it can used to enhance a marriage by doing it together until this post. In a culture where we are constantly bombarded by both emotional and physical toxins, this is an excellent approach to getting cleaned as a team.

  20. Thank you, Jenny, so happy to inspire:)
    Laviera, thank you for your very kind words, I’m so glad to present that possibility. Who knew?
    and Cathy, good luck! Kris’s book is amazing..

  21. Hi Holli! Loved this article! Thanks so much for sharing your journey with your husband. I’ve done a 3 day cleanse with mine but I have stayed away from anything longer together as he is already on the super skinny side. Do you feel it would effect his weight in the long term? I know he would benefit from it but I fear everyone thinking I’ve put him on the calorie restriction diet! As a health coach myself it’s great to seek advice from those who have been there. Hope to see you at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition Conference in LA!

  22. Love it! So far I’ve been on an steady emotional keel – day 8 of the nutritional cleanse (Day 2 of juice cleanse). Will keep these thoughts in mind as the cleanse continues.

  23. My hubby and I did a 10 day and loved every second of it, even the hard parts. We did experience a lot of clarity. Now we keep trying to go back and do another and we keep failing, it is so hard this time around! We still juice about 5 days a week though (with food) and I do love the time in the kitchen together in the evenings making our juice for the next day (I know, I know, fresh is best but we are busy!) :)

  24. Hi Robyn, I understand that your husband may not want to lose weight, so it might be too long for him. He could also add in several smoothies a day, almond milk and add in some healthy fats, like coconut oil, to keep the weight on him. Hope to see you there too!!
    Kathryn, sometimes our bodies reject the cleanse or strict deprivation plans, and I think its always wise to listen. There are no fast rules here, but the important one is to tune in. There are times of year that might be more difficult than others for various reasons; stress, the weather, or your body just needs more. I would give it plenty of time, and try when the warmer weather hits.
    xo

  25. I have cancer and have no health insurance and no money…I am trying to fight this cancer by myself with very little money. I am living on just water right now…but will switch to juice in a few days.
    I am trying to starve the cancer cells to slow them down….it is in my breast, and ovary and spread to my liver and brain possibly…can’t afford the scans to know for sure but blood test indicate it….I have had my large intestine completely remove and have a permanent ileostomy….so eating is difficult …my husband left me after my ileostomy surgery and has since remarried a younger woman….jerk…anyway..I am alone in this battle….if anyone else is in my shoes and wants to chat you can email me …music4me48@gmail.com……

  26. Wow, what a great piece! You’re writing is fantastic and such a blessing to have come across. I really want do my first juice cleanse and am so glad Google divinely pointed me to this link. After reading this, I can’t wait to start and get my boyfriend involved!! Thank you.

  27. Wonderful to hear the emotional side of cleansing. I found this in changing my eating habits and lifestyle to plant-based and I am amazed at the difference in the way I feel and think. So I am planning to do a cleanse and hopefully get my husband to join me in it to do it together. My sister and her husband watched the Sick, death and dying recently and they are doing a 10 day cleanse. What an inspiration as they both avoided vegetables like kids do and they have had some tough times over the past few years so this is a big opportunity for them to recharge and redirect their life.
    Thank you for sharing this Kris and Holli.