Stephanie Jeffs, the founder of Explore Raw Retreats lost more than 9 stone and reversed her PCOS with juicing and a raw foods diet. For those of us who have thought about doing a 7 day raw food detox but never started, or those who started and gave up mid way, here’s some inside information and expert advice on the results you can expect.
I have been thinking a lot about habits lately and how difficult it can be to change them – depending on what our habits are and and how attached we are to them.
I know ‘the gurus’ say that it is possible to change habits in 21 days and even in less time than that – I believe this depends what you are doing to change your habits and what your habits are in the first place! If we use the 21 day ‘rule’ then in 7 days – 3 healthy meal choices give us 21 opportunities to rewire our eating habits and make healthy changes. 3 yoga sessions a day can help us rewire our physical habits too. I believe you can make a huge difference in just 7 days.
At my Raw Food & Retreats in the Algarve we help guests make dramatic changes and press the reset button in just 7 days. Habits don’t just change by chance you have to take action, commit and you have to be consciously connected to why you are doing something and plan for it.
Not just for those on a ‘bad diet’ or those who ‘need to lose weight’ bad habits and stale routines can leave us feeling stressed, worn out, lifeless and just generally feeling a bit flat. We have to be prepared for change and results! It’s not easy breaking cycles – particularly when those cycles are based around our eating habits – those are hard nuts to crack.
Three things that can make a massive difference
1) Being prepared – it’s very difficult to just wake up one morning and decide to ‘detox’ and expect it to work if your kitchen cupboards are still full of the wrong kinds of foods. You have to be prepared and get your provisions in! You have to get that gym bag ready for the morning. You have to have that water ready by the bed, you have to have your lunch prepared to take to work… and so on… at my retreats all this is taken care of for you of course.
2) It’s all about mindset – focusing on your goals is what’s important. If you can’t connect with the reason why you are doing this in the first place – you just might fall at the first hurdle and forget why this was ever important to you. You need to establish goals and connect with them. These don’t need to be just about weight, they can be about a higher sense of purpose, global consciousness, animal welfare, overall health and so on. This is why we run mindfulness workshops, talk as a group and support each other. Mindset is vital.
3) Get ready for change – when we make changes we often don’t expect a whole load of extra ‘change results’ to come in. We think that if we are changing the food we eat we are changing just one thing when we are in fact changing everything! Weight, mood, energy, skin, health, attitude, friends, how people react to our changes, how we react to our changes and so on. How we interact with the world can take on a shift all of its own. The person you see in the mirror is changing. How we respond to this is what we can not always be ready for. We can help you think this through in our workshops and classes.
Change happens immediately at my detox retreats
A 7-day detox can help you make some healthy changes to pratice and embed new habits so that they become the normal way of doing things. My Raw Food & Yoga Retreats support a healthy cleanse and the ‘detox’ involves a high level of ‘clean eating’ with juices and organic gourmet raw foods.
We combine healthy eating with rest, yoga and food preparation classes. We are immersed in nature. We collect and forage for food and prepare amazing dishes together. We make detoxing fun and engaging: everyone is involved in the practice of food preparation and has a chance to get involved.
I teach 4 workshops from my cookery school programme, including the essentials of raw food – from food activation, nut soaking, seed preparation, making nutmilks and amazing dishes to healing smoothies, salads and raw chocolate. New habits can come with new recipes, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to explore the range of raw food available – it’s not just about salad preparation!
What changes can happen?
Changes can happen immediately on this kind of detox. And the changes that you can expect will depend on your current lifestyle. The healing process usually involves a short period of feeling worse before feeling better: this is known as the healing crisis or detox crisis.
I have worked with people who on day one of a detox have had more than 7 bowel movements in one day! These are fit ‘healthy’ people who are just eating the wrong foods; overly processed foods, meat and dairy rich diets. Now, this might sound scary – but it’s not.
Think about it. It’s just the body’s way of getting rid of what it doesn’t need and cannot use. As soon as you start putting the good stuff in – there is no room for that other stuff – the body gets it out by using the fastest route possible because the body just doesn’t need it.
It’s as if the body is taking a deep breath – a sigh of relief – and whispering ‘finally! Food that I recognise and can use!’
At your body’s own pace a detox happens naturally: we create the right environment at my retreats for it to happen awesomely!
At the very worst you can expect some headache or tiredness in the first few days. At best you can expect to feel incredible. The emotional and mental shifts too can be very powerful.
Our experienced team support you every step of the way! It’s also why we encourage guests to have massages, fully indulge in the yoga and take lots of rest. Because let’s face it, life’s hard enough already. We are what we absorb.
Following an initial cleansing phase we can say that we now have more space to absorb the nutrition that we are putting in to the body.
Here’s why: more important than reminding ourselves that ‘we are what we eat’ – which is incredibly powerful – is the message: ‘we are what we absorb’. If our pipework is full of the wrong stuff then the process of absorption can be blocked.
Almost immediately when we start eating clean the body carries on with its daily detox tasks but it can feel like we are in ‘superdrive’ or ‘detox mode’ because the bad stuff chooses its escape route; the first to release is usually the skin, the bladder and the bowels.
Depending on what’s going on for an individual those first few days can feel tough, but once the initial toxicity is out – and absorption is really kicking in – then energy levels start to surge! Skin starts to glow! Eyes dazzle. After 7 days without a doubt there will be significant health improvements.
The initial toxicity should have left the body after day 3 and I see lots of people at my Raw Food Retreats with skin conditions like psoriasis that show incredible results in just 7 days. I haven’t worked with anyone yet who doesn’t have a healthy-eating glow about them when they go home.
Beyond the wall of the first 3 days of a detox a wonderful burst of positive energy awaits
During our detox clients can go through various stages. It’s part of the process of letting things go! Generally speaking the first three days are the hardest. It can be tough letting all that toxicity go.
I often hear ‘this raw food detox is giving me such a headache I feel awful!’, when in fact it is the release of the toxicity that is truly affecting how we are feeling. It’s not the awesome food that’s delivering the headache – it’s the detox process. It’s the processed foods and unhealthy diet, the stress and everything else that is being let-go!
I encourage people to stick with it because beyond this three day wall a wonderful burst of positive energy awaits! Beyond day 5 is a breeze because you are in the rhythm of things. And after a 7-day cycle people really are on such a high!
I see physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energies go through the roof! The palate is cleaner and we are beginning to truly taste food – not food like substances. Beyond day 7 is about motivation.
Keeping the new routines going. Staying motivated and on track. Moving beyond the initial results and breaking the habits by keeping the new routines going. That’s when these new routines and eating habits become life changing!
Ongoing support is vital: that’s why all my clients get my 7-day Programme to take away absolutely free as part of their fab goody bags Eating a healthy raw foods diet is more than just a diet.
It’s a lifestyle. I say that because if you clean up your diet and increase the amount of living raw foods you are consuming – you want to clean up everything! The benefits of eating plenty of living raw foods are truly limitless!. Join the next retreat in September here.