The Blended Cleanse {+Greeny Tahini Smoothie Recipe}

Those that know me know I’ve been on a long road to improve my health. Since going gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian (among other things) I’ve had highs and lows, and it’s been downright hard sometimes. But one thing I’ve learned is that health is a constant committment that I will have to be conscious of for the rest of my life. Food can be medicine, but the wrong food can be toxic. To me, feeling amazing inside and out is better than the fleeting pleasure of eating a Big Mac…

Although my diet seems squeaky-clean, I’m nowhere near perfect. I’m only human. I slip up and chow down on french fries sometimes, and as you’ve learned, I love me some vegan ice cream! I believe that enjoying your food without punishing yourself for doing it is ESSENTIAL to living the skinny lifestyle. BUT, I don’t always feel so great after those slip ups, especially when they start to add up.

Enter Cleansing.

{{Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor or a nutritionist (yet :)): I’ve done my research but this is just MY experience}}

I get enjoyment out of reading every book ever written about holistic nutrition and healing, so I’ve come across the subject of detox a number of times. I first heard about it when reading “Skinny Bitch” (which I highly recommend, although Jamie won’t read it because she’s afraid it will convince her to go vegetarian :)), and tried a week-long raw fruits and veggies cleanse while I was living in LA. After that, I was hooked on how amazing I could feel. Since, I’ve tried juice cleanses, green smoothie cleanses and veggie broth detoxes; some worked, others didn’t. The thing about cleansing is we are all completely different people with different environments and DNA, so there is no cookie cutter cleanse that works best for everyone. But cleansing to some degree is important no matter who you are, for a whole bunch of reasons.

Think about it this way. Every process in our body requires energy. Some processes, like breathing and cell detoxification, are constant – without them, we’d keel over in seconds. Others, digestion for example, can be put on hold when there are more important things to tend to. Digestion takes up a TON of energy (which is why you feel groggy after a gigantic meal), and when we are eating things that are difficult to digest, like meat, dairy and gluten, our body takes energy away from the detoxification process (which is basically the process of removing toxins from our cells to keep us from getting sick and dying). Ergo – you age quicker, your digestion and metabolism slow down, and your energy levels drop. Most people don’t realize they need to cleanse, because they have gotten used to the way they feel. But even just a few days of giving your body a rest makes a load of difference.

So what cleansing  does is it allows your body to take the energy it would normally use for digestion and put it towards inner housecleaning. Because of this, your first few days on a cleanse are a little bit miserable. Think about deep cleaning your house – it always looks worse before it looks better, because you have to take all the old junk out of the back of the closet in order to get rid of it. Same goes for cleansing. Your body rustles up toxins, which will make you feel worse, only to get rid of them and allow you to reap the benefits.

I could go on and on about the benefits of cleansing in general, but let’s get down and dirty about why blended cleanses are optimal. {{Blended foods = smoothies and blended soups}}

  • Blended foods require very little energy to digest. The blender basically pre-digests the food for you, so your body doesn’t have to expend the energy. Bonus points if you “chew” your smoothie, so the enzymes in your saliva have a chance to pitch in too.
  • Blended foods, rather than juices, have fiber that help flush out all those toxins you rustled up. Fiber also helps you stay full longer, so you aren’t completely starving between meals.
  • Green juices are great, and can definitely serve as a supplement to a blended cleanse, but alone, they are all sugar, no fiber, meaning they enter the bloodstream quickly and spike your blood sugar. For some, juice alone works great. However, for people who have never cleansed before, or who have Candida (like me), all that sugar just feeds the bad bacteria in our gut and makes us bloated and miserable. Trust me, I’ve had cleanses go wrong because I wasn’t aware of this fact. Like I said, I will make green juice in addition to my blended smoothies and soups, but not instead of them.

Tips for a blended cleanse:

  • Never cleansed before? Make sure you eat clean during the days leading up to the cleanse. No alcohol, sugar, caffeine, or dairy, and all animal products should be eaten with fresh vegetables (meat has no fiber, so veggies keep things moving). You can even start by doing blended foods for one or two meals a day, sticking with solid foods at lunch or dinner {{This alone is a great cleanse for beginners}}
  • Make sure your smoothies incorporate veggies, not just fruit! Remember the whole blood sugar thing I mentioned earlier? Same goes for all-fruit smoothies. Bad news bears. Make sure your smoothies are at least half veggies (I love spinach and romaine because they don’t make your smoothies taste green), up to 2/3 if you are using high glycemic fruits like bananas, dates or mangos.
  • Blended soups are best raw, but you can also steam veggies and blend them with veggie broth for a more warming experience. This is especially ideal in the winter.
  • Love a creamy texture? Bananas work great, but avocados make things smooth without the sugar spike – and they are chock-full of essential fats that you NEED during the cleansing process.
  • DAIRY IS OUT – if you normally use milk or yogurt in your smoothies, sub almond or coconut milk and skip the yogurt all together (even non-dairy versions are loaded with sugar). Dairy causes your body to make excess mucus, which gets stuck in your digestive system and keeps toxins from being released.

I LOVE Gena of Choosing Raw’s Mellow Green Smoothie – it’s great for green smoothie newbies and awesome for cleansing. I’ve adapted it to up the greens content, but feel free to play with it and make it your own!

Greeny Tahini Smoothie

{{Photo Credit: Gena Hamshaw, Choosing Raw}}

1 large frozen banana or 1/2 large avocado
1 heaping tbsp tahini {if you feel more comfortable with peanut or almond butter, those work too – just make sure you buy all natural, no sugar added}
6 large handfuls of romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, and/or baby spinach
3/4 cup almond milk
1 scoop vegan protein powder {I like SunWarrior rice protein or Bob’s Red Mill hemp protein}
Stevia and vanilla extract to taste

I started my cleanse yesterday, and I plan to continue it at least until Friday (hoping to extend it through next week, but we’ll see). If you are interested in cleansing with me, email me for more information! I have a ton of recipes that I won’t overload you all with now, but I’m happy to share them to help get you started. I also highly recommend checking out Clean by Alejandro Junger – it’s a great guide to gentle cleansing for health nuts and junk food eaters alike.

Happy Cleansing!

❤ Sarah


One thought on “The Blended Cleanse {+Greeny Tahini Smoothie Recipe}

  1. Pingback: House Special: Blueberry Hot Toddys | liveskinnybliss

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