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Summer is in full swing and both markets and gardens are brimming with luscious ripe fruits and vegetables! If you've ever thought about embarking on a cleansing program, now is the time to do it!But what exactly is a c.

Summer is in full swing and both markets and gardens are brimming with luscious ripe fruits and vegetables! If you've ever thought about embarking on a cleansing program, now is the time to do it!
But what exactly is a cleanse?

Simply put, when your body does not have to constantly attend to the complex tasks of digestion, assimilation and elimination, it is able to attend more efficiently to some of its other functions, the most important being cleansing and healing. There are several ways to do this.

Water fasting is the most extreme form of cleansing. At one time I considered water fasting to be foolhardy. But after several seven-day, water-only fasts (along with plenty of bed rest), I changed my mind. Water fasting can be an extremely profound and beneficial form of cleansing and healing. However, most water fasting experts feel that bed rest is a very important component.

Since this would be impractical for most people, it's nice to know that wonderful results can also be had with juice fasting. It's a good idea to lead up to a juice fast gradually by cutting out flesh, dairy and wheat foods while adding more raw fruits and vegetables to your daily routine two to three weeks before you begin your cleanse.

This will greatly minimize any adverse detoxifying symptoms such as headache, fatigue, lightheadedness or nausea. These symptoms are indications that stored-up toxins are rushing to exit your body. With the gradual lead-up, you should be able to maintain your normal daily activities while on a juice fast. But it would be nice if you could get more rest and sunshine than usual during this time as your body is doing a lot of cleaning out. Resting would assist the process.

Juicing extracts the oxygenated liquid from the food, leaving the pulp behind. Your digestive system rests from the constant work of food metabolism while nourishing the blood and body organs. A typical juicing plan would consist of drinking as much freshly made juice throughout the day as you want. If you like, you could start your day with fruit juices and switch to vegetable juices in the middle of the day.

Many people use carrot juice for their fasts, however I would recommend 50 percent carrot juice and 50 percent juices from green sources such as cucumber, celery, spinach, kale, cabbage and romaine lettuce. Carrot juice contains a great deal of sugar, so with the addition of greens, the blood sugar levels tend to remain more even. The chlorophyll in greens is an excellent internal and external cleanser and healer. Greens also contain protein; the darker the green, the higher the protein.

All raw fruits and vegetables contain enzymes, minerals and vitamins, so along with flushing out toxins, you are also supplying the best nutrients as you rehydrate with these high water content foods.

Mono-Meals Detoxify

Don't own a juicer? No time to juice? That's okay. Go on a raw fruit and vegetable diet for a week. You'll be amazed at the health benefits you can obtain by setting aside anywhere from three days to two weeks for eating raw fruits and vegetables only.

The simplest approach is to eat mono-meals, which means one type of food at a time. For example, breakfast could be peaches as many as you like until you feel comfortably full. Peaches are cleansing for the kidneys and bladder; they also contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, potassium and folic acid. A large wedge of watermelon is also an excellent way to start off the day, as it digests rapidly, has alkalizing and diuretic properties and contains beta-carotene, thiamin, vitamin C and potassium.

For lunch, a large green salad with a few embellishments like red pepper, cabbage or broccoli with lemon juice and flax oil would be good. Dinner could be another large salad. But you don't have to get fancy. Eat a red pepper, some celery sticks, perhaps a pickling cucumber (they are not waxed) or corn on the cob (raw) until you are comfortably full. Snacks can be any fruits or vegetables that you have in the house. Fill a large bowl with fruit and leave it on your counter to choose from throughout the day, and load up your refrigerator with lots of pre-washed vegetables. That will keep you out of the bread bin.

Blender meals are another option. Blending breaks the food down, making it easier to digest while still retaining all the original fibre. Smoothies are an example of a blended food (see smoothie recipes p. 22). They taste wonderful and take only minutes to make. Raw blender soups can be made from any number of fresh vegetables.

How will you feel at the end of a detoxifying cleanse? Most people report feeling lighter in body and mind, having clearer skin and thoughts, enjoying weight loss and a lessening or complete disappearance of bothersome symptoms like sinusitis, digestive disorders, mood swings, fatigue, high blood pressure and much more. With a new spring in your step and a flatter belly, the results of enjoying summer's bounty will be well worth it. How much simpler can life be?

In the Raw

For a delicious and filling breakfast pudding or snack, blend one banana and half an avocado. Top it with whole berries. Or, blend one banana with about a cup of papaya. Add two teaspoons of tahini for a more filling meal with protein and fat. A tablespoon of flax seed oil can be added to blender recipes.

Fresh raw soup is a quick and easy alternative to salad for lunch or dinner. For Summer Tomato-Basil soup, blend the following until smooth:
6 8 medium tomatoes
1/4 lemon, peeled and seeded
1 avocado
A large handful of sunflower or clover sprouts
2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped onion
1 small clove garlic
Pour into bowls and garnish with basil or sprouts. Serves two.

Summer's Bounty Soup combines in a blender:

4 red peppers, chopped
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1 small clove garlic
3 tablespoons (45 ml) chopped fresh basil or other fresh herb
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) dried oregano
pinch of sea salt
dash of lemon juice and olive oil

Pour into bowls and garnish with chopped cucumber, red pepper and sliced mushrooms. Serves two to three.

For more healthful recipes, read The Raw Gourmet by Nomi Shannon. Available for $29.95 at your health food store (or call alive books-800-663-6513).

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