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Eat Green to Detox Print E-mail
Georgina Guedes   
Wednesday, 06 August 2008
Eat Green to DetoxA couple of weeks ago, a group of girlfriends and I attended the Incredible Green Eating Plan class, run by Pritam at Fruits and Roots. It was an educational evening, and some of the food we ate was absolutely delicious, but I’m glad that I don’t have to eat that way all the time.

Fortunately, Pritam isn’t suggesting that anyone adheres to the Green Eating Plan for the rest of their lives. It’s a detox, based on the principal that if you give your body only one type of healthy, clean and nutritious food – in this case, chlorophyll-rich vegetables – it frees your system up to purge the toxins from all the other foods we put into it.

The variety of going green

So how long should we stick to a diet of only green vegetables? The detox can be as short as three days, or any length of time beyond that. Pritam herself has once done the Green eating plan for forty days. This is probably a bit much for the average person. I know that I’ve done a two-week detox that was far less restrictive than this one, and by the end of it, I was absolutely desperate to gorge on wheat, fat, sugar, dairy and alcohol.

Despite this sort of response on my part, I do find that detoxes influence my eating patterns beyond the original timeframe. It was with this intention in mind that I came to the class – to remind myself about healthy eating, and to learn new ways to prepare healthy food. At some point I may even do the Green Eating Plan for a few days, but I haven’t quite got there yet.

We were given a lovely green melon to start the class. As I bit into its succulent flesh, I felt vaguely guilty about the leftover pasta I’d wolfed down a couple of hours before, wishing that I was feeling the influence of these clean vegetables on a virgin stomach.

Pritam and a nutritionist started out by discussing the incredible variety available to people who are eating green. Participants were encouraged to call out the names of green vegetables (and fruits and nuts) that they could think of. The board was soon filled with greenery – asparagus, artichokes, pistachio nuts, chillis and coriander being among the most exotic. Pritam and the nutritionist stood back and beamed at us, as if they felt that they’d unlocked a secret world of infinite selection. But here’s the absolute truth – everything on the list was a green vegetable.

What to expect from a detox
It’s in the cooking that the true variety of The Plan can be realised, of course. But first, we covered what to expect when you detox. Everyone who had detoxed before contributed their experiences. Mine include insatiable hunger and an aching liver. I also recalled going to bed early, but whether that was just to avoid being awake through more hours of food temptation or actual physical exhaustion, I couldn’t say for sure.

And of course, everyone mentioned headaches. I actually have a theory about headaches – the worst of the detox symptoms. I think that the single, solitary reason that people get bad headaches when detoxing is because they are addicted to caffeine. Cut out the caffeine, go through withdrawal, get a headache. The first time I detoxed, I had terrible headaches. I’ve always had a difficult relationship with caffeine, so after that first detox, I didn’t start drinking it again. The next couple of times I detoxed, when I had been drinking plenty alcohol and eating way too much sugar and wheat, but NO caffeine, I didn’t get any headaches at all. So, I don’t think headaches are a miraculous signal that your body is detoxing, I think they’re a symptom of caffeine withdrawal.

Pritam explained that most symptoms are transient, and can be beaten by bed rest, herbal tea, water or any number of other healthy alternatives. I think this is true of pretty much everything but the headaches, which can be awful and lingering for anyone with a real coffee habit.

The food
We were given samples of a variety of differently prepared green foods. We drank a tangy, clean green juice. I’m not a big celery fan, but the added apples and pears really took the edge off. We drank a green smoothie with a secret ingredient – an avo! This made it thick and creamy, and didn’t taste of avo at all.

There were a couple of really great snack ideas – some things I would even serve to my non-detoxing friends. One was cones made out of sushi seaweed filled them with all kinds of yummy (green) things, like pistachios, sprouts, olives and spring onions, and then coated in a blob of fiery green chilli paste. They were delicious. Another was a combination of blended pistachios, sultanas and a couple of other things to make really scrumptious little sweet balls.

Compared to the deliciousness of these snacks, the main meals were a little disappointing. Ultimately, we were shown two soups – one that involved the murdering of a couple of leeks and another with broccoli, all boiled quickly in Fruits and Roots’ vegetable stock. There was nothing wrong with the soups – they were just very plain, hearty vegetable soups that didn’t show me any new tricks or methods that would ease the culinary boredom of the detox, like the little cones and balls did.

I came away from the evening feeling full of resolve and enthusiasm for eating more healthily, and with some good ideas for serving green vegetables in new and exciting ways. But I was very pleased that I’d eaten pasta in the hours before, and still a little apprehensive about actually doing the full detox.

For more information on Green eating, or to find out about upcoming classes, visit http://www.fruitsandroots.co.za /

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