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Gearing up for Spring Cleaning

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Maya Henderson

Your source for all things yoga and wellness in Chicago.

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The Ejuva Cleanse kit.

I know it's hard to believe, but spring is technically only a few weeks away! 

I love spring because it's a chance to revamp your yoga practice or workout and do some serious internal spring cleaning. In its most simple form, a detox is an opportunity to give your body a break and clear out some of the old gunk, bad food and environmental stressors of the past few months. Spring is thought to be the best time to detox because it's the season for renewal. I've always been fascinated by detoxing because my health is important to me and I wasn't always so kind to my body in my youth. But while I was quick to try a detox, what I didn't know what that not all cleanses and detoxes are created equal and most importantly, detoxing didn't give you an excuse to go back and start eating like crap again.
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It wasn't until I met holistic health coach Lisa Persico that I really began to understand that a detox is just part of a bigger plan of eating clean. A detox is like a big sweep, but we can choose to detox daily by eating nutrient dense foods. I've learned so much from Lisa and she's inspired me to always take my health to the next level, upscale my food choices and respect the things I put in my body because I deserve to be truly healthy and happy (and so do you)!
I'm so excited that she's decided to lead a 28-day Ejuva cleanse that I asked her to share more info about the program, her thoughts on diet and the one superfood she thinks we all need to start consuming right now. How did you get into super nutrition and health? Eight years ago, I was super unhealthy. I had a busy corporate job as PR director in the fashion industry and due to the stress of the lifestyle, I was smoking a pack a day, drinking every night, I had a $15 a day Starbucks habit and was cocktailing anti-depressants for my anxiety and mood. I starved myself on coffee and smokes and then would binge on "healthy" stuff -- mainly low calorie/low nutrient food that I tried to get by on. I was always in this cycle of starving, wanting to lose weight, manage my energy and maintain my mood. I felt like crap and I was only 28 years old! My sister introduced me to raw/living foods in 2003. I immersed myself in it and began the self-study of nutrients, minerals, detoxification, cleansing and healing and used myself as one big experiment! It was a blast but the best part is I continued to get better and better without really trying. I lost weight without counting calories, fat grams or carbs. My skin went from a Proactiv commercial to absolutely clear and glowing and I was able to give up the smokes, coffee and the pills! The best part is I actually began to FEEL better from an emotional standpoint, which I think is the most important. I went on to study with many of the superfood health gurus such as David Wolfe, Gabriel Cousens and David Favor. I'm now completing a specialized Masters in living nutrition and detoxification. I know that you were a strict raw foodist for years. What's your food philosophy now? Yes, I have been strictly raw at times. I've been high raw and vegan and I am glad to experience those lifestyles personally for me. Everyone is different, not necessarily in what their body truly requires, but in their lifestyles and belief systems. My philosophy now is based on a "clean" plant-based diet. My goal is not to change people but to add in loads of plant-based foods whether they are cooked or raw and loads of superfoods with mega nutrient/vitamins. Once that is attained, we work from there to figure out the rest. Most people are eating (EVEN if its so-called healthy) loads of processed foods, gluten, cooked oils and bad cooked salts that cause all sorts of weird problems. I choose to add in real, whole and pure food so people can see how their bodies are without the chemicals, so they can really gage how GOOD they can feel. Some of the things we think we need easily slip away when we start adding in nutrient dense foods. And some of the things that we think we know or evaluate food by, like calories, become meaningless because we start being able to determine what our body really needs naturally.
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Chocolate Bliss

If you had to choose just one, what's the one food/supplement/vitamin you'd make everyone in America start taking right now? I think for most everyone, superfoods are the way to go. People eat "foods" that are not really foods at all, but processed substances that are devoid of any minerals or vitamins and they take vitamin supplements that are artificial, denatured, cooked or isolated. The body doesn't recognize any of this as food, so it's useless. Superfoods combine the best of both worlds. They are REAL foods plus they are the most nutrient dense. My favorite superfood is actually a mix that isn't one, but 22 superfoods that ANYONE can add in to their diet. It's Chocolate Bliss by Sunfire Superfoods. It's a handmade blend of the best quality superfoods such as raw cacao, maca, hemp seeds, camu camu berries, sprouts, coconut and more done in the right mix of how your body can uptake and assimilate nutrients. It's a great starting point for a smoothie that everybody can do without a lot of hassle. It helps with so many things, but mainly true nourishment for a sustainable period of time and increased mood. Its not called "bliss" for nothing! You gained a lot of popularity doing detox programs but switched gears a few years ago. Why? Yes, I began teaching traditional detox classes four and a half years ago. However, detoxing was not as popular and more people were into it for a quick fix so they were not really in the right mindset for the 28-day transformation nor were they ready to switch their diets overnight to achieve the maximum benefits of cleansing. I would spend a lot of time talking about food and then on day 29 people would go right back to where they started. My mission was to educate people on these amazing real, pure foods as a lifestyle and I switched gears to leading lifestyle classes where we touched on detox, superfoods, transitioning to a more balanced life, etc. So, why did you decide to do this detox program? Now the time has come that the two ideas have met. People can sustain a cleanse for a period of time and because of more awareness and education in the marketplace, people can add in foods that support the detox. I also feel like people are more open to a complete makeover of their diet and a detox is the best way to kick it off. Spring is perfect to jumpstart a new program and a detox is kind of like a reset button. Especially with Ejuva because it really does shift people on all levels from physical to mental to emotional. Can you tell me a little about Ejuva? Ejuva is a beautiful cleanse. I feel it is one of the best out there because it works deep and effective yet without a lot of cleansing reactions. And what I mean by that is that some of the other programs cause problems such as gripping on the intestines and constipation etc. mainly because of the way they're developed and the ingredients used. The Ejuva is one of the only raw, organic non-excipient (added chemical fillers), wild crafted cleanses on the market. Best of all, it's not a quick fix or time consuming. It's easy and for most people, it's forgiving so you don't have to be "perfect" on it. It's a process of transformation, self-discovery and extreme self-care. Because it's done over 28 days, you slowly let go of things and you add in other things that support you during the cleanse and for the most part people feel better on the cleanse. If you really think about it, people are more so "detoxing" from the things in their diet that probably causing them to not feel so good in the first place. You add in the good things plus some really great herbs that chisel away at deeper toxins and you end up feeling excellent! So, just to clarify, it's not 28 days of fasting? Can you suggest how the ideal diet would go over the 4 weeks? Yes, you eat over the course of the 28 days. You gradually increase the amount of herbs you take and each week swap out one solid meal for a blended soup, smoothie or juice. For maximum results, you can go on all liquids for the last week or even a few days of it. It's not truly fasting as you are incorporating loads of minerals and nutrients from the blended soups, juices, smoothies. The herbs used are balancing and create alkalinity in the body, so that it shifts what you crave and what you think you need. In terms of the food, you begin by letting go of all the foods that do not support the system through a detox, such as processed soy, processed foods, most meats, alcohol and caffeine. You can let go of these over the month or for maximum results you can let go of them mainly in the front half of the cleanse like week one and two. However, like I said the Ejuva is forgiving so you can do this slowly. It's all based on what results you desire. Besides the Ejuva detox, what else are you working on? This will be the last detox for awhile. I will be switching gears in April and May and rolling out a "beyond detox" that will be done in a group/tele-class series that supports people for 30 or 60 days to incorporate more sustainable habits with real food and creating a system that gets food out of the way so we can focus more on creating the lifestyle we desire, doing what we love and really living life! I find when people get into health it becomes too much about the food and not about all the beautiful aspects of a healthy, balanced life. People go from chasing one carrot to chasing the "health" carrot with little results, foods should be a catalyst to amazing energy and a shift to a fabulous mood so you can begin accomplishing super things in your life. If that's not the case then something is not working. Wow! I was so inspired! I didn't intend for this post to be this long, but I just wanted to share everything. If you are interested in doing the Ejuva class with Lisa (and me), starting on March 1 (kickoff class is February 27), call her at 312-543-3735 or email lisa@lisapersico.com. If you have more questions, tune in to her free Top 5 Misconceptions and Truths about Detoxing call on February 18 at 8pm.
She's also having a Veggie Quickie event on February 21 for the girl on the go, busy mom and business woman who wants to add more healthy options into her life with simple recipes. Space is limited, so email her today!

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6 Comments

Patricia Biesen said:

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We are totally on the same page. I'm starting a no-sugar cleanse. Isn't Lisa the best! I knew her from years ago when she was a part of the cleanse at Cousins IV. I did Ejuva years ago. I was a good experience for me. You'll do great!

Maya Henderson said:

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Why am I not surprised that you know Lisa?! I was also thinking about starting a no-sugar cleanse, but I like the assistance and group atmosphere of the Ejuva. I'll be reading your blog for updates on the sugar detox. Thanks for the words of encouragement about Ejuva!

Alicia Eler said:

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Ladies! I am totally considering doing this cleanse. Passing info along to friends, too...

Maya Henderson said:

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Yes! I am crossing my fingers that you decide to do this. After chatting with Lisa, I'm pumped! I've never done a long, comprehensive detox like this before, so I'd love to have a colleague along for the journey. Keep me posted on your decision.

Lauren Strec said:

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Thanks for sharing. I think a couple girlfriends and I are going to try this. This entry is on today's "Hot on ChicagoNow:"
http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/hot-on-chicagonow/2010/02/hot-on-chicagonow-february-17-2010.html

Maya Henderson said:

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Awesome! Thanks so much for posting, Lauren. Let me know if you decide to do the detox. I think it'd be great to blog about our experiences over the course of the 28 days!

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