Quitting smoking is a brilliant thing to do. It will make you feel like you've conquered a mountain. The downsides, however, are not as brilliant. I put on seven kilos in the two months after I quit and I broke out in pimples, or "quit-zits" as they are known. I felt miserable. Heavy and spotty is, suprisingly, not a very good look for me.
Action had to be taken. I wanted to detox. Work commitments meant that going away was not an option. So instead I went online and stumbled upon Detox Delight. A plan offering me a way to help my body get rid of all the terrible toxins I had ingested through years of smoking, one that claimed to reduce cravings for unhealthy snacks, and best of all, a solution that could be delivered to my front door in Abu Dhabi (they deliver throughout the UAE).
Detox Delight offers detox treatments based on vegan menus or juice cleanse programmes that help the body to release toxins, environmental pollutants and waste products. Long hours at work, eating irregularly, settling for an imbalanced diet and relying on the obligatory coffee and quick snacks during the work day, not to mention all the eating out, means there's much to be desired if you're after a bit of good health. Then there's the toxins we ingest through the environment, clothing, cosmetics and even household cleaning products. Exercise, when we bother, occurs in air conditioned rooms thanks to the UAE's harsh summers.
Nicole Junghaenel, one of the managers of Detox Delight in Dubai, has an interesting way of looking at the benefits of a juice diet. With as much as 80 per cent of our body's daily energy used up simply on digestion, giving our body a rest allows it to concentrate on other jobs it has been neglecting.
Junghaenel, who has lived in Dubai for seven years, struggled to maintain a healthy lifestyle. On a trip to Germany, she tried Detox Delight and was so pleased with the results that she decided to open her own branch in Dubai. "Life in Dubai is hectic, there always seems to be something going on. There just wasn't the option of doing a detox without travelling abroad to do it. Doing the detox changed my life and I wanted everyone here to be able to have the same experience.
"We're the only company offering a liquid detox, and so far, everyone who has ordered from us has ordered again. People may think the main point of the detox is to lose weight, but it's so much more than that, though people do tend to lose between two and five kilos during a five day detox depending on their metabolism. It's a chance for our bodies to repair themselves and, most importantly, to get rid of all the toxins that have built up. The skin is the biggest organ we have so it's constantly absorbing toxins from the environment."
So, how was it? Although the prospect of not eating solid food for five days did seem daunting, the whole process was not as difficult as I'd feared. The juice was delivered to my door promptly at 8am - the delivery is an important part of the detox as the juice must be kept between 2°C and 8°C and must not be exposed to light. The boxes and packaging are a pure delight. The juices are unpasturised to ensure they keep their maximum enzyme and vitamin level. They are developed by nutritionists and raw food chefs, and are absolutely delicious. Every sip made me feel as if I was filling myself with pure goodness.
There were difficult days, certainly, and not just in the physical sense. I was forced to inspect my relationship with food. I had the time, now that I was not eating, to see when I would normally eat and why. There were some side effects - mood swings and headaches - but they were not uncontrollable.
The results, after the five days, were fantasitc. My skin was clear and glowing, my hair was shiny and my nails, for the first time, were strong. I felt light and happy. And I had lost nearly 5kg. For four days after the detox, I carefully followed the after-detox care routine provided by Detox Delight to ease myself back into solid food. Two weeks on and I have regained 2kg, which I was expecting, but my skin is still clear and I am committed to a healthier lifestyle. Life changing? Yes, it was.
* Felicity Campbell followed the five-day Juice Delight programme, costing Dh2,850. Visit www.detox-delight.ae for details. For a more personal look as to what went on, visit her online diary here.
Sample Juice Delight menu for a day:
- Lemonade detox: apple, grapefruit, water, lemon
- Orange detox: apple, orange, celery, lemon, chilli
- Pink detox: apple, courgette, beetroot, fennel, lemon
- Green detox: pineapple, green apple, broccoli, spinach, white cabbage, celery, wheatgrass, spirulina
- Yellow detox: apple, courgette, pineapple, ginger, mint
- Pecanut cacao: pecan, almond, water, agave syrup, raw cacao