Juice diets had never really appealed to me in the past, I'd read all the press, I knew how good they were and I was intrigued by the claims it can boost your energy and help you lose weight.
The Daily Mirror's Samantha Cope writes - But I just couldn't shake off my mum's voice in the back of my head. 'You'll get ill if you starve yourself,' I know, Mum. 'You can't work properly on an empty stomach,' yes, I know that too, Mum.
I could see her point, but when I was offered the chance to try out TV nutritionist Amanda Hamilton's three day juice detox at Champneys Spa retreat in Tring, I couldn't resist the lure of a weekend of total relaxation.
The fact I might reap the benefits of only drinking five juices a day, instead of my usual three meals, was a bonus. Myself and 18 other people were greeted by Amanda who gave us an inspiring talk about the benefits of juicing. She explained that rather than starving ourselves, we were actually giving our body the time it needs to clear out toxins, while still giving it the nutrients it needs through the juices.
It takes a lot of energy for our bodies to digest food, so when it's given a break it can put more energy into detoxing. Amanda gave a great example; when you're feeling under the weather, the last thing you want is to eat a big meal, that's because your body is saving energy to heal. I was hooked! I'd tried a few green juices before and always found them hard to swallow, so when Amanda brought out the first juice, courgette, apple and pineapple, I was pleasantly surprised at how drinkable it was.
And that carried on throughout the weekend, with juices made from orange, carrot, ginger, plum and pear, among other fruits and veggies. In the evening we were treated to a vegetable broth (I've never seen so many people excited about a few chunks of carrot!) and before bed we had a warm of carrot!) and before bed we had a warm spiced juice to drift off to sleep with. spiced juice to drift off to sleep with.
By the second day I felt more and had several comments on my glowing skin and bright eyes. on my glowing skin and bright eyes. And the great thing was I wasn't starving either, just slightly hungry, starving either, just slightly hungry, and each time we had a juice, and each time we had a juice, every two to three hours, that every two to three hours, that hunger disappeared.
I whiled away the days swimming, walking, enjoying the thalassotherapy (a jacuzzi type pool of water enriched with vitamins and minerals) that comes included with the detox and I opted to have a seaweed wrap, which promised to further the detox already happening in my body.
By the end of day three I felt great, I was in an unexplainable good mood, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. And speaking of weight, I dropped 2lbs and lost an inch from around my waist, an added bonus.
We were sent home with eating plans and a copy of Amanda's new book Eat, Fast, Slim, which explains in more detail how different types of fasting can be good for you. If you're new to juice diets then I'd recommend going along to a weekend like this.
Everyone's in the same boat so you don't have the urge to cheat, and Amanda is on hand the whole time. You also get to chill out, which is an essential part of the body's detoxing process. I'm now a juice diet convert and I'll definitely be trying to replicate the process in my own home a couple of times a year... I'll even be roping Mum in too!