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Juicing & Yoga: Your Guide to Detoxing in the UAE
UMI gives you the skinny on yoga, juice and detoxing in the UAE
There’s something rather addictive about yoga, and it’s not simply the potential for lithe, toned limbs or a zen-like sense of inner calm. What starts out for many as a seemingly less frenetic way to shift the bulge can turn into something more far reaching; a kind of life-enhancing chain reaction that touches everything we do.
Put in more simple terms, yoga is really a way of life. Its famously holistic approach stems from an emphasis on personal balance and harmony. Once practiced, it’s hard to reconcile the benefits of achieving such an outwardly fit and healthy appearance if continuing to neglect our internal constitution. And that’s where juicing and yoga fit hand in glove.
Juicing – the latest fad diet or here to stay?
As a health craze, it’s certainly attracted its fair share of attention, and not all positive, but the juicing trend isn’t merely a celebrity fad. Yoga devotees have long incorporated juice and detoxing programs into their regimes as a way to cleanse and re-energise the system from the inside out (that holistic thing again).
The weight loss industry, meanwhile, prefers to seize on the slimming effects of such programs that claim to offer a healthier alternative to the crash diets of old. Worryingly, it’s becoming increasingly common for celebrities to boast they’ve largely ditched entire food groups – and sometimes the concept of chewing food altogether – in favour of Juicing. Should we jump on the extreme juicing bandwagon or is there an easier way to enjoy these liquid health benefits?
Juice fasting is all the rage in Hollywood, and if done correctly – over short periods of time – the results are said to be utterly transformative and likened to a kind of nutritional transfusion for the whole body. Juice is processed quickly, and in the absence of solid food to digest, it is thought the body is freed up to heal and eliminate toxins, and naturally. With carbs, proteins and fats virtually eliminated from the diet, a side effect of this process is weight loss and other purported benefits include healthier PH levels (great for keeping cancer at bay), a reinvigorated palate, improved skin, hair and nails, more disciplined eating habits and a greater sense of personal insight.
Experts seem divided on the notion of juicing as a long-term substitute for whole fruit and vegetables, but it’s certainly possible to pack a lot of goodness into any diet by supplementing with freshly pressed juices, and particularly with the inclusion of vegetables that might be otherwise unpalatable. Where experts differ is on the type of juice we should be consuming.
Not all juices are created equal
We tend to drink store purchased cartons of juice, which make for a good choice for beginners, particularly as they often come fortified with extra vitamins. However, they’ll also very likely to have been treated to pasteurization that is thought to kill crucial enzymes and nutrients in the process, and so opting for a freshly pressed juice once in a while is a good idea too.
Most of us will be familiar with the centrifugal juicer commonly used in juice bars and home devices. The fruit goes in and pulp and skin are separated, leaving just the juice. However, juice purists are now suggesting that this process generates just enough heat to kill off a few of those crucial enzymes and so for anyone wanting to make the most out of their fruit and veg, the way to go is the cold pressed method. As the name suggests, rather than spinning and separating, the cold press puts its considerable weight into squishing every last drop of liquid from the whole fruit, generating no heat and thus supposedly preserving every ounce of nutritional goodness, and eliminating waste in the process.
Critics point out that juice of any type – as opposed to a blended smoothie containing pulp – eliminates vital fibre, roughage and certain nutrients found in the skin and pulp, all critical for bowel health. Proponents counter that juicing actually allows us to take in far larger quantities of nutrients than usual, which in turn, are absorbed far more quickly and effectively into our systems.
While the former is a highly valid point, nonetheless, the scientific evidence is somewhat inconclusive on the benefits and differences between the various methods. If you aren’t naturally drawn to eating copious quantities of fruit and veg – and let’s face it, that’s probably most of us – the ‘quick hit’ factor of fresh juice taken in any form cannot be underestimated, and juicing certainly makes for a far more appealing way to assimilate supercharged amounts of vital nutrients into our diets, without having to chew through equivalent quantities. For those of us with busy, time-pressed lifestyles, the benefits of juice are obvious.
A fruit-packed juice, while full of nutrients, also contains a condensed hit of naturally occurring sugars – and thus calories – and is also likely to cause a spike in glucose levels that may be harmful for diabetics and those with insulin related issues. Furthermore, detox regimes can be quite a shock for some systems and eliminating all but one food group for days at a time is not to be undertaken lightly.
The side effects of a detox can be quite unpleasant (think headaches, nausea, dizzy spells, chronic fatigue, stomach cramps, frequent bowel movements and ravenous hunger) and many prefer to combine a detox program with a dedicated break at a sanctuary where the daily grind is taken out of the equation, and here relaxation, yoga and meditation are the order of the day.
Detox recipes can also taste pretty grassy and strange for the uninitiated, and seasoned juicers do tend to opt for combinations that go heavy on greens, such as beets, broccoli, parsley, kale and cucumber and sweeten it up with carrots and only a little fruit. Many detoxers complain of the boredom factor too, which probably explains the heightened appreciation of taste and texture once whole food is reintroduced.
If you’re nervous about acquiring a taste for liquefied kale, try adding greens gradually over time to fruit based juices you can whizz up at home, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations to create balance. Often the most obviously sweet fruit won’t be the one that works best, so be prepared to consider sharper fruits such as cranberries and lemons.
As with most things in life, balance is key and, for most of us, juicing can – and arguably should – be a fantastic compliment to any normal diet. Cleanses and more intense detox programs are highly beneficial once in a while, but it’s always advisable to check with your health practitioner before embarking on an exclusionary diet, particularly if you have health concerns or if your lifestyle is demanding.
Stop thinking about it and just do it
If there’s any further incentive needed to kick-start a juicing regime, the must-see documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead chronicles the real life story of Australian Joe Cross, a self-confessed slob with a serious and incredibly rare autoimmune disease who, in his own words “looks like I’ve swallowed a sheep.” In a bid to ditch the weight and medication he embarks on a road trip for two months across America, drinking only green juice. It’s here he meets another fellow sufferer by chance at a truck stop, himself morbidly obese, and the men establish a rapport that will ultimately change both their lives. The results are, quite literally, transformative, but it’s the personal journeys and sense of connection that is most inspiring and rather nicely illustrates how a holistic approach to health shifts more than just fat deposits.
With rising public awareness over chronic health issues, the UAE has really embraced the juicing phenomenon, and while it’s probably not necessary to go to Joe’s lengths to achieve a little personal equilibrium, a regular yoga class and a daily glass or two of freshly pressed goodness can really help to shed the pounds and improve overall health. If inspiration is required, why not visit one of the region’s juice bars? Many are now also offering tailored and off-the-shelf detox packages, and will even deliver daily to your home or office, so there’s really no excuse to not get with the program.
How to juice and detox in the UAE
Detox Delight is a German company that offers a range of structured treatment programs lasting from five to 19 days. They also offer flexible programs that combine delicious soups and juices ideal for those who are unable to commit to a rigid schedule. All products are delivered within the UAE.
Using a special hydraulic juicing press, hand manufactured in the U.S., Essentially claim their juices contain up to five times more vitamins and minerals than those produced by a standard juicer. Essentially offer three different levels of cleanse programs and five supplement programs which include a tailored selection of specially blended juices, as well as the signature Green energising juice that’s jam-packed with antioxidants, folates and vitamins thanks to a few kilos of leafy greens. Clever sweetening additions such as apple, ginger and lemon to make it yummy as well as super healthy.
Other great juice bar locations in the UAE
If you’re out on the town and hankering for a juice fix, check out Pulp, Zest, Tonic and Boost.
Zen Yoga has three locations across Dubai and offers a number of yoga and pilates classes, including Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga and many classes for ladies only.
Yoga Room teaches Ashtanga yoga, said to be the ‘purest form of yoga’ and follows eight steps that incorporate postures and breathing to produce internal heat that cleanses and detoxifies while greatly improving flexibility and core strength.
Club Stretch has two locations in Dubai and the focus is strictly on Bikram yoga, the original hot yoga discipline that features 26 traditional Hatha postures undertaken in a heated room to get the blood pumping, warm the muscles and help eliminate toxins.
The Body Tree Studio is situated opposite Adnoc station and offers a number of private and group sessions. While there are classes to suit all ages (kids included) there’s a particular focus on pre- and post-natal women.
Rawr Yoga is another Abu Dhabi based yoga studio with a huge, serene interior space located right in Media City. Their focus is strictly on Bikram yoga, and classes are designed to accommodate beginners and more advanced students.
Yoga and detox retreats
Join yoga guru Suzanne Robinson for a three-day yoga and detox retreat at the Hatta Fort Hotel in May. Essentially UAE will provide discounts on their detox juicing packages to all yoga retreat participants. Cost of yoga retreat is AED1,799 for two nights/three days, and proceeds go to charity. Suzanne is also available for private yoga classes and is based in Dubai.
The Six Senses brand is synonymous with luxury and if you’re going to detox and rebalance, it makes sense to be cosseted in style. This gorgeous and low key spot on Oman’s coast enjoys a pristine white sandy beach and feels like a truly ‘away from it all’ refuge, albeit an immaculate and stylish one. With a dedicated juice bar and regular yoga and pilates retreat programs on offer, it ticks all the right boxes for the ultimate detox break.
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