The R&R Liquid Diet
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Ever been frustrated when your computer or mobile phone doesn’t function properly, so you re-boot it and then it works great again? Well, this diet is useful for those times when you feel that you may need to re-boot yourself (gently). 🙂
Now you may have never heard of an R&R Diet before. We hadn’t…until we made the name up. The R&R simply stands for Reboot and Rejuvenate, and although the name might be new, the concept has been around for many years.
Reboot & Rejuvenate with the R&R Diet!
The R&R Diet is a liquid diet where you have an assortment of sweet (fruit based) and savoury (vegetable based) blends. OK let’s call them smoothies, and some of them are more like soup and can be served hot or cold.
These yummy blends contain the whole food, often including the skins and seeds (as nature intended) but you can leave out anything that doesn’t feel right for you to eat, or should I say drink. Please note that there are no ‘juices’ in this diet, because many can be too concentrated with sugars without the fibre.
It’s not a long-term diet and it isn’t suitable for all people or all climates. But if the weather is warm and your digestive system needs a good rest and your cells need rejuvenating, then this may well be the answer you have been looking for.
Some might call it a detox, some might call it the breakfast you have when you don’t have time for breakfast, or some might use the quick soup options for dinner when it’s too late to eat something heavy, but you don’t want to go to bed on any empty stomach.
With the R&R diet, you can experiment with your own blends and explore different taste combinations. Have fun…your body will love you for it.
Rod and I like our blends thick and eat them with a spoon so we consume them slowly and allow the chewing action of our jaw to keep activating the enzyme pathways. If you scull a blended formulation, your body may not get the full benefit because chewing is part of the digestive process.
All R&R recipes are classified as RAW, but it is fine to use hot water to top up a blend or to gently warm a mix to your liking. Try to have at least one green smoothie or vegetable-based blend per day, even more is better, and try to minimise the fruit or sweet blends.
You can have some ‘treat’ smoothies that use cacao, banana and dates (which you wouldn’t really put on top of the list of healthy blends). But if cravings get the better of you, these options can help get you through tough patches that you may have while ‘detoxing’ from other substances and foods.
To gain the maximum benefit from the R&R diet, it is best not to include any other liquids such as alcohol, coffee, teas (except herbal), soft-drinks/sodas or anything else that may undo all the hard work your body is trying to do on this ‘cleansing diet’. Pure water is the best extra liquid for you.
Another great benefit of the R&R diet is that it can be used as a habit buster to snap you out of poor eating habits and get you back on track to nutrition and vitality.
There is also another side to the R&R diet, in that these liquid type diets have been used for many years to help those with serious health conditions. Now I’m not making any claims, but I have seen and heard from many people who had a reversal from all manner of diseases, including cancer, by using a liquid diet rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, fibre, healthy fats and easy to digest proteins. But for health conditions, only use this diet if your practitioner advises you to do so.
Benefits of the R&R diet
The benefits of this diet can be many and varied depending on your state of health at the time. Benefits may include:
- Helping you to break poor eating habits and get back on track to nutritious healthy eating and vitality.
- Cellular replenishment of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phyto-nutrients, amino acids, and healthy fats. The foods and nutrients within this diet have a direct cleansing effect on all your systems, helping to clear the bowel, bladder, and kidneys as well as the blood and cells in your body.
- Hydration of cells and organs. What better way to rehydrate your body than with loads of fluid nutrients. Many of the foods used in this diet are rich in potassium which help fluids to get inside of cells where needed to create the electrical impulses to signal the rest of the body.
- A break for your digestive system. By not eating regular foods, you give your digestive system a rest from processing harder to break down solid matter. This means less stress on your body systems. It is still important to drink/eat your smoothie with a chewing action, and because the food is liquefied it means less work for your body.
- Feeding your friendly bacteria. The smoothies are packed full of essential prebiotic fibres to feed the friendly bacteria in your digestive system.
- Can be great if feeling unwell, run down, or even recuperating from illness, surgery or dental work. The blends are awesome for the elderly who have diminished capacity to digest and absorb nutrients or chew their food well.
However, check with your doctor or health practitioner to ensure this diet is right for you, especially during illness and surgery recovery. Some medications do not assimilate well with many green vegetables which contain high levels of certain nutrients (vitamin K & C etc).
While these nutrients are beneficial for most people, when mixed with medications they can be detrimental because of their blood thinning capacity and may also increase the effectiveness of the drugs, which can create a situation where the drugs are then too strong.
- A great way to disguise healthy foods like green veggies for those who otherwise won’t eat them. Some of my younger (and older) clients who won’t eat ‘greens’ do enjoy smoothies with blends of fruits and greens, along with some creamy nuts and seeds, most of which they may not otherwise eat, except for the fruit. So blend it all up, add a touch of cacao and dates (and keep some of the green ingredients a ‘secret’). They’ll love it.
Speaking of kids, many fussy eaters are fussy because they are deficient in zinc, which affects their taste buds. You can add some zinc rich pepitas (pumpkin seeds) into a blend and once their zinc level has improved, foods in general will taste better. Another factor with taste is that when someone eats a certain food repeatedly (even if they can’t taste it directly through disguise) they will acquire the taste for that food.
How long should the R&R diet go for?
If you are feeling a bit ‘blah’ (which is a scientific word for lethargic or gluggy) from celebrating too hard, or stress, or from anything that leaves you feeling flat, you could try the diet for a few days or even a week to re-boot your system.
If you have been run down for some time, you could try the R&R diet for two to three weeks and see how you feel. Many people feel better after about a week but feel so good that they don’t want to stop for another couple of weeks.
Some like to use a liquid diet for a week or two each year, depending on circumstances such as health status, climate, and stress load (the more stress, the more cleanses may be needed). It also depends on your eating habits at other times. The more you trash your body, the more often you may need to cleanse.
One of my clients liked a ‘once a week’ cleanse each Sunday to re-boot from the previous busy week and rejuvenate for the following week of hard work. He also did a three-month detox with smoothies from the beginning of each summer. While this worked for him, three months on smoothies would probably not appeal to most people.
For some the ideal is to only have one cooked or raw solid meal a day, and two or three smoothies for the rest of the day – or soup instead of smoothies on colder days. It’s convenient, gives the body loads of great nutrients, and a rest for the digestive system.
If you have a health issue and your practitioner has suggested this type of diet as part of your healing program, then you may wish to stay with it for several months. For this length of time you will need on-going guidance from your health provider to ensure you are not missing out on any specific nutrients such as B12 or iron.
What do I do after I finish the R&R diet?
When you feel it is time to stop having liquid meals, or your practitioner has advised you to finish, it is best to stop gradually by adding one or two solid meals for the first week, preferably raw salads and fruits, because this is what your body has been used to. After all, even though this is a liquid diet, it is in fact solids that are turned into liquids by the process of pulverisation in a blender or similar, with nothing removed.
Once you are comfortable with this, you can add more raw meals or introduce some cooked meals and build from there. Observe how your body feels, particularly your digestive system, energy levels, and any other symptoms, as there may have been certain foods that were removed from your diet and when reintroduced, may not suit your body.
Because your body awareness should be more acute, this is a great opportunity to find out what foods suit you best.
What should I do if I get symptoms?
There will be some who find that certain ingredients in the R&R diet don’t suit them, and this may give rise to symptoms. If this happens, stop the diet immediately, unless you know exactly what caused the problem, and seek the advice of your health care provider.
Similarly, if prior symptoms return when you go back to solid food or if you get any new symptoms, then talk to your practitioner about what could be the possible culprits in the food you ate. However, if you worked it out for yourself, remove those foods from your diet and look at other options. If unsure, talk to your practitioner.
Bowel movements and the R&R diet
When people go onto a juice fast diet, they often stop having bowel movements altogether and need to resort to enemas or colonic irrigation to remedy the situation. But because the R&R diet still contains all the fibre and loads of extra greens and fruit, you are more likely to have more bowel movements than usual.
Don’t be alarmed by the ‘clean out’ which is often experienced, but if it seems excessive or if you have any rectal bleeding, then stop the diet and see your doctor or health practitioner. Sometimes the extra bowel movements can disturb polyps, haemorrhoids or even existing pathologies, so it is always better to get checked if you have any worrying symptoms, or if you are concerned about any aspect of the diet.
How many smoothies should I have in a day?
The amount will be determined by how hungry you feel, your activity level and the type of smoothie you consume. Some people may want to have one smoothie for each meal they would normally have plus a small serving or half serve at morning and afternoon tea. Others may find that they need three, five, or even more full serves a day. This is possible, especially in the first few days while your body gets used to consuming food differently. Be governed by how your body feels.
If you have a blender, food processor, ‘Nutri-Bullet’ or similar piece of equipment, you’re almost set to go. You will also need a clean water source, chopping board, knife and some measuring tools like a cup, teaspoon and tablespoon and of course the ingredients for your blends.
Following is a list of ingredients you can draw from to make your blends. For easier digestion, it’s best to soak any nuts and seeds overnight and then rinse prior to adding to the recipe. Wash all fruits and vegetables to remove any dirt, sprays, and bird droppings etc that may have been on the produce.
If you can afford it, organically grown or spray free grown produce is the best. Apart from not having chemicals added to your brew from non-organic produce, the nutrient quotient in organic food is usually much higher. Be sure to use fresh produce; produce that looks limp and scruffy won’t have the same nutrient level as fresh produce, even if organic.
Asian greens, asparagus, baby spinach, beetroot greens, celery, coriander, cucumber, kale, garlic, ginger, rocket, tomato, capsicum, carrots, lettuce mix greens, parsley, turmeric root, zucchini.
Papaya, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, lemons, limes, avocado, orange, banana, apples, pineapple, mango, pears, dragon-fruit (pitaya).
Proteins & fats
Coconut fresh or shredded, coconut water, coconut yoghurt, almonds, Brazil nuts, pecan nuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, tahini (sesame seed paste), chia seeds.
Fresh dates, maple syrup, coconut water, coconut oil, raw cacao powder or nibs, Spirulina powder, Moringa powder, or mixed green or red veg or super-food powder blends, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, bone broth, filtered water.
Time saving is very important for most of us and any way to reduce the time needed to make meals is a bonus. You will find that generally, these smoothies take a lot less time to prepare than most meals, which is a bonus. But if you’re into take-aways, or a quick toast and coffee, or quick bowl of cereal, or a sandwich on the run, then blends may take a little longer than what you are used to. Having said that, before work you can make a batch of smoothies to last the day if that works better for you.
If the only time you can make your smoothies is at night, then this can still work, but fresher the better. I know some people who wash and chop up their produce and pop it into their bullet type blender, then just take the whole lot to work, stick it in the fridge and when needed, add water and blend.
Please note that once produce has been blended, the nutrient level drops over the next 24hrs, so the less storage time the better. But a healthy smoothie made in the morning to consume at lunchtime is still going to have more nutrients than left over dinner from the night before, or a sandwich that was made first thing in the morning.
Do what works best for you.
Before you commence your diet, see your medical or health care professional for qualified guidance about what foods and supplements are best for your body. While on the diet do not stop any medications or supplements previously prescribed unless advised otherwise by your medical or health care professional.
During the early stages of a new diet, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, or body aches, which may occur because your body is detoxifying. However, if you are unsure about a symptom at any time, check immediately with your medical or health care professional.