Five Minutes With: Health guru Chris James

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Ever wonder how the stars maintain their glowing skin and slim figures? Chances are they embark on a detox cleanse every once in a while. A-list stars Beyonce, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston are all cleanse and yoga devotees and credit their super-star glow to an occasional health purge.

But can the average civilian maintain a cleanse? The most I’ve ever achieved is a three-day juice cleanse – and boy did everyone know I was on it! Could I survive for longer without my beloved cup of Java? Enter yoga and health guru to the stars Chris James and his 12-day cleanse.

James has devised a programme that is designed to detox your system without starving you – think plenty of veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds and brown rice and you get the picture.

A sought-after name on the international yoga circuit, James’ celeb clients include model and swimwear designer Melissa Odabash, Sadie Frost and the Made in Chelsea girls – all of whom have tried his cleanse. If it’s good enough for the stars, then it’s good enough for me! (Read my review of the cleanse here)

TBI met up with James for a chat about his popular cleanse when he was in Dublin recently – and bonded over a shared fascination of bowel movements!

How did you get into detoxing?
I was a lad in a sarong in my twenties who really wanted to do my own thing in life. At the time I was buying antique textiles – I didn’t have rich parents or anything – but I didn’t want to be sucked into the rat race. So I set up a business importing textiles into London and Paris. I led this incredible life, living in a van.

But then one of my friends introduced me to yoga. I decided to study it and took myself off to the Indian Himalayas. While there, I undertook a cleansing ritual which involved imbibing litres of salted water – what came out the other end was enough to convince me to refocus on the integrity of my gut! I’ve since learned that an incredible 70 per cent of your immune function lives in your gut, 95 per cent of your serotonin and 60 per cent of your dopamine is created in your gut as well. When I returned to London in 2000/2001, I started teaching yoga, meditation and nutrition.

Why another cleanse?
Living a yoga life is very much about the quality of the water that you drink, the quality of the air you breathe and the quality of the things you eat. It’s about all of these different components. But I realised that people are very short of time and they needed a structure in their lives.

My one to one clients started to see a radical change in their lives using my then 28-Day Transformation. Then my group classes wanted to do it too. And then the press became interested in it around 2007.

But I decided to reduce the amount of time in the cleanse to 12 days which is really tangible and is really the minimum amount of time you need to open up the pathways to detoxification. The nutritional plan is broken down into four stages - Preparation Phase, Pre-Purification Phase, Power Phase, and the Maintenance Phase. The Power Phase on days 7-9 is when the body really starts to detox. Because you’ve prepared in the previous six days, it really opens up the pathways.

The 12-Day Cleanse pack provides nutritional guidelines and a menu plan. People can do it in their own time, even if you’re very busy or working.

The only thing I suggest for the juice phrase is to try do it in relative calm – not at a time when you have a wedding or a weekend away. Sit down and schedule it. It’s very rare for people to start the cleanse and then drop out.

What are the benefits of juicing?
When it comes to the juicing part of the cleanse, the only way you are going to benefit is if you buy the stuff yourself, juice it, and drink it straight away. Because as soon as you start to cut into a fruit or vegetable, the enzymes start to dissipate. So if you’re going to benefit from the enzymes – that raw spark of life – you have to consume it straight away.

Consuming raw vegetable juice every day will maintain healthy and slightly alkaline levels in the bloodstream. Raw juice contains accessible fuel for your body and is the best way to cleanse the body. A juice cleanse allows you to press the reset button.

When is the best time to cleanse?
The most popular time seems to be in the New Year but January is a tough time to cleanse. Spring and autumn – when the metabolism undergoes a shift – is a great time to do a cleanse as you are following the bio-rhythms of nature.

Tell me about your celebrity following
Melissa Odabash – the model and designer – credits my cleanse with getting her ‘bikini ready’, as do the Made in Chelsea girls. Rosie Fortescue and Millie Mackintosh are big fans of the product as are Sadie Frost and Natasha Kaplinsky.

Clients who used my 28-Day Transformation way back and those who use my 12-Day Cleanse are still cooking my meals because they are delicious, they are cleanse-friendly and they are incredibly easy to do.

Chris James’ 12-Day Cleanse is stocked at Dublin’s Space NK, Grafton Street or available online here.

Next week: TBI reviews the Chris James 12-Day Cleanse 

Pictures courtesy of Chris James/E4

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