Q&A with Midi Fairgrieve, Radiance's Executive Nutritional Therapist
by Clare Neill,
Midi Fairgrieve is Radiance's Executive Nutritional Therapist. She has an unrivalled depth of experience with juice cleansing, through her years of work as a private practice nutritional therapist in the UK and as the founder of Detox International, a company that has pioneered juice cleanse and holistic healing residential retreats.
How and why did you move into nutrition as a profession?
I came to a point in my life when I was 30 when nothing I was doing was making much sense or making me happy any more. I really came to a complete full stop; physically, mentally and emotionally. After receiving wonderful support and healing I started to be drawn towards helping others in this way. I didn’t really know which direction I would ultimately take but I came across a course in holistic nutritional medicine and it was as if a light bulb went on inside me. I left my job as a radio producer with the BBC and everything seemed to unfold in magical ways as I retrained in natural medicine.
Why did you become interested in juice cleansing in particular?
Again, it was a light bulb moment when I was studying detoxification during my nutrition training. It made such sense that cleansing and detoxifying was at the root of healing. I have always been holistic in my outlook and so when I understood the huge power that detox has to change people on all levels, I wanted to work in this way. I was magnetically drawn to detox.
How often do you cleanse?
I have a fasting day once a week. It’s not a strictly no food day, we eat fresh fruit and vegetables, either as juice, salads, steamed vegetables or soups. But nothing else; just fresh fruit and veg. I always feel the benefits the next day. It helps me keep my weight in check and as an older mother I am looking to the long term health benefits that intermittent fasting is known for, such as stabilising blood pressure and blood sugar, warding off arthritis, keeping the mind sharp and the body flexible. I hope to be fit and well and active in my 80s and 90s. I’m in my early 50s now and rekindled a childhood passion for horse riding 2 years ago and have my own horse. I want to be able to keep riding into my old age and paying attention to diet is a key part of that.
What is your normal diet?
It’s pretty predictable during the week days – breakfast is fruit, bee pollen and home-made yoghurt. Lunch in winter is freshly made soup and in the summer a variety of salads. In the evenings it can be anything from fish to chicken to vegetarian, but always freshly cooked and always plenty of vegetables. At the weekends we often eat out once or twice which includes sea food and sometimes even pizza! I am a great believer in balance in all things.
Do you find that you eat differently living in Spain than you did in the UK?
Yes! When I was living in Edinburgh I could easily buy organic food and in this part of Southern Spain it is almost impossible to get hold of. We grow our own fruit and veg now which helps. Eating out is a challenge in a very meat based society, but I am not a rigid eater and love all food so when I’m out I eat meat or fish as they are usually the only options in Spain.
What are your can't-do-without fridge and cupboard foods?
I love butter! I always have lentils and chickpeas somewhere. Onions and garlic are always at hand and form the base of everything I cook. Lemons are also a must for me as they are so versatile from hot water and lemon as a cleansing drink to livening up a fresh juice and bringing depth of flavour to a soup or a stew. I trained as a Cordon Bleu cook when I left school and my early cooking skills have made cooking and eating a joy for me as I can make food quickly and also love eating all types of food.
What is your favourite juice combination?
Carrot, apple, ginger and orange.
What is your best piece of advice for someone embarking on a juice cleanse for the first time?
Just do it! Be aware that you may feel a bit toxic during a juice fast as toxins are released but that’s a good sign. The more often you juice fast the less ‘uncomfortable reactions’ you will have as the body becomes clearer. Rest, rest, rest and drink filtered water.
What are the most noticeable changes that you see in your clients from doing a juice cleanse?
The biggest changes are on the non physical level. People will often leave a detox retreat and make radical changes to their lives. Perhaps change their career, re-train in something new, even give up work altogether for a while and travel. Other changes might be separating from a partner or spouse which they hadn’t had the courage or energy to do before or taking more time for inner peace and joining a yoga or meditation class. Taking time out to retreat and detox is a chance to listen to our inner voice and when we hear ourselves, it can have life changing results. The body benefits too of course, such as weight loss, clearer skin, greater vitality, and for many people, they overcome a chronic condition, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia and IBS. Detox slows down the aging process at cell level so every part of us benefits.
Do you have any helpful little rituals when you do a detox for yourself?
I detox once a year on a 7 day retreat and love the feeling afterwards. During the retreat I tend to sink into a headache for the first day. Rest is probably the thing I try to do most when detoxing. In terms of helpful rituals, you can't beat drinking clean water and getting out into nature.