You’ve heard the hottest celebs talk about them. They’re in all the magazines. You’ve probably even seen the pre-made versions in stores. Still, you’ve got the same question… What in the world is a juice cleanse?
Nope, it’s not a 3-day experiment in which you drink only Mott’s, Tropicana and Ocean Spray juices till your heart’s content.
In fact, a juice cleanse is a diet regimen in which only vegetable- and fruit-based juices are consumed. These juices are not your grocery store standbys. On a cleanse, the juices are completely natural — made only from fruits and vegetables.
The act of juicing these fruits and vegetables can be done by you or by a juicing company who provides premade juices. Generally, to make a cleansing juice, you’ll use a centrifugal juicer to grate and grind the fruits and veggies. The most commonly used produce items are oranges, bananas, apples, carrots, spinach, and beets. All of the liquid will be extracted from these foods, and the liquid result will be the juice that you consume. The rest of the pulp is generally discarded.
Juice cleanses can be done at home with a juicing appliance, or pre-made juices can be purchased. The latter is often sold as a set that lasts for a specific duration of time. Included are instructions for juice cleanse consumption.
Why Do a Juice Cleanse?
There are various reasons you might do a juice cleanse. Some people juice because they have a medical problem that prevents them from eating solid foods, and a liquefied diet is more suitable. Others might juice because they don’t enjoy eating solid fruits and vegetables, but they like juices and know that fruits and veggies are essential for great health.
Still other proponents of juices claim that a juice diet can boost the immune system through the intense influx of nutritious foods in the system. And of course, many of those with digestive issues swear by detoxes for improving, ahem, regularity.
For the most part, however, people use juice cleanses for one of two reasons: either for weight loss, or to detoxify the body (expelling the harmful substances from the body may help to improve skin, get rid of headaches, have better sleep and enhance overall health.)
Juice Cleanses for Detoxification
One common goal of juicing is to just feel better and achieve lasting health by “detoxifying” the body. In fact, juicing is a common all-natural treatment for bloating, headaches, and overall sluggishness, which are commonly seen as symptoms of a toxic buildup in the body. Proponents of the idea that detoxification can be achieved with juice cleanse say that the effect is two-fold.
First, in one serving of all-natural juice, one can essentially consume many more units of fruits and vegetables than could be otherwise eaten in one sitting. This is because the fruits and vegetables are totally liquefied, which pretty much shrinks them.
Second, eating these numerous pulverized vegetables and fruits provides an extremely high potency of vitamins and nutrients. Therefore, when you drink only juices for an entire day or several days at a time, you can essentially flush the body of all toxic buildup.
What is this “toxic buildup” you’d be trying to eliminate? It’s generally seen to be a build up of free radicals, groups of atoms or single atoms with an odd number of electrons. The build up of free radicals has long been linked with the development of cancers. There are numerous ways these unpaired atoms can build up in the body. First, they often accumulate as the byproduct of our body’s natural processes. But they can also occur when you are exposed to household chemicals, environmental toxins, unhealthy processed foods, and cigarette smoke.
By consuming lots of fruits and vegetables, juicers are able to consume a high potency of antioxidants, which are thought to eliminate free radicals. Essentially, this backs up the idea that a juice cleanse can rid the body of toxins and make you healthier on the inside and out.
Of course, not all medical professionals are on board with this theory. Skeptics say that a cleanse or detox is not necessary to eliminate free radicals and so-called toxins. They instead propose that the body is already equipped with all of the detoxifying power necessary to ensure a clean system.
Juice Cleanses for Weight Loss
Weight loss is the other key reason many people go on juice cleanses. For some experts, however, the jury’s still out on whether or not juicing can help you lose weight.
Proponents of juicing for weight loss say that it’s simply natural: if weight loss is achieved by consuming less calories than you put out, consuming only vegetables, which have little to no caloric value, is perfect.
On the other hand, you’ve got to remember that most fruits do have a significant amount of calories. Furthermore, vegetables and fruits are low in caloric value, mostly because their high amounts of fiber cancel out the sugar calories — especially in fruits. When you juice fruits and vegetables, however, that fiber is usually lost; it’s discarded as the pulp leftover from the juicing process.
Still, if you’re hoping to kick start a weight loss program, some people have seen success with starting a more conventional diet with one to three days of juicing. You’ll definitely consume a lower amount of calories with juicing alone, which will create a deficit in your daily intake.
Are Juice Cleanses Safe?
Juice cleanses can be safe, yes, but they can also be dangerous. Follow the safety guidelines below to ensure that your juice cleanse is safe for you!
• Consult your doctor first.
Before embarking on any new diet regimen, you should always talk to your doctor. You can also consult with a registered dietician about the pros and cons of going on a juice cleanse.
• Avoid juice cleanses if you have medical problems.
Certain medical issues mean that juicing is not for you. Avoid juicing if you are undergoing chemotherapy or have kidney disease, diabetes, or nutritional deficiencies.
• Ensure nutritional completeness.
With a juicing regimen, you’ll be consuming juices instead of full meals. But you’ll still want to make sure you’re achieving optimal nutrition. Your fruit and veggie goals will surely be met, but you’ll need to consider that you may not so easily consume as much protein, fiber, or other nutrients as usual. If possible, however, you can manipulate the foods you include in your juices to achieve optimal nutrition.
• Keep your juicing duration relatively short.
If you’re looking to kick start a weight loss diet or hoping to achieve the benefits of detoxification, this can be achieved within three days at the most. Most medical professionals say that there’s no need to go on a cleanse for more than three days. In fact, for some, cleansing for too long can be dangerous as our bodies require more diverse foods than just ground fruits and vegetables.
What Liquids and How Much Should You Drink During a Juice Fast?
All juices are different. If you’re following a juice diet plan or planning to purchase a commercially prepared liquid meal replacement plan, you’ll already have the types of juices you’ll be drinking and how much planned out for you ahead of time.
On the other hand, you might also consider creating your own juice cleanse plan. If this is the case, you have the following “juice” options before you:
Vegetable and “Green” Juices
Vegetable or “green” juices are typically juices made only of vegetables. They particularly tend to have a few large handfuls of leafy greens in them as well, which gives them a bright green hue. You should drink the most green juices; at least one juice a day should be green, or you can incorporate the amount of veggies it would take for one green juice into your other juices.
Fruit juices tend to be sweeter and more filling than pure vegetable juices. Fruit juices can be chock full of healthy nutrients; however, an all-fruit juice diet isn’t typically recommended. Mixing fruits and vegetables is optimal for achieving most of the benefits of juicing. Drink a maximum of one fruit juice each day on your cleanse.
Water is an acceptable liquid to consume during your cleanse and is recommended no matter your motivation for juicing. Drink 8 to 12 glasses of water each day.
In addition to water, many juice cleanses will promote drinking green and herbal teas. Green tea, especially, is known to have a high amount of antioxidants, which again, promote detoxification through ridding the body of antioxidants.
Lastly, you may consider consuming broths as well. Bone broth, for example, can be created naturally from organic meat bones. Many people swear by the nutrients provided in bone broth, and it can also be a good idea if you’re worried about lacking protein during your juice cleanse.
Choosing Your Juice Cleanse: Programs to Consider
DIY Cleanses Vs. Bottled Juice Cleanses
DIY cleanses are arguably less expensive than pre-made bottled juice cleanses and, even though you do need to make your own juices, you don’t necessarily have to come up with the recipes. The web is full of DIY juice cleanse plans, some of them better than others; all you need to do is to pick a suitable menu – hit this link to read about some of them and get a great step-by-step action plan for a DIY juice cleanse.
On the other hand, DIY cleanses do necessitate the purchase of a centrifugal juicer, which can be rather pricey, depending on the model you purchase. This way of juicing will also mean buying all of your own fruits and vegetables and juicing them daily.
Probably the best thing about the fully DIY cleanses is that you get to pick your own recipes and/or leave out the stuff you know you don’t like. The thing is, not all of the pre-made juices taste that great; for example, Tara at Treble in the Kitchen says this about her cleansing experience with bottled juices:
“It wasn’t the thought of only drinking juices that was the problem for me…it was the flavor. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get many of the juices down, which meant that I wasn’t drinking all of the nutrients that I should have been getting.”
As long as you follow the basic principles, DIY juices may be a way to go, especially for the picky eaters (and drinkers!)
1-Day, 3-Day, and Weeklong Juice Cleanses
If you choose to go on a pre-planned cleanse, you’ll usually be able to purchase a juice cleanse for one or three days. Weeklong juice cleanses are also available, but they are not recommended unless you also incorporate solid, nutritional foods into some portions of your day as well. It’s simply not normal to eat only liquefied food for a long period of time.
For the beginners, one-day juices are probably the best choice. You have the chance to try it without signing on for three full days. If you like a one-day cleanse, awesome! You can wait a few weeks and then try a three-day cleanse. And if you don’t like it, no sweat. You can quit while you’re ahead.
Your First Time? The Full Juice Cleanse Guide for Beginners
Below, read about what to plan and expect from each phase of your juice cleanse.
Pre-Juice Cleanse Guidelines
To prepare for your cleanse, prep with a low inflammation diet of clean, whole foods. This means avoiding packaged and processed foods. You should also eat as organically as possible. Here is a list of good foods to start with:
– Fruits and vegetables
– Seeds and nuts
– Miso, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods
– Oils, including sesame, olive, sunflower, coconut, hemp, almond, and flax oils
– Organic eggs, chicken, and fish
– Whole grains, including quinoa, amaranth, brown rice, and millet
– Legumes, lentils, and beans
You should also consume between eight and 12 glasses of water each day. Do all of this for two to five days before beginning your cleanse.
Also, make sure to set your intentions for your diet. It is important to prepare your mind for what you are about to embark on. What are your goals with this juice cleanse? What to do you want to achieve? What will make you successful? Write down the answers to these questions and keep them nearby or even put them up on Post-it notes around your home to remind yourself to persist even when the going gets tough.
If you are creating your own cleansing plan, make sure that you’re incorporating balanced nutrition in your juices throughout the day. Similarly, ensure that you are eating enough calories. Even if you’re juicing for weight loss, you should be consuming at least 1200 calories a day.
Lastly, write down exactly what you plan to do each day before embarking. You’ll want a clear plan before you begin.
While You’re Cleansing
• Thinking About Hydration
Juice is naturally a liquid; however, you should also be drinking water on this juice cleanse. Nearly all pre-planned cleanses will promote consuming half your weight in ounces of water every day. No matter your goal for this cleanse, there’s no reason to avoid water.
• Products and Drinks to Avoid while Juicing
When juicing, you’ll only be consuming juiced fruits and vegetables (and broths and teas if you’ve chosen to do so). In this way, you should avoid all other foods and drinks, such as fish, meat, poultry, breads, sweets, coffee, soda, store-bought juice, and packaged and processed foods.
• Monitor how You Feel
It’s possible that you will feel great almost all the way through – some people have better mood and more energy even while they are cleansing, not only afterwards; American model Julia Friedman says: “After the first day I felt amazing! I wasn’t very active and a little lethargic, but my body felt healthy and once I woke up the next morning I felt a lot better.” By the way – Julia dropped out on the third day of cleanse as she felt sick; she strongly recommends listening to your body if you try juice fasting, and to be reasonable and feel when it’s best to give it up.
So while you’re cleansing, make sure to monitor how you feel, and if you ever feel faint, earnestly ill, or seriously symptomatic in any other way, it’s best to stop the cleanse and seek medical attention.
Another possibility is, there will be plenty of physical and mental discomfort from the beginning of your cleanse or in the process; as Kati from Black White Vivid puts it, “Honestly, I actually thought that this juice cleanse would be a lot easier for me. I usually eat quite healthy and I don’t mind being hungry. Oh boy, I was so wrong (but in the end, it was all worth it.)”
If you are following a cleansing plan, make sure to drink each juice provided at the appropriate time. Don’t drink them too close together or you may experience digestion problems such as a stomach ache or diarrhea. Also, you’ll consume all of your food for the day at once, which will make you hungry later in the day.
After the Juice Cleanse
Ease back into the consumption of whole foods. On the first day back, incorporate whole veggies, fruits, soaked nuts and seeds, and continue green juices and smoothies.
On day two, include more protein (like eggs and cottage cheese) as well as salads, soups, and healthy wraps. And finally, on day three, eat regular proteins (fish, eggs, and organic pastured chicken and turkey) as well as whole grains.
Your Post-Cleanse Diet
After easing back into solid foods, stick to your good habits by staying on track with a healthy regimen. Eat a balanced diet of fruits, veggies (in whole or juice form), lean protein (for example, fish, eggs, and organic pastured chicken and turkey), whole grains, and healthy fats (for example, olive oil, avocados, and nuts).
Juicing: Take It … or Leave It?
For some, juicing can be an excellent way to improve health, lose weight, detoxify, boost the immune system, or improve digestion. It certainly works at solving many ailments, and a lot of people swear by their juicing regimens.
Still, not everyone can get on board with juicing. And if you’re one of those people who just don’t see the point of detoxification or if you can’t imagine giving up your solid foods, you’re not alone.
In the end, the most important thing to keep in mind is that juicing is not the only way to achieve a healthy body and mind. Exercise, a healthy diet, spending time with people you care about, and working in a field you’re passionate about can all contribute to a healthy body and mind. Juicing is just one other thing to try.
And if you do try it, use this guide. We hope it helps!
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