Much has been written about juice cleansing and with good reason. Juice cleanse, alternatively called “juicing” or juice fasting, has been praised for aiding weight loss and eliminating toxins. Learn more about juice cleanse, how it works, its benefits and what precautions to take to ensure a safe and successful process.
What is a Juice Cleanse?
Juicing is a type of detox diet wherein an individual consumes juice made from fruits and vegetables. The cleansing period can last from a day to a few days for mild to moderate cleansing, although some individuals may continue the diet for several weeks. Juices are generally sourced from readily available fresh produce and processed at home using a blender, juicer or food processor.
Benefits of Juice Cleanse
– Weight Loss
Done right, juicing controls the amount of calories you take in and fills you up while providing you with an excellent source of energy.
– Rest Your Stomach
We are so used to empty calories, refined sugars and carbs, food additives, chemically-enhanced food and saturated fat that we neglect to consider that they can be toxic to our digestive system. Replacing unhealthful food choices with fresh juices will allow the stomach to rest from working overtime and the digestive system to process only food in its natural state. This minimizes the intake of unnecessary toxins and balances the population of friendly microorganisms in the gut. Furthermore, intake of natural food also helps provide the kidneys and the liver much-needed rest.
– Intake of Naturally-Sourced Vitamins
A juice cleanse provides the body with a number of important phytonutrients that detoxifies and aids in the natural healing process. Many of these phytonutrients have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, thus promoting a healthier, more fit body.
– Re-hydration and Detoxification
Many people do not consume enough fluids to replenish what they eliminate. Since juices contain a high percentage of water, these are excellent for re-hydrating the cells, thereby aiding in the natural processes of elimination.
– Breaking a Bad Habit
Juicing will not cure your addiction or a pre-existing condition but it can help kickstart your new healthy lifestyle, and it can help prepare your body for healthier fare. Intake of juices from fruits and vegetables helps your palate get used to the taste and texture of healthy food, so it’s unlikely you will want to eat calorie-rich, unhealthy options later.
Detoxifying with juices does not need to be an expensive endeavor. You can use healthful staples such as carrots, apples and beets with citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons. These are plentiful, readily available and tasty combinations that will not break the bank. Leafy greens usually make up the bulk of the expense because they do not contain as much juice as most fruits and vegetables, so it’s best to add them last. They will still pack a punch in terms of nutrients and flavor.
When is the Best Time for Juice Cleanse?
Although juice fasting may be done at any time of the day, the best results are usually experienced if it is done in the morning as an alternative to breakfast. It is also a good idea to observe how your body reacts and make the necessary adjustments to your schedule and activities.
Is a Juice Cleanse Difficult to Follow?
There are tons of detox recipe books available online and in bookstores, so as long as you use information from reputable sources, the recipe you use should be safe and effective. However, the routine itself may present a few challenges to newbies. Some recipes may use spices (cayenne is an ingredient for the Master Cleanse recipe, for example) and may be a bit of a challenge to ingest taste-wise, which means that most of the difficulty in juicing lies on your will to drink the juice and your ability to follow through within the allocated time period. Also, the sudden change in your diet may also trigger some cravings in you – cravings you will have to overcome to avoid overeating. If snacking cannot be avoided, try eating chopped fruits and nuts instead.
Is It Safe?
Like most processes involving dieting and detoxifying, too much of a good thing can be harmful. A cleanse can be safe, provided some precautions are followed. Here are some conditions to consider for a successful detoxification:
– Keep the cleanse for a maximum of 3 days only and no longer. Juice fasts contain healthful fruits and vegetables (although some mixes may include nuts) but this combination usually do not contain enough protein to sustain the body’s needs. When the body’s stores of protein run low, you could become more vulnerable to infections.
– Add fiber to your diet. Juicers and food processors are efficient at squeezing out the liquid portion of the fruit or vegetable but these can also remove most of the fibrous material that helps keep your digestive system healthy and your stomach feeling full. Adding a source of fiber will also help prevent you from overeating.
– Keep a healthy diet after a cleanse. Juice cleanses are typically low in calories, which explains their popularity for dieters. At most, you could probably ingest only as much as 1,200 calories per day. Although this figure may seem beneficial, it can cause the body to switch to starvation mode – an automatic response that causes your metabolism to slow down. As a result, you will not burn calories efficiently. Instead of going back to your old diet after a cleanse, keep up a healthy lifestyle and keep the weight off.
– Seek a professional’s advice before juicing. Healthy juicing for a maximum of 3 days is generally safe for a healthy individual but it may not be recommended for people who may have an illness, disease or a sensitive digestive system, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or whose immune system is compromised. Juice cleanse can also affect one’s blood sugar level and may not be suitable for people undergoing treatment for diabetes.