Juice cleansing-you’ve heard about it, you know people who have done it, and you’ve seen the expensive cleanses advertised. You’ve also probably thought about doing one yourself. Which I’m sure brought up questions like: Does it even do anything?, How do you do one?, Do you need those expensive detox kits?, Will I die of hunger?, etc. Well the good news is, you no longer have to wonder about these things, because I have lived through my fair share of them and am here to talk all about them 🙂
What Exactly Is a Juice Cleanse?
First off, a juice cleanse is basically a break from food for a certain period of time, but you still drink juice. I typically do them for three days because it takes 72 hours of fasting for your immune system and gut to repair. Not that a duration shorter than three days doesn’t have benefits, you just won’t get the full benefits that you would with three days or more. But something is better than nothing, right?
How do they work?
Fortunately, juice cleanses aren’t just another useless fad. They actually do work and have lots of benefits to them. The reason being is simply they give your digestive system a break from digesting food, and allows your body to start repairing things that need repairing, as well as getting rid of the things it never gets a chance to get rid of (i.e. toxins). Also, a lot of the food we eat can cause inflammation to our system. Its not until you get rid of the cause of the inflammation, that it can decrease and your body can start fixing the problem. A lot of people will notice a decrease in brain fog and increased focus as well, because once again, most of that is caused by foods we eat, and once removed, the symptoms go away.
What Don't they Do?
The one huge misconception is that a juice cleanse can make you lose fat. Can a juice cleanse make you temporarily lose pounds, yes. It’s because you don’t have the weight of the food in your stomach. But that only translates to when you step on the scale. You don’t have any less fat on you. When you go back to eating, the number on the scale will go right back up again. Juice cleansing can also make your waist temporarily smaller, but as soon as you eat food again, it will go back to normal. So if you are primarily looking to lose fat, I would skip the juice cleanse and put my focus elsewhere.
How To do one (and save a ton of money!)
The most important thing when doing a juice cleanse is to stay away from the high sugar juices, the ones made from fruits like mangos, apple, etc. Yes they taste better, but they are nothing but plain sugar, which can easily be stored as fat. There is one exception-citrus juices like lemon and lime. These don’t have the same insulin raising effects as other fruits. I would stick to ones with more green veggie juices like kale and spinach. You can usually find these low sugar juices in the juice section of the grocery store, and they are a fraction of the price of the expensive juice cleansing kits(each juice is around $4-6 a piece). I would get about 4-5 juices for every day that you plan on doing it. Each juice would be a meal.
With that said, even though its called a “juice” cleanse, feel free to mix it up and include a kombucha, a cup of bone broth, or even some bulletproof coffee in there as well. The probiotics from the kombucha and the gut healing collagen from the bone broth are great additions for your gut, and the bulletproof coffee will give you energy for the day and keep your hunger at bay. An example of a day on a cleanse would be:
Meal 1: Bulletproof Coffee
Meal 2: Low Sugar Juice
Meal 3: Low Sugar Juice
Meal 4: Kombucha
Meal 5: Low Sugar Juice
Meal 6: Bone Broth (make sure your bone broth has around 10 grams of protein per serving. The fake bone broth only has around 1 gram) Or learn how to make your own HERE
Also make sure you are drink a lot of water during the whole process.
What should you expect?
A lot of people are afraid to do a cleanse because they don’t know if they can handle doing it, and they don’t know how they are going to feel while on one. One thing that I learned doing them is that it sounds a lot harder than it is. Also, yes you will feel tired, but not dead. At some points you will actually have a lot more energy than you thought. For me, the first and last evenings are the hardest. You miss eating actual food, and you don’t really know what to do with yourself. I always plan to go to bed early on these days. I think the middle day is the easiest, and you actually feel a sense of freedom being away from food. Throughout the process you will have moments where you don’t feel the greatest, just because your body is starting to try and get rid of anything bad that it hasn’t had time to get rid of. But even at my worst, it wasn’t anything that made me unable to do what i needed to do that day. My biggest warning for people scheduling to do one is to make sure you don’t have to wear anything tight a few days after. My stomach always takes a few days to get used to food again, and i actually end up being bloated the few days following one (it goes away after two days). A lot of people think about doing one right before an event because they want their stomach flat for it. However, if you’ve not done one before and know how your body reacts, I would warn against this.
After the cleanse you should notice better energy, clearer thinking, and better digestion. I always feel like my body is just running better, which makes the food-less three days totally worth it.
What are my thoughts on them?
I personally think everyone should do a juice cleanse at least once a year. If you can’t commit to three days in a row, do a couple 24 hour ones throughout the year. Its a great reset, break from processed food, and jump start to eating better. Any break for your digestion system will be beneficial. I love using them as a kickoff to any new diet plan I am starting. If you give one a try, please leave a comment below about how you liked it, I’d love to hear how it went!