Juice Cleansing Diet
Juice cleanses have many names. Whether it is juice feasts, juice fasts or master cleanses–these are all names for a strict liquid diet. In each case, you drink only liquid from fresh fruits and vegetables. Cleanses can last as long as a day or extend as long as 6 months. The benefits of juicing when done correctly can be numerous, but the diet can also be dangerous if executed poorly.
How to Juice Cleanse
Ideally, juice fasts should be conducted on the weekend; you can focus entirely on the cleanse without interruptions from work. Go grocery shopping and select a wide variety of fruits and vegetables for juicing. Whole Foods will allow any quantity of fruits and vegetables to be juiced for a nominal fee if you do not have a juicer. If greens are juiced, try to consume them within a day–otherwise, the juice oxidizes. Oxidized green juice does not taste as good, and nutrients are lost as well.
Benefits of Juicing
Juice cleanses detoxify the system of impurities. Toxins can build in the system if you have poor digestion or if a person is exposed to harmful environmental chemicals for long periods (like air pollution). Some go on juice fasts purely to lose weight. Exceeding 1,300 calories a day on just fruit juice is difficult because of the high water and fiber content. Another benefit is an improved digestive system. Fruit is high in fiber, which helps clean the digestive tract. If the diet includes juiced greens, the diet can also be high in minerals like iron, calcium and even protein. Cherie Calbom, author of “The Juice Lady’s Guide to Juicing for Health” explains that juicing can promote energy levels and overall vitality and that certain juice fasts can help common ailments from yeast infections to a common cold. The body also stays hydrated on a juice cleanse, which supports cell regeneration, keeps skin clear, and most importantly, helps eliminate waste from the body. Hydration is one of the biggest cleansing aspects of a juice fast.
Benefits of Fasting
Fasting or severe calorie restriction is believed to be spiritually beneficial. Author Stephen Blauer explains in “The Juicing Book” that fasting promotes positive mental effects. If juicing is coupled with fasting through low-calorie consumption, fasting can cause a “high.” Mental clarity is heightened with a feeling of alertness and euphoria. Allegedly, historical figures like Jesus and Ghandi both fasted to achieve spiritual clarity.
Many go into juice cleanses with unrealistic expectations: while weight loss is guaranteed if you consume only fruit juice, the diet is not sustainable. The body must receive vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. If only one type of juice is consumed for a long period, the body will be starved of other nutrients. Thus, while pineapple and orange juice might be preferable in taste to liquid kale, the fast should not be more than a few days because of mineral loss. If a juice fast will be conducted for longer than a few days, incorporating a wide variety of foods for juicing is essential. Another pitfall is reverting to poor eating habits when the diet ends. The diet must be used as a springboard to better eating habits once the cleanse is over.
Irritability is one common side effect from a juice cleanse. As the body detoxifies and food cravings intensify, mood swings can occur. Serious side effects are explained in a Vanderbilt University health article. If the body is in starvation mode from a prolonged fast, the body reverts to taking protein stores from organs like the kidney and liver. The article elaborates to state that many nutritionists think fasting is superfluous when the body naturally fasts while the body sleeps. Though one is still consuming calories on a juice fast, the body can go into starvation mode if not enough calories are consumed daily. As such, those who are new to fasting are not advised to do so longer than a few days. Fasts can be conducted for longer with enough knowledge and experience.