Thinking About Doing a Juice Cleanse?
It’s the perfect time of the year to jump start your overall health and wellness with a juice cleanse. In this blog, I’m sharing the many benefits as well as everything you need to know if you decide to do a juice cleanse. So, let’s dive right in with those benefits.
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The Benefits of Juicing
High Concentration of Antioxidants
The main reason I like juicing every 3-4 months is the fact that you overload every cell in your body with an abundance of nutrients. By juicing leafy greens, vegetables and fruits (rather than eating them) almost 100% of the nutrients make it into your bloodstream. This doesn’t happen when we eat food. We lose so much by not chewing properly and then our body needs to break the food up.
Consumption of the vitamins and minerals found in fruits and veggies is associated with decreased risk of heart disease and cancer. Supplementation with juicing is an easy and convenient way to absorb more of these benefits.
One of the best side effects of a juice cleanse is the improvement to your overall appearance and energy levels. Your skin will look brighter, your digestion will improve, and you will gain greater clarity. You may see your headaches go away, and your food cravings disappear too.
In addition, I personally have witnessed my eyesight improving and a lump in my breast disappearing (wow!). There are many other stories of people being able to heal autoimmune diseases and reducing the number of prescribed medications when they add juicing into their wellness routines.
Many people are motivated to do a juice cleanse because of the potential to lose weight. In my mind it’s a nice side effect, but I prefer to focus on overall health and wellness.
A recent study by the UCLA Medical School discovered that a three-day cleanse resulted in up to four pounds weight loss. Even two weeks after a juice cleanse, about 50% of this weight loss was retained. This human study of a three-day cleanse showed a reduction in the ratio of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes bacteria, which have been linked to obesity.
What exactly is a Juice Cleanse?
A juice cleanse consists of only consuming liquids for the duration of the cleansing period. You are basically using juice to flush out the toxins in your body. This detox process can yield fantastic results not only in appearance but also in the way you feel.
There is no one size fits all. Like other health initiatives, it’s important to listen to your body and let it guide you intuitively to what feels right for you.
The content of the juices may vary. Some swear by drinking only water or broth. I’ve learned and come to love cleansing with vegetables, leafy greens, and some fruit. I’ll share the reasons for why I choose this type of cleanse in a moment.
In order to make the most of your cleanse you can include water, tea, kombucha, and bone broth. You will want to avoid alcohol, soda, energy drinks, or pretty much anything that requires some form of processing.
An important note regarding alcohol: it is a toxin and the aim of your juice cleanse is to get rid of toxins and maximize absorption of plant-based vitamins and minerals. Choosing to drink alcohol during your cleanse will reduce its wonderful benefits.
What’s the difference between a smoothie and juicing?
When you make a smoothie, you blend and consume the whole food. This implies that you keep all of the fiber, the structure of the food. Fiber is super important for our body as it promotes a healthy digestive system and gut.
When you juice you remove the fiber keeping only the juice of the produce and throw away the pulp. So you might wonder, why would I juice? Well, the focus during juicing is different. The main benefit is that you can consume an abundance of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients) you wouldn't get in that volume any other way.
When and how long to juice?
Springtime is the best season to juice. The winter months can lead to a more gluttonous mindset with habits and foods we’d love to relinquish. A juice cleanse is the perfect reset to your entire system.
Juicing is something that you do on a short-term basis. Some people do a day, or 3 days, others go up to 30 days. I typically go for 7 or 10 days but listen to my body to see when solid foods feel best to reincorporate into my diet again.
Who should not juice?
Anybody who has diabetes, blood pressure issues, or heart disease is not a good candidate for juicing. Also, pregnant and breastfeeding women shouldn’t. If you have a pre-existing or chronic health condition, please check with your integrative doctor before you get started.
What side effects can you expect?
A juice cleanse is a powerful way to detoxify your body. With that said, your toxins must leave your body. In this initial phase which lasts anywhere between 3-10 days, some people will experience skin breakouts, dizziness, mood swings, a headache, lethargy, or food cravings. You’ll also find yourself going to the bathroom a lot, which is exactly what you want to rid yourself of the built up toxins.
But once you get over the initial hump you will feel awesome on the other side and reap all the benefits I mentioned above.
What are the different types of juicers?
There are two different technologies used in extracting juice – centrifugal force and mastication.
1) Centrifugal Juicers: It’s their fast-spinning motion that removes the juice from the produce.
Pros: Less prep of produce as the opening where you put the fruits and the vegetables in, is much bigger and it’s generally more affordable.
Cons: The process of centrifugal force creates heat which means that some of the nutrients get destroyed. You will find there is less juice and it does not juice leafy greens well – which is a major downside when including a lot of leafy greens.
2) Masticating Juicers: These juicers literally squeeze the juice out by using pressure.
Pros: More nutrients and greater juice (you’ll find the pulp to be very dry.) Juices leafy greens well, which is really where the power in juicing lies.
Cons: More prep because you have to cut your produce smaller before juicing and it’s more expensive.