What is a Juice Cleanse?
With so many diet trends out there that you can try these days, it can be incredibly difficult to find one that will help you achieve your own personal health goals. Even in the cleanse department, there are multiple methods, varieties, and ways to go about it!
A ‘juice cleanse’ specifically is a dietary cleanse in which you strictly consume the juices of fruits and vegetables, while forgoing solid foods for a short period. Sometimes a juice cleanse is also referred to as a ‘juice fast.’ This type of cleanse is very restrictive by nature because you are cutting out many calories and food groups from your diet during the cleanse period. ‘Juicing’ means that you are squeezing only the liquid juices from your fruits and vegetables while leaving out even the pulps! This is what separates a juice from a blend. Juice cleanses inundate your body with nutrients in a pure and raw form. While many people rave about the benefits of a juice cleanse, it is important to understand all the positive and negative aspects in order to decide whether this is the right cleansing journey for you!
Purpose and Duration of a Juice Cleanse
Like other varieties of cleanses, a juice cleanse serves to help you lose weight and detoxify your body. A cleanse typically lasts anywhere between 3 and 10 days. While a strict juice cleanse requires that you are only consuming the juices of fruits and vegetables, some people decide to take a more lenient approach. Adding a bit of almond, oat, or cashew milk to your juices will give you a bit of protein content. This will help you to feel more full and energized throughout your cleanse, especially if you are a more active person. If you decide that your cleanse will be on the longer side (5-10 days), this can be an especially good idea. Incorporating a bit of extra protein can help to ensure that you are nourishing your body a little more fully, while still reaping the benefits of a cleanse. You will be more likely to avoid the potential pitfalls that could come accompany a stricter juice-only cleanse.
Possible Pitfalls of a Juice Cleanse
There are a few precautions to be aware of if you decide to partake in a juice cleanse. If you happen to have any type of preexisting kidney disorder, a juice cleanse can cause more harm to your body than good. The juices from some fruits and vegetables contain a molecule called ‘oxalate’. While oxalate is an important molecule for plant growth and development, it is not an essential or beneficial nutrient in the human body. Your body treats oxalate as a waste product and excretes it fully through the urine. In fact, consuming too much oxalate can put immense stress on the kidneys and lead to painful kidney stones among other potentially more serious kidney problems.
Another important element of a juice cleanse that you need to be acutely aware of is the low-calorie count. You will most likely be consuming far fewer calories than your body is accustomed to, and without taking proper precautions this can lead to physical and mental fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and even fainting.
If you have a history of struggling with eating disorders, then a juice cleanse is not a good dietary choice for you. While it may seem like a tempting way to lose weight fast, such an extreme change in calorie consumption is only meant to be practiced over a short period of about 3-10 days. Experiencing rapid weight loss during this highly restrictive cleanse can be addictive for those who are prone to disordered eating. Partaking in a juice cleanse can lead you right back down the path of unhealthy habits especially if that is something you are vulnerable to or have suffered from in the past. For those who have struggled with eating disorders, it is incredibly important to consume a well-rounded diet of whole, healthy foods!
Potential Benefits of a Juice Cleanse
While there is very little scientific evidence out there that supports the practice of juice-cleansing, we know that fruits and vegetables are chock-full of nutrition! In general, raw fruits and vegetables are inherently high in a variety of healthy vitamins and minerals. Many of the nutrients found in fruits and veggies are essential- the human body depends on them for proper function, growth, and development. They perform countless roles inside of your body! Plant nutrients serve to make your bones stronger, help heal wounds quicker, and solidify your immune system. Consuming juice can help implement additional nutrients into your body and give your health a wonderful boost. Additionally, juices are high in anti-inflammatory properties. Anti-inflammatory compounds help to further boost your immune system and provide you with energy.
Should I Exercise During a Juice Cleanse?
During a juice cleansing period, it is very important to choose your workouts very carefully, if you decide to work out at all! It is definitely OK to skip working out altogether during your short cleanse. Taking it easy during your cleanse will help your body to run smoothly despite your very low-calorie count. Because you won’t be consuming much (if any) protein during your juice cleanse, it is highly recommended that you skip any muscle-building workouts entirely. Your chances of injury will be way higher during a juice cleanse, and without consuming sufficient levels of protein the workout will not be very productive anyway!
You should also consider foregoing any long or high-impact workouts like long-distance running. Exercising lightly, like going on a short brisk walk or jumping in the water for a swim will be much more enjoyable and productive during a juice cleanse. Getting your heart rate up a bit during your cleanse will help to expedite the cleansing process by releasing toxins through your sweat. Some good low-intensity workout ideas you might want to try are swimming, walking, yoga, or Tai Chi- just to name a few!
Is a Juice Cleanse the Right Choice for You?
Before making any drastic dietary changes like setting out on a juice cleanse, it is very important to consider consulting a health professional. They can evaluate your personal health and tell you whether a juice cleanse is a safe journey for you to embark on!
If you do decide to take on a juice cleanse, it is very important to listen to your body and take note of how you are feeling throughout the process. If you experience negative effects during the cleanse, you can walk away from it at any time and return to eating whole, healthy foods! There is no shame in doing what is right for you and your health, and juice cleansing definitely isn’t for everybody!
Mouth-Watering Recipes to Try at Home!
If you’ve read this far and still think a juice cleanse is the right choice for your health goals, then give these delicious juice recipes a try during your detox! Even if you have realized that a juice cleanse is not
the right choice for you, after all, you too can still enjoy and benefit from trying these delicious drinks! Adding juice to your routine is a delicious, easy, and fast way to pack in healthy fruits and veggies regardless of what your diet consists of.
Some of my personal favorite ingredients to juice with are oranges, carrots, dark leafy greens (like spinach and kale), beets, and apples. I also enjoy throwing some roots into the mix. Turmeric and ginger can add a nice flavor kick to any juice and the powerful antioxidant properties provide the body with so many benefits! When juicing during a cleanse, it is very important to integrate a wide variety of colors and ingredients. Each different-colored juice will provide you with different nutrients, compounds, and antioxidants. By fueling your body with variety, you are maximizing the benefits of juicing!
Drinking green juices will improve digestion, promote weight loss, and boost your immune system. Give this recipe a try for a lovely green juice that is high in vitamins, minerals, and iron! A hefty handful of spinach or kale juiced with a couple of celery stalks, an apple, and a bit of ginger will give you a nice dark green juice with the perfect amount of sweetness. If you try it out and it isn’t sweet enough, add in some additional apple! If it is too sweet for your liking, adding more dark greens will help to tone it down. In the juicing world, anything goes! You can choose your own add-ins and ingredient proportions to get the juice exactly the way you want it!
Deep Red Juice
Red juices usually have beets in them, which give them that beautiful dark-red coloring. Beets are a versatile superfood that provides the body with almost all the vitamins and minerals it needs! They are also known to help keep blood pressure in-check and increase athletic performance by improving oxygen use in the body! Beets have a very earthy flavor, so I recommend juicing a few alongside red fruit. Apples, raspberries, or strawberries (or a combination!) will contribute the perfect amount of sweetness to the beet juice.
This radiant orange-colored juice is super simple to make, and only requires two ingredients! Orange-colored juices tend to be loaded up with vitamin C and carotene which are great for your eyes and skin, among other things! The combination of carrot and orange together makes a sweet, scrumptious juice. I like to start off by juicing two or three medium-sized carrots, followed by two oranges… and that’s it! A juice recipe couldn’t be simpler. This should yield about one glass of juice, and you can absolutely change the proportion of carrot to orange to suit your own taste buds. If you want to add in some additional ingredients, a bit of ginger will add a nice flavor kick. You can also add in an apple or some lemon to change up the flavor!
One little trick-of-the-trade when it comes to making juice at home is to check out the ingredients in store-bought juices or online recipes. Making your juices at home is much more affordable and healthy than buying it pre-made at the store. Reading ingredient labels can give you some fun ideas to try at home yourself, with the freedom to make any changes you want.
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