Juice cleanses… Like many “fad diets” and other trends in the nutrition world, its usefulness and efficacy are highly debated. In one camp are the juicing proponents. Those who tout many claims including magically detoxifying your body, rejuvenating your cells and even curing cancer. The juicing naysayers feel (rightly so) that there is no evidence to support these claims. They demonize juice fasts for the lack of balanced nutrients and high sugar content from a concentrated source of fruits. From my perspective the value of juicing lies somewhere between these polar viewpoints.
The truth is, there are limited studies demonstrating the effectiveness of juicing. When it comes to detoxifying, our livers and kidneys do a pretty good job of doing that for us; however, when done correctly, a juice cleanse can still be a powerful tool.
In my last blog I spoke about falling off the so-called healthy eating wagon. While this happens to everybody, the process of getting back on track can be quite different from one person to the next. For me, a short juice fast is the perfect way to reset my healthy eating and get back on the wagon. I like to do it for three days- just enough time to get my eating back in control, but not long enough to make me feel deprived or frustrated. I have found the benefits of a three-day cleanse to be much more in the psychological realm than in the physiological one, but when trying to break an unhealthy eating cycle, this is the space that needs most of my attention. For three days I don’t have to think about what I’m eating, plan my meals or cook. All I have to do is open a bottle of juice and drink it down. It makes me feel in control and I like the feeling of nourishing my body with lots of veggies and fruits.
While there is no “magical detox” that happens over these three days, I do feel that giving my gut and liver a rest from digesting and processing unhealthy sugars and fats certainly can’t be bad- even if there’s no scientific proof to support this.
So what does it feel like to be on a juice cleanse? Well I’m glad you asked, because I’m wrapping up my final day and ready to share my experience. So here we go….
I wake up excited about my juicing journey and I’m motivated to get started. While I have made my own juices in the past, I sometimes like to order a premade juice cleanse to make my life even simpler. I have decided to try a new juice company, one local here in Denver called Pressery (http://www.pressery.com/). The program consists of 6 “juices” a day, although one bottle is a “drinking vinegar” and one is a nut milk. I’d actually never heard of drinking vinegar, but after a bit of research it seems these stem from the benefits of apple cider vinegar. I was pretty skeptical about how it would taste, but was pleasantly surprised. It’s tart, with a flavor similar to kombucha. A few hours after the drinking vinegar, I down my first green juice and am surprised that I haven’t felt hungry and that my energy feels pretty good. Every few hours I drink another juice and at the end of the day I finish up with the nut milk which at that point tastes like a delicious milk shake. I go to bed feeling pretty proud of myself for getting through the day.
The day starts similarly to day 1, but quickly takes a different path. Not long after the vinegar I feel hungry, so I down my next juice. That tides me over for a bit of time, but I find that I’m hungry again very quickly. In between my juices, I drink plenty of water to help keep me full, but unfortunately it doesn’t really help and all this liquid has me taking quite a few bio breaks throughout the day. As the day progresses I start to develop a slight headache, but the hunger seems to dissipate. I go to bed again feeling proud of myself for getting through the second day.
I wake up dreading the drinking vinegar. It’s funny how something I found so tasty the first day I now find unappealing. But I do get it down. Green juice comes up next and I’m struggling to get this one down too. While I don’t feel particularly hungry today and my headache is gone, but I’m missing solid food and chewing. I’m now looking forward to planning out the healthy foods I’m going to eat the next few days, no longer looking at it as a chore. For me, THIS is the juice cleanse MAGIC.
Now juicing is NOT for everyone, including people with diabetes, but done for a short length of time, most healthy people can safely do a juice cleanse. Just be sure to read the labels carefully to ensure that they are heavy on the veggies and very light on the fruits. Too many fruits will add a lot of calories and sugar which defies the purpose of a juice cleanse. If you’ve done one in the past I’d love to hear your thoughts, whether good or bad so feel free to comment on this post!