What started as a fad diet for celebrities has turned into a nationwide phenomenon, with juice bars sprouting up like wildflowers and home juicers flying off the shelves. And while juicing can promise wonderful health benefits and can jumpstart a healthy lifestyle, it is not for everyone and can even be dangerous if executed incorrectly.
So before you purge your house of solid foods and start choking down green juice, let's discern between who would benefit from a cleanse and who wouldn't.
You should refrain from a juice cleanse if:
-you are diabetic
-you have kidney disease
-you are extremely active
-you are on any heavy medications
-you are under 18
-you are underweight
-you're not willing to give up caffeine and/or alcohol for the 3-5 days of the cleanse
Even if you make my 'do not juice' list, don't fret. I am simply discouraging you from doing a 3-5 day only juice diet. I strongly believe that adding juices into your diet is a wonderful way to receive an abundance of essential vitamins for optimal health. No need to tear up your punch card to Pressed Juicery, I promise!
For everyone else, let's break down the pros and cons of juicing to see if it is a right fit for you. (and so we're clear about what we're getting ourselves into):
-Gain a fresh perspective on your eating habits
-Cleanses body of toxins and excess sodium
-Helps jumpstart a healthy eating regimen
-Can reduce bloating
-Lose water weight to look instantly slimmer
-Delivers an abundance of vegetables and nutrients
-Sense of power and accomplishment
-low fiber intake
-juicers are a pain to clean
-possible side effects while juicing can include fogginess, constipation, irritability, fatigue and headaches
Juicing is not the only way to lose weight fast, nor is it the only detox program that works.. but if you're still intrigued, keep reading! I'll help set you up with a proper plan of execution that will help ensure your cleanse is painless and effective. You see, the 3-5 days of juicing is only a fraction of the detox. To reap the most benefits, you will need to properly prepare a week in advance. Following the cleanse, it's essential to ease yourself back into solid foods and to implement the new healthy strategies you learned from your cleanse!
Planning your Juice Cleanse
1. Chose a weekend that you can dedicate to resting and juicing. If you are doing a 5 day cleanse, you should be energized and ready to resume normal activities by day 4.
2. Invest in a high quality juicer (I use Breville) or chose a cold-pressed organic juicery near your home. Start incorporating 1-2 juices into your diet everyday for a week leading up to your cleanse.
3. Five days before your cleanse, cut out all processed foods, begin to limit alcohol and caffeine to no more than 1 cup or glass per day. Start taking a daily fiber pill and a daily probiotic pill.
4. Two days before your cleanse, eliminate dairy, gluten, alcohol and coffee from your diet. You may still have a cup of green tea. Up your intake of healthy fats, like avocados, nuts, coconut and olive oil. (Try this avocado egg bake or sweet potato crunch recipe!)
5. One day before your cleanse, have a breakfast of yogurt and fruit or egg whites and vegetables. For lunch eat a salad with chicken or salmon, avocado and olive oil for dressing. Have a juice for your snack. For dinner, eat a homemade low sodium soup. (try my cleansing skinny soup for an extra slim down or my recipe for healthy pumpkin soup)
Drink 5-6 juices per day, intermittent with cups of lemon water. Make sure to switch up your juices for maximum benefits. (My favorite website for juicing recipes and tips is JuiceRecipes.com!) *Tip: properly clean your juicer after each use. To save time, I like to make a few mason jars worth of juice at once.
If you are experiencing unbearable side effects, you may add 1/2 avocado and 1/2 baked sweet potato each day. If you still feel terrible, try replacing one juice with almond milk.
I personally think 3 days of juice cleansing is wonderful for first timers. If you are more experienced with juicing and already maintain a minimally processed diet, than 5-7 days might be preferable. I do not recommend exceeding 7 days on any cleanse.
1. Hooray!! How amazing do you feel?! Great! Now let's keep this going! The day after your cleanse you are going to have yogurt and fruit for breakfast or egg whites and cooked vegetables. Have a juice for a snack and low sodium soup for lunch. Dinner should be 4 ounces of protein and 2 cups of cooked vegetables.
2. Days 2-5 after the cleanse: Eat clean and ease foods back into your diet with caution. One day try dairy and see how it effects you, then gluten, then caffeine.
3. Day 5+... never add back in processed foods! You don't need them! Day 5 is one of reflection. Congratulate yourself on your mini journey and assess what you learned. Consciously make a pact with yourself to watch excess sodium and sugars, to incorporate more whole foods and vegetables into your diet and to monitor your relationship with food.
Bloopers: Check out my trials and tribulations from Day 1 of my first juice cleanse ever: Juicing Tips: Day 1!