Give me one thing on that is more controversial in the wellness community than an organic juice cleanse. There are few, if any examples. While some deem cleanses extreme and consider them about as unhealthy as crash dieting, fans claim that the juice cleanses helped ‘restart their systems’ which in turn improved skin issues, reduced bloating got them rid of sugar and caffeine cravings etc.
But let’s get one thing out of the way first.
There is little to no evidence a juice cleanse truly detoxifies your body. You know that mushy, dark red organ we call liver? Well, along with others it can deal with toxins perfectly well on it’s own and no amount of fresh green juice will directly affect it. That being said, there are many issues a juice cleanse can help you with and thus improve your health (and indirectly the efficiency of the detoxification).
So what are some benefits of an organic juice cleanse?
Unlike smoothies or whole fruit, juices contain very little fiber.
This is both a pro and a con. It is not great if you are trying to lose weight because fiber fills you up and keeps your body from taking in the nutrients too quickly. When you drink a juice, the sugar from the fruit enters your bloodstream (and hence raises your insulin levels) much faster than if you eat the entire fruit.
However, the lack of fiber also means that you absorb nutrients quicker and more efficiently.
This is especially awesome in winter and early spring, when due to the lack of many seasonal fruit and vegetable options (depending on where you are in the world) you are much more prone to vitamin deficiencies. Having less fiber also means giving your digestive tract a break.
But, and here is a reason why you should not do it for prolonged periods of time when you stay on a liquid, nutrient dense diet for long your body starts producing less digestive enzymes (because you already deliver the nutrients in a form that doesn’t require as many enzymes). This, in turn, can lead to problems when you start introducing solid food back into your diet.
Bottomline? It is not magic and an organic juice cleanse won’t instantly turn you into a health god/goddess. Juicing can be great for helping achieve your health goals, but you need to be smart and careful about it.
Here are a few steps for getting the most out of an organic juice cleanse:
Tell your doctor.
Yes, it’s clichéd advice but forgive me, I must say it. Any dietary change can be either dang awesome or awfully damaging to your body and there are more factors that come into play than, “My friend Rebecca did it and she says she feels better than ever.”
What works for one can hurt another.
Your doctor is aware of your medical history and has extensive knowledge of how the human body works on every level. He/she is the best person to give you advice on whether it is a good thing for you. And you need to get regular check-ups anyways, so you can do that as well while you are at it.
Choose juices suited to your needs.
Those pre-packed juice cleanses can seem tempting if you are short on time (and who isn’t?), but consider what I told you in the previous paragraph. What works for one, might not work for another.
Instead of taking the lazy way out, opt for preparing your own juices from ingredients you personally control. Raw, organic and local are three things to check off before you put those fruits and veggies in your system.
Also, spend some time reading up on the benefits of including different plant juices and how they relate to your health goals. For instance, if you hope to improve your complexion, you want something that helps fight free radicals, a.k.a. a source of antioxidants.
The darker colored fruit tend to be more antioxidant-rich with pomegranate, blueberries, and grapes being a few awesome additions. And lastly, since you are going to be making your own juices, invest (those bucks you would have spent on the overpriced juice program) in a really good juicer.
Don’t go all out—do a few days and then introduce other foods.
It is tempting and in a masochistic kind of way rewarding to do a week of ‘healthy’ juices. But that is neither healthy nor rewarding in the long run. The truth of the matter is, that doing a strict organic juice cleanse for longer than a few days will inevitably lead to you missing out on essential nutrients. Among those essential nutrients, ironically, are vitamins.
The thing about them is that not all are water-soluble. In fact, some need to be solved in fat in order to be absorbed properly. Since meal replacement juices are practically fat-free there is no way for you to take in those vitamins. What is more, in a day and age where eating disorders are more common than ever, a cleanse can become a part of that destructive spiral. All the more reasons to be extra careful.
A few days (up to three, usually) of a pure juice cleanse will help reset both your body and mentality. Juicing junkies claim that cutting all those foods out helped them establish a better relationship with food and be more mindful about what they put in their bodies. After all, there is not a lot of munching you can do when for three days all of you consume are juices.
Another awesome thing a juice cleanse will do is direct you toward some food sensitivities you might have (to lactose, gluten etc). Once you have completed the stricter part, commit to combining whole foods with awesome juices and use juicing as a form of natural supplementation. For instance, if you feel like you don’t consume enough greens, add a green juice to your breakfast.
Bonus tip: You know the smoothie trend that never seems to die off? Here’s a smoothie hack none of your wellness-guru friends know. Instead of using water or milk, juice some fruit or vegetables (I find a combination of both gives the best result) and use that as the liquid in your smoothie. Then, throw in the other nutritious yummies you want. Trust me, it ups your smoothie game by a million times!
Choose good gear
If you are not buying ready-made juice (which as I already mentioned is NOT your best bet), you want to make sure your juicer is great at extracting those nutrients.
Look for a machine that is powerful but has a relatively low speed, since that helps your juice not to foam up so much. Efficiency is another thing you should be looking at (something that extracts every last drop) — different juicers have different ways of achieving it, so you’re best off checking out the user reviews for more accurate info on that.Click Here to See MY Favorite Juicer!
Organic juice cleanses are cool, ladies.
They are nutrient-dense, rich in bio-available goodies for your body and they help you get that 5-a-day in a convenient and tasty form. They are a great thing to add to your diet, as well as use as a short-term reset, but they are not a diet in themselves. To reap all the benefits from juicing, don’t do a pure cleanse for a long time, use quality produce and make sure that juices are extras and not the main stars of your long-term diet.
And as a final tip, here are a few combos I adore for my 4 PM juice (yup, I have a juice instead of afternoon snack and I have been loving it):
Organic Juice Cleanse Recipes
Fruit Juice Recipes
When everybody has the flu – 1 grapefruit, 1 orange, 1 banana, 1/2 thumb of fresh ginger root, 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon + a cinnamon stick to make it look cooler
For glowing skin – 8 medium carrots, 1 orange, 1 apple, a teaspoon of turmeric powder
For when I am feeling down – 1 cucumber, 3 medium apples, 4 celery sticks, 2 cups baby spinach, 1 banana
After a night of drinking – 2 large oranges, 3 cups strawberries, 1 cup baby spinach, 1/2 grapefruit
Instead of that second coffee: 1 grapefruit, 1 banana, 1/2 thumb fresh ginger root, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 cup of chopped up pineapple, some mango (if I happen to have it lying around in the fridge)
When I need more vitamins in my system ASAP: 2 cups of baby spinach, 1 cup chopped up kale, 4 cilantro sticks, 1 grapefruit, 2 apples
Against sugar cravings: 1 cucumber, 1/2 grapefruit, 1/2 orange, 1 apple, 1 thumb of fresh ginger root
Post-workout: 6 kale leaves, 1 cucumber, 2 handfuls mint, 1 grapefruit; This one is a little earthy and maybe not sweet enough for everybody, but it really gives you a kick of energy when you’ve had a tiring workout session.
What are some juice recipes you enjoy?
If you have any tips regarding juicing or an organic juice cleanse…
Share them in the comments down bellow!
PS: If you don’t have a juicer, get one here.