The idea is to give your body a break from all the junk you normally put in it and, for three days up to a week, consume nothing but nutrient-packed fruit and vegetable juices. When done correctly, these cleanses may help, for a short time, to rid the body of excess sugar and stem the flow of artificial foods and food ingredients, which get stored in our bodies and can make us feel listless, tender, bloated, and generally like a lesser version of ourselves.
The point of any detox program is to improve the body's natural ability to detoxify itself, and juice cleanses can be a way to rapidly restart your system. But there are many myths swirling around about juice cleanses – that they'll make you drop 5 kilos in as many days, or they'll magically cure long-term illness. Here's the truth.
By switching to a juice-only only diet, you're cutting calories and missing out on key nutrients like protein and healthy fats. Therefore, these cleanses should only be very short-lived to help your body flush out toxins and inspire you to eat better afterward.
Your body is naturally a detoxing machine that’s what your liver was made for! Instead having a cold-pressed juice every day and giving your body what it needs in terms of daily nutrients is a much better way to optimal health.
Juice cleanses won’t melt fat
It may be true that you drop a kilo or two while juice cleansing, but this is not sustainable weight loss and much of it is water weight. Once you start eating whole foods again, you'll probably gain most of the weight back in a few days. Incorporating daily health habits like exercise and mindful eating are going to be far more beneficial in the long term.
Not all juices are created equal
You really have to analyse juice ingredients. Commercial juices from the supermarket and those from juice bars that are extracted with a centrifugal juicer are very often very high in sugar – and some even contain added sugars, which are one of the main toxins you want remove in the first place. Juices that are cold-pressed, to retain the nutrients in the juice and those that are made mostly of green vegetables with just a little fruit are your best bet. Nothing added and nothing taken away, just as nature intended.
You’re going to feel grotty for a while
People usually feel a bit under the weather when first starting a juice cleanse - the reason is your body is has grown used to excess sugar, caffeine and high glycaemic carbohydrates such as bread, cakes and pasta. If you’re willing to put up with detox-symptoms such as headaches, fatigue and smelly breath completing a juice cleanse can be physically rewarding (after a few days). Let’s be honest though, it’s far better to take little steps every day towards honouring the temple that is your body and a cup or two of green juice a day is a more gently way to do that instead of going through days of withdrawal. Hopefully if you start your day out right with some glorious greens, the choices you make throughout the day will reflect that healthy start.
Juice cleanses alone won’t cure chronic-illness by themselves
Some juice cleanse companies claim say their cleanses can cure major health conditions... Don't buy into it - there's just no science to back-up these claims.
What a daily green juice can do however, is put you on a path to better health. By eliminating toxin-laden foods and embracing mostly whole foods, you'll get your natural detox systems body back on track. That's what can help clear up skin, give you more energy and get blood sugar levels back on track.
Don’t forget that real food is what your body was made for
Processed foods are major sources of toxins in our bodies today, which build up in cells and tissues, obstruct normal functioning, potentially making us sick. Instead, shop the outside aisles of the supermarket, filling your trolley with organic and spray free fruits and vegetables and free-range organic meats, dairy (if tolerated) and eggs. Most of the stuff that comes in a packet is going to undo the good of any juice cleanse you might try.
Eliminating toxins also means taking a good hard look at the chemicals you put in your mouth, on your body and use in your home. Use your daily green juice routine as an incentive to nix highly toxic personal care and cleaning products and to make smarter choices at the supermarket (or farmers market).
So there you have it... While many people say their bodies feel younger, nimbler, and less achy during a cleanse, you’re not going to knock out months or years of abusing your body by going hard on juice for a week. A far better idea is every day, to load up on all the vitamins, minerals, and other antioxidants your body needs to curb inflammation, which is the root cause most modern disease.
Commitment to a diet rich in anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, mindfulness and a daily routine of healthy choices is what will keep your joints strong and flexible, your skin glowing, your hair shining and your weight down.