Okay, so it's not that much of a secret anymore: if done properly, juicing can help you to detox and to lose weight (mostly water weight). Properly is the operative word in the preceding sentence: what I've found through research is that it is paramount that you prep your body before juicing, that you are careful while juicing and that you re-integrate solid foods in the right way after juicing. Let's discuss.
I've been considering a juicing program for some time. I regularly include fruit & vegetable smoothies into my daily meal plan, often substituting them for breakfast or lunch meals. I also buy fresh juices from local health food cafes and have tried various pre-bottled versions from local health food grocers. These are my way of kind of easing into the idea of something like a 3-day juice cleanse.
A great alternative to juicing is blending smoothies. While you don't get the same volume of nutrients as juicing, this is still a good way to take in fruits and veggies--no matter the method they've got more nutrients while they're raw than after having been cooked. And you're also getting your alkaline, so this method is still a win.
I've researched a couple of juicing programs, like Organic Avenue and BluePrint Cleanse, as well as considered purchasing a juicer to do it myself at home (I've got my eye on this one because I've heard great things). The decision among these options is whether or not to pay for the convenience of having pre-made juices delivered directly to my home, or to save money by doing it myself. But in the mean time, I've been considering the type of lifestyle changes I might need to make to accommodate a juicing program. Here are the things I think it will be important to do.
Prepare the sacrifice.
Our bodies require gradual change, or they act out in defiance and we get sick or feel overly tired. I'll want to allow my body time to adjust to my proposed juicing plan by giving it advanced warning. (You have to start to ween yourself off of heavy foods a few days prior to juicing--try light fruits, vegetables and salads or things like broth and applesauce that don't heavily coat the stomach.)
Plan the day.
I've found that my body feels hunger again pretty quickly when I'm only consuming liquids. I will need a solid (ha!) plan for having juiced meals at the ready on a constant basis. And, with what pre-made programs provide, I wonder if 6 per day would be enough...
In my experience, it's best not to work out in the first few days of any detox program. When I was doing the Whole30, I felt weak and lightheaded a lot during the first 3-4 days while my body was adjusting. So it stands to reason that the body would need to rest while doing a short term juicing program. (If you're like me and haven't done a juice detox before, you don't know how your body is going to respond and you may be weaker than when you are getting your nutrients from solid foods. If you HAVE to work out, try light cardio or stretching, but this is probably not the time to go hard core in the gym.)
Reintroducing foods after a detox is a tricky deal. It's so easy to get excited and eat too much or too heavily--and again, get sick. I always start small with fruits, applesauce and raw veggies, then graduate back up to my regular diet.
I've become majorly tuned in to my body due to years of food-induced pain and suffering. I've had to cut out a lot of food groups over the years, and have had to learn how to do that gradually in order for it to occur successfully. I've also learned not to jump feet first into any new cleanse or detox and to do lots of research first--then when I've gathered all the info I think I need, it's usually a quick leap to actually doing it.
I've seen great posts around the blogosphere from other ladies like: Natalie, Cece and Erika, who are doing/have done juice cleanses successfully, or who juice regularly at home in addition to their regular meal plans. I've also been finding Kris Carr of Crazy Sexy Diet to be an absolutely amazing resource on clean eating in general. Who knows, using her tips, I may not need a full juice detox as long as I keep my daily eating habits fairly clean.
What do you think? Have you tried a short term juice cleanse or detox? How did your body feel? Is there anything you would do differently in the future? Do share with me in the comments!