The short answer is yes. The long answer? We’re about to get into it.
First, lets clear up the confusion: juice cleansing is not the same as fasting.
Both are meant to detox the system, but the differences directly correlate to the digestive system & it’s responsibility during them. On a true fast, the digestive system rests entirely because you only consume water. (This a whole beast of a topic we can get into at a later time).
On a juice cleanse, you have two options – either consume some solid food or, only drink juice. During both of these your digestive system is still absorbing nutrients from the juice, and therefore, neither are considered a true fast.
Your digestive system still has a lot less to worry about than usual while juice cleansing. Instead of constantly breaking down dense meals & snacks, it can focus more energy on other processes in the body. This makes juice cleansing an effective, safe, and manageable option for those looking to refresh their system without the safety measures required for fasting.
With that said, know that most things in life are not to be prescribed equal. We are unique beings with varying body constitutions, different levels of stamina, individual states of health, etc. Always do further research to find out if something is the right choice for you.
What is juice cleansing great for?
1. Getting nutrients you may otherwise skip, or fruits/veggies you haven’t known how to introduce into your everyday lifestyle.
2. Flushing out your internal organs. The small intestine contains so many folds—down to the microscopic level—that its total surface area is about 2,700 square feet, enough to cover a tennis court. As much as we would like to think we are flushing our systems daily, there’s a lot that remains in our bodies long after we’ve consumed it. (Sorry to be the one to go there, but it’s better to be aware, right?)
3. Letting go of caffeine addictions. If you drink a pot a day, natural sugars can be an effective way to introduce pure sources of energy and kick the acidic beverage for good.
4. Breaking emotional eating habits. This can be hard to admit to, and especially difficult to break the cycle. Instead of eating during stressful times, get to the source of what causes the stress. By acknowledge it and breathing through it, you tap into your strength instead of silencing it with food. Know that you are powerful, and you have what it takes to make choices that align with your best self.
5. Clearing skin. It’s wild to see what foods we love that may have been disrupting our glo up this whole time. Juice cleansing is a great way to do an ‘elimination diet.’ Since by default you naturally avoid gluten, dairy, meat, and nuts – slowly introduce these one-by-one after your cleanse, giving a few days/one week in between each (if you eat them), and see which ones may be disagreeing with your body.
6. Boosting energy. You know when we eat a heavy meal and take a nap after? Your digestive system essentially needed all the resources it could get to digest. Or when you’re suddenly chilly after eating a meal? That’s all the blood rushing to your digestive system to work. Take most of this out of the picture, and you see an overall boost in energy!
Doing a juice cleanse safely:
1. Prepare your body by eating healthy prior. Binging on sweets and fried food might be appealing, but your body really needs all the healthy fuel it can get before a cleanse. Make sure you eat clean a few days leading up to your cleanse so you don’t suffer but thrive instead.
2. Drink tons of water. This is not just important – it is the most imperative aspect of a juice cleanse. Aside from keeping exhaustion and false hunger cravings at bay, our cells/organs need oxygen to renew themselves and function properly (this is true regardless of detoxing). The point of cleansing is to regenerate cells, so we must provide them the tools to do so. Otherwise, we’re dehydrated & not able to flush out toxins – essentially the opposite of what we’re going for here. You’ll want to be drinking over a gallon per day.
3. Think positive and give yourself plenty of love and acceptance – a cleanse is just as much about the mind as the body!
4. Plenty of quality, uninterrupted rest. Your body needs you to be on its team and actively participate in detoxing. When it’s trying something new, honor it by not exhausting or overwhelming yourself.
5. Make appropriate adjustments to your exercise routine. If you have tons of energy and want to workout but don’t want to exert all of it, maybe switch it up & try that restorative yoga class you’ve been eyeing instead.
6. Go slow and steady. Sometimes all that’s necessary is a one day cleanse for a little reboot. Our bodies appreciate any switches we make to detox, no matter how small.
When not to do a juice cleanse?
If you’re ready to cleanse, consider these conditions & either wait altogether or prepare accordingly:
1. If you’re sick. Your immune system is preoccupied fighting the illness. Taking on the additional task of spreading out any energy it has left might be asking a lot of your body.
2. In colder months. It’s important we stay warm from the inside out in the cooler months to avoid getting ill from extreme temperatures. Drinking solely juice cools the system since we are drinking a beverage that is light + cold. Many people still cleanse in the winter, it’s best to simply be wise about it. Don’t skimp on cold weather accessories, and consider balancing the juices with warm soups & teas, or warm lemon water.
3. If you’re an athlete training extensively. Your body will need fuel to repair and rebuild after strenuous sessions. Be mindful, know what you can handle during your current routine, and listen to your body first and foremost.
4. If you have certain health restrictions. Juicing can still be a great option for diabetics, but it’s important to realize juicing takes the fiber out of fruit, giving a healthy dose of natural sugar. Know which fruits raise blood sugar too high, find what is right for your body’s current state, and consult with your physician if you have any doubts.
You can make juice at home (don’t forget to compost the scraps!), or head to your local juice shop and buy a customized cleanse. Although juice cleansing can be pricey, I would avoid the temptation to buy cheaper juice from major corporations since these tend to be from concentrate & have unnecessary additives. Still check your local grocery/co-op for fresh cold-pressed juices though! Sometimes they use up produce by making their own and selling it for a lot less than your local juicery. Happy juicing!