In the quest for perfect health, there is an ever-growing list of remedies, diets and muscle-building workouts. From raw food to naked yoga to the master cleanse, Hollywood stars and fitness gurus alike are quick to capitalize on the latest fitness trends. The most recent addition to the list is juice cleanses.
Fasting and cleansing rituals are common aspects of almost every religion, perceived to be a necessary way for the body to heal and rid itself of toxins. Cleanses are by no means a novel concept, despite their recent mainstream popularity is something new.
Because of that popularity, companies that deliver juices to your front door (much like liquefied Jenny Craig programs) are popping up everywhere, and entire websites are dedicated to homemade juice recipes. Celebrities are busy slapping endorsements on their preferred brands.
But nothing popular comes without some controversy, and juicing is no exception. Do juice cleanses do your body more harm than good?
You Won’t Lose Much Weight
This form of rapid weight loss doesn’t tone the body either, so don’t expect to magically develop a six-pack of rock hard abs.
In addition, conducting cleanses on a regular basis can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, as well as disrupt the body’s natural metabolism.
However, other medical professionals, while not in favour of an acute or long-lasting regimen, believe that cleansing diets can have benefits if they encourage users to adopt healthier habits, such as drinking more water and eating better foods.
The Road To A Healthier Lifestyle
What it really comes down to is your reason to cleanse. If you want to lose weight and tone your body, a gym membership is a better solution. If you’re looking to start fresh and transition into a healthier lifestyle, a juice cleanse might work.
If you choose to take the food-free challenge, there are a few things to keep in mind to help you maximize the experience.
Before You Start
- Think about your upcoming schedule before launching a cleanse. Are you realistically going to keep to your diet of seaweed juice and lemonade and stave off alcohol during the holidays? What about the week that you have non-stop business meetings, a presentation and a huge report due at work? Juice cleanses are both mentally and physically taxing, as the lack of calories will take a toll over a prolonged period of time.
- At least three days prior to starting any type of cleanse, be sure to wean off caffeine. And no alcohol, either. Coffee and beer may be liquids, but they are prohibited liquids.
- Cut back on consumption of high-calorie and fatty foods. This includes red meat, simple carbohydrates, and any form of junk food.
- Another cleansing faux pas is to binge the day before. As tempting as it is to eat an extra large pizza in one sitting or chug a 2L bottle of Coke “for the last time,” it will make the juice cleanse that much harder for your body. The best thing is to eat healthy and stick to a diet of vegetables and fruits.
- Avoid gum, which only serves to increase your hunger as the constant chewing will trick your stomach into thinking it is being fed.
- Keep hydrated between juices by drinking lots of water and decaffeinated green tea.
- Brush your teeth immediately after each juice meal. There’s no greater deterrent to eating than a minty-fresh mouth.
- Old habits die hard. When you’ve completed your cleanse, it’s tempting to reward yourself with a bag of chips or a great night out. But remember why you started on the idea in the first place. The purpose of a juice cleanse is to refresh the body and start anew with healthy habits.
- If willpower isn’t enough, then think logically: your body has been on a liquid diet for the past week (or longer), so excess amounts of caffeine, alcohol and rich foods will shock your system. Not to mention that all the weight you’ve lost will come straight back.
- When building your post-cleanse regime, look at the solid foods that accompany many juice cleanses – start with vegetables and nuts and then add lean protein, whole grains and fruits.
Above all, be wary of the binge-cleanse-binge cycle. The important lesson is to make a lasting change in your lifestyle.