Juice cleanses are trendier than the Valencia filter on Instagram. Celebrities are doing it, health gurus are doing it, hipsters and their pit bulls* are doing it too. Why not you?
First off, if you have a medical condition, do not undertake a juice fast without consulting your doctor first. Certain conditions, like diabetes and anemia, may be exacerbated by a juice fast. If you are safely able to try all-juice, all-the-time for three days or so, then you may be surprised by how lovely it can be. Ideally, the juice should be made from organic fruits and vegetables because the whole point is to detoxify your body, and drinking pesticide cocktails will not do that. The juice should also be unpasteurized (raw) so that it retains maximum nutrients and minerals that are otherwise destroyed in the pasteurization process. The recommended time for a starter juice fast is three days, but many juice-enthusiasts believe that you can juice fast for up to 72 to 92 days in a row. Often, juicers like Ndoema and Tonya Zavasta write about their juice adventures to help others on their paths.
And while it’s true that juice cleanses come with many buzzword benefits like weight loss, clear skin, and youthful appearance, one aspect that the trends rarely mention is the unique opportunity to strike a mind/body balance. Set an intention before you start your cleanse. Really think about all the reasons you want to do this. You might have some general or superficial reasons like, look better, feel better, or age better. That’s fine. But dig deeper. On the first day of my yoga teacher training at Kripalu, we had to go around in a circle and talk about our goals and intentions. I panicked. There were 62 participants and I had nothing prepared. My mind raced: Why do I want to be a yoga teacher? It’s not lucrative or stable. I’m a writer — I already have one unstable, badly paid career. And then there was a clear thought in the din, as there sometimes is: I want to make friends with my body. I’ve struggled with fibromyalgia, trauma history, and all sorts of challenges that bodies have. I have to work hard not to resent my body and want to escape it. I practice yoga so I can be in my body, fully and peacefully, without judgment or the burden of memories or expectation. Yoga may alleviate pain, but that’s not its purpose — its purpose is yoga. A juice cleanse is the same way. I do cleanses because I want to make friends with my body, and I try to approach each cleanse with a beginner’s mind, no expectations, and no judgments. I come only with the intention to be good to my body and to be present in that experience.
Like most things that are trending pretty hard, there’s an exorbitant way to do it and a saner, affordable way to it. Let’s be sane. Buying pricey bottles of cold-pressed juices from Whole Foods and Starbucks is great in a pinch, but you will save a lot of money by juicing at home as much as possible. The many benefits of a freshly pressed juice cleanse are all the reasons you need to try it, and I’ve included a few recipes among the reasons to get you started.
*Do not put your pit bull on a juice fast
1. It’s An Incredible Detox
This is the reason that everyone knows, but it bears repeating. Juice cleanses give your body a break from refined sugars, animal, products, and chemical-laden processed foods. That alone gives your body the opportunity to rid itself of those toxins because you aren’t immediately replacing them with new ones. This is why it’s extra-important to use organic produce. Also, between all that juice and the filtered water in-between your juices, you’re extremely well-hydrated and aiding your body in flushing out toxins. Plus, many of the fruits, veggies, and herbs, like watermelon, cucumber, and coriander (cilantro) have added detoxing-properties.
2. It’s Safer Than A Water Fast
Many people praise the benefits of water fasts, but they can be rough on the body, especially if you aren’t used to them. With a water fast, your blood sugar will plummet and you will likely be very hangry, and the more unpleasant detox symptoms that kick in at about day three for a juice cleanse will start day one with a water fast. Juice cleanses are a much safer fast for people with low blood sugar or other sensitivities to fasts.
Jessica Reidy is a Pushcart-nominated writer from New Hampshire. he loves making beautiful and healthy creations in the kitchen inspired by her Gypsy and Italian heritage, and her raw vegan streak, especially when there are flowers involved. Follow her on Twitter @JSReidy