It is very likely that in the last 6 years or so you have either gone through a juice cleanse, been curious about doing a juice cleanse, and/or seen your friends and coworkers give this popular detox trend a try!
The number of juice bars in the US has exponentially grown year after year in the past 5-6 years. Most of these juice bars offer what they call a "juice cleanse" - a detox program where you eat nothing but fresh juices for 1-3 days (sometimes even longer).
The health benefits of doing a juice cleanse have been debated numerous times on the internet. If you google "are juice cleanses healthy?" you will find everything from a convincing YES, to a head-scratching NO, and everything in between.
As many of you might know, I actually worked at one of these popular juice bars here in Miami. It was called JugoFresh. And even tho the company closed its doors earlier this year, it had become the largest, most popular juice bar go-to spot in South Florida.
During my two years at JugoFresh, I worked in every position (from behind the counter making juices to eventually managing three of their South Florida locations). I can confidently say I learned a thing or two (or a hundred) about doing a juice cleanse.
To keep this post from getting too long, I will be breaking it down into 5 different posts in the following order:
- Why would you consider going on a juice cleanse?
- What to expect from the cleanse. - coming soon
- What does a juice cleanse look like? - coming soon
- Where should I get my juices? - coming soon
- My personal experience. - coming soon
Disclaimer: I personally know people who couldn't do more than 1/2 a day on just juices, to having friends that have done 30+ days only drinking juice. I also know doctors who believe only having juice as your source of calories is not healthy, and others who promote juice cleanses as a way to achieve better health. I believe we are all individually built to experience things uniquely. It is up to you to decide if this is something that could be beneficial to you. I personally think juice cleanses can be very beneficial when done right, and I have once done a 5 days juice cleanse (more about that in a coming post). But the bottom line is, you will always know best when it comes to your health.
1. Why would you consider going on a juice cleanse?
There are many reasons someone would want to go on a juice cleanse. The most common reasons I would hear while working at JugoFresh would be:
- Weight loss (the most popular)
- Detox body from toxins
- Reset body after a trip
- Use it as a transition into a new eating style (for example, to transition from eating a standard American diet to eating a vegan diet)
- To "cure" a health condition (example: migraines or IBS)
First and foremost, if you are doing a juice cleanse to lose weight let me tell you right now that this is not a good idea. Yes, you are drinking nothing but juice for three days and your daily calorie count is being cut in half (or more). Weight loss will most likely be a side effect of a juice cleanse, but it will not last.
After the cleanse, when you go back to eating your regular diet, and the weight will come back. Weight loss is never meant to be something quick. If you are trying to lose weight, you want to look at your overall lifestyle and change your eating and lifestyle habits. It will take time and persistence, but it will be the healthier option and it will give you long-lasting results. A juice cleanse might give you a quick 5 pounds loss (water loss mostly), but it will come back.
DETOX BODY FROM TOXINS
I believe juice cleanses can be a great way to detox our bodies. Every day, we are exposed to thousands of toxins - from air pollution, to pesticides in our foods, and chemicals in our house cleaning supplies. These toxins are secretly affecting your energy levels, your hormone balance, the natural functions of your organs, just to name a few.
During a juice cleanse, your body will be loaded with vitamins and minerals, and your digestive tract will be given a break. That's when your body can utilize the energy usually used for digestion to be used instead for cleaning out your body of those unwanted toxins.
RESET BODY AFTER A TRIP
I heard this soooo many times while working at the juice bar. Women, especially, would come to the store looking for a way to undo all of the "damages" done during their weekend vacay (binge drinking, food overload, and no exercise). In this case, they are looking to use the juice cleanse as a way to reset their bodies and return to their usual eating and exercise routine prior to their trip.
If this is why you want to try a cleanse, go for it! While not going "all out" during the trip could have been a healthier choice, we all know that is not the reality most of the time. If you need a quick 2 or 3 days juice cleanse to help you debloat and go back to your health routine, then I think a juice cleanse is the way to go.
Use it as a transition into a new eating style
Juice cleanses are also used as a clean canvas to start something new. I would see "unhealthy" customers that were used to eating everything under the sun to wanting to try a new diet (veganism, for example) and they used a juice cleanse as a way to break clear of their old ways of eating and give their new diet a try starting from point zero.
I see many benefits to this approach. We often crave on our day to day things that we eat constantly. Have you noticed when you go a long time without eating cookies, and then one day you indulge in a chocolate chip cookie and next thing you know you are craving it every day for the following week? Well, a juice cleanse could help with that. If this new eating lifestyle you want to try "doesn't allow" eating some specific foods, doing a juice cleanse could reset your cravings and taste pallet. This way you can try a new diet and probably be more successful in doing so.
Side note: Cravings go both ways. We don't only crave "bad" things like chocolate chip cookies. I recently introduced a close friend to açai bowls, and he now is obsessed! He is often telling me he craves it and always gets one for breakfast when he can. I always recommend fueling your body with healthy foods that ALSO taste amazing, so your body will start craving foods that are both good for you and taste great!!
To "cure" a health condition
Now, I left this one for last because it requires a bit more explaining. When I see someone going on a juice cleanse to heal their bodies from a disease, they are not referring to the juice cleanse sold at juice bars, but at juice therapy retreats that offer medically supervised 30+ days juice cleanses.
I would never recommend for someone who is inexperienced with juice cleanses and is trying to "cure" something by using a long-term juice cleanse to do it on their own. There are many retreats around the world that offer healing programs you can be a part of. Some of the reasons someone might consider doing this style of a juice cleanse would be to heal their: IBS, diabetes, cancer, any skin disease, addictions, allergies, just to name a few.
If this is something that interests you, I would recommend doing A LOT of research of different retreats, asking what they offer, talking to those who have gone through their programs, and making sure the process is medically supervised.
Part two on "What to expect from a juice cleanse" is coming later this week!
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