In general, people may refer to juicing as a juice cleanse, detox, or fast. It’s called a fad because of the negative connotation often associated with it, especially with critics saying that, essentially, you are depriving the body of vital nutrients such as fat, protein, and fiber. It’s also incorrectly associated with yo-yo dieting, which means that basically you starve your body and then pick your unhealthy diet right back up where you left it. This type of dieting causes you to lose weight quickly and pack it right back on.
Let me stop right here, if you’ve heard about juicing and fasting, then you’re probably thinking you should hit the back button and move along—but wait just a minute before you go. I’ll explain more below. If you’re new to juicing, I’ll quickly break it down for you.
Juicing is when you place fresh, raw vegetables, greens, and fruits through a juicer that separates the pulp from the juice. It leaves you with fresh, wholesome juice. Fasting consists of abstaining from eating for a predetermined period of time. Put them together, and voila, you have a juice fast. Instead of denying your body crucial nutrition to achieve a calorie deficit, you’re feeding it with raw juice. If you add fresh juice to your daily meals, then you are juice feasting.
You might think this type of fast is comparable to a regular fast in which you deny your body any sustenance. However, a juice fast does not starve your body. Instead of eating solids, you replace your meals with freshly extracted juice. Normally, supporters agree juice fasting should consist of at least 80 percent vegetables and less than 20 percent fruit. This ratio allows for maximum nutrients while minimizing the sugar content level. To absorb the greatest nutrients possible, it should be consumed within 72 hours when using a masticating (slow) juicer. If juicing with a centrifugal (fast) juicer, then drink it within 24 hours.
A common misconception about juice fasting is that its sole purpose is aimed at weight loss. While it can help you reboot and kick start your journey to a healthier you, it is not a permanent solution. Think about the alternatives, like pills or other “cleansing” programs that are laden with chemicals. You know—with absolute certainty—those are not good for you. What do you have to lose by fasting with fresh, nutrient-dense, green juice? Think about it, which seems better to you—chemicals or fresh juice?
The Fasting Process
Some fasts last for a single day up to 60 days. If you have never conducted a juice fast before, then begin slowly. It is imperative that you understand the process. First, when I refer to “juice,” I am referring to a vegetable-based juice. Fruit juice tends to have too much sugar, which causes a spike in blood glucose levels.
Second, your experience with juicing will depend on your health and eating habits prior to beginning. Each person’s experience is unique. Fasting is not for children, pregnant, nursing women, or those with a medical reason that might prevent them from juice fasting.
The following stages are a basic outline of what to expect during a juice fast.
Days 1 to 3
These are the most difficult due to the extreme feelings of hunger you will experience. The side effects include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, skin breakouts, body odor, and loose bowels. Your body is going through withdrawals, therefore, these symptoms are normal. The toxins that have built up in your body over time are suddenly being dislodged and forced out—it’s going to be uncomfortable.
Days 4 to 15
The side effects start wearing off somewhere in between days four to fifteen. Over the first few days, most of the weight lost is water weight, and then your weight loss will become more gradual. Keep in mind that these side effects are a good sign. It means your body is ridding itself of any built-up toxins.
Some additional side effects include:
- Bad breath
- Need to urinate more frequently
- Menstrual cycle changes
- Sinuses draining (loose mucus)
- Mild to extreme nausea
- Body or joint aches
Days 16 to 21
If you are still continuing your juice fast beyond two weeks, you will begin to feel even better as your body becomes accustomed to a pure juice diet. Something to be aware of, sometimes your energy will be up and other times you will feel less energetic. When you’re juicing, if you feel hungry, drink some juice. Don’t deny your need for nutrients. If you were overweight, then you may have some lingering side effects.
Days 22 and beyond
If you have any lingering side effects from previous health issues and feel comfortable with your fast, feel free to continue with it. Once you begin to come off of your fast, gradually add solid food back into your diet.
Start light, eating raw vegetables and fruit. Remember, you don’t want to be in the same place you were when you began your fast. Seriously, do you really want to go through those detox symptoms again?
- Jumpstarts weight loss goals by flushing the body of unnecessary muck and junk.
- Forces you to address your need to eat on a psychological level.
- Brighter and clearer skin
- Shinier hair
- Focus, mental clarity and awareness increase
- Vision may have improved
When you opt to include juice feasting into your regular diet, you should drink it on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes prior to eating. Again, this method of juicing is an easy way to supplement your diet with a healthy dose of fresh juice. You can supplement once a day or break it up into twice a day. If you lead a highly active lifestyle, you could even supplement three times daily. The harder you work the body and deplete its nutrient stores, the more it will crave replenishment.
- Anyone can do it—including those who are pregnant, diabetic, and kids.
- It’s a simple method for making sure you consume your daily serving of fruits and vegetables.
- Your body absorbs the vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants more quickly because it does not have to do as much work when you consume whole fruits and vegetables. Instead of breaking down the fibers, which are then passed back out of your body, your digestive system easily absorbs the nutrients.
- It makes you feel better overall, with a natural boost of energy.
Pro Tip—The ideal proportion of vegetable to fruits is 80/20, this will ensure that you will get the optimum nutrition you need and at the same time this will also prevent excess sugar. Depending on the type of your juicer, you can have a maximum shelf life of 72 hours for your freshly pressed juice, so it’s very essential to pick the right kind of juicer.
It has been said that a cleanse or a detox is not necessary because our bodies naturally detox every day. However, after a while, your body can become inundated with toxins and unhealthy cholesterol. Your diet may lack in nutrients, minerals, and enzymes. It’s true the liver naturally rids the body of toxins, but many contributors can slow it down, leaving you feeling sluggish, slightly ill, or even depressed.
It’s best not to buy into the negative hype around juicing until you’ve tried it for yourself, especially since both fasting and feasting are beneficial for the body. A juice fast, even a short one, can do wonders for the body and help you adopt a healthier lifestyle. A juice feast is an excellent way to benefit the body with additional nutrients and antioxidants on a daily basis. The proof, as they say, is in the juice.
*Always speak with a doctor before making any significant changes to your diet, especially if you are pregnant, have a medical condition, or currently taking medication.