I asked a number of readers, friends, followers, who have all asked me for fitness and diet advice at least once in their life what they want me to write about. The consensus was The Juice Cleanse. To be perfectly honest, I've been procrastinating on this because I personally don't believe in them if has to do with weight loss! It seems funny that someone like myself, eating the cheat meals that I eat, or with my wine intake wouldn't want to participate in something that can be so beneficial, if done correctly. Let me explain my reasons (Disclaimer: Everything written in this blog is based on my opinion, experience, and education in the health and fitness industry over the years. I am not a nutritionist, and I do not claim to know everything about the benefits or side effects of a juice cleanse)…
While a juice cleanse can have plenty of amazing benefits- can clear the skin, balance out pH levels, can reset your digestive system, etc., it can also leave you feeling lethargic, unmotivated, and it can also leave you fucking HUNGRY!! A cleanse can also be done without eliminating solid foods altogether. I don't believe in starving myself in any way. The nutrients from a juice cleanse alone isn't enough to keep me mentally alert enough to focus on my day-to-day, and forget working out while on a juice cleanse. You need calories to sustain you!! You NEED protein!!! I know some juices contain certain traces of protein, but I believe in fueling your body, not depriving it. As long as you make it a point to put WHOLE FOODS in your body (i.e. anything that comes from the earth sans any additives or preservatives), you ARE cleansing your body. Over time, your body will naturally eliminate the crap you fed it before you made the wise choice to fuel it the right way.
Now, with that being said, I realize people use a juice cleanse for a few reasons. If you are doing a juice cleanse for quick weight loss, it can work. However, I say this with reservation because the "weight" you lose will not be all fat. In fact, very little fat is lost while doing a juice cleanse. Again, I'm not a nutritionist, or an expert on this subject, but I know a few things. I know that if you deprive your body of a certain daily caloric intake, your body will actually feel like it's starving and will go into "starvation mode". This is bad because the weight you may lose could be muscle (FYI, muscle is a HUGE aid in helping your body burn fat, you need it. Plus, it's freaking sexy). It's good to eat LESS calories while you are trying to lose weight, but figure out the calculation before you just stop eating. Here is a link to a calorie calculator to help you figure out what you need for your body specifically. If you MUST do a juice cleanse, I recommend also incorporating a protein supplement as well to maintain your levels. If you do get quick weight loss results while strictly juicing, it's likely mostly water weight. I hate to break it to you, but there is no quick way to lose weight. Weight loss takes time, effort, and intricate diet and workout planning.
You might be getting nutrients from a juice cleanse, but that's also a crapshoot unless you are juicing it yourself, at home. Typically the juices you purchase at the store, yes even the cold pressed ones, can be loaded with sugar, and often watered down significantly. If you are juicing at home, don't leave out the peel! In most fruits and veggies, most of the nutrients is actually in the peel. Try to include that in your juices if you can. If you are doing a cleanse like this to reset, make sure you do your research on where you get your juices from. The absolute best thing you can do for your body is to know where your food is coming from, and try to juice it fresh by yourself.
Someone asked me how to curb cravings while on a juice cleanse. The problem with strictly juicing (I'm talking only using fruits and vegetables) is that you will be lacking a significant amount of protein. Protein keeps you full! I recommended incorporating a supplement while juicing, and I would maintain that this is still the best practice. Some great protein supplements are those that your body can digest easily. I would focus on the whey proteins for digestion. If you choose to use a casein protein, realize that casein proteins are not as easily digested. Casein is considered a slow release protein. The benefits to incorporating a casein protein is that you can go longer periods of time without eating. I definitely suggest having a casein protein shake before you go to bed so that your body doesn't use amino acids from your muscle to fuel it while you sleep. Side note- you should do this whether you are on a cleanse or not. Also, to curb hunger while cleansing, I suggest eating real food. But that's just my opinion 😉
Essentially, your body needs food for fuel. If you are cleansing for weight loss, I don't recommend it unless you only use it for 1-3 days to jump start a new clean diet. Any longer than that and your body will start to breakdown and hate you. If you are using a juice cleanse to reset and balance out, I totally recommend a juice cleanse for 24-48 hours, tops. Your body really only needs a little bit of time to process out all the additives and preservatives you've fed it. Then, after that, feed your body the good stuff. As long as you keep it up, you won't need the reset.
If you have any comments or anything to add to this post, I'd love some feedback. Thanks