The term “juicing” is often associated with fasting. Indeed, juice fasts have become synonymous with cleansing and detoxification, thanks in large part to television infomercials and medical programs.
Juice fasting for detoxing, cleansing
A juice fast is a commitment for a certain length of time to only consume raw vegetable or fruit juice, water, and herbal non-caffeinated teas.
A popular reason to begin a juice fast, or “cleanse,” is to shed excess weight or to get a running start on a weight-loss program. An often-surprising consequence of a successful cleanse is an improvement in mental clarity, energy levels, skin tone, and sleep quality. Many people report that hey simply feel “lighter” after a juice fast.
The simple explanation of a juice fast resulting in detoxification is this: a body receives all of its nourishment from vegetable juices only; since the digestive system is barely involved in the processing of the juices, it is allowed to rest. When the digestive system is not defending itself against new toxins, it is able to release stored toxins which are surrounded by fat.
As toxin-containing fat cells are released, the body feels lighter and more energetic.
There are many kinds of targeted cleanses, such as the intestinal cleanse, the gall bladder cleanse, and so on. Critics scoff at that level of specificity. In fact, many claim that the human body is perfectly capable of “cleansing” itself as needed.
Fasting/cleansing advocates agree that the body is a miraculous machine. But they point out that modern life with air and water pollution, sedentary lifestyles, and poor, fried-food and sugar-laden diets has created such an imbalance for our body systems that help, in the form of juice fasting, is needed.
A juice fast, whether for weight loss or just general good health, needs to be entered into with serious thought and commitment and planning. Unlike someone who decides to buy a juicer and make a juice to take to the gym each morning, a faster will be consuming juices only, usually six per day.
There may be digestive (constipation and/or diarrhoea) issues involved in the first few days of a juice fast. Since that can affect your activities, you may want to schedule a fast for a time when you can be near home with limited work and social obligations. Transitioning into a fast by making a couple of juices each day and increasing your intake of raw vegetables may help reduce the problem potential.
You will want to be sure to have a good supply of fresh vegetables and greens on hand. Since you will not be eating any solid foods at all, you can’t simply open the refrigerator for something to “tide you over” until you get out to the supermarket.
Mood swings and sleep issues may be noticeable in the first few days of your juice fast. It may be wise to sit down with your partner or roommates and get them on board with what you are planning.
Interestingly, you may find that you are not tempted by the sights and smells of food in your home or at the grocery store. If your juices are filling enough (14 – 16 ounces each serving), you may be quite satisfied and not feel hungry.
There are no guarantees, of course. A good tip is when you are tempted to snitch an unfinished sandwich—or even munch on a cucumber slice while you are making juice—to visualize your stomach enjoying its vacation from solid foods!