A juice cleanse is not only about detoxing or losing weight, it’s a personal journey. There is a lot of information and misinformation out there about how to juice cleanse or juice fast, but I want to take this opportunity to share what I have learned from my experiences.
I don't subscribe to fad diets. I believe in a varied wholefood plant-based food intake, along with a healthy lifestyle as the key to success. It's easy to fall off the wagon and succumb to some of the temptations we face every day.
Sometimes we need to reset, regroup, and reevaluate where we are, and where we are going with our health and lifestyle choices.
A 3-day juice cleanse is a good place to start. It allows your digestion time to rest, and your body time to detox while getting an influx of living nutrients via delicious cold-pressed juices.
It's important to be prepared for your juice cleanse, know what to expect, and how to transition onto solid food after.
Throughout this article, I aim to give you the best advice as possible for a successful juice cleanse.
Why juice cleanse?
Our environment and our busy schedules can make it very difficult to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle and we find ourselves looking for a way to get back to feeling healthy and energized.
Around 10% of your energy is spent on digesting our food every day.
When we drink fresh juice from whole fruits and vegetables rather than eating them, it gives our digestive system a break and allows our body to absorb the nutrients more effectively. This break gives our body the time to focus on healing itself from within while flushing out toxins.
Our bodies have the power to heal themselves, we just need to feed it the right foods and adapt our lifestyle accordingly. If we are constantly draining our body by feeding it unhealthy processed foods, we are not giving it the opportunity to keep us in optimal health.
A well-planned juice cleanse can help transform your life in many different ways.
Here are eight ways you could benefit from doing a juice cleanse:
- Cleanse your body of excess toxins
- Kick start the weight loss process
- Implement healthier eating habits
- Give your digestive system a rest
- Rehydrate which will improve energy and skin tone
- Reduce inflammation
- Help with autoimmune diseases
- Help determine food sensitivities
A juice cleanse is a great way to get back into a healthier eating routine, but it's also important to consider your motives for wanting the benefits from your cleanse.
- Why do you want to achieve those health benefits?
- What will achieving them mean for you?
- How will it impact your life?
Having a clear vision of your goal will help keep you focused and determined throughout. Write the answers to these questions on a piece of paper - set your intention, and let's make it happen.
Pre-juice cleanse instructions
Unless you are doing a one-day juice cleanse, you will want to prepare your body and mind.
If you are doing a two, or three-plus day juice cleanse, you will want to consider the following recommendations. Jumping right into the cleanse after an unhealthy diet, also known as SAD (standard American diet), can cause you to feel sick from the detox side effects and you may not want to continue or even attempt it again.
The week before:
- Start to remove the unhealthy meals and processed food from your diet and replace them with more raw organic fruits and vegetables.
- Eat smaller portions than usual, consuming just enough to satisfy your hunger.
- Reduce your sugar intake.
- Incorporate regular, non-strenuous exercise or movement into your routine.
- Drink enough clean water, which is key to flushing out toxins. Water is best consumed at room temperature and in between meals.
Before you get started
First, evaluate your eating habits and establish an appropriate pre-cleanse eating routine. This will prepare your body to fight against negative detox symptoms that include lack of energy, headaches, aches, irritation, anxiety, and diarrhea, among others. Plan ahead and reap all the benefits.
Many people embark on a juice cleanse, or fast without mentally or physically preparing their body and mind in advance. There is a fine line between fasting and starving your body. It's vital to be kind to your body and not put unnecessary added stress on it.
Check some credible research before doing a healthy juice cleanse.
How to prepare your body
What best describes you, and how to prepare...
1. Junk food addict
You have a sweet tooth with a diet that consists of foods loaded with sugar; you indulge in takeaways on a regular basis and you catch yourself downing more soft drinks than water.
I recommend a full-week transition to avoid potential negative detox symptoms. Cut down on the junk and switch to healthier salads for lunch and fruits for dessert.
2. The classic American diet (S.A.D)
You go for a box of pasta, microwaved meals, and burgers on a weekly basis.
Dedicate 5 days for a transition and plan your meals in advance - incorporate as many fruits and vegetables as possible.
3. Weekend cheater
You stick to a healthy diet during the week but once Friday hits, you like to partake in the drinking sessions, indulgent dinners, and heavy brunches.
For 3-4 days eliminate processed foods and alcohol you consumed over the weekend. Choose a salad instead of french fries and go for a glass of water instead of a beer.
4. Health nut
You blitz a banging green smoothie and know all the latest superfood trends. But you cheated on your low-calorie breakfast with a fried breakfast last week! You notice yourself starting to make the wrong food choices and need a reset. Time to get back on the wagon! Spend 1-2 days reminding your body what it feels like to eat fresh and clean food.
Pre-juice cleanse tasks list
To bring your body down to a more alkaline state, cut out or significantly reduce the following acid-forming foods:
- Refined sugar
- Animal products
- Processed foods
Clear your calendar accordingly
Choose the days or a week where extra work and social engagements will not distract you and possibly tempt you during your cleanse. Approach these 3 days as a gift to yourself to nourish and heal yourself.
6 tips for a successful cleanse
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Set yourself up for success with the following top tips.
1. Drink warm water
- Warm lemon water is great during a juice cleanse. It’s an incredible liver stimulant and it helps begin the cleansing process.
- Once getting into the habit of it during your cleanse, you might find that it is something that you want to continue post-cleanse. In addition to drinking your allotment of water, you can also include herbal tea, infused water, or coconut water into your juice cleanse plan.
2. Choose and prepare your ingredients wisely
- Make organic juice.
Choose organic vegetables, herbs, and fruit whenever possible. Organic produce has 20-40% higher levels of antioxidants and tastes much better.
- Choose fruit with low sugar.
Avoiding high-sugar fruits will help your body get the most out of your juice cleanse. Even though not all sugar is created equal, sugar is still sugar and your body has to deal with breaking it down and metabolizing it. A good rule is to have green juice make up at least half of your juice consumption.
- Wash everything well.
Even if it is organic, it still can have undesirable organisms or other contaminants on it. You can buy a vegetable cleaning powder or I like to use baking soda. Fill up a large container with water, and add the baking soda and ingredients. Allow soaking for 15 minutes then rinse well.
3. Stay consistent
- Aim to drink a juice every 2 to 3 hours. 6 to 8 juices a day might sound like a lot, but if you space your juices out over 12 hours, your body will thank you.
- Skipping juices will likely leave you feeling hungry and can result in a drop in your blood sugar, which can leave you feeling lethargic and maybe even give you a headache.
4. Scrape your tongue and dry brush your skin
- Juicing is all about cleaning you internally, but dry brushing your skin daily during your cleanse will help get rid of dead skin and open your pores for the elimination process. It's quite relaxing also.
- Tongue scraping is a fantastic new morning ritual to cultivate. As we sleep our bodies are detoxing. Scraping our tongue in the morning removes bacteria, food particles, and other debris. See the article for more information on the benefits of tongue scraping.
5. Exercise, but listen to your body
- Your energy levels can change and be a bit unpredictable during a cleanse so you may want to limit yourself to light exercise like walks, yoga, and stretching. I try to at least break a good sweat. Studies show that the body rids itself of heavy metals and other toxins in its sweat.
- If you feel too weak, then go easy. If you feel good and full of energy, then ramp it up!
6. Relax, rest & sleep
Allow your body and mind time to relax. Meditate every day or begin a journal where you can write about your day and how you’re feeling. Get plenty of rest and take naps if possible. You owe it to yourself to slow down and focus on your personal health and wellbeing.
Breaking the cleanse
End your cleanse when you feel the time is right. After you finish your cleanse, celebrate your achievement. Every day that you juiced, you nourished your body with around 10kg of nutrient-dense fresh ingredients. That’s something to be very proud of.
Now is a great time to think about how you want to incorporate what you’ve learned into your daily regimen.
During my last juice cleanse I found that my sleep was so deep and I felt so rested during the day that I knew I needed to make sure that my body no longer has to stay up all night working hard to digest my last meal. Now I eat my last meal of the day at least 2.5 hours before I go to bed.
I cannot tell you how much this has increased my mood and vitality. Every time I want to deviate from this new routine, I think about my body not being able to spend those eight hours repairing itself, preventing dis-ease, and making me more energized.
The day after your juice cleanse you’re going to want to ease into solid foods. I have found one of the best ways to come off a juice cleanse is to drink smoothies and eat fruit. Warm oatmeal or overnight oats are also light and easy on digestion. Listen to your body and monitor how you feel as you reintroduce solid foods.
In the days following a cleanse, you have the opportunity to identify any food sensitivities. If you suspect you are allergic to something, systematically add it to your diet and see if it triggers any reaction.
I like doing juice cleanses not only to periodically spring clean but to really focus on myself and check in with my body to make sure I’m understanding what it needs.
I encourage you to try a juice cleanse, and while it may seem difficult at first, if you stick to it, you won’t believe how amazing you will feel!
After you finish cleansing
Time flies when you’re having fun doing juice cleanses! Take a moment to congratulate yourself on a job well done! After you've rebuilt, reclaimed, and re-activated your health, the next stage of the journey is the transition back to your normal life and diet.
As much as you may want to dig into a steak and red wine the first day back, remember to not overload your body during this transition. This will undo all the internal balance and progress you made. Because your body has not processed these foods in a while, it may cause negative side effects.
Don’t rush back into your habitual life and foods. Respect your body and the hard cleansing work it has done for you. Foods you should avoid include alcohol, dairy, red meat, fried and/or processed foods.
Transition to a Healthier lifestyle
Incorporate habits from your pre-cleanse and cleanse program to continue supporting your health—eat more fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water, and keep juicing.
For those suffering from food allergens or sensitivities, this is the perfect opportunity for you to keep track and target what may be hurting you. This includes sensitivities to wheat, dairy, nuts, soy, etc.
To identify whether any of these are triggers, systematically add them back into your diet one at a time. By doing so, you can accurately pinpoint the allergen. For example, if you reintroduce dairy into your diet and feel symptoms such as cramping, headaches, or diarrhea, you are likely sensitive or allergic to dairy products.
Regular detoxification is a great way to maintain your health. Cleansing removes toxicity, layers at a time. The more you cleanse, the deeper it taps and addresses different areas of the body. After the 3-day cleanse, I recommend repeating the cleanse every few months. Even a 1-day cleanse is a good reset.
3-day juice cleanse plan
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