We reached out to some juicing experts and enthusiasts to share with us their advice and tips for those looking to start a juice fast or cleanse. We had a lot of really great responses and some amazing advice.
Dr. Michele Burklund
1. Mentally prepare yourself ahead of time. The first couple days can be rough and some people can even have a “cleansing” reaction where their symptoms could get worse before they get better. Make a commitment to follow through with the cleanse and evaluate how your body feels during the whole cycle.
2. Clean out your kitchen! Either hide or get rid of any food that might be tempting during the cleanse. Place fruits and vegetables in a visible area to keep your focus on the cleanse.
3. Create a schedule of juices in which you alternate during the cleanse and focus on fruits that have a low glycemic index. Don’t get stuck drinking the same juice everyday. Mix it up with greens, plants that support digestion like fennel and ginger, along with foods that are local and in season.
1. Try and eat raw, unprocessed food at least one day before you start your cleanse. Having a bunch of junk food before you start may cause you to feel sick once you begin.
2. Have a plan! Have your refrigerator stocked with the produce you need. Preparation is key to success.
3. Have something on hand in case you get constipated. Doing a cleanse may cause digestion to slow, as you are giving the digestive organs a rest. The waste sitting in the large intestine can be reabsorbed into the system and make you feel sluggish and uncomfortable.
4. How you come off of your cleanse is Extremely important! People have become violently ill loading up on greasy, heavy food and/or alcohol after a cleanse. Starting with fresh fruit or a smoothie is the best way to end a cleanse. Think of what you’ve been putting in the juicer during your cleanse, and try eating that instead.
1. Get a good juicer and not a blender. It’s key to have a juicer for a successful juice fast for a number of reasons.
2. Plan ahead and get into the mindset of juicing. It’s best to set a date and make time for the juice fast! Get your mind ready above all else.
3. Get enough produce to last a few days! You don’t want to be short on produce when it’s time for a juice and you don’t want to have to head to the grocery store every day.
4. Read as much as you can and get all the information you need before you start. Have all your questions and concerns answered so you know what to expect during your fast.
1. Juice mostly greens such as chard, kale, spinach, and parsley with other vegetables such cucumber, celery, and zucchini. Use only a small amount of low-sugar fruit such as green apple, pear, lemon, and lime. You can get too much fruit juice and end up with low blood sugar, tiredness, and headache. Also, this is the only way diabetics and pre-diabetics can do a juice fast.
2. Drink at least three 12-ounce glasses of veggie juice per day. Make sure you get at least 8 glasses of purified water each day. You can also have herbal teas.
3. When doing a juice fast in the winter, make sure you don’t get internally chilled. Drink herbal tea, lemon with hot water and a pinch of cayenne, warm vegetable broth, and warm blended veggie soup. Use warming foods such as ginger and garlic.
Check out her book with more information Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life.
Use organic produce. Purchase certified organic fruits and vegetables that are free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. This helps the body cleanse itself and detox the impurities that have accumulated inside your body. Organic produce is also tastier, sweeter and may have an increased amount of nutrients versus conventional produce.
Juice fruits in the morning and afternoon. Because fruits are high in fructose and carbohydrates, drink the majority of your fruits in the morning and early afternoon so you can burn off the sugar throughout the remainder of the day. Evening juice drinks should be mostly vegetable-based.
If juice fasting for more than 3 days, add a high quality green powder to your evening drink. This will help add any missing nutrients, vitamins and amino acids that you may not be getting from your juices over a prolonged period of time.
Consult your doctor. Make sure that a fast or cleanse is the right thing for your body.
Variety. Make your juice with a variety of fruits and vegetable, so you can reap all of the nutritional benefits.
Make sure you choose the right juicer. Having the right juicer makes a world of difference.
1. Get a good book written by a qualified professional such as, “Juicing, Fasting and Detoxing For Life”. It will guide you.
2. Start out slow. Do a 24 juice fast and work your way up to a 3 day cleanse. It’s not hard and makes you feel really good!
3. Drink plenty of purified water during a cleanse. This helps to flush out the toxins in your body
Lindsie from MomBistro
1. Don't use a juice cleanse as a quick fix. This is a new start to a lifestyle change.
2. If you choose to do a juice cleanse/fast - STICK WITH IT, but make sure to consult a professional. If you're on medications, make sure to talk to your MD first for any complications. I know that grapefruit juice is a no-no on many meds! There may be other fruits or vegetables to avoid while doing a cleanse.
3. Be motivated to change - have a personal reason and a health reason why you want to do a cleanse.
It is very important to ease into a juice fast/cleanse to prevent giving your body a shock. Three to five days before you intend to start a fast, it is highly recommended to start reducing and gradually eliminating these foods from your diet: Processed foods, flour and sugar products, meat products, foods high in fats, alcohol and carbonated drinks.
Know your current state of health before you start a juice fast. Do not juice fast if you are diabetic or suffer from hypo/hyper-glycemia, have recently gone through a surgery, pregnant or breastfeeding. Don’t go overboard and do a long fast at your first attempt but gradually build up the number of days that you will fast.
Breaking a juice fast is as important as easing into one. Practice responsible breaking of fast by eating small amounts of soft fruits/vegetables while continue to drink your juices.
1. Drink ENOUGH Juice: I definitely suggest drinking a minimum of 96 ounces (3 quarts) of juice per day. Those who drink less find themselves overly hungry, irritable, and unable to finish a fast due to an excess of cravings.
2. Drink WATER, too!: Water, water, water...and did I mention water? Actually, water should not be considered an "extra" on juice fasts, but a necessity! When it comes to water, I suggest drinking at least as much water as you are juice. It is important to hydrate properly and flush out the toxins that are being released from your system.
3. Transitioning In/Out of the Cleanse: Some people can go cold turkey into a juice cleanse, but most need to ease their way into it in order to avoid a shock to the mind. The week prior, get your system ready by cutting out meat, dairy and processed foods and upping your daily water and juice intake. When coming out of a cleanse, it's important to SLOWLY wake your system up so you do not hurt yourself. Smoothies, broths and smooth soups and SOFT fruits should be the order of the day. Also, it takes time to break a fast - rule of thumb is to take one-third the time of your cleanse to reacquaint your system with food (3 days if you have fasted for 9).
The first step to triumph in fasting is to learn to question our thoughts; question our intentions… question everything the mind tells us and, even more important, meditate on what your mind is telling you and identify where that course of action would take you.
If what the mind is suggesting leads you to your highest good, then you know that those thoughts came from your true essence. If the thoughts, feelings, urges and intentions lead you away from what is important to YOU, then you can be certain that the minions are involved. In fasting, they are ALWAYS involved because fasting squeezes all of the buttons in our humanity.
It will be a battle at first because these thought patterns have become used to bullying you; they are used to you believing their lies and then reacting to them. So, for the hours and days of fasting for weight loss, you may find yourself struggling and possibly giving in to the voices and urges. If that happens, simply dust yourself off, get up and keep fasting for weight loss. It took me the better part of three months before the negative thoughts, behaviors and impulses began to quiet.
Dr. Dale Zagiba
-First of all I would recommend anyone to consult with a healthcare professional who is familiar with juice fasting. (especially those on any medications)
- Tip number one is know why your doing this fast or cleanse and be aware of the side effects. Whether it is too lose weight, cleanse your body of toxins, or just want to give your health a quick start; knowing why your doing it will give you motivation to make it through the first couple days (which any cleanser or juice faster knows can be pretty tough). Also being aware of the side effects will help keep you from stressing or freaking out. I remember personally when I first started juicing, when I got into beets I freaked out the first time I saw red in the toilet. If I had been aware that beets will turn waste red it would have save me a lot of stress.
-VEGETABLES!!!! - I would say a minimum of 60% of what your juicing needs to be vegetables, that is where the most nutrients are and keeps the juices calorie count reasonable, the calories can really pile up if your juicing lots of fruit and little vegetables.
- Keep a journal and have a plan. Most people that I have worked with that do something like a cleanse or juice fast struggle to make good choices on a regular basis. By keeping a journal or diary of not just what you juiced but how you felt can be extremely beneficial. This seems most beneficial for helping people stay on a healthy track. They can look back and see how terrible they felt before and how much better they feel and look after. Having a plan is extremely crucial as well. What are you juicing, when are you juicing, how much am I juicing. I personally recommend my patients to Rebootwithjoe.com simply because it makes it so easy for anyone looking to get into it, as it provides recipes, meal plans, and shopping lists.
Email him if you have any additional questions [email protected]
I don't recommend juice fasts actually because they aren't really good for you - they mess up your metabolism and send your body into "starvation" mode. So I generally recommend juice cleanses with eating small meals (that are vegan, whole food based).
- Don't fast! Along with your juices, eat small meals with fresh veggies, beans, fruits, and gluten free grains like quinoa. Avoid wheat, dairy, meat and processed foods.
- Don't cleanse for more than 3-5 days
- For your juices, you can make smoothies or actually juice your fruits/vegetables at home. I prefer smoothies because they retain all of the fiber and nutrients from the vegetables/fruits. Be sure to add at least one green veggie to your juices/smoothies (kale, spinach, etc.) - and do a mix of berries, apples, pear, banana for your fruits to sweeten the smoothie up a bit.
Wow, what a lot of really great information. Many of them gave very similar advice to seek professional advice from your healthcare provider (which is always a great idea) or from books or online communities. Another overriding theme was sticking with it even if you have the urge to quit.
Comment below if you have any other great tips to offer. Also, please share these tips with your friends and family who might be interested in starting a juice fast or cleanse.