Juice for thought.. by Lydia Reissmueller and Elizabeth McElligott
As you’ve probably noticed if you’ve picked up a magazine or watched TV recently, juice cleanses are one of the biggest trends around health and wellness (and weight loss dieting) these days.
Since we’re starting Well Co. (a cold-pressed juice & seed milk company) and have been doing plenty of research on many different fronts, we thought it would be nice to distill some of what we’ve found, and demystify this new trend a bit.
If you’ve tried doing any research on your own about juice fasting (or juice cleansing), the most notable information you may have gotten is…there’s not much scientific information on it, and what information there is can be quite confusing and frustrating. Does that mean that you should call the whole thing off? Not necessarily. Personal health is an essential component of Well Co. and we believe it’s just that: personal, and therefore up to you to find what works best for YOU. How does that translate to your everyday? First and foremost, being honest with yourself about what you’re eating and how you’re taking care of yourself—paying attention to which foods do or don’t make you feel good. Our bodies are pretty magical, and once we decide to take care of ourselves, it’s amazing how much difference we can make in our wellbeing simply by eating well. The French physician Brillat-Savarin’s infamous quote, “You are what you eat,” still speaks volumes. We believe eating living food is the best compliment to being alive.
Deciding to make changes is easy—it’s implementing them into your daily routines that can be challenging, and it’s best to take it slow; the most effective changes happen through your daily habits. If your diet primarily consists of refined and synthetic sugars (if you’re not sure, it likely has plenty), processed grains (white rice, white flours), processed and treated meats (any animals treated with antibiotics or preservatives), alcohol, cigarettes, or if you work with toxic chemicals, you don’t want to rush into committing to a juice fast any time soon. There is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to true health, and if you jump too quickly into a “cleanse” you could have an unpleasant experience and overwhelm your system.
If the foods mentioned above are an integral part of your diet, you’ll want to start by first reducing how much processed food you eat. Try incorporating a smoothie (preferably with green leafy things in it) into your diet on a daily basis and cutting out one processed food per day. The fiber in the smoothies will act as a scrubbing brush for the buildup of processed foods in your system and slow down the absorption of the natural sugars from the fruit in your smoothies, so you don’t get a sugar spike or crash.
If you don’t have a lot of the above foods in your daily diet, a short juice fast is like pressing a soft reset button for your digestive system, and is an excellent way for you to redirect your eating habits, lose a little weight (mostly water weight in the first 3 days), release toxins (resulting from both your diet and environment), and heighten your senses (your sense of smell will surprise you!). Think of it this way: a juice fast is like a nutrient flush that requires no digestion because all the fiber is removed, so nutrients go straight into your system in the most efficient way.
“Will I starve?” you ask. Not if you get enough nutrient-rich juice. 80-100 ounces of juice is standard for a raw juice cleanse, and contains plenty of nutrients for an average adult. Not all juices (or vegetables, for that matter) have the same amount of nutrients, but raw juice is the most efficient way to get all the nutrients and enzymes from whatever produce is juiced. We make cold-pressed juice, which is the most nutrient-rich way of having vegetables, and use produce grown without synthetic fertilizers that isn’t sprayed with chemicals, and therefore goes through a plant cycle that promotes nutrient accumulation and retention.
There are many ways to juice fast, and what you put in your body when you’re cleansing is as important as what you’re not putting in. You’ll want to drink a variety of juices, not just one type, and drink at least 12 ounces daily of “green juice” made with at least 20% dark green leafy veggies (like kale). Variety is one of the biggest factors in nutrition, so the more types of produce you can incorporate into your cleanse, the better. Generally, you don’t want to have fruit with vegetables, but citrus and green apples are widely accepted as ok to mix with veggies.
Here are important things to think about during your cleanse:
What to do:
1. No solid food is the idea, but if you’re struggling with hunger at the end of the first day, have some steamed dark green leafy greens (like kale, chard, or beet greens).
2. Drink lots of water. It’s counterintuitive since you’re drinking liquids, but because the food you’re “eating” is helping to release toxins, you’ll want to aid this process by flushing your body with water in between drinking juices.
3. Chew your juice! Chewing releases enzymes that will aid in the absorption of nutrients.
4. Take an Epsom salt bath* before bed to release the toxins freed up by all that juice.
5. Take probiotics! Kombucha, pills, or liquid supplements are all good, just no dairy or refined sugar.
6. If you feel like you need protein, make sure your cleanse includes a seed milk (nut milk) that’s raw (not from a box).
What not to do:
1. For starters, you’ll want to limit your caffeine intake, but if you’re drinking coffee daily, you’ll want to reduce your intake by at least half before starting a cleanse, otherwise you’ll likely end up with a headache. The less caffeine you have during a cleanse, the better. While cleansing, a little caffeine (preferably green tea or yerba mate) is okay.
2. Absolutely no alcohol. You’ll get tanked on 1 serving, and will probably end up craving foods that nullify the point of doing a cleanse. And your liver would love a break!
3. No refined or synthetic sugars.
4. As a general rule, don’t eat anything out of a box.
Remember: health is a journey, and the first way to find it is through your mouth. “Let food be thy medicine,” said Hippocrates, and his words hold just as true today as they did when spoken over 2,500 years ago.
We’d love to hear from you if you have questions or anything you’d like to share with us, such as ideas or personal experiences. We feel that it’s really important to communicate, so we’ll get back to you within 48 hours. We’re glad you’ve taken the time to educate yourself, and we support your journey towards better health!
*Epsom Salt Bath:
2 cups unscented Epsom salt (available at any drug store and most grocery stores)
1 cup raw apple cider vinegar to balance the pH (so as not to dry out your skin)
A few drops of mint/tea tree oil for the aroma
Mix well in the hottest water you can stand, soak at least 30 minutes, and you’ll be warm, utterly zonked, and ready for sleepytimes.