Juice cleanses are all the rage these days and perhaps you’ve been flirting with the idea as an end-of-summer refresh for your body. Before you invest in a juicer and load up on veggies or order a custom cleanse at your favorite juice bar, make sure juicing is the right option for you.
Juicing has many benefits, but it’s not for everyone, and it may not be for you right now. Cleanses are a great way to give your body a quick reset while increasing consciousness about what and how much you eat. While on a cleanse, and while coming off of a cleanse, you begin to think more about what you’re putting in your body and how to make healthier choices. You may lose a few pounds while juicing, but it’s mostly water weight, and depending on how you eat after a cleanse, the pounds may come back right away.
Juicing for athletes
Mark Wood, CEO of Liquiteria recommends certain juices while training for races or competitions, but he doesn’t recommend a full-blown cleanse in the midst of high intensity training. If you’re prepping for a big race that involves intense calorie-burning workouts, juicing alone may not give your body the appropriate amount of calories and protein to keep you at peak performance. Green juices are excellent at reducing lactic acid and helping speed recovery, but it’s best to include a balance of proteins and carbohydrates and a proper diet in addition to green juice while training.
Starting a cleanse
If you’ve decided a cleanse is right for you, think about how you’re going to get your juices. There are plenty of delivery options through companies like Liquiteria and Organic Avenue in NYC, BluePrint nationwide, The Ripe Stuff in Boston and so on. If you own a juicer (or decide to invest in one) and have some time on your hands, think about creating your own juice cleanse (keep in mind it takes a lot of fruit and veggies and is time consuming). Once you’ve decided how you will get your juice, figure out how long you’re in this for. If you’re a newbie, consider a 1-day cleanse to ease yourself in, but if you’re a regular, try for a 3-5 day cleanse.
A few quick juice fasting tips
- Cleansing can take a major hit on your social life. Aim to do your cleanse when you have very few (or zero!) plans, since it’s a terrible feeling to sit at dinner and watch your friends eat while you sip your juice. Figure out a range of dates where you can do your cleanse, get plenty of sleep and have a few extra days to ease out of the cleanse.
- If a full-blown cleanse sounds too intense for you or you’re in the middle of training, there are other options out there. You can do a 1-day cleanse for a quickie clean up or you can do a juice-til-dinner program. You can also include juices throughout the day in addition to a healthy eating plan.
- Liquiteria offers guidelines for before, during and after your cleanse to make the process one that encourages a healthy lifestyle as a result of your juice fasting plan. Before your cleanse, take steps to ensure a smooth process. Aim to reduce or eliminate caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, refined sugar, wheat and processed foods. This may be a challenge, so if you can’t eliminate all of these things, take whatever steps you can. Introduce a few juices a day and load up on fruit, vegetables and natural whole foods, ditching processed ones.
- As you begin your cleanse, remember to drink plenty of water and include exercise of some sort in your routine. This helps keep your blood flowing and energy levels up.
- There are also ways to enhance your cleansing experience. Wood recommends deep tissue massages and time in the sauna throughout the process. Your post-juicing routine should be similar to your pre-juicing routine; plenty of whole natural foods plus a couple of juices daily.
Juicing is a commitment, but once you decide to take it on you will see that the health benefits are well worth it. If you’ve decided juicing is the right path for you, good luck and let us know how it goes!