There 2 main issues with juice cleansing. The first is that vegetable juices are very low in calories. Most people consume primarily vegetable juices during a juice cleanse which means they are depriving their body of the fuel (calories, mainly carbohydrates) it needs to function. Unless you are laying in bed with minimal movement for your entire cleanse, you will need to consume some calories. The body responds to low caloric intake by slowing down the metabolism. This allows the body to use the small amount of calories it is receiving very efficiently. This ultimately can lead to greater weight gain once solid food is reintroduced. Low caloric intake can also trigger some people to binge on high calorie foods. Most people that have done juice cleanses know how hard it is to stop eating after their cleanse. This can lead to the yo-yo effect which is one of the worse things for health and vitality. While fruit juices do generally have many more calories, they are very high in sugar and don't have the fiber their whole fruit counterparts do. The fiber in whole fruits is what slows the release of the sugar into the bloodstream preventing blood sugar spikes and crashes. Steady blood sugar is key to avoiding cravings.
That brings us to the next issue with juice cleansing. Juices don't have any fiber. Fiber is very important for digestive health. One of the best ways to lose weight and feel better is to improve digestion. This is easily done by consuming a plant based diet made up primarily of whole, fresh, ripe fruits and veggies. The fiber in whole plant foods keeps digestion moving smoothly. Fiber provides bulk and volume to foods which signals your digestive system to do its job. Fiber also helps you feel full longer which will prevent you from feeling deprived and wanting to 'pig out' once you finish your cleanse.
So what is the alternative you ask. Smoothies! Instead of juicing fruits and veggies, blend them. This ensures that you get all the fuel you need to go about your daily activities and all the fiber you need to ensure healthy digestion and steady blood sugar.
Here are a few things to remember during your smoothie cleanse:
- During the day stick to fruits and greens.
- To make an easily digestible smoothie avoid adding in fatty things like peanut butter or other nut butters, avocado, oil, and nut/seed milk. Instead blend fruits, greens (optional), and enough water to reach your desired consistency.
- In the evening you may like to make a savory soup. Combine things like tomato, cucumber, celery, spinach, and/or bell pepper with your favorite fresh herbs. You may even want to add a little bit of fruit like mango or orange. The combinations are endless!
- Eat as much as you'd like. You may need to eat several small meals throughout the day. Fresh fruits and veggies have lots of water and fiber which means you have to eat a larger volume to get the same amount of calories you'd get from a smaller portion of dense cooked food.
- Be sure to drink at least 2 quarts of water throughout the day. Begin your day with at least 1 large glass of water upon awakening.
- Make bananas your bestie! Bananas are a great source of fuel, easily digestible, always available, and make your smoothies nice and creamy. For best digestion be sure they are spotty before you eat them. They also improve mood and help the body release water weight. Bye bye puffiness!