When you’re on a juice cleanse, you subsist solely on raw fruit or vegetable juice for a period of time, usually three to 10 days. Also referred to as a “juice fast,” this cleanse aims to rid your body of toxins and clean your entire system: your lungs, liver, intestinal tract, bladder, kidneys, and your skin.
But it’s not without controversy. Skeptics wonder how you can possibly feel full on this diet, if you will keep up your energy, what will happen to your blood sugar from the sugar rush of fruit juices, and if a juice fast is even healthy.
But a juice cleanse is something that Steve Meyerowitz wouldn’t live without. “It’s time to stop treating your stomach like a compost and start treating it like a garden,” said the self-named “Sproutman” at the Total Health Conference in Toronto, Canada, on April 7, 2013. “A lot of conditions can be resolved just by cleaning out.”
That’s why he encourages his followers to follow a seven-day juice cleanse—not an easy feat for someone without experience in this area.
“When I first started out, I made a million mistakes,” said Meyerowitz. “I remember dragging my body through the first week.” It took some time before he felt full, energetic, and healthier on this diet, but since then, he’s never looked back, and encourages people to try a juice fast.
“We focus so much on what we bring into our body,” he said. “This is more efficient housekeeping—do the same for your body. We take our bodies for granted too often, and lots of ailments are caused by buildup of toxins in our body.”
Any type of extreme diet, like a juice cleanse, can shock your system. Before you jump on board, here are five things you must know:
1. Why a juice cleanse is healthy:
Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, and vitamins, so you’ll be giving your body a healthy dose of the nutrients you need every day. Plus, your body won’t need to work hard to digest the nutrients—they’ll easily pass through your system.
2. An added bonus:
Juice sold at your local grocery store is usually pasteurized, which destroys the live enzymes found in plants. While pasteurization is a necessary measure to kill harmful bacteria, it can also kill the good stuff that you want your body to get.
Using raw vegetables and fruits and making them into a juice helps preserve those enzymes, so that’s what you’ll be ingesting when you embark on a juice fast.
3. On a juice cleanse? Slow down:
Fruits—and especially fruit juice—can give you a sugar rush, even if it’s natural sugar. If you’re not eating anything else, then you’ll also have no fiber to slow down the absorption process. Experts recommend you start your day with a fruit juice and enjoy the accompanying energy rush, then drink vegetable juice throughout the day.
4. Juice cleanse:
Your body won’t be ingesting all those toxins and additives that you get from your day-to-day food. A juice cleanse helps your body start fresh, so to speak, and with a clean slate.
5. Side effects:
Like any extreme diet, there are bound to be side effects. If you aren’t ready to deprive yourself of the food you love, you won’t hold up well on the juice cleanse diet.
It’s also common for people to feel fatigued or experience a lack of energy, and you may also suffer from bad breath and acne as your body gets used to existing solely on raw fruits and vegetables, rather than all the regular food it’s used to.
A juice cleanse diet is not for everyone, which is why I’ve outlined the major pros and cons. Those who have succeeded on the diet strongly believe it’s healthy and helps them—but ultimately, you know your body best, and know if you can benefit from the juice fast. You know what you can handle, so whether you’re trying the juice cleanse for a week or for life, make sure it can help you achieve your own health and wellness goals.
Chatham, J., “Juice: The complete guide to juicing for weight loss, health, and life,” (Callistro Media Inc), 2012.