Lose Weight and Start on a Path to a Healthy Diet with a Juice Cleanse – Fact or Fiction? February 13 2016
A juice cleanse is no silver bullet to weight loss – but a juice cleanse program is a wonderful way to lose some pounds quickly. And more importantly, the right cleanse program can be a powerful tool to start on a journey to more weight loss and a healthy diet.
When asking people what they expect to achieve with a juice cleanse, the most common answers are weight loss, cleanse, energize, break a habit, start a diet, among others. A 3-day cleanse, which is the shortest cleanse to have any effect on the body, is a good start.
Realistically, what can a 3-day cleanse achieve?
- Rest the Digestive System: A cleanse allows us to rest the digestive system . Consuming a phytonutrient-dense, plant-based, gluten-free juice diet allows food to be assimilated quickly through the digestive system. It needs less energy to do so. Often time we have sluggish digestion, food moves too slowly through our intestines, we drink too few fluids – all this gets eliminated when we cleanse with a primarily liquid based juice cleanse.
- Lose Weight: We lose weight and have more energy as we spend less time digesting and shedding some retained water weight. The cleanse is lower in calories (the average American diet is between 2,000 to 2,500 calories/day, a cleanse will vary between 1,000 to 1,500/day). It will help to reduce cravings and provide it with a concentrated supply of essential and easily assimilated nutrients.
- Break from Toxins and Processed Foods: It provides us a break from toxins if the cleanse is purely organic. There are no pesticides, no gluten and no GMO’s, and it provides a break from all types of processed foods and ingredients (which we often consume even thought we may have or strive to have a healthy diet).
- Flood of Nutrients: It floods the body with essential significant amount of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming only raw foods that are plant-based and rich in antioxidants also helps to reduce inflammation in the body.
- Re-Hydration: Also, the effect of continuously drinking juices and teas and water will help to re-hydrate the body more than most of us usually do, allowing our body to function more effective in eliminating toxins from the system.
- Cleanses the palate: The cleanse will allow your taste buds to come back to life. Our taste buds are often severely over-stimulated and numbed by an onslaught of spices, processed foods and ingredients in our daily life. Having a 3-day break allows the taste buds to come clean, and appreciate the true taste of fresh fruits and vegetables and enjoy them, making it easier to embark on a diet filled with fresh ingredients thereafter.
In summary, besides achieving some weight loss, the health benefits show that a cleanse can act as a critical opportunity for resetting and rebalancing for the system.
What components should a good cleanse have, as a general rule:
- Raw Juices: It should include freshly pressed juices, leaving the nutrients and vitamins in their raw form, to be consumed easily in juice form. Cold-pressed juices that are cold-water pressured are a great way to get started. Properly cold-pressed juices are produced using a technology that uses lots of mechanical pressure (think several elephants standing on your kale) to get the most nutrients and microfiber into your juice.
- Instructions are important: The cleanse instructions should be clear, and ask to drink plenty of water or non-caffeinated teas between juices. This helps to further hydrate the body, and the hydration helps the lymphatic system to move out toxins. Especially since many of us usually drink too few fluids during the day.
- Contain Fiber & Healthy Fats: In addition, the cleanse should have the right dose of fiber and proteins and oils, otherwise many of the nutrients that are fat-soluble, such as Vitamins A, D, E and K, will simply not be absorbed properly. A cleanse that includes small, fiber dense portions of vegan food with healthy fats is optimal to maximize nutrient absorption of the cold-pressed juices. The juices should have plenty of fiber left in them – you cans see this by looking at the bottle when the fiber settles in the bottom of the bottle. 25-30% of fiber left in the bottom of the bottle is a sign that the juices have been pressed with a broad mesh, and allow for plenty of fiber to be conserved in the juice – allowing for slower assimilation of sugars from the fruit in the juices, if and when applicable. Also, the fiber helps with the digestive cleansing.
- Certified Organic a Must: The cleanse should absolutely be wholly organic – as the nutrients in fruits and vegetables are mostly in and under the skin – as are the toxins from toxic pesticides. Despite claims to the contrary, organic crops, on average, have higher concentrations of antioxidants, lower concentrations of toxic metals and a lower incidence of pesticide residues than the non-organic crops across regions and production seasons. Read more about this here. Also, just because someone claims they use organic ingredients, does not mean they actually do – therefore, try to stick with organic certified providers.
- 6-Tastes for Balancing and Reduced Cravings: Ideally, the cleanse components should contain the 6 tastes - sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent. This allows the palate to perceive the foods and juices as balancing, it reduces cravings, and it makes it naturally more satiating.