Discussion: Juice Cleanses, To Try or Not To Try?

Post image for Discussion: Juice Cleanses, To Try or Not To Try?

Juice cleanses are all the rage right now, and it’s something that I’ve been contemplating trying out. I’m a vegetarian, and I love fruits and vegetables. So trying this seems like a no-brainer for me, but is it really healthy?

Juice cleanses vary, but the basic idea is that instead of consuming solid food, you drink varied juices for each meal with the goal of cleansing your body of toxins and rejuvenating your system. The juices themselves have a variety of ingredients, antioxidants and vitamins that are definitely very good for you. But can your body handle a liquid diet long term? Will you still have the energy to work, exercise, spend time with friends, or any of the things you like to do? That’s where the concern comes in.

What is your verdict? Have you tried a juice cleanse and loved or hated it, or do you think they’re just a trend?

 

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Comments

Rachel -July 3, 2012, 10:05AM

Ok, this is going to sounds harsh, but I have such a strong opinion when it comes to cleanses I just need to share. I’m a vegetarian too and so are about half of my friends, and they have all done some sort of cleanse recently. But I really think that cleanses are extremely stupid. Your body is made to filter out toxins itself, you don’t need to starve yourself to do that. Your body also needs solid food to cleanse itself though, that’s why fiber is so important in your diet. There is no point in starving yourself for days by drinking something that is taking half the benefits that fruits and vegetables give you away. Now my opinions may be swayed a little by the fact that both my parents, as well as my step mother are dietitians, but I still fully and independently believe in my opinion.
What’s best for your body is eating a healthy, balanced diet and including a lot of physical activity. Fad diets and ‘cleansing’ cycles are not going to benefit you. Going on a juice cleanse is just going to make you tired, cranky, no fun to be around and probably constipated for days (I know, TMI, but it’s true). Go home, eat a salad with organic produce, go to a yoga class and stop only drinking your food.

Nicole -July 3, 2012, 10:10AM

Hi! What a coincidence! I just finished a three day cleanse over the weekend! It involved 3 days of drinking 64 oz of juice (8 oz, every hour for 8 hours) and then a small meal in the evening of protein and veggies. Each day was a different juice that had a different purpose. I honestly loved it! I thought it would be hard but it really wasn’t. And even better, my stomach is flatter, my skin is clearer and I feel super energized 2 days post cleanse. I even fit into a dress that didn’t fit last week. I am very conscious of what I eat and was very hesitant at first, but I loved it. I say, GO FOR IT! :)

Leisa -July 3, 2012, 10:29AM

Hi Nicole. Did you use a specific type of juice? I’d be curious to know. I like how your cleanse involves what Rachel pointed out: we also need real food!

On a side note, I watched “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” recently. It’s a documentary about an overweight man who does a cleanse to “reboot” his system, then really starts losing weight and also inspires another large man to do the same. It’s pretty inspiring! Worth a watch, if you’re interested in the topic.

Jacquelene Adam -July 3, 2012, 11:09AM

I did a juice cleanse and it was really tough but I felt great afterward. I also ate one meal in the evening of brown rice and raw vegetables (a recommendation from my nutritionist.) My favorite was apple, spinach and strawberry. I was less bloated and less fatigued at the end.

I knew it was working when my tongue started to feel like it was coated (gross but this shows your toxins are leaving your body)

Stick with it! It is tough but with will power and meditation you can do it

Alexis -July 3, 2012, 11:13AM

Hello!

I was not the biggest fan of the juice cleanse. However, I am a meat-lover. It was very difficult for me because I just ran out of energy. I found myself unmotivated, not wanting to socialize, and just wanting to lay in bed and fall in an out of sleep. My roommate, who is a vegetarian, said that it was fine for her. She felt no different but only lost 2 pounds in that week. I lost 8 the first week.

I think it really varies on the person. Taking into account what they ate before, how active they are, and if they’re ok with feeling a little under the weather at first. I also agree with Leisa. The reason my roommates and I did the cleanse was because we watched “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” and were getting ready for spring break. I did learn how to make tasty juices that could replace breakfast, but more than 7 days of 5 juices a day, is tough. At least for my inner meat-eater.

Lily -July 3, 2012, 11:16AM

Back in May, my mom picked up a raw food diet book (by the wonderful Ani Phyo) called Ani’s 15-Day Fat Blast. I thought I would give it a shot, just because her food is notoriously delicious and I was feeling the need to eat lighter and healthier. The diet started with a three-day detox.

It wasn’t just juices, though — it was a fruit smoothie (fruit, soaked nuts, sometimes dates for sweetness, water, ice) for breakfast, a green smoothie for a snack, a soup for lunch, leftover smoothie for another snack, and then another soup for dinner. All of these things were completely raw, fresh, fast, and blended until smooth. It wasn’t exactly a juice detox (MUCH heartier, since it included all the pulp of the fruits and vegetables), but it was all liquids. And while it was akin to hell to go through (because you do get cranky, you do feel tired, and sometimes even hungry despite the fact you’re stuffing yourself with foods), it’s only three days, and you feel pretty wonderful afterward. To be honest, and this may be TMI, I had the best *movements* I think I’ve ever had after that cleanse, and that made me feel great. Jumping from that slowly into whole foods again made me feel energized and very clean, just in general. But, again, this isn’t exactly a juice cleanse.

No matter what you try, if you do nothing but liquids for a few days it IS going to affect you, likely, negatively in some way. Either your mood or your energy, but most people do experience the benefits afterward, provided you continue to eat well.

Hope this helps!

fp julia -July 3, 2012, 11:18AM

I haven’t seen “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” i’ll have to check it out! Alexis you bring up a good point I wonder if this is something more difficult for people used to eating meat. I am a vegetarian, so i feel like i am more used to eating only fruits and vegetables at times but I always worry that I am not getting the proper nutrients, especially protein.

fp julia -July 3, 2012, 11:19AM

Lily that sounds really interesting I’m going to check it out :)

meg -July 3, 2012, 11:43AM

A short-term juice fast doesn’t seem to have any negative consequences, but on the long-term you would be missing out on important fats and proteins that your body needs. One thing to consider adding to juices to make it more sustainable/provide your body with more energy would be spirulina – a micro algae that is a complete protein (contains all the essential amino acids) and has a lot of b vitamins and important minerals. Chia seeds or hemp seeds could also be a cool addition, since they have a lot of protein and essential fatty acids. When you put either of those seeds in liquids they become kind of gelatinous, like in the GT’s Chia Kombucha which you might be familiar with. When doing a juice fast it’s important to remember that veggies and fruits should be fresh juiced, not from concentrate or anything like that, and you should choose foods that have a high nutritional content — kale, wheatgrass, tomatoes, spinach, carrots, etc :)

Beckie -July 3, 2012, 12:11PM

My very close friend is a gastroenterologist. He said cleanses are a waste of time and money. Your body cleans itself and with the help from the fiberous matter of fruits and vegs you can achieve a natural healthy lifestyle. Most juice cleanse contain so much sugar you are defeating the purpose.

kay -July 3, 2012, 12:16PM

i did a 10 day juice cleanse and felt amazing. i mostly did vegetable juices, with minimal fruit because of the sugar content. all the aches and pains in my body were gone as well as my energy was up! I love making a green juice with kale, spinach, ginger, green apple, celery, and cucumbers. the ginger really helps with the flavor. another favorite of mine is orange bell peppers, carrots, and oranges. i would definitely recommend trying it. It’s a good way to re-set your body and allow yourself to truly examine what you’re putting into your body

Natalie Smith -July 3, 2012, 12:19PM

I have done a juice cleanse. And hated every minute of it. I have known a ton of people that have done the Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead Juice Cleanse and as soon as they were done, the weight came right back after just a few days. I have lost a total of 19 pounds over the past 2 years. I did it through a balanced diet, mostly organic, and lots and lots of exercise. I Do NOT believe in fad diets. They do not work. What works is getting off the sofa, putting on your running shoes, and sweating for an hour or two each and every day. Exercise is the answer. That and eating whole foods, in their whole form. Why juice an apple when you can eat the WHOLE apple and get the benefits of the taste, texture, and fiber that the apple gives? Juicing provides very little fiber to your system and I promise you, when you cut fiber out of your diet, you will not be a happy camper. You will be bloated, constipated, and cranky. And by the way, whole foods are just foods that are unprocessed and in their whole form, i.e. nuts, berries, fruit, veggies, and whole grains. There are so many healthy, fun, interesting whole foods out there, why would you want to blend everything up in a juicer? And it tastes so nasty! Just my opinion from years of eating healthy and learning how to BE fit. If you want to juice, go ahead. But I promise it will cost way more than you think and you’d be better off just changing your eating habits FOR LIFE. Not just for a few days.

Gen -July 3, 2012, 12:57PM

I did a juice fast for 7 days 2 years ago. it consisted of 8 juices a day plus colonics with a homeopath. i wanted to reset my body. i had terrible IBS for years. the juice fast was tough but got through it. i just had trouble with the tastes of carrot juice.
i havent had another IBS attack since. i am now vegetarien and do a lot of bikram yoga and the still juice a lot. i would say the best way to do this is to see a nutrisionist and follow a juice fast. it really helped me. the first 2 days were tough especially if you’re going to a restaurant and you’re stuck with a juice in front of you but i think it really helped my body long term!
i would totally recommend it!

Michelle -July 3, 2012, 1:13PM

I was just actually reading about the top 3 juice cleanse shops here in the Bay Area and I myself have been researching and reading articles about juicing. I got mixed opinions from friends although i’d love to give it a try.

Maggie -July 3, 2012, 1:20PM

I don’t agree with the idea of juice cleanses…smoothies, maybe, because there is more substance. But I would probably collapse if I tried to only drink juice for days. If the juice is just made out of fruits and veggies, why can’t you just eat the fruits and veggies whole? I think that if you eat a healthy diet, drink a lot of water, and exercise regularly you shouldn’t need to cleanse. Believe it or not, your body works pretty well by itself without needing to cleanse.

l. rose -July 3, 2012, 1:40PM

To me juice cleanses will never be a fad. They are a wonderful tool to give my digestive system a rest and leave me feeling incredible and have more energy! I know people may not agree, but I am so inspired by “Gerson Therapy.” There are an array of documentaries about it on netflux if you’re interested…”the Gerson Miracle” being my favorite.

fp julia -July 3, 2012, 2:47PM

i’ll definitely check out Gerson Therapy as well! i do like the idea of giving your digestive system a rest and i think that if i found the right one, i might enjoy trying a cleanse…but i think a lot of you have made a really great point that it is so important to exercise and pay attention to what you eat ALL the time.

sarah -July 3, 2012, 3:01PM

When I came home from 6 months of traveling I felt like a balloon. I had gained ten pounds, but the real issue was food-I despised it. I had to eat out for 6 months straight, doesn’t sound too bad, but it does get old. To remedy the situation I decided to go on a raw food diet, that included a lotttttt of juices. I ended up drinking veggie juice for most meals because I felt full yet light and energized. I’ve been home for two months now, lost the ten pounds, feel freaking great and I have a lot of energy. I’ve also integrated all kinds of foods back into my diet, but after the juice cleanse my body became more aware of how much or how little food I actually need during the day.

Kimberly -July 3, 2012, 3:01PM

I have never juiced specifically for hardcore cleansing purposes. My husband and I like to occasionally replace breakfast with a fresh juice. I find that it stabilizes my sugars and cleanses my palette. Juicing is a great way to curb sugar cravings and draw you away from seeking out sweets to eat. Juicing for a few days will also allow your intestinal tract to relax. Since we do tend to eat an overabundance of protien in our American diets, it is good to give our digestive systems a break. Fats, protiens and refined sugars are tough to break down. Juices, obviously, are not. After a couple days of juices and vegetables, I don’t crave refined sugars, my stomach relaxes and my skin glows!

Jessica -July 3, 2012, 4:09PM

I’ve done Kimberly Snyders Beauty Detox Solution. Not really a juice diet. She shares how to live a healthy lifestyle whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, omnivore, etc. With her green smoothie you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs. You don’t just drink this all day, but rather start your day off with it and follow with healthy nutritious foods to supplement your body. So you do eat and you can have this green smoothie/juice everyday. I started drinking the glowing green smoothie 3 months ago and I love it, and I’m not starving. It has made me incorporate more vegetables in my diet along with healthy fats and proteins. I’ve adopted more of an organic diet, because all the highly processed foods that aren’t good for you. I do think it matters what you put in your body, because naturally your body cleanses itself, but why make it work so hard to detox itself by giving it genetically modified foods. Try Kimberly’s smoothie you’ll love it and definitely go to her website and read her blog. She’s a great nutritionist and knows what she’s talking about.

madz -July 4, 2012, 12:49AM

this all sounds really quite dreadful. I’m pretty sure the reason you feel euphoric after a juice cleanse is because your body goes into survival mood, as it assumes you’re foodless. Not a good look. I’ll just smoke a joint and eat some edamame, if it’s all the same to everyone.

hannahm -July 30, 2012, 10:48AM

i loved my juice cleanse when i did one. i ordered through blueprint because i knew i wouldnt have the energy to make all of the juceis by myself. surprisingly, my favorite was the green juice (i was told it had 6lbs of produce in the bottle which is pretty amazing). i had a headache the first day, but it wore off by evening and the next two days i had tons of energy and a lot of people said my skin glowed. i didnt do it for weight loss, but i did lose 3 pounds. it really did reset my habits and i have been way healthier sine, exercising, eating better, and mentally more alert and awar of what i am putting in my body. i think its a shame juice cleanses get a bad rap – not all are bad for you. blueprints cleanse is about 20pounds of produce a day, and you get lots of nourishment. their client services team is really great if anyone has questions about how it works, but i definitely recommend it.

MicSoCal -January 25, 2013, 12:36AM

@Nicole
- what 3 day cleanse did you do? I am so interested!! :-)

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