Is Juice Cleansing Right For You?
I’m getting back in to the swing of life in Vancouver after spending the last two weeks in the quaint, adorable town of San Miguel de Allende in Guanuajuato, Mexico. Let me tell you friends- my adrenals and liver have never been so happy! I felt right at home eating tons of fresh tropical fruit each day (covered in lime juice and chilli – incredibly yum) while absorbing much needed vitamin D and also managing to get cardio in by walking up and down cobblestone hills daily. No walk, no fresh fruit.
Based on what I ate while I was in a warm climate (mostly fresh fruit, veggies, salmon and the occasional street taco) it got me thinking about what foods we thrive on and what types of foods we require based on the climate we’re in. Proceeding that, what about juice cleansing/fasting?
In rain city, I rarely so much as think about a pineapple or mango. As soon as I got to Mexico, all I wanted were pineapples, mango and coconuts for days. This probably makes a lot of sense to you – it’s all relative to climate. I felt refreshed, energized and satisfied after eating fresh fruit for the majority of the day with smaller amounts of protein for dinner. And because I felt like a million bucks eating this way, I wished I could continue eating the same way once I got back to Vancouver. As soon as I got home I was still feeling the fruit love and went out to buy an (overpriced) pineapple, mango and melon, excited to mow them down for breakfast. Unfortunately, the pineapple, mango and melon remain nearly untouched. In this snowy, rainy weather my body is craving oats, quinoa, steamed veggies and other warming foods. Makes sense, yes?
On a sidenote, see below for just how happy a mango can make a girl!
When I got home, I was asked by my mother about the pro’s and con’s of juice cleansing/fasting in the Vancouver climate for an extended period of time. Here are a few things to consider if this is something you’ve been contemplating too. Juice cleansing can have several positive health benefits and can be a great method of healing for the right person. But sista’s (and brotha’s) health is always a unique and individual approach!
A Few Benefits of Juice Cleansing:
- elimination of toxins
- reduced cravings
- improved mental clarity
- re-balance the body’s pH (we tend to be more acidic on the pH scale, which increases the chance of disease)
- a renewed sense of well-being
- re-set your digestive system
- increased enzymes from raw food
- reduce bloating
- increased energy (don’t try telling me you don’t get high from wheatgrass, greens and spirulina ?)
Important things to Consider Before Juice Cleansing:
Climate: In a cooler climate, a juice cleanse is not sustainable for a long period of time as your body requires warming and nourishing foods to keep you energized and feeling well. If you’re wanting to do a juice cleanse, try gradually phasing it in, so not to shock your system, by doing one day of juicing every other week. From here, you can eventually work up to juicing for additional days in the warmer months.
Current Diet: If you’re used to eating a fair amount of processed food, gluten, refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine, a juice cleanse will likely be physically taxing to start off with, accompanied by symptoms as toxins start to get released. In this case, it’s best to begin by introducing as many whole foods as possible FIRST – fresh seasonal fruits and veggies, whole unprocessed grains, etc. while phasing out processed foods and sugar. The smallest steps make the biggest difference. Work your way up to a juice cleanse.
How Is Your Elimination? When the pathways of elimination are blocked – let’s be honest – I’m talking about quality of bowel movements and the liver (among other things) it can be more dangerous to cleanse. The danger is in toxins being released without being properly eliminated and then reabsorbed back into the blood steam.
What Do You Hope to Achieve From a Juice Cleanse? If weight loss is your goal, juice cleansing is not the magic pill. Juice cleansing is a great way to reset your digestive system, among the other benefits listed above. When removing solid foods from your diet for a few days, it’s inevitable that you may see a few pounds slip away. However, we can’t live on juice alone! Once solid foods are re-introduced, the pounds will come back. There are several healthy and sustainable ways to reach your weight loss goals by eating real, whole, nourishing foods.
Do You Have a Blood Sugar Imbalance? The fiber is often removed from the juiced fruits and veggies which removes important nutrients and concentrates the sugars, having a negative impact on blood sugar levels. That being said, if you experience symptoms that may suggest a blood sugar imbalance such as dizziness, fatigue, blurred vision, irritability, etc when meals are missed, a juice cleanse is not recommended. Anyone with hyper/hypoglycemia, kidney complications or diabetes should avoid doing juice cleanses and instead cleanse with whole foods.
Quality Juices permitted on cleanses do not permit cranberry cocktail from concentrate. Raw, unpasteurized juices ensure the important enzymes and nutrients remain in the juice. These juices are higher in price based on their production method and quality of ingredients and should be almost entirely organic.
My Recommendation: First and foremost, consult your healthcare practitioner first! *Broken Record Alert* Health is entirely unique and specific to the individual! In general, the best way to cleanse is to cleanse daily by eating real, whole foods – fresh, local and seasonal fruits and veggies. Try to include as many plants in your diet as possible. This is a fantastic method to cleanse without being aggressive (ie: negative symptoms should be few or none.) In the warmer months, if your goal is to do a juice cleanse, begin with one day first. If that feels good, try adding an extra day and so on. (I generally wouldn’t recommend more than 5 days, but again, consult your healthcare practitioner.)
Most importantly, listen to your body and get plenty of rest.