The biggest cleansing season of the year is upon us, and while most of us just want to dive right in and shed last season's toxic build-up, many of us still have lingering questions and concerns - is juice cleansing really worth it? We're breaking down a few common juice cleanse Q's, including the classic, 'will I lose weight in twenty-four hours or what?'
When Is The Best Time To Cleanse?
Seasonal shifts such as Winter into Spring or Summer into Fall are excellent times to cleanse when the nature is also naturally transitioning. These are times when nature naturally provides us with the perfect ingredients we need to cleanse for that particular season. A Spring cleanse for example should be filled with young bitter sprouts and leafy greens that help us cleanse from the previous, heavier winter months. Summer into Fall should focus more on cooling and hydrating, detoxifying fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, apples and melons that help cleanse the blood and liver.
Cleansing during the Winter can be a challenge if you live in a colder climate because your body is trying to conserve energy. This doesn’t mean a cleanse is not possible but you may find it beneficial to add warming soups, stews, additional fats and warming spices to your cleansing diet.
What If I Have Cravings?
If you are finding it hard to stick to a juice cleanse and need a little more substance, don’t give up! There is no reason why you can’t supplement your cleanse and still benefit from the process. If you are craving a little more, try adding a creamy nut milk to your juice. The fat and protein content will help satisfy cravings. If that doesn’t cut it try thickening your juices by blending an avocado, kale or other vegetables for some additional fiber.
Many also struggle with the absence of chewing food. If you still find yourself craving something to really bite into, opt for a piece of fruit or a veggie like an apple or a carrot and be sure to chew very well.
Often there are also emotional reasons for cravings – make sure you address the emotional side of your detox as well.
Is This Normal?
Cleansing isn’t always an easy process and it’s likely that you will experience at least a couple of these symptoms. Most of these are very typical and nothing to get concerned about.
Common detox symptoms include headaches, lightheadedness, digestive upsets and disturbances, changes in body odor or bad breath, skin breakouts or skin rashes, insomnia or changes in sleep, changes in the coating of your tongue and changes in emotions or feeling irritable.
These symptoms should subside after a couple days of cleansing, but if they don't or worsen, ease back off your cleanse and check in with your doctor.
Will I Lose Weight?
Many potentially toxic elements can be stored in our fat cells, which is another reason why we may experience many of these detox symptoms when we begin a new diet, cleanse or routine. While juice cleansing greatly aids in releasing these potentially harmful substances and flushing them out of our systems, most of the weight lost in the first few days of cleansing is associated with water weight and bloat associated with inflammation.
Because our metabolisms actually slow when when we practice a juice cleanse, it is important to transition off of a juice cleanse, slowing the reintroduction whole foods into our diets so our metabolisms have time to bounce back as well and we don’t end up gaining weight.
Is It Important To Prepare Before A Cleanse?
While many of us are eager to begin a cleanse and dive right in, it can actually be beneficial to slow down and prepare your body for the cleanse ahead. Those who take about a week pre-cleansing with a diet of fresh and raw or lightly cooked and seasoned veggies, fruits, moderate amounts of nuts, seeds, whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and millet, no animal protein, no caffeine and no alcohol, will likely have an easier time transitioning to the juice portion of their cleanse with fewer detox symptoms and may lose more weight if that is the goal.