If you take a step back and observe the world that we are living in…I mean really look at it and take it all in, whether that be a stroll through the supermarket or a drive downtown it is obvious that we are inhabiting a world that is unrecognizable from just a few decades ago leave alone centuries or millennia.
The typical diet has changed dramatically evidenced by the growing obesity rate in the West, we are also bombarded with toxins and pollutants and chemicals which our ancestors never had to deal with. We are less active and more exposed to environmental pollutants than we have ever been so it is not surprising that people are looking for a way to give their bodies a helping hand.
Juice cleansing is growing in popularity, the concept of detoxing your body through a juice fast is relatively controversial and many experts feel that your body does not need any help to perform a function that it is performing naturally. But imagine driving your car for decades and not changing its oil or replacing those spluttering spark plugs.
Then consider how much work your organs are being asked to do and ask yourself how much you have done to help them. We get told often enough to eat the right thing, get plenty of fruit and vegetables, drink plenty of water but let’s face it…how many of us manage to get anywhere near the recommended amount of goodness in our diets?
A juice cleanse or juice fast is a sure fire way of making sure that your body gets a well needed rest, time off for your hard working internal organs from the daily grind of excreting the various toxins that you have taken in.
Chances are that you will be consuming more vitamins from your fruit and veggies than you have ever managed in the past with the bonus of cutting out on all of those chemicals like caffeine and alcohol that the liver works so hard to excrete. It is not difficult to see why so many people have bought into the juice cleanse ideology.
Many of you have probably already done a juice cleanse of some description; I recently did my first ever 3 day juice detox. I went into the experience somewhat of an agnostic but leaning towards the skeptical.
It was difficult at first, I really wanted to chew something solid but by the end of the 3 days, I was sold…I can’t tell you how my insides changed but I felt more energetic, lighter on my feet and clear minded than I have in a very long time.
If you are considering juicing to detox, then there is one golden rule that you simply have to adhere to; ‘make it organic’. The last thing you want to do when you are trying to cleanse the se system is to ingest toxins from the pesticides and herbicides that your body is trying to get rid of.
So why should you consider juicing?
As I said, my own experiences were positive but aside from feeling better, it is difficult for me to explain the specific effects in much more detail. People far more experienced than myself suggest that juicing has a variety of health benefits.
Nutritional Goodness From my point of view, one of the biggest benefits of juicing is that you give yourself a huge nutritional boost from the copious amounts of fruit and vegetables that you get into your body. I have always tried my best to eat well but it is not always convenient, lunchtimes in particular are often very rushed.As much as I have tried to make it a habit, I often do not have the appetite for solid food early in the morning. Juicing unlocks all of the nutrition contained in the fiber of the fruit and veggies that you are using.
You get a huge boost of important vitamins at levels that you are highly unlikely to receive with any standard solid diet where much of the nutrient content of your food is lost through cooking.
Antioxidants Raw fruit and vegetables are a very rich source of the antioxidants that your body needs to neutralize the cellular damage caused by the free radicals that we encounter during our everyday lives. Vitamins C, E and the carotenes abundant in a mixture of colorful fruit and veg have powerful antioxidant properties that will help your body to detox more effectively.
Give your Liver a Break Apart from your heart, there is no harder working organ in your body than the liver; so take good care of it, you only have one of them. The liver is working non-stop to detoxify every molecule that you consume before cycling it out to other parts of your body.While the liver’s natural function is to detoxify, it is often forced to work overtime especially if your habits include alcohol, caffeine and processed foods. When you detox by juicing, you not only receive all of the nutrition from the fresh produce in your glass but you also eliminate any toxic food or drink from your diet helping your liver to work more efficiently.
Hydration As well as not getting enough fruit and veg into our daily diets, most of us fall well short of the recommended daily intake of water. The juice cleanse diet gives your body the water it needs as well as cutting out dehydrating fluids like caffeine or alcohol. Good hydration helps the body to flush out those unwanted toxins and gives you a boost of energy for good measure.
Encouraging Good Habits When experts explain that there are no long term benefits from a juice cleanse, I can see their point. If you go back to a diet of fast food, donuts and beer when you have finished your juicing cleanse then it is clearly not going to have any long term benefit.
On the other hand, if you enjoyed the experience and feel your body craving a glass of pure juicy nutrition and you incorporate more fruit and veg into your diet then the long term benefits can be significant.
I have been drinking at least one glass of organic fruit and vegetable juice every morning since I finished and that can only be a good thing long term.
How long should I Juice?
A quick Google search will reveal any number of juice cleanse diets ranging in length from a day or 2 to 21 days. To me, 21 days seems incredibly extreme and 3 days seemed a sensible starting point.
3 days is doable for most people as there is an end in sight and it is long enough to see some genuine benefits and to help foster some new eating habits. Exercise some common sense in your decision. While the medical community does not fully endorse juicing, there is no evidence that a short juice cleanse can do you any harm at all.
You might feel a bit grumpy or tired on day one, being denied a nice cup of coffee was probably the most challenging thing for me, but the second day will feel a lot easier.
Before you embark on any juicing diet, it would be advisable to speak to a doctor if you are pregnant, taking any prescription medication or you are concerned for any other reason.
A few of my Favorite Juicing Recipes
The juices you prepare will obviously depend on availability as well as your personal taste. I am lucky enough to have a variety of fruit like mangos, lemon, passion fruit and dragon fruit growing in my garden so I naturally try to incorporate them into my juices.
If you want to make sure that you are getting the fiber from the fruit and veg, you can add the skin to make a pulpy juice.
1. Mango Montage
This is full of vitamin C and even my eldest daughter who refuses to go near a carrot loves this one. Process the ingredients in a juicer to get your day kicked off with this refreshing drink.
Ingredients: • 2 mangos (peeled and pitted) • 5 or 6 carrots (remove the greens) • 4 peeled oranges • 1/2 an inch of fresh peeled ginger
2. Green Day
Process the ingredients in a juicer for a drink full of leafy goodness.
Ingredients: • ½ a large cucumber • 3 sticks of celery • 1 cup of spinach • 1 cup of kale • 1 medium sized lemon • ½ an apple
3. A Glass full of Salad
The ingredients make a robustly colored nutritional drink that you are guaranteed to enjoy. Process the ingredients in your juicer and drink away.
Ingredients: • 1 cup of broccoli • I cup of spinach • ½ a cucumber • 1 beet • 1 apple • ½ inch of fresh peeled ginger