The first time I wrote about cleansing I talked about losing my spleen. You might want to read about it! It was my first “juice fast” and I got “schooled”. Since then I have done several one, three and five day cleanses.
Recently there is as much information about why NOT to juice cleanse, as there are reasons TO juice cleanse so it can be very confusing to the consumer. The primary reason to juice fast is obviously the immense nutritional value you can get from all those pounds of vegetables and fruits. The downside, proposed by some theorists, is that the high natural sugar content of the juices impact your insulin levels negatively.
But what if there is much more to a juice fast then nutritional impact? I propose there are six reasons you consider a juice fast that have nothing to do with the food value goodness of juicing!
- Free up time: Many people that embark on a juice fast, purchase the juices from a store or delivery service. If you are not making the juices yourself, juice fasting is a great way to free up some time. If typically you eat nutritious, home-cooked, whole food meals there is a lot of time spent in preparation which is as it should be! But it IS nice to occasionally have a break.
- Remind me how little food I need: On a juice fast I drink six juices all totaling about 1200 calories. On my first juice cleanse I lay prostrate on my floor the whole five days because I was so afraid. “How could I possibly have enough energy to do anything on just juice and so little calories?” Eventually, I realized our bodies function perfectly fine on fewer calories than you might think. Knowing that now, I still keep a workout schedule and am very active even while fasting. I mostly feel energized and alert through the whole process. (Important to listen to your body on a fast. rest if you need to rest!)
- Consciousness about hydrating: Sometimes I get off track with my water consumption. I know I should be consuming half my body weight in ounces, but often I don’t get there. Juice cleanses make you crazy thirsty, and so you get into the habit of drinking boatloads of water, and that habit can translate back into your normal typical diet.
- Sometimes you just need a cup of tea: This might be the biggest non-nutrient bonus. There is a significant degree of research out now revealing that people who eat significantly fewer calories in a day are overall healthier. Take two same-sized, non-obese people and we are starting to see that the one that takes in fewer calories per day is more physiologically sound. I have alluded in previous posts that I am an overeater (like so many of us!). I get panicky if I don’t know from whence my next snack or meal might come! Juice fasting allows me to step away from the crazy cycle of overeating and reflect on the fact that I will survive if I don’t have a meal in front of me at all times. A growly stomach or hunger pang often can be beautifully satisfied by just a cup of herbal tea or a glass of water. For those struggling with weight management, this is a huge epiphany. Your hunger signal will go away. You will not starve. It is okay to go longer periods between meals.
- Deep Sleep: When you haven’t been chomping on junky foods all day it is amazing how regulated your sleep cycle can become. I often have a difficult time falling asleep but on a juice fast, I fall asleep easily and sleep like a bear. I do try to allow a little more sleep on a fast, but regularly I don’t need it because the quality of sleep I get is so good.
- Spiritual Discipline: I am an indulgent beast. So I find that giving up something that brings me great pleasure (FOOOOODDDDD) to focus on faith, prayer, and meditation has been excellent for my connection to God. Whatever your faith, a well-timed act of spiritual discipline can be an excellent practice.
I like to juice fast at the beginning of the year, preferably the first week of January. I find it starts the year on a good foot! I love the nutritional value I get from all those yummy veggies, but do it more for the reasons I mentioned above. I always choose the most veggie-filled juicesI so that I don’t send my body into a glycemic tailspin with too much fruit, and I always make sure the juices are well-sourced.
For Seattleites: I found the best juicery! The juices are all cold pressed and 100% organic. That is hard to find! The staff was very helpful and available. My order was ready on time, and they made the whole process simple. If you are in Seattle be sure to check out JUICEBOX when you decide to embark on a juice fast of any kind. They also have great food items in their location in Capitol Hill.
What do you think about juice cleansing? Would you ever try it?
Have you ever done a juice fast or experienced the benefit of juicing? You don’t have to do five days, but I recommend this week you incorporate one juice into your weekly diet. If you don’t have a juicer, consider finding a juice bar close to you. (Search: juicery, organic, your city) The best juice to consume is cold-pressed 100% organic and the more veggies, the less fruit, the better.
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