Image Credit: alittlenourishment.com
What is a juice cleanse?
Juice cleansing is a detox diet that can last from a few days to several weeks in which an individual only ingests fruit and vegetable juices to acquire nutrition while abstaining from eating food. Tons of people swear by it and report improvement in their health, mood and appearance. The scientific community, however, is less than reassuring or enthused about juice cleansing because they see it as being less nominal than fasting with water and consequently, is a waste of money.
Here are some cleanse pointers:
- Keep the juices refrigerated at all times - Shake the juices well before you consume them. - Once opened, please finish within 30 minutes. - Swirl the juice around your mouth to release salivary enzymes that will help break down the nutrients for easier absorption. - Drink at least 2 litres of water daily to flush out the toxins. - Have around 2 hours in between juices, if possible. - Have the last juice 2 hours before you sleep. - Listen to your body. If you really need to eat, choose plant-based foods like nuts, salads or vegetable broth.
So my first question was, why would people do this to themselves? That’s the first question I ask myself when I read up on juice cleansing in preparation for this two days of “torture” as the foodie within me screams in protest against this absurd notion of only drinking fruits and vegetable liquids. Yes, this may seem a bit extreme for most people, but it’s quite a gigantic fad these days. Everyone has apparently jumped on the juice cleanse bandwagon, due to the “instafamous” models promoting this new lifestyle on social media or yogis swearing by it. I decided I wanted to see what the hoopla was for myself and dive into the deep end with this “experimentation”. Also being the millennial narcissist I am, I decided – why not document my health streak for all to witness? It would be a nice change from the typical burgers, fries and junk food that generally flood my veins.
My Juice Journal
Started my cleanse at 8.30am
The juices come in an easy-to-follow guide of which bottle to drink throughout the day. I immediately explore the contents and there’s a lot of juice here. Consisting of six bottles each day, La Juiceria prepares a “My Cleanse Journal” so that juice cleanse newbies (like myself) can make it through the day alive or at least have a daily routine to customize and adjust to according. I started off with Goodness Greens, consisting of Japanese Cucumber, Spinach, Kale, Parsley, Celery, Apple and Lemon – that’s more greens than I consume in a week! Its benefits include liver detoxification, anti-inflammatory, alkalizing and also energizing. Honestly, it’s not the best tasting thing I’ve drunk but I guess it’s also the greenest (literally) of the bunch. It tastes like how I would imagine a garden would taste like in your mouth. At this point, my friends are particularly concerned that I will collapse eventually, “Who said this is a good idea, exactly?” they mutter to me.
(Have a drink of water in between each juice you drink: just a tip)
Mint Lemonade, second bottle of the day – sounds rather delightful. I like sour and minty drinks, so this was going to be a breeze. The second juice for Day #1 contains Lemon, Mint, Wildflower Honey (fancy) and Alkaline Water and it supposedly helps digestion, has an alkalizing effect (hence the water) and boosts immunity. I love this juice in particular, so invigorating and tastes like something I would drink any other day.
Juice #3 for lunch, it is around this time I am regretting my decision to actually start a juice cleanse. No solid food. You have to be kidding me. But I suck it up and drink my Tropical Greens. By the afternoon, I have this feeling that if I can just find food, I can eat it. Like, it’s not that I’m not allowed to have food; it’s that I’m being kept from it. I wonder if I’m being melodramatic and is this all placebo effect or is this real? Gold Glow, my fourth juice for the day contains Orange, Turmeric, Carrot, Celery and Pineapple. Definitely one of the zestier and spicier juices so far with the addition of turmeric but overall, I didn’t mind the taste.
Start of my juice cleanse looks promising
Next up: Beet Aid, although enticing me with its bright red colour, definitely left my body in the same shade it went in. I guess there is no “beet-ing” around the bush about it. But it apparently increases my stamina, improves blood flow and regulates blood pressure. Last for the day would be Almond Mylk; this honestly can’t be a substitute for actual food/dinner but is good enough considering. This one apparently lowers blood cholesterol, aids skin health and is a memory booster. Most juice cleanse products often include a nut-milk component to provide a small amount of fat and protein.
Repeat this again for day two and you have successfully finished your juice cleanses. But from my experience, food is everywhere! On TV, on the radio and on social media (curse you Tasty videos). I never realise I have subscribed to so many restaurant pages and food stylists’ Instagram accounts.
How I felt after was relief because I have been depriving myself from actual food for too many days (two days is a lot in foodie time) and because I have almost forgotten how food tastes like. Would I do this again? Hmmm…honestly, no because I live a very dynamic, active lifestyle and I love food way too much. The first day of my cleanse was pretty easy for most of the day and I did have friends and family around for support, also had friends on Whatsapp to badger at every discomfort I faced.
Warning: Be prepared to be constantly confronted by things you can’t have and be chronically hungry. Things you will just miss and would be chewing will be paramount in your mind, and you’ll be temperamental.
We spoke to Zalikha binti Razali who is the in-house nutritionist for La Juiceria to get a specialist’s opinion on juice cleansing.
What are your credentials and background regarding nutrition?
I have completed a 4-year theoretical and clinical course. The first 2 years, we were taught the foundation of dietetics including the anatomy of the body, pathology of diseases and the principles of nutrition. The second half involves the practice of dietetics in clinical setting. We need to be registered under the Allied Health Professions Act.
What are the benefits of going through a juice cleanse?
Remember that the juice cleanse is to give your body a short break from all the food with chemicals, metals, preservatives, etc, and allowing the body to remove the excess toxins and nourish your body with vital enzymes, vitamins and minerals. It is like an internal spa for your organs and body. You will receive physiological, aesthetical and spiritual benefits by doing juice cleanses. However, each individual will experience the benefits differently. You may expect to feel more refreshed, rejuvenated, and lighter after the juice cleanse. I’m sure that your body will thank you.
What are some professional tips one should take into account before starting a juice cleanse?
Remember to get prepared. To be successful at anything, preparation is key. The reason you want to do a cleanse is to reach your health goals and live healthily, therefore, you need to do the pre-cleanse in order for your body to get use with the changes. A pre-cleanse is all about eliminating processed foods like packaged cookies, cereal, soda and deli meats from the diet.
We recommend you to: 1. Practice a light diet to ease your hunger during the cleanse 2. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar, processed foods, dairy, red meat and fast food 3. Eat more vegetables and fruits, grains and nuts. 4. Drink at least 8 glasses of water in a day 5. Have a good sleep.
How should first-timers go through a juice cleanse? Are there any recommendations or advice?
Do expect that you will have common symptoms but it depends on your body as well. Some might experience it and some might not. This is due to the cleaning and healing process that is happening in the body throughout the cleansing period. Examples of common symptoms are headache, dizziness, diarrhoea, skin breakout, constipation, loss of weight etc. Bear in mind that you will have the feeling to chew but listen to yourself and see if you are really hungry or is it just the feeling of chewing sensation. Another tip is, before you begin your cleanse with your first sip of juice, drink warm water with lemon first thing in the morning as it is an incredible liver stimulant.
Why is La Juiceria a great source of nutrients?
They're designed using specific nutrients to make sure the whole process is as gentle as possible. Our juices are raw, free from sugar, additives, preservatives and chemicals. Using the cold pressed method reserves more quality nutrients, colours and flavours as there is no heat produced during the process, so the juices keep more of the fresh ingredients' nutrients intact. This method produces 35% more juice yield and slowers the oxidation process. The combination of fruits and vegetables from La Juiceria not only produces flavourful and delicious juices but is an excellent source of nutrients that our body needs.
Should we eat anything while on a juice cleanse?
You can eat while on cleanse. It’s not a BIG NO to solid food. If you feel hungry, you can eat raw fruit and vegetables (eg: banana, avocado), nuts & seeds or salad with light dressing, but please eliminate meat products, processed foods such as bread, pasta, rice, snacks, coffee, carbonated drinks and alcohol.
Do you recommend heavy activity or going to the gym during a cleanse?
Absolutely! Exercise supports the process. Light exercises like yoga, tai chi, walking, pilates, dancing and swimming, etc are good to perform while on a juice cleanse to help the circulatory system release toxins and impurities for enhancing the detoxifying benefits. Pay attention to what your body needs before exercising as your energy levels will change when you’re on a juice cleanse. Just remember if you are doing heavy exercise, you need to consume more calories to balance it.
What should one consider before starting a juice cleanse?
People who are taking certain prescriptions or have certain medical conditions should steer clear altogether. Pregnant and lactating women, people who have diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, renal or liver diseases, babies, young children and the elderly, plus those with severe underlying illness just after undergoing surgery or on any medication are not encouraged to go on juice cleanses. Please seek advice from doctors before making a decision on starting a juice cleanse.
Pros and Cons:
Enjoy your daily dose of fruits and vegetables effortlessly – how many of us actually consume seven servings of fruit or vegetables daily? Juicing does make it easier. You can take in a bunch of nutrients and vitamins you probably would otherwise miss out on. Juicing also allows you to get daring with what produce you devour.
Your body can without difficulty absorb the nutrients – drinking juice is like taking a shot of instant nutritious goodness. All the insoluble fibre has been removed and digestion becomes a lot easier on the body. Drinking a juice enables the body to better absorb the vitamins, minerals and enzymes the juice offers.
You perhaps won’t lose much weight (if any would be water weight) – you might find yourself feeling famished a lot more often and it’s important to realise that one juice might have the same caloric count similar to a full meal. Juices also commonly have no protein so if you are trying to build strong, lean muscles, a juicing diet will work against your process.
Too much sugar – even though they are natural without any added sugars, juices can contain quite a bit of sugars and much more than if you ate the food whole rather than juicing it. You also remove the fiber content, which is one of the big reasons fruits and vegetables are good for us.
It can get expensive – those juice bottles aren’t economical. I advocate for investing in your health but sometimes buying juices premade can be costly. A proper juicer can set you back several hundreds of dollars, while it may be a worthwhile investment, it’s another cost to factor in to your juicing resolution.
Here are my conclusions:
What did I learn from doing this?
While juice diets appeal to a growing number of consumers, there are still many non-believers who can’t comprehend drinking only juice for days to get rid of their toxins. I was definitely one of them as I watched friends and family purchase these ridiculously expensive at-home juicers and juice bottles from shopping malls. I received strong reactions from everyone when I to some extent disclosed that I was doing a juice cleanse. I even at one point feared for my “safety” knowing full well that I have tendencies of becoming 'hangry' (combination of hunger and angry) if I don’t eat every couple of hours. But like every other trend, juicing is not for everyone especially those who suffer from medical conditions.
At the end of my two-day juice cleanse, my aversion for the idea somewhat dissolved and I could see the appeal. But perhaps my takeaway for others would be to start juice cleansing if you would like a quick healthy “reboot” and to give you that sort of placebo effect for jump-starting your healthier lifestyle. But what’s more important is what you decide to do with your body subsequently – exercise, and a proper balanced diet is the key to staying fit and healthy.
I decided to use La Juiceria’s program but there are many others out there for you to discover or try out if you are interested in juice cleansing.
Don’t be startled by how much you will pee and use the restrooms. It will be constant and a lot.
Don’t forget to check your schedule before actually starting a cleanse, so you don’t have a birthday party or lunch date.
Don’t quit before it’s over. The struggle will definitely be real. Your body will be screaming for protein.
I’m just waiting on my congratulatory phone call from Gwyneth Paltrow now.
I actually survived!