There is a lot of juice cleansing advice going around, and there is a TON of bad advice out there. As someone who has done many juice cleanses, including drinking juice on a regular basis, I've also spent countless hours testing the ins and outs of how to create tasty flavor combinations, and have read hundreds (if not thousands) of articles, blogs, and books... I can weed through the bad advice pretty quickly. Here are a few of the most common Q & A's I see.
BAD ADVICE #1: There is a lack of protein and fiber in a juice cleanse
"Since a juice fast is a very low-calorie diet that can result in fatigue and hunger pangs from the lack of fiber and protein, check with a health care professional beforehand to ensure you are doing it safely."
If anyone who preaches the "juices don't have protein" mantra would take 1 minute and look up the fat/carb/protein ratio of fruits and vegetables, they would see the one group of veggies that are at least 30% protein are the leafy greens. Kale, spinach, collards, swiss chard, wheatgrass, and parsley are just a few.
I've heard it time and time again (especially from trainers) that juice isn't good for weight loss because it has too many carbs and not enough protein. I disagree wholeheartedly! Some of the strongest animals on the planet eat grass (leafy greens). Cow and horses just to name a few. And what are we told to eat to get "enough" protein? Cows. If they can get big and muscular eating grass then why can't we?
How do you get fiber during a cleanse?
Simple, eat fruit! Fruit breaks down in a way that doesn't break the cleanse. So you'll get fiber, you'll get to chew something, and you'll stay fuller longer!
BAD ADVICE #2 Hunger pangs are a bad sign
"Hunger pangs should go away by the second day, but if it doesn’t, break the fast and go back to eating normally.”
Hunger IS NOT a bad thing! And on average, most people living in America don't suffer from it... ever! In fact, I think it's safe to say that most Americans don't really know what true hunger is. All you have to do is look around at all of the bulging waistlines as proof.
First, hunger may be a sign that you are dehydrated, despite the fact that you are drinking your meals. During a cleanse, your body is spending all of its excess energy (which it usually spends on digestion) cleaning up the junk and getting it out of your body. This uses up a lot of water! So, while you are drinking your juice, add in just as much, if not more, water... preferably room temperature with lemon.
Second, and most important for weight loss, when you feel hungry, your body looks to other sources for energy... stored fat. The most important time to be hungry is before bed. Now, you shouldn't be ravenous, but you should not feel any food in your stomach. If you go to bed empty, your body will burn fat overnight and you will wake up feeling well-rested and looking slimmer.
BAD ADVICE #3 Stop drinking coffee leading up to and during a juice cleanse
"To prepare for the cleanse, cut out coffee two to three days before."
While it is a good thing to cut out alcohol, meat, dairy, and as much processed foods (that are high in sugar and salt) as possible before starting a cleanse, cutting out coffee is a completely different matter.
Caffeine is a Drug.
Coffee contains caffeine which, for lack of a better word, is a drug. And a powerful one at that! It is no secret that Americans are addicted to coffee. If you take notice, you will find that whether you are in a big city or a suburb, there are coffee shops on every other corner, in strip malls that line the highways, and even on fast food menus. Coffee is everywhere.
Caffeine withdrawal is a serious thing. I've never suffered from migraines, but I have suffered through caffeine withdrawal, and let me tell you it is the worst headache you could possibly imagine.
If you are planning your cleanse for a few days from now, keep drinking coffee, however... drink it black without any milk, cream, flavored creamers, sugar or sugar substitutes.
If you have enough time before you want to start your cleanse (4 weeks or so) you can slowly ween yourself off of full strength to decaf by increasing the amount of decaf you drink each week by 25%. (Week One- 25% decaf, Week Two- 50% decaf, Week Three- 75% decaf, Week Four- 100% decaf). (This might be a good thing to consider regardless of your plans to do a juice cleanse.)
Another option is to get your caffeine fix from matcha green tea. Read more about the benefits here.
BAD ADVICE #4 GET A SECOND OPINION
Unless you have a medical issue and are consulting your physician, I would advise against getting a second opinion. Most of the time the people around you are not going to understand why you want to do a juice cleanse and will either try to talk you out of it, put it down, or straight out make you feel bad for wanting to do one. These people and their bad opinions should be avoided like the plague.
BAD ADVICE #5 DON'T DO ANY PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES DURING A JUICE CLEANSE
While running a marathon during a juice cleanse is not advised... some activities are perfectly suited. Our motto is keep it low key. We suggest light intensity workouts like yoga, walking, and swimming. Getting your body moving is super beneficial, even if you aren't breaking a sweat, and many people seem to fair well by taking a yoga class or going for a brisk walk while sipping their 6 juices a day.
During a Skinny Cleanse, you are consuming quite a bit fewer calories than normal so you need to take it easy on your body. It is common to think you can push yourself the way you normally do, but you need to give yourself a break when on a juice cleanse.
While we don't recommend you glue yourself to your couch, we do advise that you do a low-intensity form of physical activity. Walking, yoga (not hot!), swimming, and pilates are all good forms of light workouts.
If you prefer not to take time off from your regular fitness routine but still would like to cleanse your body, we've designed the Protein Cleanse for you! With this cleanse, you get the fuel you need to keep exercising throughout.
Written by Jessica Rosen, Raw Generation's Co-Founder & Certified Holistic Health Coach