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?
This is why I always tell people to drink green juices as often as possible, and they are always included in our Skinny Juice Cleanse.
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. Let me tell you a personal story...
A few years ago (before I woke up to the fact that I was treating my body poorly and changed my lifestyle) I was drinking 2-3 large cups of full strength coffee a day. I actually needed it to get through my work day (I'm sure some of you can relate). One day I came down with a serious cold or flu of some sorts and was put on medicine. I had not had any coffee for a few days while I was sick and had come down with a SERIOUSLY debilitating headache. I went back to my doctor for a checkup because of the headaches. She perked up and calmly told me that one of the side effects of the meds I was on was brain bleeding.
Haha, I laugh now because of how ridiculous the medical industry is as I picture one of the countless commercials for a medicine that "helps depression" but "may cause blurred vision, memory loss, loss of muscle function, cardiac arrest, cancer, and even death."
As I'm sure you could suspect, I internally freaked out and drove myself into an anxiety attack (this was before I fixed that issue too :) The doctor sent me over to another doctor to have my eyes checked to see if my optic nerve was swollen (a sign of said brain bleeding issue). On the way home from the second doc, I stopped at Starbucks and got a coffee, went home, got into bed and drank my coffee seriously depressed and completely freaked out.
Shortly after my headache was completely gone.
It took me a little while to figure out that the coffee I had just consumed (the first after 3 or 4 days of not drinking it while I was sick) was the cure to the insanely crazy headache that my doctor thought might be brain bleeding.
I really can't explain how angry I was at the whole situation after I realized this whole thing happened because I was addicted to caffeine.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY.... If you are drinking full strength coffee every day, DO NOT, stop cold turkey.
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.
Remember... opinions are like a**holes; everyone has one and most of them stink.
You have your reasons for wanting to do a juice cleanse, which may seem ridiculous or extreme to some people, but it doesn't matter. YOU matter, and if doing a juice cleanse will make you feel better then you should do it regardless of what others say. If you try it and it doesn't work for you, then at least you tried it, can cross it off your list, and look for something else that will give you the results you're looking for.
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.
Workout mavens beware... here comes a personal story about pushing yourself too hard on a juice cleanse.
The first juice cleanse I ever did was earlier in 2013, which was motivated by the fact that I was going to be making and selling them so figured I should probably know my product before I speak about how great it is ;) I wanted results. So, in addition to the 3-day juice cleanse, I thought I would give myself a "healthy" push and do hot yoga twice during the 3-day juice cleanse. The first hot yoga class was on day 1, which I was fine with. Day 2 I ran a mile, lifted a little, and stretched.
On day 3 I took another hot yoga class and almost passed out, literally. I had been feeling extremely hungry that day, to begin with (which I know now is a common symptom on day 3 that can be relieved by eating raw fruit and drinking lots of water throughout the cleanse) but I pushed through. Big mistake! I couldn't make it through all 26 poses and ended up laying down for the last 20 minutes trying to catch my breath. At the end, I sat up and almost passed out. Then I tried standing up and SERIOUSLY almost passed out. I had to sit down, slowly breathing, and drinking water for about 10 minutes until I could regain enough composure to get myself out of there without fainting and freaking everyone out.
...So Should You Workout During a Juice Cleanse?
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