What Not To Do On a Juice Cleanse

Aerial view of green juices poured into a cup

Sifting through health advice can seem overwhelming when wanting to start a cleanse, detoxify your body, or live a healthy lifestyle.

Endless Google searches with contradictory messages like, “Don't eat fruit if you want to lose weight” and “Carbs are the enemy.”

There's lots of bad advice in the health and wellness world. And even more so in the world of juicing.

As a holistic nutritionist, here's the raw truth about juice cleansing and your guide on what NOT to do when cleansing.

1. Binge Before a Cleanse

A 3-day juice cleanse can seem like an eternity, so it may be tempting to binge on some pizza, burgers, fries, and maybe even a milkshake or two beforehand.

THIS is exactly what you should not do, especially if you want to avoid juice-cleansing side effects and maximize your results. Yes, the potential side effects you experience can be impacted by your pre-cleanse choices. Here's a blog on how to combat potential cleansing side effects.

So, instead of bingeing or focusing on what you can't have, focus on what you can have and prepare properly.

To maximize results, on the days leading up to a cleanse:

  • Avoid animal fats (dairy, butter, eggs, poultry, red meat, etc.)

  • Avoid alcohol

  • Avoid sugars, processed wheat, and refined oils

  • Avoid soft drinks, store-bought fruit juices, and energy drinks

  • Eat a whole food, plant-based diet including lots of raw fruits and vegetables, like salads and fresh-cut fruit

  • Drink plenty of water

2. Worry About Protein

Let's address the elephant in the room.—Americans are protein-obsessed.

I have heard this over and over again, “There's not enough protein in a cleanse” or “Where do I get my protein from?” ...Here's a secret... You will be okay if you take a short-term break from protein. And you will need to if you want to experience the full benefits of juice.

When cleansing, it's best to limit all animal fats. This ensures that you give your body a break from these hard-to-digest foods. Your body uses a lot of energy when digesting them. Taking a break from these foods frees up energy to prioritize other functions your body may need.

Plus, conventional animal fats can cause inflammation in the body if they're not organic or sourced properly, leading to a ton of health concerns, like inflammation, gut issues, skin issues, hormonal imbalances, and more.

And do not get me started on protein powders. They are FULL of synthetic ingredients like seed oils, refined added sugars, gums, and artificial flavors which contribute to weight gain and are detrimental to your health and well-being.

Taking a break from dairy, meat, poultry, and eggs ensures that you give your digestive system the break it needs to absorb all the beneficial nutrients you get from drinking juice.

2. Starve Yourself

You do not have to starve yourself for a cleanse to be successful. There is a common misconception that you have to give up solid food for the duration of a cleanse, and while you CAN do that if you choose, you certainly don't have to.

Throughout my two decades as a holistic nutritionist, I've tried every cleanse and detox diet imaginable. What I've discovered is diets that promote extreme restriction have low success rates and create a harmful relationship with food. This leads to short-term results and unhealthy habits.

It's key to listen to your body here. If you're hungry—EAT. Hunger is a sign your body is craving nutrients. Eat all the raw whole fruits and veggies you like. You can also have the vegetables steamed and have plain baked potatoes (white or sweet) if you like. Hydrate with plenty of water, cold-pressed juice blends, and herbal teas.

Contrary to popular belief a juice fast is not about promoting deprivation, it's about kickstarting healthy eating habits, which result in long-lasting results.

For more in-depth information on what to eat on a cleanse, check out our most recent blog on the subject.

3. Cut Out Coffee

Have no fear—you do not have to part with your morning cup of coffee when cleansing.

Caffeine is a stimulant and it's no secret that many Americans are reliant on this stimulant. I get it. The smell of coffee brewing in the morning... The taste... Coffee is an experience.

A juice diet is already doing a ton of heavy lifting for your body from detoxification to weight loss, so it's important to be easy on your body. Giving up coffee poses the risk of side effects like headaches and fatigue, which is why I recommend keeping one morning cup of coffee while cleansing, if you feel you need it.

It's important to note that not all coffee is created equally. Quality is crucial here and conventional coffee often lacks quality. Conventional coffee is often grown with herbicides and pesticides. It's also subject to mold.

To get the healthiest coffee experience here are some simple tips to remember:

  • Always buy organic or locally sourced coffee.

  • Be wary of plant-based creamers or dairy. They often sneak in added sugars, gums, and seed oils.

  • Opt for raw honey or pure maple syrup to sweeten your coffee instead of sugar, monkfruit extract, or stevia.

  • Use a plant-based clean milk, like Malk, Three Trees, or Elmhurst (these “milks” have only 2 ingredients)

  • Do not drink coffee on an empty stomach. This causes chaos in your blood sugar levels. Drink coffee after your morning green juice or a bowl of fruit.

  • Don't overdo it. Coffee in excess can cause dehydration. Hydration is important when cleansing to assist the body and help eliminate toxins.

Don't listen to the rumors, enjoy coffee freely and within these guidelines.

4. Stay Sedentary

We all know movement is a crucial part of staying healthy and has a ton of health benefits.

While it's not advised to power lift or run a marathon while you cleanse, gentle movement is okay if you feel up to it.

Listening to your body is important here. If you feel weak, don't work out. If you have experienced high energy levels while cleansing, feel free to do low-impact workouts, like walking, light stretching, yoga, or cycling.

This will vary from person to person, so don't compare yourself to others and do what feels right.

If you are someone who wants to exercise while you cleanse and be able to maintain more strenuous workouts, we do offer the Protein Cleanse, which contains 38g of protein per day from 100% clean ingredients. No synthetic protein powders, icky flavors, or added sugars. Ever.

You'll drink 3 cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices and 3 protein-packed smoothies while crushing your workouts. No juicer or blender is needed.

I NEED This in My Life

5. Go Back To Old Habits

Yes, cleanses are amazing for your overall health and wellness, but they're not a “quick fix approach” to weight loss. They're meant to set the foundation for healthy living.

I'd be lying if I told you that you should only watch what you eat before and during a cleanse. What you eat after a cleanse is even more important and is going to make a significant difference in your journey toward healthy living and sustainable weight loss.

It's true when they say “Slow and steady wins the race,” especially when trying to lose weight. If you use a juice cleanse as a “quick fix,” you will not get those long-term results. However, if you make small daily changes, working towards an overall balanced diet, and are consistent even after you cleanse, that is where those long-term results come in.

Here's a blog on how to maintain those post-cleanse results.

Post-Cleanse Matinence

If you feel lost on what to do after you cleanse, I've developed a post-cleanse system that helps you keep off the weight, and keep losing consistently, on a weekly basis.

The Stay Skinny Method™ is my tried and true method for tackling post-cleanse confusion.

This method was designed with an emphasis on nourishing the body with the right balance of nutrients without sacrificing taste.

Each day you'll follow these simple steps:

  1. Drink a green juice in the morning to eliminate cravings

  2. Drink a delicious meal replacement smoothie for lunch.

  3. Drink one tasty digestive shot before dinner to improve digestion and decrease bloating

  4. Follow my provided clean-eating guidelines for snacks and dinner.

You'll do this while you gain the knowledge you need to unlearn bad dietary advice and re-learn the truth about healthfully losing weight. You'll get 30+ easy and delicious recipes and a practical eating-out guide for special occasions or a night out with friends.

What do you have to lose? Besides more weight...

Maintain Your Weight Loss Results Post-Cleanse

Bio image of article author Lisa Testa, M.S.

With over two decades of expertise in the field of Health & Wellness, Lisa Testa, M.S. is an experienced nutritionist who has dedicated her career to empowering hundreds of clients on their journeys to weight loss and natural healing through the transformative power of raw food nutrition.

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