Detoxing, for so long a temporary desperation measure engaged upon in January by people worried that they over-indulged during the Holiday season, is now an increasingly popular lifestyle choice.
Reasons to engage in a full detox include rapid weight loss and improvements to physical appearance such as the skin, slowing the physical and mental effects of ageing, increasing our energy levels and preventing disease later in life, but what is the most effective way of engaging in such a practice?
After all, not all of us can afford to follow the lead of our favorite celebrity and check into a health spa for any prolonged period, allowing somebody else to guide us gently through the process.
Arguably the simplest – and most effective – method of detoxing is through a juice fast. Juice fasting revolves around exchanging your typical meals for a liquid diet, with the ingredients used designed to be high in antioxidants to protect the body and flush out any unwelcome toxins.
Is a Detox Juice Diet Safe?
Perhaps the better question is, "is a juice detox necessary?" After all, every organ in our body has a job to do, and in the case of the liver, colon and kidneys those tasks involve flushing toxins out of our systems.
If your lifestyle dictates that your body is struggling to keep up with the demands and requirements that are placed upon it, perhaps it's time to consider more gradual and sustainable changes.
However, you could a multitude of reasons why a juice detox is a correct path for you to take – including an attempt to kickstart a new, healthier lifestyle.
The only safe way to actually start a juice detox is to engage in the same practice by using solid foods in the first instance, lest your body find itself shocked by the sudden change.
You should switch to a low-calorie diet for at least a month beforehand, in doing so cutting out the likes of dairy and caffeine.
Of course, while you do this you may find that juice fasting is wholly unnecessary as you are performing the same task without the need to starve yourself, but the decision, as always, remains yours.
A cleanse via the juicing detox method should only be undertaken if you are in tip top condition (other than that little bit of weight gain and sluggishness after the holiday period!).
You must consider the options, particularly if you are suffering from other lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, diabetes (both types), high cholesterol or stomach complaints including irritable bowel or Crohns Disease. Changing to an unsupervised detox cleanse could exacerbate other problems.
What you have to bear in mind when undertaking a detox juice fast is that you are ultimately starving yourself, and as a result your body will take some time to adjust.
You may not notice any difference initially as your body fights against this newfound deprivation and struggles to retain water.
Also, bear in mind that in ridding yourself of toxins via juicing you are also failing to feed your body with any protein, fiber or fats, so you will have to find a way of obtaining this balance from elsewhere, possibly in the form of a supplement – or, alternatively, look into the possibility of consuming smoothies instead of juice.
A smoothie will retain the pulp of any fruit and vegetables that you use, and by extension provide you with many of the nutrients contained within. Smoothies, however, are far better made in a blender than in a juicer, depending on the manufacturer of your chosen machine.
So, juice detox fasts can work, but they should be approached with caution, especially if you are planning on following the fast for more than three days.
Any time you engage in such a practice you are denying your body access to protein and calories, two keys components of everyday energy supply, and there is no scientific evidence to suggest that fasting is necessary to detoxify the body. If you are going to engage, however, ensure that you are using the correct ingredients.
Best Foods to Use for a Juice Cleanse
The first, and most important thing to remember when engaging in a detox cleanse is that you are looking to rid your body of anything unwelcome - there is little point in sustaining yourself with a liquid diet if you are going to fill your blender with high-sugar, high-calorie foodstuffs.
It's tempting to fill your juicer with fruit, delicious though it is, but you'll basically be lining your stomach with everything that you are attempting to be rid of if your basic aim is to cleanse the body and/or lose weight.
Instead, make friends with vegetables - especially green ones. It's not a case of kale or bust, but this – alongside other leafy green superfoods such as spinach – are certainly a useful part of the process.
Beetroots are a fantastic option as they act as a natural cleanser to the human liver, while carrots are tasty when juiced and filled with all kinds of goodness.
Happily, while detoxing you can also still enjoy seasonal berries such as blueberries, blackberries and strawberries, all of which contain a great many antioxidants to boost the health of several internal organs.
You could also include some exotic fruits such as mango, kiwi, grapefruit or passion fruit, but tread carefully with these; lip smacking though they may be, there is plenty of sugar contained within.
The same goes for oranges, though you may find it beneficial to incorporate a small number of slices into the occasional juicing recipe to benefit from what little Vitamin C will remain in the fruit and boost your immune system.
Water is hugely important during a juice fast (stay hydrated at all times), but if you include the likes of celery and cucumber in your detox juice fast your body is less likely to bloat through water retention.
If you squeeze in a little juice from a lemon or lime once the juicer has done its work, you may also get a much-needed extra kick of pep as you go about your day.
5 Simple Recipes for Detox Juices
If you have decided that a detox juice fast is the way to go, feel free to mix and match any of the ingredients discussed above – and, of course, any foods that you have discovered to be to your liking during your solid food detoxification that you used to prepare yourself for what lies ahead.
In the meantime, here are five sample combinations that make for fine detoxifying recipes – just drop them into your juicer, liquidize and process, and then pour and enjoy. Add herbs or spices to liven up your drinks and you will be healthier than ever before, as well as livening up your palate.
Here are some suggested combinations to assist in detoxification. Items like ginger or herbs can be eaten at will by yourself, depending on how you like your food flavored. Go easy on the ginger, it can be rather pungent and firey!
- 1 stalk of celery, 2 handfuls of kale, a handful of parsley, 1 green apple, ½ inch of fresh ginger and the juices of a lemon and lime
- 3 small beetroots, 3 small green apples, 8oz of blackberries and fresh ginger (approx. 2cm)
- 5 carrots, 2 green apples and 2 handfuls fresh spinach
- Plenty of kale, a handful of spinach, 3 stalks of celery, half a cucumber, half a lime and a pear
- 2 lemons, 2 green apples, 2 carrots and 2 beetroots.