Juice fasting is becoming an increasingly popular way to both detox the body and shed some extra pounds. Fasting can greatly improve the function of the organs and the digestive system overall. Going on a juice fast can be a great alternative for people who are too busy to try a water fast, and it’s something you can try either short or long-term. Keep reading to learn more about powerful juice fasting benefits, the best ways to prepare your juice, and how to stick with a fast during difficult times.
What is Juice Fasting?
To put it simply, juice fasting means consuming nothing but juice for a set period of time. As will be discussed below, people do this for a number of reasons. Namely, detoxification and weight loss. Before we go any further, though, a couple of important distinctions should be made.
Going on a juice fast does not mean you can just go out and buy a bunch of bottled fruit juices from the store. These juices often have loads of added sugar and may not even include 100% real fruit. Furthermore, the fresher the juice, the more of its vital nutrients it’s going to maintain. A juice that’s been sitting in a package for a long period of time just won’t be as nutritious as one that you make yourself and drink on the spot.
To make fresh juices, you are going to need a juicer and not a blender. While smoothies made with a blender are certainly good for you, smoothie ingredients maintain their fiber. The total lack of fiber content that you get from drinks made with a juice presser is exactly what makes those drinks suitable for a fast. By intaking zero fiber, you are allowing your digestive system to take a rest while still getting the nutritional benefits from fruits and vegetables.
Juice Fasting vs. Water Fasting
Choosing a juice fast over a water fast will help you manage everyday tasks efficiently without feeling too weak and tired. During a juice fast, you’re still fueling your body with the nutrients and calories it needs to function.
When you water fast, on the other hand, your body is not receiving any nutrients. For many people, this can make going about your normal routine nearly impossible. During a water fast, your body enters a starvation mode, and simply cannot function to its full potential during the fast.
Water fasting has many benefits, of course. And if you’re looking for maximum detoxification benefits in the shortest amount of time, water fasting is the way to go.
With juice fasting, you can go about your day normally because you’re still intaking calories and nutrients. Whether you’re an office worker, an athlete or a busy parent, a juice fast is not going to get in the way of your work and responsibilities.
I personally enjoy both, but will choose a juice cleanse during times when I want to detox but still need to carry on with my daily routine.
Powerful Juice Fasting Benefits
The most notable benefit of juice fasting is detoxification. As with water fasting, giving your digestive system a rest allows your body to finally get around to clearing out some of the gunk that’s been building up in your system.
It’s also true that many people who decide to juice fast are those who’ve become unhealthy thanks to a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. If you’re a person who doesn’t normally consume fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, the vital nutrients you’ll be absorbing from your fresh juices will benefit your body tremendously.
Even if you’re already living a clean, plant-based lifestyle, you will still have much to gain from drinking nutrient-rich juices. As mentioned, fresh juices, unlike blended smoothies, don’t contain any fiber. That means that you’re able to consume a much higher amount of fruits and vegetables from juices than you ever could by eating them in a single sitting, or even by blending them into a smoothie!
Another benefit of a juice cleanse is that it can reset some of your unhealthy habits. Maybe you have an addiction to certain sugary or processed foods than you just can’t stop. Or maybe you’re constantly craving pizza and burgers. Many people find that after a juice fast, their cravings and unhealthy eating habits diminish greatly. Therefore, juice fasting is a great way to transition into a more permanent healthy diet once you return to solid foods.
Finally, another amazing juice fasting benefit is weight loss. If you’re carrying a lot of extra fat, a completely liquid juice cleanse will finally allow your body to use these fat reserves for fuel. You’ll still be consuming calories during a juice cleanse, of course. But unlike eating full meals, your daily caloric intake will surely be much less than what you’re used to. And as mentioned above, you won’t be indulging in any of your unhealthy eating habits as long as you’re keeping up with the fast.
Be careful though, because some people still have problems shedding the pounds on a juice fast. How could this be? A lot of it has to do with incorrectly preparing the juices – namely, a poor ratio of fruits to vegetables.
Making the Juice
Fruits vs. Vegetables
As I often state in my books and articles, eating a lot of fruit is one of the healthiest habits you could pick up. Fruits are packed with so many vital nutrients, such as vitamin C, magnesium and potassium, just to name a few. And considering how delicious fruit is, it’s definitely an easy habit to start.
Other people in the ‘holistic health‘ community, on the other hand, often put down fruit consumption as something you should only do sparingly. Why? Because they’re under the false impression that due to its sugar content, eating fruit is roughly equivalent to eating candy.
That’s simply not true for a number of reasons, such as many fruits’ low glycemic index. Another big reason is fiber. The fiber content in fruit is why the sugar doesn’t just shoot straight into the bloodstream like what happens when you drink a cola.
There is one exception to when you should curtail your fruit intake, however. And that’s during a juice fast. The reason is that the juice you’re consuming does not contain any fiber at all. Therefore, when consuming your homemade juices, sugar is something you need to look out for and it’s the reason that some people have trouble losing weight during a fast.
Of course, fruits are still extremely good for you even in juice form. It’s just important to choose the right balance. Sticking to the 80/20 rule ,with 80% veggies and 20% fruits, is best.
This is not as easy as it sounds, because let’s face it – juice made up of mostly fruit simply tastes better. Meanwhile, juices made of nothing but vegetables often don’t taste very good, even if those same vegetables are delicious in solid form. That’s why it’s still a good idea to add a little bit of your fruit to your juices while making sure not to get carried away.
You could either look at the 80/20 rule as something to follow per juice or something to follow throughout the day. For example, either drink 4 juices made up of 80% vegetables, or drink 3 all-vegetable juices and one all-fruit juice. I personally prefer the former method, but go ahead and experiment to decide which works best for you.
How Much Juice Should you Drink?
It’s generally recommended to make juices that are 16-20 ounces. You’ll want to be drinking roughly four of these a day. However, if you’re feeling especially emaciated, then you can increase the amount to six or seven.
Before going shopping, write out a grocery list of the foods that you’ll need to cover you for about 3 days. Many fruits and vegetables may not stay fresh longer than a couple of days, so you’ll want to make sure you schedule time to hit the grocery store a couple of times per week during your fast. If you can afford it, always buy organic whenever possible.
The order you place your fruits and vegetables into your juicer can play a part in making a good juice. You will want to start by adding your leafy greens and any other veggies you’re juicing with, as these will act as your base.
Next you will want to add whatever sweet fruit you plan to use in your juice. Feel free to taste test throughout the process. If the juice still tastes a little too bitter to drink, gradually add in some more fruit.
The final thing to add to your juice will be herbs or spices. Go sparingly on these as a little goes a long way here!
Whether or not to peel certain fruits or vegetables really depends on what type of juicer you’re using. Whether you’re using organic or non-organic produce also makes a difference. Generally, though, you’ll want to remove the peels from citrus fruits. These might not only damage your juicer, but could also cause stomach upset if consumed in great amounts.
Picking the Right Juicer
This is an important topic that I plan to dedicate an entirely separate article to in the future. Luckily, juicing doesn’t have to be incredibly expensive. There are plenty of juicers available that can accommodate anyone’s budget. One thing to consider, though, is whether it’s a centrifugal or a slow juicer, otherwise known as a masticating juicer.
A centrifugal juicer is the most commonly seen type of juicer and they’re often less expensive than slow juicers. One of their downsides, unfortunately, is that there is often a lot of heat produced during the juicing process which can potentially damage the final product.
Some of the most popular high-end juicers include the Omega J8006 and the Breville 800JEXL. If you’re looking for something more budget friendly, consider the Black and Decker JE2200B or the Breville Juice Fountain Compact.
Short-term vs. Long-term Juice Fasting
This is probably something you’ve been wondering about, as until now we’ve been discussing ‘juice fasting’ in rather vague terms.
Simply put, you can go on a juice cleanse for as long as you like. Some people fast for a few days, while others aim for around 5 to 7. Still, some people continue to fast for a month, two months or more!
In the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (a film you should definitely watch, by the way), filmmaker and star Joe Cross fasted for 60 days. It should be noted that Joe was experiencing some major health complications before his fast due to years of an unhealthy lifestyle. Namely, he was seriously overweight and suffering from an autoimmune disease. He had to take loads of prescription meds, many of which had nasty side effects. By the end of his fast, he’d lost 100 pounds and was able to discontinue all of his medications.
If you find yourself in desperate need of a cleanse, then a longer fast may be in order. That doesn’t mean that relatively healthy people can’t also fast for long periods of time, of course.
For a first-time juice faster, though, I’d recommend going for somewhere between 5 and 7 days. This will allow your body to detoxify a little bit and you should also experience some weight loss.
If you’re still feeling great and want to continue, then there’s nothing stopping you. Unlike a water fast, you’re still intaking nutrients and calories during the fast, which is why it’s easier to carry on with juice fasts for longer. And the longer you can continue, the more juice fasting benefits you’ll get to experience.
Tips for a Successful Juice Cleanse
Juice fasting may be easier than a water fast, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy overall. You’re still going to have to deal with things like hunger pangs, food cravings and peer pressure.
And just like with a water fast, you’re going to be experiencing detox symptoms. These can manifest as acne, bad breath, fatigue or dizziness.
To make it through your cleanse and to ensure you get to experience powerful juice fasting benefits, it’s best to set a clear goal before you start. How long you fast is up to you, but you should choose a length of time in advance.
Also, determine what you even hope to achieve from the cleanse in the first place. Are you looking to kickstart weight loss? Reduce inflammation? Or just general detoxification for overall health and wellness?
Write down your goals on a piece of paper and keep it with you, or hang it in a visible spot (like the inside of the fridge!) If you feel like you’re going to cave in and grab a piece of solid food, make sure to read over your original mission statement to remember why you decided to fast in the first place.
Exercise During a Juice Fast
Exercise is entirely possible during a juice fast, but you’ll likely feel that you’re not up to your usual strength. I don’t have too many problems in the gym while I juice fast, but I often find that I can only lift slightly less than normal. I also might not be able to run for as long.
One thing I found helpful is adding protein powder to some of my juices. It’s best to use a vegan protein powder, as whey protein, which is a dairy product, is technically not allowed during a juice fast.
Easing into The Fast
Just like with a water fast, you should ease into the fast by eating only raw fruits and vegetables for a day or two before your juice cleanse. This will allow your body to adjust to a lack of meat or refined carbs, making the initial days of the juice fast easier. Similarly, you should also break the fast with raw fruits and vegetables rather than revert straight back to eating steaks or sandwiches.
Caffeine During a Fast
Drinking caffeine during a fast is generally considered a ‘no-no,’ as caffeine interferes with the detoxification process. You should definitely avoid coffee. While you may be fine with cheating a little bit, do so with tea instead of coffee.
I often have a lot of work to get done and sometimes need a little something extra to help me focus. That’s why I occasionally drink green tea during a juice fast, which doesn’t contain too much caffeine and also has many other brain-boosting benefits. Other fasting advocates still consider green tea cheating, but I say just do what works best for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about juice fasting, I wrote an entire book on the topic. Inside you can learn more about the powerful benefits of fruits and vegetables, the best herbs to use in your juices, and a whole lot of other tips and FAQ’s that are not included here.
If you’re still wondering about the best way to prepare your juices, I also put out a juicing recipes book which is a useful resource to help you get started. It features information about the health benefits of each juice as well as full-color photographs.
I hope you’ve gained some insight into some of the amazing juice fasting benefits you can experience to improve your health and life. What we put into our bodies should be thought of as medicine and not merely as something that provides us with pleasure. Fresh juice, luckily, tastes good and can help transform our bodies for the better. I hope you’re getting excited to step into the wonderful world of juice fasting, and best of luck to you!