If you’re into health and you’re into Instagram, it’s impossible not to have noticed the impressive influx of independent cold-pressed juice businesses in the last few years. Personally, I love them. And what’s not to love about cool branding on colourful bottles of juice, all lined-up like a magical rainbow of renewed health?!
Most raw juice companies offer some sort of detox programme based on their juices of course. Some call it a Detox, some call it a Cleanse, most recommend 3 days and some offer 5-day, even 9 and 10-day programmes. Detoxing the body with cold-pressed juice is extremely effective. At the renowned Gerson Institute, juice fasting is the cornerstone of their successful cancer treatments.
I am not disputing the benefits of these amazing juice programmes in any way but it is important to understand that the body must undergo certain preparations in order to ensure positive results before diving into a three-day juice detox. Here are some of the reasons why going on a juice fast, without proper preparation maynot be a great idea.
The elimination of fibre CLOGs THE PIPES
When you drink a cold pressed juice, you are drinking the extracted liquid from the fruit or vegetable and the pulp is discarded. A cold-pressed juice is simply water, concentrated nutrients, and zero fibre. On the application forms to my detox programme, more than 80% of my past participants complain of chronic constipation. This is the big “red flag” of poor digestive health and must be remedied as it leads to a host of health problems, not to mention, is a depressing and uncomfortable state to be in. The number #1 rule for most people to stay regular is to increase the insoluble fibre content in their diet. This is the component of food that the digestive system cannot break down. Insoluble fibre is the “binding” agent that allows for the proper formation of stool, as well as allowing for easier and consistent elimination. When you go cold turkey into a juice fast, you are most likely going to suffer from constipation because your body has nothing to bind with. And what is worse, is that the high levels of nutrients in the raw juices (specifically the dark leafy greens) activate the detoxification processes in the body, and then deny the toxins the most obvious and preferred exit route.
You are what you absorb
Throwing yourself on a juice fast if you are living with high toxicity and poor digestion would be like pouring premium high-performance petrol into a rusty old clogged-up engine: kind of pointless and a waste of money. Detoxification of the body means assisting the major pathways of elimination while you simultaneously encourage the repair of metabolic function within the body. At the core of this process is gut health, and fundamental to gut health is good absorption. The highest quality supplements, the purest foods and the most nutrient dense juices are seriously under-utilised if gut health is poor. Raw juices work when the gut is already in good condition but is not the way to get it there.
You can’t detox with fructose
Most raw juices (green or not) are up to 50% fruit. In general, the fruit of choice is apple or pear because of their high fructose content. Lots of sweet fruit juice can make pretty much any juice taste delicious. The classic: kale, celery, ginger and apple is delicious and drinkable because the intensity of the greens is masked by the sweetness of the apple. While apples are excellent nutritious foods (great sources of fibre ironically) and can be used to heal in a variety of ways, any juice high in fructose is fairly useless if you are actively in a detoxification process. Here’s why: The toxins we store within our bodies are not water-soluble meaning they cannot be flushed out of the system with liquids. Non-water-soluble toxins are stored in our fat cells so therefore we must burn fat if we want to eliminate the majority of toxicity stored in our bodies. Very simply put, when we need energy, we burn sugars and when we starve the body of sugars, it must burn fat for fuel. Loading up with kale and apple juice really means you are loading up on fructose and your body will not burn fat or toxins no matter how “green” your juice is.
The stress of it
For most people, there is quite a lot of anxiety around entering into a 72+ hour period with no food, and quite understandably so! This anxiety must also be addressed since our body will not detoxify or repair when there is too much sympathetic nervous system activity. Rushing around with a flask of green juice getting everything “done” on overdrive will simply not work. It’s completely counter-productive to the process. The body requires rest in order to repair, and even more so with a lower caloric intake.
Just like with any challenge we take on for the betterment of our health, there is a great payoff when we accomplish our goals! The mastery over our will and the ability to override our natural instincts is very empowering and can be an important catalyst for many new and positive changes in our lives. Proper preparation of the body including some fine-tuning and repairing of the digestive system and creating a relaxing space to fast in will greatly improve the overall results that can be accomplished on a 3-day juice fast. When done correctly, a juice detox is an incredibly powerful healing modality.
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