Some swear by it, but I can’t help myself, I’m a skeptic. The juice cleanse. Is it all it’s cracked up to be?
Two weeks ago my best friend watched “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” She then proceeded to call me at 11:30 p.m. (she got my voicemail, I was no doubt already tucked away in bed), and this is what I heard: “Juice … fat and dead … I bought a juicer! (laughing in the background) I’m going to jump start this juice diet.” Basically, I had no idea what she was talking about, but I heard juicing, and immediately, my caution flag went up.
I don’t know about you, but as a food connoisseur, diets are rarely appealing. I always find that restriction doesn’t lead to satisfaction; consequently, I am usually a skeptic of the promises so many diet fads offer to their followers — the juice cleanse my best friend later expanded on left me in the same boat — skeptical. However, I have learned that it is wise not to knock something until you’ve tried it. So, this week I venture out to test the juice cleanse.
For an entire week, I will drink nothing but fruit and vegetable juice in an attempt to detox and purify my body and to see what all the hype is all about — better yet, to see if it is worth it. After all, I have heard of some quite satisfied customers who claim to be happier, healthier and more energetic — three things most people would consider beneficial to a better lifestyle.
Before I jump in head-over-heels into the dicey land of diets, I thought it best to do my research.
First off, juice detoxing isn’t a joke. In the diet world, it is considered an extreme detox because, during the detox, you don’t consume any solid foods, only juice and water.
Secondly, because of its extreme nature, not everyone should go through a juice fast. Pregnant or nursing women would not benefit, and those with serious chronic disorders should consult a physician before beginning a juice fast. I am not pregnant, nursing nor suffer from a chronic disorder, so I am good to go.
Lucky for me, spring is considered one of the best times to perform a juice cleanse, according to many of its loyal followers.
The next key: organic. Yes, that means more expensive veggies, but when taking pounds of fruits and vegetables and concentrating them into juice, you do not want any pesticides getting concentrated into your diet as well.
Another crucial aspect of the juice cleanse is still getting enough key nutrients throughout the day. Sure, you are upping the amount of vitamins and antioxidants in your diet by drinking so much juice, but it is important to also get adequate amounts of minerals and other vital nutrients. Thus, it is imperative to research the foods you will juice before your diet to ensure a varied and sufficient amount of available nutrients. This also means there has to be plenty of vegetables within your juices, not just fruits which are high in sugar content (and almost always make more delicious juices).
Juice fasts are also notoriously famous for being low in protein. The result of your body not consuming enough dietary protein (in the form of amino acids) is muscle mass loss. This is often a serious criticism linked to juice fasting. It is not a huge deal if the cleanse lasts only a few days, but for a cleanse that lasts for a week such as mine, it creates an important obstacle to recognize.
One option is to add a protein supplement to the juice in order to reach sufficient protein intake. The counter to this is you are not truly detoxing. I guess this is one of those issues still up for debate, but for me, I will err on the side of the skeptic and consume more nutrients to more closely model a balanced diet — the one diet I undoubtedly believe works.
I now enter the abyss of the juice detox and anxiously await the moment I can finally chew my food again.