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To Cleanse or Not To Cleanse That is the Question

  • August 2, 2013
  • By Brittany
To Cleanse or Not To Cleanse That is the Question

Hi!  Hope you had a fabulous weekend!  I’m off to the beach today but I wanted to leave you with a little something to read in the meantime!  Recently I’ve noticed an uptick in the popularity of juice cleanses.  More and more cold pressed juices are popping up everywhere touting the benefits of cleanses.  But three days surviving on juice alone?  I was skeptical.  So I did a little research and here’s what I found out on the subject of to cleanse or not to cleanse.

What is a juice cleanse?  Juice cleanses are advertised as a method of detoxing the body by drinking noting but juice to cleanse your system of toxins and impurities.  What this means is that for a prescribed period of time (usually 3 days but often longer), a juice cleanse participant will drink only juice or water.

Blue Print Cleanse Juice

What kind of juice do I drink?  Normally the juices you drink on these cleanses are cold pressed (meaning they are not heated or pasteurized) and contain either all vegetables or a mix of fruit and vegetables.  They may also contain other ingredients like coconut water.

Organic Avenue Juice

Why do people cleanse?  The attraction of a juice cleanse stems from the fact that people feel they abuse their bodies with things like alcohol, caffeine, too much unhealthy food and externalities like a polluted environment or stress.  Many people look to reduce or counteract the negative side effects of these things.  Others are looking for a way to jump start their weight loss.

Is it good for me?  Well, that’s the big question.

The thing is, if you are looking to lose weight, you probably will not lose any weight from doing a cleanse and you may even gain weight.  You may lose weight initially from not eating but once you reincorporate solid foods back into your diet, even healthy foods, you can gain that weight back.  Anita Mirchandani, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., states that juice cleanses are “very temporary.”  “A juice cleanse is usually a combination of fruit and vegetables and provides your body high amounts of nutrients without the added calories,” says Mirchandani, “However, what people don’t realize is by performing a cleanse, the gut’s natural bacteria that we’ve worked so hard to build up also gets wiped out. As a result, while you may have temporary weight loss and even glistening skin, your gut flora (healthy bacteria) needs to get rebuilt.”  She does not advise a juice cleanse past three days

The body requires nutrients to perform it’s daily functions, including the liver’s job of getting rid of toxins.  Without these nutrients, your body is unable to perform its functions properly and sticking a cleanse for multiple days can actually harm your body more than help it.

Organic Avenue Juice 3

Additionally, juice cleanses usually leave your body well below the required daily caloric intake.  Without the required caloric intake, you may not be able to perform your daily activities, including working out.  In fact, most juice cleanse companies only recommend light activity like yoga or stretching.

There ARE side effects.  Noted on some popular juice cleanse websites there are  side effects like headache, nausea and lethargy.  Other potential side effects can include diarrhea and mood swings.

Verdict?  Personally, I say if you want to try a juice cleanse- try one day.  A better way to cleanse, in my opinion, is to incorporate the juices into a healthy diet based on vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and whole grains.  I actually love both the Blue Print Cleanse juices and Organic Avenue juices incorporated into my diet because they do have a lot of nutrients and generally help me stay hydrated.    But you have to be careful to reduce your calorie intake either in your snacks or main meals to compensate for adding in the juice since these drinks are not calorie free!

Organic Avenue Juice &  Salad

Organic Avenue Collage

Readers, what do you think of juice cleanses?  Have you tried one before?  Would you try one? How do you detox?

By Brittany, August 2, 2013
    August 5, 2013

    I did a 3 day cleanse and actually really liked it. I found that the juices gave me all of the “food” that I needed and that I was hungry more b/c I missed the act of eating. It helped me identify the problem of eating at work when you are bored or b/c you want a break from your desk – two things that motivate a lot of my snacking. I wouldn’t do more than 3 days, and I definitely cheated with some salad and crackers, but I was shocked at how well my body reacted to the juices and how well they provided me what I needed. I definitely wouldn’t do them for weight loss – that’s just temporary, although a nice way to kick off a new eating lifestyle! Have fun at the beach!!!!!

    • FitBritt
      August 5, 2013

      Thanks Natalie! You are right, forcing yourself to eliminate certain foods can help you target why you eat them and whether you actually need to be eating.

  • Sara @ Fit.Fun,Femme
    August 5, 2013

    I don’t think I could last a day. Not because there wouldn’t be enough food but because my body is programmed to know that chewing = making myself full and the lack thereof would not make me a happy Sara.

    I did a cleanse which whole, organic foods eliminating dairy, meat and grains for a week and that was an awesome experience, but going just juice is not for me.

    • FitBritt
      August 5, 2013

      I think a “cleanse” eating healthy food and eliminating certain things from my diet would be more my speed. I am not sure I could survive on just juice!

  • Anna
    August 5, 2013

    Great post! I’ve never done a cleanse and am not a huge fan, but totally think incorporating in a green juice into your meals can be a great way to change things up : ) Love your balanced perspective!

    • FitBritt
      August 5, 2013

      Thanks Anna! I agree. I am not sure a juice cleanse would work for me but I do love incorporating juice into a healthy diet.

  • Holly
    August 5, 2013

    Thanks for the clear info on this topic that is a personalized experience.

  • Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat
    August 5, 2013

    I’ve never tried a juice cleanse before. I had considered it in the past, but was always very hesitant. I’m agree with you…incorporate juices into a well-balanced diet. Personally, I think a juice cleanse would be difficult to do and I could see myself not functioning well for those few days.

    Thanks for all this information!

    • FitBritt
      August 5, 2013

      I think the juices are a great way to get more fruits and veggies but I am not sure a cleanse would work for me!

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