Living in our fast paced world where stress, a polluted environment, and an unbalanced diet drag us down daily, we sometimes need to reset. A juice cleanse does exactly that.
A juice cleanse is not a diet per se but a detox to cleanse the body of harmful chemicals and toxins that we all accumulate on a daily basis.
It can also be good for the soul. Earlier this year I survived a 10-day juice cleanse, which turned out to be one of the greatest things I’ve ever done for myself. I discovered great motivation, determination, persistence and real strength. Actually it felt so good, that even though I had to attend multiple functions and dinners where I was surrounded by people eating delectable food, I was not tempted to break the cleanse.
After a few days of juice cleansing, I actually noticed increased energy, my skin glowed and became clearer and I lost a noticeable amount of weight (nearly 8 pounds in 10 days and I felt so much lighter and looked better in my clothes). After 10 days, I was happy to eat solid food again but at the same time, I am very much looking forward to doing another juice cleanse.
I’ve tried several juice companies over the past years for shorter cleanses and this time went with Love Grace juices. The company’s co-founder and creative director, Carissa-Ann Santos, is a board certified holistic health counselor with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.
Here are her recommendations for doing a healthy 10-day juice cleanse and keeping the weight off afterward.
Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Sibylle Eschapasse: What mistakes do people make when doing a 10-day cleanse?
Carissa-Ann Santos: With any juice cleanse, the prep is very important. Some people after a super binge weekend of eating and drinking jump into a juice cleanse quickly. We recommend preparing for a few days first [so] as to not shock your system. Sometimes it’s difficult for people to stay off caffeine mostly out of habit, and they try to add it back. We usually recommend avoiding this to get the maximum benefits of the cleanse.
Ms. Eschapasse: Any misconceptions people have about juice cleansing?
Ms. Santos: That it’s scary or a form of ‘starving’—this is so not true! Juice cleansing is designed to make you feel amazing, and it’s so important to cleanse with good quality organic juices with a balanced nutritional profile—that way the body is satisfied, supported, and energized while cleansing.
Ms. Eschapasse: Are all juices equal for cleansing or are there some that are better than others?
Ms. Santos: The best juice cleanses will provide the body with enough nutritional support to make cleansing most effective. And the best juices are always 100 percent organic and cold-pressed—so that the body can cleanse without the interference of harmful pesticides and also obtain maximal nutrition.
Ms. Eschapasse: Do you recommend taking a multi-vitamin while doing a juice cleanse?
Ms. Santos: Most people choose not to take their multi vitamin while juicing. You are getting tons of minerals and nutrients in abundance!
Ms. Eschapasse: Will you become nutrient deficient if you don’t eat for 10 days?
Ms. Santos: In fact, organic cold-pressed juices and smoothies are a great way to increase your nutrient uptake because the nutrients are more readily available to the body in an easily digestible form.
Ms. Eschapasse: What about protein?
Ms. Santos: Juice cleansing is introduced for a relatively short period of time with a lower caloric intake. It’s designed to focus on removing toxins and to restore natural balance to the body.
The body needs an adequate balance of macro and micro-nutrients to thrive—protein is essential for growth and repair of human tissues. This is one of the reasons … we [at Love Grace] include organic plant-based protein smoothies in all our juice cleanses, because detoxing shouldn’t mean that the body is deprived!
Ms. Eschapasse: Do people find their blood sugar starts bobbing up and down? Are there any juices better than others to keep an even keel?
Ms. Santos: Green vegetable juices and smoothies would be the best to avoid blood sugar spikes. We suggest adding healthy fats in like coconut oil or avocado when cleansing to help with this and to slow down the purge of toxins into the blood stream.
Ms. Eschapasse: What are the benefits of a juice cleanse versus a whole food or water cleanse?
Ms. Santos: Juice cleanses load the body up with vitamins, minerals, and [other] nutrients while allowing the body to heal itself with its innate ability. They are aimed to give the body a break from digesting so it can use more energy to detoxify. A whole food cleanse can be an amazing thing, but if your intention is to rest your digestive system then it’s not appropriate. A water cleanse is not necessary for people in good health—it is more of an extreme measure that would be prescribed by a professional for a specific need, as it deprives the body of nutrients if used unnecessarily and should be supervised. We are into loading the body up with great things in a safe delicious way at Love Grace!
Ms. Eschapasse: Do people feel really hungry while juice cleansing? If so, what can they do?
Ms. Santos: It totally depends on the individual—we suggest drinking enough water throughout the cleanse in addition to the juices, and also avoiding high-intensity, strenuous exercise because working the muscles hard can often spike hunger more. We also think it’s fine to snack on some raw organic fruit, soft vegetables, guacamole, smoothies or even vegan soups throughout the cleanse. Drinking an extra juice or two throughout ‘hungrier’ days will also be totally fine.
Ms. Eschapasse: How do you come off a 10-day cleanse?
Ms. Santos: Mindfully and slowly, by listening to your body. We recommend maintaining your great results with at least one green juice daily. Initially we recommend sticking to fresh whole foods after a cleanse—tons of vegetables, fruits, salads, soups, smoothies, even steamed vegetables or easy to digest grains when you feel your body is ready. Usually people find they are able to digest foods a lot better after a cleanse, but we recommend adding foods back slowly especially after longer cleanses.
Ms. Eschapasse: If you’re doing a juice cleanse for weight-loss, how do you keep the weight down afterward?
Ms. Santos: After an extended cleanse, we highly recommend a short one-day juice cleanse each week. This sort of calorie restriction has been used for centuries for health and longevity. One-day a week juice cleanse helps to keep cravings at bay and acts as a natural reset. You may fall in love with this!
We also recommend including 1 organic green juice per day after your juice cleanse. Another super important tip is to choose organic! Organic food and juice is SO important. We want to avoid toxins where we can and it’s not easy in our current environment with our polluted drinking water and air, toxic chemicals on our furniture and clothes. We CAN consciously choose to eat organic foods avoiding unnecessary petroleum consumption, toxins that can lead to weight gain, chronic disease and more.
Ms. Eschapasse: How many times do you recommend doing a juice cleanse per year?
Ms. Santos: We recommend an extended cleanse every quarter. And then a 1-day a week cleanse indefinitely. If you are working on specific health goals i.e.: skin conditions, weight challenges etc. you may choose to cleanse more frequently.
Ms. Eschapasse: What can we do to keep up a healthy diet?
Ms. Santos: Crowd out the less ideal stuff with more healthy stuff! Starting the day with a fat/protein low sugar smoothie for example with avocado, coconut oil, protein powder, having a green juice daily, lots of water, will naturally keep you satiated and leave less room for that brownie and pizza.
Stay away from processed foods as much as possible (and if you do find yourself at a work function or celebration of sorts always choose the best option available even if it’s not the most ideal. For example organic grass fed meats over farmed, potatoes over white bread. We are always doing the best we can without harsh strict rules. The middle path keeps you from swinging too far in either direction.
Ms. Eschapasse: When is a juice cleanse not a good idea?
Ms. Santos: Juice cleansing is not recommended when pregnant, diabetic, or breastfeeding—because these are all periods where your body needs maximal, individualized support to obtain balance. But we highly recommend incorporating nutrient dense drinks as a complement to a healthy lifestyle during these times.
Sibylle Eschapasse is originally from Paris and now lives in New York. She contributes to various publications in addition to be working for the United Nations. Sibylle is also the author of a children’s book, “Argy Boy, A New York Dog Tale.” She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org