Juice cleanses have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to detoxify the body, lose weight, and improve overall health. A juice cleanse typically involves drinking fruit and vegetable juices exclusively for a set period of time, usually from one to seven days. While some have concerns about the safety and effectiveness of juice cleanses, many people report feeling rejuvenated and healthier after completing one.
If you’re considering your first juice cleanse, here’s a look at what you can expect during and after the cleanse, as well as some tips to help you achieve your goals.
Preparing for your juice cleanse
Making sure you’re properly prepared both physically and mentally before embarking on your first juice cleanse is key to having a successful experience.
Physically, it’s a good idea to ease into a juice cleanse by eating lighter, healthier meals in the days leading up to the cleanse. This will give your body a chance to adjust and make the transition smoother once you cut out solid foods completely. Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any cleanse, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns.
Mentally, know that the first day or two of an all-liquid diet may be challenging. Be prepared for some hunger pangs, cravings, and irritability as your body adjusts. Planning activities to distract yourself can help, as can enlisting a supportive friend to complete the cleanse with you.
What to expect during the cleanse
During your juice cleanse you’ll be subsisting entirely on fruit and vegetable juices. Most cleanse programs provide six juices per day, spaced out every two to three hours. Here’s a look at some of the likely effects you’ll experience during your cleanse:
- Hunger – Especially in the first couple days as your body adjusts to not chewing and digesting solid foods.
- Cravings – For favorite foods and snacks. This is normal, but be prepared and committed to sticking with only juice.
- Possible headache, fatigue, irritability – Associated with withdrawal from things like caffeine and sugar. Be sure to rest.
- Increase in bathroom trips – Both peeing and pooping more frequently as your body eliminates toxins.
- Improved complexion – From flooding your system with hydration and nutrients. Skin may appear more radiant.
- Weight loss – Due to calorie restriction. However, much of this is temporary water weight that will return after the cleanse.
It’s normal to have some ups and downs during your cleanse as your body reacts to the liquid diet. Be prepared to feel cranky or tired at times. Rest as much as you can and remind yourself why you wanted to cleanse.
Getting through cleanse challenges
Here are some tips to help you push through the more difficult moments of your juice cleanse:
- Drink herbal tea – Opt for uncaffeinated herbal teas to help fill an empty stomach without adding calories.
- Distract yourself – Keep busy with activities, social visits, reading, and light exercise like yoga or walks.
- Avoid temptation triggers – Don’t go out to restaurants or bars while cleansing.
- Nap and rest – Your body is working hard to detox, so rest is important.
- Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water in addition to juices.
- Focus on goals – Remind yourself why you wanted to cleanse and how good you’ll feel after.
Having a plan and arsenal of tips before starting your cleanse will help you stick with it when the going gets tough.
After the cleanse
Once you’ve completed your juice cleanse, congratulations! Here’s what you can expect in the days following the cleanse:
- Return of normal bowel movements – Your digestive system will start working on solids again.
- Possible weight gain – You’ll likely gain back the water weight you lost. Don’t be discouraged.
- Cravings or overeating – Don’t overdo it on heavy foods. Ease back into your normal diet.
- Feeling energized and motivated – Use this as motivation to maintain healthier habits.
- Clearer skin – Your hydrated system will continue flushing out toxins for a natural glow.
- Possible headaches, fatigue – Your body is still adjusting post-cleanse. Rest and rehydrate.
Be mindful of how you feel as you transition back to solid foods. Try to continue with healthy, balanced meals in the days after your cleanse. Avoid bingeing on processed foods or overeating. You want your cleanse to be a stepping stone to an improved diet going forward.
Maximizing your cleanse results
Here are some tips to help you maximize the results from your juice cleanse experience:
- Ease in and out – Avoid shocking your system by transitioning gradually off and back onto solids.
- Listen to your body – Rest when tired, drink teas if hungry, and modify if you feel unwell.
- Supplement if needed – If dizzy or lethargic, try adding a protein powder or supplements.
- Stay hydrated – Drink lots of water in addition to juices to flush out toxins.
- Modify as needed – Don’t be afraid to modify if you feel unwell. Do what feels right for your body.
Remember, cleansing isn’t meant to be torture. Going easier on yourself helps your body benefit the most.
Things to avoid during your cleanse
To get the most from your juice cleanse, there are some important things you’ll want to avoid:
- No solid food – Don’t give in to temptations to chew solid foods, even healthy ones.
- No alcohol – Alcohol is dehydrating and taxing for your cleansed system.
- No coffee – The caffeine also dehydrates. Opt for herbal tea instead for warm comfort.
- No excessive exercise – Light walking or yoga is fine, but don’t overexert yourself.
- No processed foods – After the cleanse, ease back in with whole, organic foods.
Giving your digestive system a complete rest maximizes the cleansing benefits.
Should you cleanse?
The decision of whether or not to cleanse is a personal one. Juice cleanses can provide benefits including improved energy, clearer skin, weight loss, reduced cravings, and detoxification. However, they also involve calorie-restriction and forgoing whole fruits and vegetables, fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
Factors to consider before attempting your first juice cleanse include:
Talk to your doctor, especially if you have any health conditions or concerns. While juice cleanses are generally considered safe for most healthy adults, they may not be recommended for those who are pregnant, diabetic, struggle with disordered eating, or have certain medical conditions.
Choose a trusted cleanse program
If you do decide to pursue a juice cleanse, be sure to choose a reputable, trusted program. Look for cleanses offering:
- Organic produce from local suppliers when possible
- A variety of vegetable juices, not just fruit
- Nutritional analysis for calorie and macro amounts
- Food safety handling certification
- At least six juices per day to prevent hunger
- Support and advice from nutrition professionals
Invest in a high-quality juice cleanse program to maximize safety and your chances of success.
The bottom line
Trying your first juice cleanse can provide a reboot for your system and healthier eating habits if done safely and correctly. Prepare yourself both physically and mentally, avoid temptation triggers during the cleanse, and ease back into solid foods after. With the right expectations and plan, your first juice cleanse can be a beneficial experience resulting in a natural glow, clearer mindset, improved energy, and motivated outlook on eating right.