August 30, 2017

Considering a juice cleanse? Four questions to ask yourself.

If you're considering a juice cleanse for the first time, you're definitely not alone. The trend has exploded in the past decade, and juice cleanses have many loyal devotees, as well as interested but trepidatious first-timers. Put as simply as possible, the purpose of a juice cleanse is to detox your body. It gives your body a rest from digesting processed food, and flushes out toxins that have built up in your system over time from consuming chemically treated food (like junk food with preservatives and produce treated with pesticides.) A juice cleanse can also break reliance on unhealthy foods, and create a "fresh start" for those looking to make long-term dietary changes.
...But, if you're reading this, you've probably already studied up on the basics of cleanses, and their great benefits!  

Before you start: this article is NOT supposed to tell you whether or not a juice cleanse is right for you; only you can do that!  These questions are meant to help you decide for yourself, and alert you to possible pitfalls so that your first cleanse is a successful one.

Are you looking for a quick weight loss fix?
If the answer is yes? A juice cleanse is not your solution. The purpose of a juice cleanse is to detox; if successful, the cleanse will lead to overall increased wellness and better diet, conditions which will make losing weight easier in the future.  But weight loss isn’t the aim of the cleanse itself.  Yes, you will experience quick, sometimes dramatic weight loss during a cleanse. But this is loss of water weight: a reaction to the sudden change in your diet, not burned up fat. Additionally, your dramatically reduced calorie intake during your juice cleanse will slow your metabolism, actually making it harder to burn calories. So if you jump into a caloric meal right after your cleanse, while your metabolism is still sluggish, it'll be more likely to contribute to weight gain. A juice cleanse can be one element in a long-term plan of lifestyle changes aimed at weight loss, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s a magic fix on its own!

What’s your schedule like?

If the answer is "hectic"? It might be in your favor to wait for a chiller time to do your cleanse. Asking your body to perform its basic daily functions with a super-low calorie intake is asking it to do a lot of work. If your schedule is full of work or social plans, you'll probably feel extremely exhausted. Over-exertion is bad for you, plus, you'll be tempted to break your cleanse if you're at a social event where food or alcohol are being served. Ideally, you should use your time for rest and relaxation during your cleanse--getting lots of sleep is of absolute importance.

Are you addicted to caffeine?
If the answer is yes? You're still a great candidate--but you should be prepared for the extra challenge caffeine withdrawal will present during the cleanse. Caffeine withdrawal is one of the most common unexpected hurdles facing first-time cleansers. As I'm sure you know from experience, missing your cup of coffee in the morning can lead to fatigue, which will be tough stacked on top of the general tiredness that tends to plague cleansers. But caffeine withdrawal has other side-effects too: many people experience headaches, irritability, and inability to concentrate (all things that would make sticking to your guns during a juice cleanse harder.) Even if you have a mild caffeine habit, but especially if you're drinking upwards of two cups of coffee per day, you might want to consider weaning yourself off caffeine before you start you cleanse; that way, you don't have to deal with withdrawal symptoms on top of the other difficulties of cleansing.

How's your mood?
Of course, there’s no right or wrong answer to this question; but you should be asking it in the days leading up to your cleanse!  Juice cleanses are well understood as physical journeys, but the fact that they can be emotionally intense too is often overlooked.  Ever been “hangry”?  Then you know how seriously your food intake can affect your emotions. Since starting a cleanse can cause feelings of irritability and exhaustion, a positive attitude will be key to sticking with it and holding out for the feelings of newfound energy and wellness to come.  Do you get down on yourself easily about health and wellness? If so, be gentle with yourself, and remind yourself that the cleanse isn’t ruined at the smallest misstep.  If you get off schedule or have a snack, you can get back on track and still benefit loads from the cleanse!  It will take your being kind to yourself to get the most out of it.

No matter what you decide, we’re glad you’re considering a juice cleanse; at Herb-n-Juice, we can attest to their benefits of first-hand.  Go forth, be informed, and happy cleansing!

Read about the cleanses we offer here: https://herbnjuice.com/collections/frontpage

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