Whether you want to reset unhealthy eating habits, lose weight, or just improve your overall health, juice cleansing is probably one of the diets you’ve considered.
But there’s a lot of misinformation and unfounded marketing claims surrounding juice cleanses out there. If you aren’t careful, a juice cleanse can be an uncomfortable experience or even bad for you.
To get the most out of your cleanse, you need to make sure you know how to do a juice cleanse the right way.
But before we get started, here’s a bit more info on what a juice cleanse is and why you might want to give one a try.
What Is A Juice Cleanse?
A juice cleanse is a diet where you consume only fruit and vegetable juices for up to several days at a time.
These juices flood your body with nourishing vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial plant compounds, while giving your body a break from the processed foods found in most modern diets.
Is it good to do a juice cleanse?
Juice cleanses sometimes get a bad rap for the lack of scientific evidence supporting them, but real studies on the benefits of juicing are now starting to be published.
The results from the very first published study on juice cleansing found that doing a cleanse the right way can definitely be a good thing.
Here’s a few reasons (backed by science) that you should try a juice cleanse:
- Improved Digestion
- Better Heart Health
- Decreased Risk Of Disease
These benefits come from a UCLA study where participants did a 3 day juice cleanse. (Source)
Can A Juice Cleanse Help You Lose Weight?
There’s tons of anecdotal evidence supporting juice cleansing as an effective weight loss strategy, but does it really work?
The same UCLA study from above found that on average, participants lost 3.75 lbs during a 3-day juice cleanse.
14 days after returning to their normal diet, participants still weighed on average 2.2 lbs lighter than when they started the juice cleanse.
Juice cleansing is great for improving overall health and can even help you lose a few pounds, but they need to be done in the right way.
For starters, you need to do some prep work before you just dive into a cleanse.
How To Prepare For A Juice CLeanse
Purchasing a juice cleanse takes a lot of the hard work out of the equation because the juices are already made for you (I recommend this one).
But you can always follow some homemade juice cleanse recipes to save money.
Either way, there’s still a bit of prep work you need to do before you get started.
Depending on the length of your cleanse and how healthy your current diet is, you should start prepping 1-5 days before the juice cleanse.
Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Eliminate toxins
- Eliminate inflammatory foods
- Eliminate processed foods
- Go on a plant-based diet
- Get rid of any temptations around the house
How Many Days Should You do a juice cleanse for?
Never go longer than a 7 day juice cleanse.
Fasting can have a variety of positive health benefits and has been practiced for hundreds of years (source), but abstaining from food for too long can be dangerous.
I’ve found 3 day cleanses to be the sweet spot.
Longer juice fasts like a 5 day cleanse can be too difficult to complete, and shorter fasts like a 1 day cleanse might not be as effective.
How To Juice CLeanse The Right Way
Okay, so you’ve nailed your prep work and you’re ready to cleanse! What comes next?
If you’re doing a premade cleanse, just stick with the instructions you’re given. If you are making your own juices, you should be drinking a 16 oz juice every 2-3 hours for a total of 5-6 juices per day.
It’s very important that you stick to the juice schedule, don’t skip a juice or double up.
What to expect during a juice cleanse
You’re probably feeling excited and motivated at the start of the cleanse, but this can only last so long.
By the first afternoon you are going to start feeling pretttty hungry. Or if you’re anything like me, hangry (hungry and angry).
But hang in there, the first day is actually the hardest! Here’s what you can expect while cleansing:
- Tired: Expect to go to bed early and sleep great while cleansing.
- Energy Highs & Lows: The flood of vitamins and minerals will give you a natural energy boost after each juice, but the lack of food can sap your energy especially in the afternoons.
- Moodiness: Along with not eating comes the inevitable irritability. This is usually worst on the first day of the juice cleanse.
- A Need To Chew Something: Sometimes during a cleanse you’re not even hungry, you just miss chewing. Keep some sugar-free gum on hand to satisfy your chewing needs.
Can you eat on a juice cleanse?
Hunger is pretty much unavoidable on a juice cleanse. But what can you do if the hunger (or hanger) is starting to get the better of you, can you eat on a juice cleanse?
Generally, most cleanses allow you to eat 1 serving of raw fruit or vegetables each day.
If you’re a beginner or you’re used to a high calorie diet, I recommend trying a soup + juice cleanse.
This 3 day cleanse combines super nutritious soups with fresh juices for a more filling, but just as effective cleanse.
In between juices, you can also try drinking herbal teas or infused “detox” waters to help curb your appetite.
To help with the low energy that accompanies hunger, try a cleanse that comes with booster shots. These superfood shots deliver a potent dose of nutrients.
While they won’t help with the hunger, they give you a nice little energy boost if you’re feeling run down in between juices.
What To Eat After A Juice Cleanse
Congratulations, you did it! Your juice cleanse is over and now you’re ready to eat.
So what should you eat after a juice cleanse? The key is to not shock your body by jumping straight back into your old diet.
Your body is used to a liquid and plant based diet, so you need to slowly reintroduce your normal food.
Here’s what I recommend:
- Start With Smoothies Or Soups: Your body is used to a liquid diet so for the first 1-2 meals after your cleanse, I recommend going with a blended soup or smoothie.
- Move To Solid Plant Based Foods: Once you’re ready for more solid foods, try having a plant based salad. You can make it more filling by adding some nuts or seeds as a topping!
- Slowly Reintroduce Other Food Groups: Finally, you can slowly start to reintroduce things like meat, dairy, etc. into your diet as you see fit.
After your cleanse, you should notice that you just no longer crave unhealthy processed foods. Your body has grown accustomed to the good feelings it gets from nutrient dense whole foods!
This can help boost your weight loss efforts and overall health for months after a cleanse!
When you find yourself falling back into bad eating habits, go for another juice cleanse to reset those cravings.
How To Do A Juice Cleanse Step-by-step
In summary, here’s how to do a juice cleanse the right way, step-by-step:
- Eliminate toxins and processed foods 1-5 days pre-cleanse
- Go on a plant based diet 1-5 days pre-cleanse
- Remove any temptations from your fridge and pantry before the cleanse
- Stick to the guidelines during your cleanse, drink a juice every 2-3 hours
- Keep sugar free gum handy if you need something to chew
- Eat up to 1 serving of raw fruits or veggies per day when hungry
- Stick to light, plant based meals like smoothies, soups, and salads for 1 day post-cleanse
- Slowly reintroduce meat, dairy, and other food groups as you see fit
- Do another juice cleanse when you notice unhealthy cravings coming back or when you need to reset your diet (this is the cleanse that I do)