How to Prepare for a Juice Cleanse to Achieve Optimal Results

by Rosemary Devlin

Chef Tom juicing at O2 Living’s Live Raw Food Café in Cross River

Juice cleansing has gained notoriety among the celebrity community as a quick-fix diet and an excellent tool for achieving weight loss. In reality, although oftentimes weight loss does occur, it is not the primary objective of a juice cleanse. Juice cleansing is designed to remove dangerous toxins that may be left behind by processed foods.

The Origins of Cleansing
The origins of cleansing date back to 1747, when Dr. James Lind, who studied medicine at the College of Surgeons in Scotland, conducted a study on the disease scurvy. Through his research, Lind proved that the use of citrus fruit blends in directed dosages and a controlled environment could treat and eventually eradicate the disease. Building upon Lind’s principles, clinical researchers went on to study the effects of administering fruit-based fluids to cancer patients. They determined that fruit juices are a valuable tool for removing toxins from the body.

The Modern-day Cleanse
One modern-day adaptation of Lind’s principles is the juice cleanse, which is designed to detoxify the body using all-natural fruit- and vegetable-based juices with no artificial ingredients.  Juice cleanses focus on the digestive system, which regulates which nutrients get into the body and which toxins are removed. Before embarking on a juice cleanse, you may follow a pre-cleanse protocol that eases the body into the cleansing process. Components of the protocol include reducing intake of certain foods prior to cleansing, planning for your daily schedule, and developing a nourishment plan to supplement your cleanse.

Your Pre-cleanse Diet
It is important to remove certain foods from your diet at least 24 hours prior to starting a cleanse.  This helps the body adjust to receiving its nourishment from only juices and raw foods. Foods to remove include dairy, flour, sugar, meat, alcohol and caffeine. During your cleanse, you will be consuming multiple juice drinks throughout the day, which will remove toxins from the body while providing necessary nourishment. Since cleansing juices are crafted from raw foods, it is also recommended that you integrate raw foods into your diet before starting the cleanse.

Your Cleansing Schedule
To receive optimal benefits from a cleanse, it is important to follow a strict schedule. To help adhere to the schedule, it is recommended that you cleanse at a time when you can lighten your schedule and minimize stressors. Plan to consume cleansing juices at regular intervals, typically two to three hours apart, and to supplement your diet with a limited number of whole, live, nutrient-rich foods only if necessary.

Your Cleanse Diet
During the cleanse, you should consume non-caffeinated herbal teas and/or water between cleansing drinks to prevent dehydration. For optimal results, it is best to consume only the cleansing juices during the process. However, one or two whole, live, nutrient-rich foods can be consumed during the course of the day, if necessary. These should be eaten before early evening and chewed thoroughly to increase the volume of enzymes in your mouth and aid in the digestion and absorption of the meal into your body.

Begin your cleanse with the intent to consume only juices. If you find that your body needs additional nourishment, start by integrating one whole, live, nutrient-rich food into your daily plan. Increase to two of these meals only if absolutely necessary. If you are unsure how to prepare the foods or what foods qualify as whole, live and nutrient-rich, consult a nutritionist or ask if your cleanse provider offers prepared meals that meet the cleansing requirements.

After the Cleanse
Once you have removed the toxins from your body, it is important to develop a plan for sustaining the effects of the cleanse. For optimal results, it is recommended that you continue consuming raw foods post-cleanse, as these foods do not contain harmful toxins. Additional ways to sustain the benefits of the cleanse include managing/reducing stress levels and working towards achieving a more balanced lifestyle that makes wellness a priority.

A cleanse can provide a significant jumpstart to your wellness-centered lifestyle. When considering a juice cleanse, first determine whether or not you can commit to the dietary changes and scheduling requirements that are needed for an optimal cleanse. If you decide that a juice cleanse is right for you, remember to follow a pre-cleanse protocol and develop a post-cleanse wellness plan for optimal success.

Rosemary Devlin is a two-time entrepreneur, working mother of five boys and founder of O2Living (O2Living.me), a natural lifestyle and wellness community in Cross River, NY. She can be reached at 914.763.6320 or Rosemary@O2Living.me.

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