I unsuccessfully attempted a juice cleanse a couple years ago.
I was prepared. My fridge was full of apples, ginger, kale and beets; My Breville juicer was clean and ready to go. I was not, under any circumstances, going to have caffeine or solid food. I’d be subsisting only on fresh juice for 4 days, and I was going to love it.
I couldn’t wait for the promised feelings of euphoria. I’d be so calm without caffeine that I’d give meditating a try. My bloated stomach would be so flat, I’d finally see where my hip bones had been hiding all these years.
The cleanse didn’t go exactly as I’d envisioned. I never felt anything close to euphoria; in fact, I felt pretty darn angry. My stomach was flat, but only because I was so freaking hungry. I was in such terrible caffeine withdrawal; I felt nauseated and weak.
Sometime during day 3, I ended up in Starbucks ordering a Venti soy latte. Don’t ask me how I got there, I was in a juice induced fog.
After a couple sips, I felt like I could see things clearly for the first time in 3 days. I realized two things: I’m seriously addicted to caffeine and juice cleanses are BS!
Look, I love green juice and it can be a wonderful part of a healthy diet. However, eating and drinking whatever we want and then only drinking juice for a couple days is not healthy. Let’s be real, a juice cleanse doesn’t cancel out the 6 glasses of wine and Chipotle burrito with extra guac you had last Saturday.
As I’ve learned more about nutrition, I know that nourishing our bodies isn’t something you ever need a break from. We need calories from nutrient-dense foods every day.
Furthermore, our bodies are designed to detox naturally. That said when we’re eating processed foods, taking medications, drinking alcohol and exposing ourselves to environmental toxins, our body’s natural capacity to detox can be impaired.
Here are ways you can help aid in your body’s natural ability to detox without subsisting on green liquid and sadness.
Stay hydrated. Filtered water & herbal tea are your friends.
Limit pesticide & hormone exposure. Buy organic whenever possible, especially for all meat and dairy products.
Up your fruit & veggie intake. In particular, load up on broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy and kale.
Take it easy on your digestive system and eat more soft foods. The more broken down food is before you eat it, the less work your body has to do.
Make a delicious fiber-rich smoothie or blended soup. Try some bone broth. You could even have a green juice (gasp!). Just don’t get crazy on me.
Give your liver a hug with this liver detox tea instead of having a glass of wine.
Swap green tea for coffee. I know. How about we compromise and have 1 cup of coffee in the morning and green tea later in the day?
Sweat. Perspiration is an essential part of natural cleansing. I don’t care if you want to hike or go in the sauna or have sex. Your choice.
Use natural products. From deodorant to cleaning supplies there are some nasty ingredients in conventional products. Try natural products with recognizable ingredients to reduce your overall toxic load.
Finally, find a way to manage stress. I know this is hard. Harder even, than doing a 4-day juice cleanse all the way through.
One of the worse things you can do to your body is to be chronically stressed. When you’re stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode and everything else–digestion, clearing toxins, making essential hormones–become secondary.
Practice deep breathing. Exercise. Hug your kids or furbabies. Know that whatever you face next, you’ll be able to handle it. You always have, right?