While half the world is pulling out their winter woollies, chopping the firewood and brewing up a mug of spiced mulled wine, the rest of us are revving up the blenders and juicers and calling our long lost personal trainers – or digging out the old gym membership – as bikini weather once again seems to have come without warning out of nowhere.
Damn it – it manages to do it every single year!
And so inevitably the “D” word starts to get thrown around again. In this case I mean “Detox”.
Now there are a lot of crazy – and potentially dangerous detox programs out there. There is also a fair amount of misinformation and confusion about how a detox should and shouldn’t be done. (See my post on Detox Myths)
At the end of the day, common sense should prevail. If you have to drink the morning dew, gathered from the exceedingly rare Lotus Berthelotti flower, directly after the autumnal equinox, while standing naked on your head at the alter stone Stonehenge.. then really you have bigger issues than detoxing. Apart from the fact that I can see a few things in there that will most likely end up with a stint in a prison cell!
Disclaimer one: I’m currently reading the Jack West Jr Novels from Matthew Reilly and they are somewhat Indiana Jones-ish – so I might be prone to sprout crazy adventure / archaeological references.
Disclaimer two: the above is not ( I REPEAT NOT) a detox…so seriously don’t try it… but if you do be sure to leave a comment letting us all know how you went!
But I digress – (this post took on a life of it’s own!). I do believe there is a time and place for a detox. I find it’s a nice little kick start when you feel a bit blurrrrgggghhh! That’s my technical term, its kind of bloated, foggy, lethargic, dull… you get the picture. And this happens to the best of us every now and then when the more toxic parts of our day to day living just build up in our systems. Everything needs a good clean out once in a while.
Now I mentioned that this is the time of the year the juicer gets dragged out and revved up. I’m typically a big smoothie person, as opposed to a juice person. But after discovering vegetable juices – which didn’t have the sweetness I disliked in fruit juices, I became a fan.
I find the occasional juice detox – if done right – boosts energy, clears the skin and eyes, and just really feels like it’s flooding your body with nutrients!
But again – it needs to be done sensibly. So with that said I’ll put my serious hat on now and here are my four tips for following a safe juice detox.
Options for a Safe Juice Detox
Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables carries a slew of health benefits, including the ability to rid your body of harmful toxins. Depending on the foods in your diet, your exposure to pollution and several other factors, various chemicals and compounds can build up in your system, resulting in fatigue, headaches, and even leading to more serious health issues such as an increased risk of heart disease or digestive complications.
While a juice detox can correct many of these problems, it’s important to follow a few basic steps to make sure you do it safely. Otherwise, you could end up doing more harm than good.
Keep it all natural
First and foremost, you need to make sure that you understand everything that you put into your juices during your detox. In order to ensure that you receive the right types and amounts of nutrients, you need to carefully craft your juices to exclude any of the harmful foods that were part of your previous diet.
This means keeping it as natural as possible, focusing on fruits and vegetables over expensive powders and mystery concoctions. If possible, use organic produce to also eliminate exposure to pesticides and other chemicals that can also hurt your body and negate the positive effects of the juice.
Find the right balance of ingredients
It’s not just enough to juice organic produce and wait for the results to kick in. You need to carefully choose a balanced selection of fruits and vegetables to both maximize the effect and ensure you don’t overload your body with any single nutrient. For example, over emphasizing certain fruits, such as bananas and mangos, can result in a higher sugar content than is necessary.
This can lead to an imbalance in your blood glucose levels, causing you to crash later on in the day and deprive you of other essential nutrients. Make sure your juice blends feature healthy amounts of leafy greens such as cabbage and kale, antioxidant-rich berries such as blueberries and other foods high in fiber, such as carrots.
Don’t neglect the rest of your diet
If you’re taking on a juice cleanse to clear out your system and give your metabolism a reboot, remember to make sure you’re meeting your overall daily calorie and nutrient goals. While a juice-only diet still delivers vitamins, minerals and energy, it’s not as much as if you were eating grains and foods high in protein.
Try to limit juice-only detoxes to a few days, as week- or month-long cleanses can lead you into a hypocaloric state, where you’re not receiving enough energy to power your normal functions. Also, don’t jump into a juice detox before balancing out your normal diet.
The shock of going from eating fast food to nothing but juice can cause damage to your system that can affect your health in the long run. Retool your daily eating first, then start working in juices and make the decision to start a short-term juice-only cleanse, if necessary.
Personally I wouldnt do a juice-only diet – but I would strongly suggest anyone considering it speak forst with a qua;ified health professional such as doctor, naturapath or nutritionist.
Modify your activity accordingly
One thing many people forget about when taking on a juice detox is their activity levels. Juice detoxing can lead you to flush your system frequently, which might not always be possible with some work environments.
Depending on how much of your diet you’re changing, you might also notice significant changes in your energy levels. Make sure you don’t overdo it when you experience an energy boost from the juice, because your body is still changing and reacting to its new state.
If you’re going on a juice-only detox, it’s incredibly important to keep your physical activity lower than normal because you might not be receiving enough calories to support it without harming your muscles.