I get asked often my opinion on juicing and different juice brands, and more so now that we’re headed into Spring and Summer and people are wanting to look their best and shed some weight. What I’m running into often is people wanting to get back on track with their diet and thinking that a juice cleanse would be a nice jump-start. I agree, a juice cleanse can definitely be a nice jump-start. It’s not necessary, so keep that in mind, in order to lose weight and get back on a healthy regime, but to be honest, I find a cleanse fun and helpful myself. It’s very bio-individual. I can provide some guidelines for that as well as tips to know what to look for in quality juices. Remember that we’re all different so while I think bringing juice into your “diet”/lifestyle is good for all of us, it really depends on your body type whether you can or should do a cleanse, and for how long to continue the cleanse. Just to be clear, we’re talking about fresh-pressed, no sugar added juice, and better yet raw, organic and unpastuerized. Don’t waste your time, health, or that of your kids, with the store-bought sugar added juices, and I won’t waste mine writing more about them. Juices are great for easing back into a healthy regime, but have a plan. Make sure that it’s your path to better eating because I’ve seen it often that someone does a cleanse and then pigs-out on junk food after! Have in mind ahead of time (talk to a health coach if you need help) what you would like your diet to look like. We can’t live on juices, so this is important! Allow a cleanse to be a transition to a “lifestyle”, which is a word I actually like using better than “diet”, because it gives the impression of enjoyment and longevity much better than a diet does. The length and type of a cleanse depends on your health concerns, current eating path, and weight. If you have some weight to shed and really need a good jump-start, starting at a 3-day cleanse could be great. Some even go for 5 days, but if you’re new to juicing that could be daunting. If you’re light-weight, then you want to be careful with a longer cleanse. You might just go with a 1 or 2 day and/or bring in some light food to chew as well, such as a salad, soup or avocado. Something else to be careful with on juices (this is actually very important), make sure the juices aren’t loaded with too much sweet from fruit. Although this can make them easier to drink if you’re not use to veggie-juice, and can still provide nutrition, the point is to CLEANSE, and that really comes from your greens and spices (like pressed ginger and turmeric) for the most part. Of course, there are fruits that are great to have in juices for the vitamins and cleansing as well, especially citrus fruits like lemon and lime, but just make sure the juices are more veggie-based instead of fruit-based. The point isn’t to feed the bad gut bacteria which LOVE sugar, it’s to get them out!
With juices, because the foods aren’t cooked at all, it’s really best to use organic. If a juicery doesn’t have “Organic” on their labels, it’s still worth it to ask if they use organic. Getting that “Organic” label on products is actually a very expensive process, so if it’s a small business they might just not be able to swing the cost quite yet. But hopefully they’re honest and can tell you if everything they use is organic or if certain things are organic. If they’re proud of the ingredients they use and the sources their produce comes from, they’ll be proud to share it with you as well. Don’t be afraid to ask their process for juicing. Some use high heat, in which case the juice loses some of its nutritional value and should definitely be consumed right after making it. Others use a hydraulic press, which doesn’t use heat so it retains its nutritional value longer. Still it’s best to consume it sooner than later, but the juices do have a few days fridge-life. Unpastuerized is definitely important as well. Most store-bought juices are going to be pasteurized and therefore devoid of beneficial enzymes and bacteria for the body, which is why I buy my juice always from an on-site place, where they actually make the juice to-order in front of you, or at least press it there and don’t pasteurize it. Most of us know that with certain health conditions and pregnancy to be careful of unpastuerized foods, but for the general population, unpastuerized is better from a nutritional standpoint.
I hope these tips help! Keep in mind that even if you don’t do a juice cleanse, which again isn’t necessary to get on the right track but can be helpful and even enjoyable, having a fresh-presesd juice once a day or several times a week is great for our bodies. It’s easily absorbed by our cells, easy to digest, so straight nutrition. If you want to keep the fiber in there, do a smoothie instead or the combo of both during your week. Of course, all of this in addition, not instead, of eating well for your body. 🙂