In this installment of ‘Tried and Tested’ I’m sharing my experience with a 3 day juice cleanse (or detox, as some might call it). I went and consumed nothing but fresh juice for 3 days straight. And then I did it again 6 months later…
The juicing fad has been popular for quite a few years now and was just getting started when I first got into natural health because of my desperation with having a chronic disease (IC).
I’m sharing my experiences here to hopefully help you people out there make the right decisions when it comes to natural therapies. So let’s see how the juice cleanse worked for me…
The Whys and Hows of a Juice Cleanse
Detoxing has been a buzz word for a while and of course modern life is pretty full of toxins, so many proponents of detoxes believe that there are methods to rid the body of harmful substances quickly.
One way is fasting, which has been part of many religious cultures for a long time. One idea is that this allows the body to focus energy on getting rid of waste, rather than spending time digesting foods etc (and this seems to be true to some extend).
The theory behind doing a juice cleanse in particular is that freshly juiced vegetables and fruits contain important nutrients that help the body ‘detox’ and that we can take them up in much larger quantities from juice than we ever could from food. Theoretically, they’re absorbed much quicker than if they had to be metabolized from foods.
So basically, one juices an array of (organic) vegetables and fruits (especially vegetables) and consumes nothing else for a number of days.
The specific cleanse I had come across suggested a 3-day juicing fast and at the same time one had to rest and do coffee enemas (again, as a means to ‘detox’ the liver).
Why I did the Juice Cleanse
6 years ago now, I was in a pretty dark place with my chronic bladder pain, had been dismissed by my doctors and knew instinctively that orthodox medicine just wasn’t for me.
I had newly discovered that diet and nutrients may have a big impact on health but I didn’t have a good understanding of how.
I was desperate for anything that could get me out of the mess my life had become and therefore I was quite gullible and quick to follow anything that promised recovery.
Juicing was pretty hot and new back then, so of course I was on board. I bought myself a good quality juicer and an enema kit and got started.
My 3 Day Juice Cleanse
First, I got everything I needed to get started and ordered a massive box of organic vegetables and fruits. It was a variety of everything.
Then I picked 3 consecutive days of the week that I wasn’t very busy and got started.
I juiced everything, from cabbage to apples. Some of the mixes tasted great, some not so much. If I had to go out, I froze some juice and then took it with me.
I found this rather fun.
Once a day, I did a coffee enema to ‘get the waste out’ quicker. This wasn’t so fun, but since I hadn’t eaten it also wasn’t so bad.
6 months or so later, I did it all again but this time I added some bone broth (because I was transitioning from veganism to eating meat again).
How I felt after and during the cleanse
On the first cleanse I felt pretty good. My energy had been pretty low beforehand and I was just starting to transition my diet from more processed to unprocessed (raw) foods. I believe the change in diet and the sudden input of nutrients made me more energetic.
But my bladder symptoms didn’t improve and probably even flared up, depending on the juice consumed.
I started getting really hungry on the second day but overall it wasn’t so bad.
But any positive effects I experienced during the fast didn’t last.
The second cleanse was a different matter. I felt extremely fatigued and low and because I was already pretty skinny, I also lost any remaining fat. I was cold and miserable. This had absolutely no positive effect and I believe it was pretty harmful for me.
Thoughts on Juicing from a Nutritional Therapist’s Perspective
Years have passed since I was into juicing and I know so much more now. With my current knowledge I would not do a juice cleanse again, nor recommend it to my clients.
Although I think juicing may be a good way of getting more nutrients into people, especially if they’re following a standard Western diet, and fasting in general can be therapeutic (for some), there are also several issues with consuming juices:
- All vegetables and fruits are carbohydrates, which turn into glucose (sugar) in the body. Fibre slows down this conversion somewhat, allowing the glucose to enter the bloodstream more slowly and thereby avoiding sugar spikes (not a good thing, as this can lead to blood sugar imbalances). Juicing removes the fibre, allowing glucose to enter the bloodstream pretty quickly. Blood sugar imbalances can lead to sugar cravings, mood swings, low energy and more.
- The liver is our main organ for detoxification. The detox processes in the liver rely on protein. There is not much protein in juice!
- Fibre helps absorb toxins and waste in the gut. Juice has no fibre.
- Juicing doesn’t just concentrate nutrients but also anti-nutrients, such as oxalates. Oxalates can be a big issue for some IC sufferers.
- If the produce you’re juicing is not organic, you’ll also get a nice cocktail of pesticides (toxins!).
Verdict on Juice Cleanses
When transitioning from a processed diet I felt that juicing for me had some positive effects in terms of energy and I assume this is why it seems to be popular, especially for people who carry some extra weight.
However, when I was already on a wholefoods diet (raw vegan in this case) and was already underweight, I felt that the cleanse was detrimental to my health and I would never recommend it to anyone in a similar situation!
With regards to my IC symptoms, it didn’t do anything positive for me. And in terms of ‘detoxing’, who knows…(but I doubt it).
Have you ever tried juicing? How did it work for you? Let me know in the comments!
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