Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Is a Juice Cleanse Right For You?

I recently had a conversation with a co-worker regarding juice cleanses. She had asked me if I had seen "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead." I hadn't, but I was immediately intrigued. She described a man on a journey to transform his health by juicing.  Upon a bit of research I discovered that at 310 lbs, Joe Cross was at the end of his rope. 100 lbs. overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, Joe decided to turn to his only option left, the body's ability to heal itself.

 So how did he do it?

Joe made a vow to nix junk food and replace his meals with fresh juice for 60 days. While it may sound extreme, what emerges, according to his website, "is nothing short of amazing". Joe successfully lost the weight by juicing fruits and vegetables and was able to get off prescription drugs. Even more amazing than the weight loss? Joe proudly proclaims on his blog "I am free of my autoimmune disease. I live a happy and balanced life at a healthy weight and could never imagine returning to my old ways again." 

Joe continues, a simple "reboot" is all you need. "During a reboot, you'll commit to consuming only fruit and vegetable juices for a period of time. 3 days, 5 days, 15 days, 30 days? It's your choice. The goal is to help you break a cycle of an unhealthy lifestyle and simply enhance the quality of your diet by increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables." 

 A Reboot program, followed by a healthy lifestyle helps you:
  • Boost the number of fruit and vegetables you consumer daily
  • Break the cycle of unhealthy eating and crave healthy foods
  • Jump start a weight loss plan
  • Manage a healthy weight
  • Lower the risk of life threatening diseases
  • Promote longevity
  • Decrease aches in pains in joints and muscles
  • Boost your immune system
  • Release stored toxins
  • Increase energy levels
  • Promote beautiful & healthy skin, nails and hair
  • Ease digestion by accessing digestive enzymes locked away in whole produce.

Sounds wonderful, but can everyone handle a juice cleanse?

According to Cynthia Sass, a registered dietitian with a master's degree in both nutrition and science, detoxes and cleanses aren't right for everyone and they can even backfire. "The key to reaping the rewards is finding what works, and doesn't work for you." 

Her top Do's and Don'ts of Juice Cleanses:

1. Don't do it to be trendy:
While many can be successful on a juice cleanse, Cynthia writes that some of her clients experienced intense cravings or obsessive thoughts about food when they learned they had to restrict their diet. This of course, made her clients more prone to binge eating. She continues, "Some people rave about how amazing they feel physically and emotionally during a cleanse, but I've seen others struggle with moodiness, irritability, depression, fatigue, constipation, constant thoughts of food, and rebound overeating." 

Bottom line: "If your body, mind, or both don't react well to limiting your diet, even for three, five, or seven days, don't put yourself through it."

2.  Do Choose a Detox or Cleanse That's Right for You
According to Cynthia, there's no standard definition of a cleanse or detox. "While super strict regimes are incredibly popular, most of my clients feel much more energized and satiated when they include lean protein, and/or raw veggies and fruits they can chew, rather than juices that are gone in a few gulps. It's perfectly "OK to 'cherry pick' from various plans to create a program that feels right for you." (Source)

Marisa Moore, R.D., and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics agrees. "You can eat clean and reset your body and still get the same (if not better) results."

Image Credit: You Beauty: Juicing Dos & Don'ts to Note


3. Don't Pull a Double Whammy and Work Out Too
Trying to exercise on a limited eating plan may have negative side effects including fatigue, dizziness and nausea. Why? A cleanse typically doesn't provide the extra fuel needed for exercise. A cleanse serves as a mean to end unhealthy eating, reboot, and reset your metabolism. Cynthia writes that this is much easier to do when you give your body a break from exercise. 

4. Don't Use a Detox or Cleanse as a Way to Purge
Since cleanses and detoxes have become trendy, Cynthia says that she has "seen numerous people get stuck in a trap of bouncing back and forth between a cleanse or detox and bouts of overindulging." Emotionally, "using cleanses and detoxes this way can become a lot like other methods of purging, including over-exercise, or taking laxatives or diuretics-it can feel like something that you don't want to do, and know isn't healthy, but you feel like you have to do, in order to undo the effects of overeating. 

Simply stated? Like any new diet regimen, you should consult your doctor and discuss your dietary needs. What works for some, may not work for you! Juicing, if done properly, can be extremely beneficial for your health. 

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