Juice your own fresh fruits and vegetables to try a juice fast for a day.
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Juice fasting sounds like a good idea, but like so many trendy diet and health food fads, the risks and consequences far outweigh the benefits. The basic theory behind juice fasting is unfortunately based on a centuries-old misunderstanding of how the human body functions. If you want to incorporate fresh juices into your diet, the most effective way to do so is to make smoothies using whole fruits rather than using a juice extractor.
People who understand how their bodies work eat a healthy, balanced and varied diet whether they choose to juice fast or not.
Myths About Juice Fasting
The biggest and most stubborn myth about juicing is that it can somehow magically detox your body. This is not true. Your liver, along with the rest of your gastrointestinal system, kidneys, lungs and skin are all efficient at removing toxins from your body. They effectively do their jobs of breaking down and neutralizing toxins and excreting them through elimination, breathing and sweating.
Nothing you do, including subsisting only on juice, can make any of these processes work more efficiently or move faster.
Another mistaken belief is that solid waste can build up in your intestines and/or colon where it putrifies and poisons your system. This is not how elimination works. You can certainly become constipated, but that is generally easy to correct through changes in your diet, drinking more water, exercising or using a laxative. Either way, if you are having bowel movements, there is no residue left behind poisoning you.
Facts About Juice Fasting
Juice fasting is accomplished by using a juice extractor to remove all of the liquid from fruits, vegetables and greens, leaving the fiber behind. Since fruits such as apples and pears, along with many vegetables, contain most of their nutrients in their skins, you're also leaving those behind.
Drinking only the extracted juice of fruits and vegetables offers you a liquid that is high in sugar without the fiber from the whole fruit that helps slow your absorption of the natural sugars. This can lead to spikes in your blood sugar levels which requires your body to release insulin to absorb the extra sugar. Wide fluctuations in your blood sugar levels can lead to headaches, fatigue and moodiness and can exacerbate hunger pangs already awakened by the absence of food and the mental challenges of fasting.
How to Juice Properly
If you're determined to attempt a juice fast, make sure you slow down your body's ability to absorb the concentrated sugar by adding protein. Yogurt, soy or nut milk and protein powder can help.
Instead of using a juice extractor, consider blending a mixture of whole fruits, vegetables and protein. Vanilla soy milk, vanilla yogurt, peanut butter and bananas offer you a nutritious and filling liquid meal which is an effective way to start your day or recover from a workout.
Carrot juice, spinach or kale, soy or almond milk and crushed pineapple is a refreshing drink packed with vitamin C and antioxidants.
It's best not to avoid solid food altogether, but if you wish to stick to a juice fast, plan for not more than three days. Take in at least 1,200 to 1,600 calories per day if you're a woman and 1,500 to 2,000 calories for a man, depending on your age, weight and activity level. Make sure your juices are made with a balance of fruit, vegetables and protein.
How to Eat While Juicing
While a juice fast will not forcibly detox your body, giving it a rest from processed foods, fried foods and alcohol is not a bad idea. Most people relying on packaged foods and drive-thrus are not getting the quality of nutrition they need to feel and look their best, and most are also chronically and slightly dehydrated.
Committing to a day or so of naturally nutritious juice blends offers not only the vitamins and minerals you may be missing, but will also help rehydrate you. Keep a water bottle with you and sip at it all day, aiming for 32 to 64 ounces per day, depending on your age, activity level and how hot and dry it is where you live.
Soothe hunger pangs with whole grains, leafy green vegetables, whole fruits, nuts, beans and healthy fats such as olive oil if you prefer to avoid meat. If not, adding a bit of lusciously seasoned grilled or broiled chicken or fish offers clean nutrition that feeds your body as well as your taste buds.