Juice cleanses are a great way to re-balance your body and improve your energy while reducing the amount of time your body has to spend digesting extra calories. While juice and water should be the primary components of a cleanse, it is a common misconception that you cannot eat any food during a juice cleanse.
As with any diet, it’s important to listen to what your body needs and adjust to what it is telling you. Hunger pangs and cravings should not be ignored, especially during extended cleanses. In this article we’ll share some of the foods that you are encouraged to incorporate into a juice cleanse and how you can do so.
If you are planning on doing longer cleanses (3 days or more) it is important to consult with a doctor or nutritionist to see what is best for you. It is not recommended that you do a juice cleanse if you are pregnant or nursing, suffer from diabetes, or kidney-related issues.
While juice cleanses are a great way to boost your energy and restart your system, it’s important that you give your body time to get used to the new diet, even if that new diet only lasts for a few days at a time. Making sure that your body is used to a lighter diet is necessary before you limit it to primarily liquids.
It is often recommended that you approach your juice cleanse in three stages, each with varying amounts of solid food incorporated into your juice-based diet. These three stages include the pre-cleanse, cleanse, and post-cleanse.
Depending on your lifestyle and general diet the pre-cleanse can last between 3-7 days if you are doing a multi-day cleanse. If you are doing a 1-day cleanse, eating lighter meals the day before your cleanse is fine!
During the pre-cleanse, your main food in-take will still be fruits and vegetables. However, incorporating proteins is still important during this time. Eating light meals that include proteins, such as eggs or fish, and whole grains like, rice and quinoa, are a good way to prepare your body for smaller amounts of solid foods.
When starting your pre-cleanse it’s important to note that your body may be experiencing some withdrawal symptoms as you lighten your food intake. Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout this process.
During the Cleanse
When doing your cleanse it is recommended that you eat small amounts of food if you do need to eat. Small snacks such as an apple with nut butter or a green smoothie with your favorite fruits and vegetables are great snacks to include in your cleanse without straying far from the liquid based diet.
When deciding on small snacks that you want to incorporate into your cleanse it’s important to keep fruits and vegetables at the top of your list. Veggies such as cucumbers, celery, and carrots are great vegetables to set aside as snacks for when you need a brief pick-me-up.
Nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, chia seeds or flax seeds also make for great snacks and can be a good source of healthy fats during longer juice cleanses.
With a liquid-based diet, it is easy to find yourself feeling hungry or having cravings if you have not done it before. Small salads are good for fulfilling these cravings. Vegetable or bone broth can also be used to keep cravings or stomach aches at bay.
Foods such as celery, carrots, and cucumbers are also great vegetables to help with food cravings that you may experience when doing your cleanse. While these snacks should be eaten in small amounts it is ok to eat them if you do start having stomach pains or cravings.
It is also recommended that you schedule your juicing sessions closer together if you find yourself feeling hungry while on your cleanse. Long periods between juices can make it harder to stick with the cleanse. It’s best if you drink less juice with shorter amounts of time in between each juice session.
As you adjust back to your normal diet you may want to jump right back into full meals high in proteins and healthy fats. However, it’s important to return to your usual diet gradually. Of course, salads are a great way to adjust to a diet of solid foods.
Your first few meals after your cleanse should still consist of primarily fruits and vegetables. Whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa can be slowly added into your diet after these. Foods like chicken or fish should be added back into your diet last.
Foods to Avoid
While there are many great foods to eat in small quantities during your cleanse, there are a few foods (and drinks) that are best to avoid during your cleanse.
Foods such as meat and dairy products are not the best foods to consume during a cleanse. While high in protein and calcium, both meat and dairy products can be high in fat content. Processed foods are also to be avoided as they are often high in carbs, sodium content, and saturated fats.
Drinks that should be avoided during a cleanse include alcohol and coffee. However, if you do drink coffee on a daily basis it is ok to continue drinking it so as not to be absolutely miserable the entire time you are cleansing your body of toxins.
Juice cleanses can be amazing and extremely beneficial for you when you listen to your body and find a system that works for you. If you need to make small adjustments to your cleanse schedule to make it work for you that is fine, just keep in mind that water, fruits, and veggies (especially dark leafy greens) are your best friends!
Be kind to yourself during this process and know that if the first time you try a juice cleanse it doesn’t go as planned, you can always try it again when you feel more prepared. Juice cleanses can bring many benefits but they also take time and patience and hunger doesn’t usually care what your plans are.