If you have never tried fasting with juice, you may be wondering why you would want to put yourself through such a challenging exercise.
The answer, like the fast itself, is pretty simple.
Very few people eat a balanced diet. Most of us brought up on a Western diet eat far too much salt, fat, sugar and protein.
Over the years, our bodies accumulate toxins and other waste which even a healthy body can’t eliminate. We’d slowly get overweight and sluggish, our systems don’t work as well as they should, and the ageing process takes its toll.
One of the easiest ways to correct the balance is with a juice fast.
What is a juice fast?
Benefits of fasting with juice.
Amongst the many advantages that juice fasting will bring to you are:
- elimination of toxins
- cleansing and healing of the digestive system
- healing of some chronic diseases caused by years of bad dietary habits
- improvement in mental acuity
- improved skin tone
- increased energy and vitality
- reduction of allergy symptoms
- weight loss
Is a juice fast suitable for everyone?
Fasting with juice is safe for most fit, healthy adults, provided you follow some simple guidelines. However, if you fall into any of the following groups, you should consult your medical professional before proceeding with a juice fast. If you are:
- a child who is still growing
- a diabetic
- have an eating disorder or are severely over- or underweight
- have liver disease
- are anemic
- are suffering from an infection or are unwell
- suffer from low or high blood pressure
- are soon to go into surgery
- have recently been in surgery
- are on certain prescription drugs
you should speak to your doctor and make a plan before fasting.
How long should you fast?
It is possible to maintain a juice fast for 3 weeks or more. There are plenty of examples of people fasting for 9 weeks or more.
However, if you have never done one before, you should limit your fast to three days.
If you wish to attempt a longer fast, do it under medical supervision. If you are not sure, attempt a one day fast to start with and see how you feel before extending it. Whatever you decide, play safe and listen to your body.
What might I feel during the fast?
If you aren’t used to fasting, the first thing that you are likely to feel is hunger! You will also probably feel the side effects of your body starting to heal itself and eliminate toxins. These side effects are perfectly normal and may include:
- constipation or diarrhea
- body odor
- bad breath
However, it is possible that you may also experience more extreme side effects such as fainting, dizziness, an uneven heart beat (arrythmia), low blood pressure or other more serious conditions.
If you experience any of these, you should immediately consult your health professional.
Do I need to prepare for the fast?
Yes. You will get the best benefits from the diet if you build up to it. The best way to do this is gradually to exclude (or at any rate reduce) the following from your diet over the 7 days prior to starting the fast:
- caffeine and caffeinated drinks
- dairy products
- junk food
- processed foods
- soft drinks and sodas
- wheat and gluten
On the day before your fast, cut out everything except for fresh fruit and vegetables, cooked or raw. Drink plenty of water to help with elimination. One or two cups of herbal tea is OK.
Plan ahead. The best time to fast is probably over the weekend, when you have a bit more time for preparing, chopping and juicing your fruit and veg.
Prepare a shopping list in advance, based on the recipes that you will be using. For a basic idea of what to buy, chose from the following fruits and vegetables which are excellent for detoxification:
How much juice should I consume?
It is recommended that you drink between 32 and 64 ounces (1 – 2 liters) of juice per day, spread throughout the day.
- Sip your juice, don’t gulp it
- Drink the juice as soon as possible after juicing – it will lose much of its nutrient value quickly
- Avoid citrus juices
- Dilute the juices to taste with filtered water
- Wash all fruit and vegetables carefully before juicing
- Juice the skins where possible – many of the nutrients are concentrated in the skin
- Buy organic produce where possible to avoid contamination with pesticides and other toxic agrichemicals
- Juice only ripe fruit and vegetables for maximum nutritional benefit
- Juice doesn’t contain any fiber, so you may want to supplement the diet with psyllium husks
- Include a light workout as part of your regime: take a walk or do some light yoga
- Skin brushing can help to eliminate toxins from the skin
- Get plenty of rest
If a pure juice diet feels like it is too much for you, eat one or two light vegetarian meals during the day.
Aim to use raw ingredients – salads with lots of color are great.
How to break the fast.
The process of fasting changes some of the digestive processes in the gut. So when you have finished your fast, it is important to make a gradual return to solid foods.
Done properly, this stage of the fasting process adds to its benefits. Technically, the period of breaking the fast should last as long as the fast itself. So for a 3 day fast, spend 3 days gradually reintroducing solid foods in the following order:
- Whole raw fruits
- Vegetable soups and broths
- Well cooked grains, legumes and beans
- Nuts and eggs
- …finally, meat and fish
Start with frequent small meals so that your body can adjust slowly to the new diet. Listen to your body and follow its lead.
And chew all your food well – this will take some of the strain of your digestive system and release enzymes in the saliva.
Drink plenty of water!
If you follow this simple plan, you should feel much better both physically and mentally. Many people feel the benefits of fasting with juice twice a year at the change of the seasons.
When winter thaws to spring, spring clean the body with a juice fast. And as the autumn leave start to fall, prepare for winter with another.
For the next stage, follow these tips on preparation for your juice fast.