Juice Fasting for Beginners. ~ Jonathan Bechtel

Via on Jun 14, 2012
Juice cleanse
Courtesy of Bryonie Wise

Juice fasts are becoming more popular as a way to cleanse the body and reset physiological processes that have been riddled with pollutants, toxins, and food that’s laced with preservatives.

But of course they make a lot of people squeamish. Will I get hungry? Will I be glued to the toilet? What groceries should I buy? Let this guide give you a brief rundown of all the major points you need to consider before trying one.

Reasons To Do It

Many people go on a juice fast hoping that it will be a quick fix to their weight and health problems. This is not a good idea. Instead, it’s best to think of juicing as a “gateway drug” to better health and eating clean.

A juice fast all by itself is a bit of a challenge, and frankly, too expensive to make it a one-time event.

Instead think of it as a lifestyle “jolt” that will give you a quick glimpse to the benefits of eating green.  Many people note how they have increased energy and vitality after juicing. Doing it consistently for two to three days will whet your appetite for the energized feeling that comes with better health and a good diet.

What You Eat

The “juice” you drink on a juice fast isn’t the kind you buy in the store. It’s made with a juicer that compresses fresh fruits and vegetables and extracts the pulp. Most juice fasts consist only of drinking this type of juice and nothing else.

Depending on the length of your fast and your activity levels an occasional meal may be necessary, but it’s important to keep these foods “clean” and unprocessed.

How Long to Fast

The length of people’s juice fasts can vary widely, anywhere from two days to 60 days. However, for a newcomer, it’s most definitely a good idea to start small. Juice fasts can be fairly intense, and lifestyle circumstances can make longer ones all but impossible. Completely breaking your fast is worse than going on a small one successfully, so as a rule of thumb a two or three day fast is a good stepping point.

Beyond seven days isn’t a particularly good idea. While the benefits of a juice fast can be remarkable, they can have certain deficiencies when practiced for a prolonged amount of time.

For most people a Friday-Saturday-Sunday fast is a good place to start. The short period of time will allow you to “break in” to the diet, and the weekend will give you ample free time and a flexible schedule. Juicing is extremely healthy, but also a very labor intensive way of eating, so a flexible schedule is usually key.

Equipment Needed

The only equipment you really need is a juicer. Here the selection has become much more varied over the last five years.  At the low end are juicers such as the Black & Decker JE2200B or Hamilton Beach brands, and higher end models are made by companies like Breville and Omega.

If you plan on making juicing a part of your daily routine (a good idea), I’d recommend going with a higher end juicer. If you only plan on doing it for the fast, then going with a less expensive option is okay. But be aware that smaller juicers are not designed for intense juicing and may be wheezing by the end of the week due to heavy use.

Grocery Shopping

A surprising benefit of a juice fast is that grocery shopping actually becomes quite simple Just buy produce!

The produce that juices the best are fruits and vegetables that are hard and have a high water content.  These include but are not limited to: carrots, apples, celery, beets, ginger, oranges, lemons, and leafy greens.  Soft foods like bananas and avocados don’t contain much water.

As a rule though, it’s okay to experiment. Berries, herbs, and vegetables of most types can be juiced, and often unusual concoctions will taste surprisingly good.

I firmly believe that a little bit of curiosity and experimentation will get you as far as you need to go for two to three days. However, if you feel a little bit intimidated by the wide variety of food to choose from, there are plenty of juicing books to choose from which will help guide you to making tasty concoctions.

Energy/Discomfort

Understandably the most common question about a juice fast is “how will it make me feel?”

Over the long run, juice fasts will almost certainly help you feel better and more vital. Over the short run the results can be a little bit more varied. Depending on where your body is when you start the results can range from highly energized to slightly sick and bed ridden. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to only do it for a few days at a time and over the weekend.

However, there are a few good rules of thumb to make your fast as comfortable as possible:

>>Drink lots of water
>>Keep your calories up
>>Don’t go overboard with physical activity (moderate activity is fine)

Daily Routine

A juice fast is much more work than regular eating. Juicing takes a while, and juicing enough to sustain you for an entire day.  A good practice is to juice as much you can in the beginning of the day. Ideally a small or medium sized pitcher. This will take a while. Probably an hour or so, and you will probably have to do a little more in the evening as well.

For most people the biggest challenge on a juice fast is keeping your calories up to avoid hunger and fatigue. This will mean anywhere from 9-12 cups of juice a day.

This is a lot of produce, and you should be prepared to go to the grocery store every day or every other day. To save on food costs make apples and carrots the base of your juices. They’re fairly cheap and give you a lot of juice.

If you go on a fast longer than three days it’s best to supplement your fast with a condensed greens powder. They’ll help fill in some of the missing gaps in your diet and provide additional nutrients you might not typically get during a prolonged fast. Popular brands include Vitamineral Green, Green Vibrance, Incredible Greens, and Macro Greens.

 

Jonathan Bechtel is a contributor at LivingGreenMag, an online publication that informs and educates readers on a range of environmental and lifestyle issues, and highlights various non-profit causes. Visit www.LivingGreenMag.com.

~

Editor: Hayley Samuelson.

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11 Responses to “Juice Fasting for Beginners. ~ Jonathan Bechtel”

  1. shoofoolatte says:

    I would like to know if I can use a Vitamix blender for a juice diet. It takes the whole plant and emulsifies it into a juice of sorts. I have been drinking of "green smoothie" most every day, made from greens, a pear, water and a slice of ginger. Is this the same thing as "juicing"? The only difference I can see is that I am drinking the "pulp" that juicers discard.

    • __MikeG__ says:

      I too drink one or more Vitamix blended smoothies each day. Proponents of juice fasting all claim that the fiber from the veggies should not be taken in during the fast. Since blending leaves the fiber in the concoction a blender cannot be used for a juice only fast. Juicers remove the liquid from the veggie and leave all the fiber behind to be discarded.

  2. But of course they make a lot of people squeamish. Will I get hungry? Will I be glued to the toilet? What groceries should I buy? Let this guide give you a brief rundown of all the major points you need to consider before trying one.

  3. Sharon says:

    I'm not sure why everyone says it takes a long time to prepare – I can get a litre of over 10 vege/fruits done in a small juicer done and the juicer washed in 10 minutes. I actually prefer to juice rather than eat microwave meals!

  4. [...] Hayley Samuelson has written an excellent article talking about the Juice Fasts, very enlightining – check out her Blog at – Elephant Journal [...]

  5. [...] Juice Fasting for Beginners. ~ Jonathan Bechtel (elephantjournal.com) Share this:PinterestTwitterFacebookEmailLinkedInPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. [...]

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  7. Many people wants to start juice cleanse and I think this post will be very beneficial for them. Definitely the juice cleanse a good option for detoxify your body and improve your immune system. You have provided a great information thanks for this.

  8. Matt says:

    Great article! This is a great basic introduction for beginning juicers. I have done it myself, and although it can be tough to stick with at times, the results are well worth the effort!
    http://www.HowToJuiceFast.info

  9. [...] of you know I am an avid juicer, and I am also on a steady diet of wheat grass (read here to hear all about the benefits of this [...]

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