1. You’ve been feeling tired, headachey, digestively funky and just less than awesome.
Getting high quality nutrients into your body in an easily digestible way allows your body to assimilate those things and restore itself.
Think of this as hitting the reset button—scramble? Grouchy? Mercury—or just life—put you through the wringer? It’s time to find the ground again.
2. You’ve been making food/drink/sleep/exercise choices that don’t make you feel good.
Notice, we didn’t say “overeating, drinking, skipping exercise.” Our bodies, like everything else in life, are constantly in a state of flux. The foods and activities we crave are often because our body is trying to move more towards a middle ground, or something near balance.
That said, each of us has different nutritional and activity needs. Your genes and lifestyle are your own. What feels best for your body and mind might look vastly different than what works best for me.
In general, it’s safe to say that more whole foods is a good thing, we all need rest, and we all need activity that makes our bodies feel good too.
3. You have a hard time getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet in colder months, and you want to learn how to change that.
In the summer, it’s easy—it’s all we want to eat! But once it’s colder out, we want to hibernate with heavier food and a blanket and hide away until spring. Part of that is our body’s way of taking care of itself and balancing out the cold. We want warming and grounding foods. The tough part is, in our culture, many of the warming and grounding foods that are most readily available aren’t that good for us.
When our body says, “give me something warm and sweet,” we don’t necessarily think of quinoa or roasted root vegetables. Getting large amounts of veggies and fruits in is a great way to remind your body that Hey… beets are delicious and make me feel amazing, or Wow, my eyes look incredibly blue and sparkly after all that kale.
Juicing in the cooler weather is different than juicing other times of year; even if you have a more “pitta” or easily overheated constitution, colder weather requires different things of our bodies. A really easy way to modify a juice cleanse for cold weather is to emphasize fruits and vegetables that are in season right now where you live. Another important point is to look at why you are doing this.
Our bodies are not here for us to punish them; that went out the way of the Puritans.
Our bodies are to celebrate in and with—the point of having this juicy time is to look at what we’re adding, not what we’re taking away. If all juice, all day for three days will leave you feeling weak and weepy, have a simple dinner of veggies and rice, or some miso soup.
Don’t do it all day and then grab a fast-food cheeseburger; you’ll feel worse than if you didn’t do it at all—physically and mentally.
Several people have asked about juices versus smoothies. Here are a few things to consider:
1. More concentrated.
2. Most easily digestible.
3. Energizing (but also cooling…this can be a pro or a con depending on your situation).
4. Can include harder produce like carrots.
We’re using the term “blended juices” here, because we aren’t really talking about a smoothie like you’d get at Jamba Juice. We are talking about essentially the same ingredients you’d have in your juice, but blended rather than juiced.
1. More fiber (which also translates to more filling).
2. Easy to make and doesn’t require a juicer.
3. Can be a great way to add in extra superfood type ingredients like chia seeds.
We both have generally done a combination of both types during our previous cleanses. There is not a one-size-fits-all amount of juice to consume per day. We’d recommend about a quart of green juice per day, supplemented with other juices or blended juices according to your hunger, thirst and needs.
For one quart of green juice:
3 – 4 celery stalks
2 big fistfuls of greens (I often opt for kale, but you can play with other greens as well)
1 head of romaine
2 cucumbers (if they are organic, you can keep the peel)
1 lemon (peeled for most juicers)
You could add mint or ginger as well. This time of year, it’s nice to let the vegetables be room temperature before you juice.
Other great fruits and vegetables to juice this time of year include beets, carrots and cranberries. If you are doing smoothies, a great basic green smoothie would be a few handfuls of greens (blend the greens on their own first with a little water), a banana, and some berries. Avocado also makes a great add-in to smoothies. I often make a smoothie with coconut milk, avocado, spinach and raw cacao.
What if you don’t just want to juice?
If you have an ongoing health issue or are pregnant or nursing, strictly juices might not be a good fit for you. Talk with whoever you see for health care support, and check in with how your body feels. Anyone who does all juice may feel some discomfort, but pay attention to what your body is telling you.
If you decide to include a “regular” meal, stick with something simple, vegetable based and easily digestible. Some basmati rice and steamed veggies would be great, as would some simple soup. They will not have the concentrated effects of the juice, but they will be a good companion for it.
So what do you need to do today to prepare?
1. Go easy on caffeine, sugar and animal products.
The less gunk that’s going in your body today, the less of a shock tomorrow will be. When people do extended or very strict juice regimens, it’s typically recommended that they spend a few days of eating primarily whole foods before and after.
2. Buy your veggies and fruits and have them ready to go.
One of the things we like best about having a green juice or smoothie for breakfast is that it’s incredibly fast and doesn’t require a lot of work—if we have everything ready and on hand ahead of time. I (Kate!—well, both of us!) loves to cook…when I’m entertaining, or even when I’m cooking for me and the kids. When we’re making a meal just for me, laziness seems to set in. If you have everything ready to go, it will be much easier to go for it first thing in the morning.
1. Make all of your juice ahead of time.
As much as possible, make it when you are going to drink it. If necessary, make what you need to bring with you to work. The fresher your juice or smoothie, the greater the nutritional benefits, and the better the taste too. If you need to make your juice ahead, try to store it in something glass to keep it fresh and avoid the chemicals in the plastic.
Mason jars are awesome for this (as anyone who’s looked at both of our Instagram accounts can attest to…).
2. Eat lots of crap food today like the world is coming to an end and it’s your last time to have gelato/brie/bourbon/salted caramel.
All of the things we like that are not optimal nutritionally speaking will still be around in a few days. This is not a diet. The idea is not to “go on a cleanse” and go back off. The more junk you eat today, the worse you will feel tomorrow.
And a side note about caffeine: we’re not about to demonize coffee. We like it. We take breaks from it at times, but there is really as much good about coffee (in moderation) as there is bad. Ideally, for a cleanse, you will be skipping coffee and any of what you normally put in it (sugar, milk, etc.). If you are a die-hard coffee drinker and the caffeine withdrawal will derail your participation, follow up your morning green juice with some green tea or Yerba Mate.
(We know the world isn’t ending with the thought of juicing for three days, but it’s easy to get our minds stuck in that trap. Here’s something I (Bryonie) observed after treating myself to one—ok, two—vegan donuts and one full test, fully caffeinated almond milk latte yesterday: I was high. Literally. I started talking a mile a minute, felt buzzy and happy and gleeful. It lasted about an hour or so—and then I crashed. It was nothing short of marvelous to observe my body react—if anything, juicing and taking a few days to create some space tunes us in to who we are and what we really need. And yes, sometimes that means two vegan donuts.)
3. Overload your schedule while you’re juicing.
We’re both lucky that we are able to make our own schedules—mostly, that means editing or writing and creating in our pajamas all day long, although there are commitments that take us out into the world as well. We’re both careful to clear our schedules as much as possible when we decide to juice—by making this space, we allow ourselves room to feel whatever emotions or physical sensations might come up.
You might find that you need some quiet from the outside, as your inner body starts to shake the dust and resettle itself.
This is about finding new ways to honor who we are and sometimes, we need to clear out the junk to get back to the sound of our hearts.
Still want to join us? We’d love to hear about your experiences along the way. We’ll be posting every day for the next three—join us here to share your voice and use the #juiceeverydamnday hashtag on all other social media outlets to follow the juicing fun.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise