I have to say it right up front:
I’m a complete fan of juice cleansing and personally cleanse at least once every three months, so if you’re expecting an unbiased report, then it will be… but only to a point!
Quite frankly, I defy anyone not to benefit immensely from a juice cleanse – whether that be one day, three days, a week, or more.
In any case, because I am always being asked about juice cleanses and the various ins and outs of one, I decided to create the definitive, all-you-need-to-know guide for beginners.
So without further ado, let’s dive in.
Q: What is a juice cleanse exactly?
A: A juice cleanse is where you consume only the juice of fresh fruits and/or vegetables (including leafy greens) for a set period of time with no solid food, or even blended food, consumed during that time. Water may be consumed as it will not interfere with the cleanse, and in fact it is recommended that it is consumed because the water can help tremendously to enhance the cleanse.
Q: Why would I want to do one?
A: If you currently feel a few pounds overweight (or more), have lost your sparkle, your va-va-voom and really just feel like you need a good spring clean, I can think of nothing better than a juice cleanse to help get you there. In as little as just one day you can feel like a whole new person (it’s absolutely true). If you go three days you’ll feel like your body has been at the spa for a week, and if you go for a week the way you will feel at the end compared to the beginning will be like night versus day. Yes, it’s that remarkable.
Q: Is it safe? Can anyone do a juice cleanse?
A: Yes, it’s absolutely safe to do a juice cleanse for 99% of people, however, as always, if you do have any questions about your unique health situation you should consult your doctor or preferred health professional just to be sure.
Q: How much weight could I lose on a juice cleanse?
A: This will depend on a few factors, including which kinds of juices you consume and how many, but roughly speaking, you could reasonably expect to lose 2-4 lbs after one day on a juice cleanse, 4-6 lbs after three days, and up to 10 lbs after a week.
Q: That’s a lot! Would that weight then stay off? If so, for how long?
A: The weight loss is a combination of water weight from your body detoxifying and fat loss because the body is effectively on a fat-free diet during this time. As such, when normal eating habits resume the weight will come back on again over the next week or two. In order to prevent this from happening, or to limit the amount of weight that comes back on, you would want to modify your diet and exercise routine out the other side.
Q: If the weight comes back on again, what’s the point in doing a cleanse?
A: Because it’s the ultimate reset and you will look and feel amazing at the end of it! During the time you are cleansing you will start to look and feel like a different version of yourself and you will love it! It will open the doors to a new experience of being in your body and you’ll probably find that you won’t want to eat the same way as before when you start to eat again.
Personally speaking I really look forward to my quarterly cleanse because it’s like having an inner spring clean 4x a year, and I always love the before, during and after phases, because it’s like having a new lease on life again. While weight loss is a great attractor factor for many, it’s one of many great side effects of juice cleansing.
Q: OK, so what exactly does a juice cleanse look like?
A: It’s as simple as consuming nothing but the juice of fruit, vegetables and green leafy vegetables for a set period of time. That being said, some people will opt for a certain type of juice cleanse where they may only consume one type of juice during their cleanse, rather than a mixture of juices. More about this in a moment.
Please note that smoothies are not juices. A lot of people get confused and think they are the same thing. Juices are made in a juicer while smoothies are made in a blender. The difference is that juices are literally just the extracted juice from the food – so it is all liquid with no fibres or solids within them, whereas smoothies are foods that have been blended and while they come out in a liquid form, they still contain all of the fibre as there is no separation. Therefore, smoothies are effectively blended foods that contain juices (because they’ve been broken down), but are not just juice.
Q: What is the difference between a juice cleanse and a smoothie cleanse? Can I not just consume smoothies instead?
A: Smoothie cleanses are a thing, and yes, you can absolutely do a smoothie cleanse. However, juices are more potent and effective than smoothies specifically because of the lack of fibre in juices. Where there is fibre there is effectively food, and food takes more energy to digest and gives the body more to handle. People also tend to add other things to smoothies such as nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocados and various types of ‘milk’. This means more calories, more ingredients and oftentimes, more fat. So a smoothie cleanse can end up being just a couple of steps away from a ‘normal diet’ in some cases, rather than a true full-on detox.
Personally, I would say that a juice cleanse is like sending your body to the spa and a smoothie cleanse is like sending your body to the local swimming pool! Meaning, that a juice cleanse feels like a much more thorough revitalisation of body, mind and spirit and a smoothie cleanse will make you feel like you’ve had a good break but you won’t be feeling as amazing as you would do on a juice cleanse. Another way of putting it is a smoothie cleanse would be like a 7/10 to a juice cleanse’s 10/10 in terms of feeling radiant, light, fresh and new.
Q: Can I do this alone or should I get some kind of support?
A: You can definitely go solo but having someone in your corner is a great idea for all kinds of reasons. The first is that all of your own personal questions can be answered. The second is that you can check in and someone is keeping an eye on you! The third is that it’s great to share the journey and talk about all the weird, wonderful and amazing things that are happening. From my own experience, a group situation is my favourite because the investment is lower and it’s much more fun and inspiring to hear what other people are doing and the changes they are experiencing. It takes the experience to a completely different level.
Q: What are the different types of juice cleanse and how would I know which one is for me?
A: Most people start out with a simple fruit juice cleanse with some vegetable juices mixed in. For example, carrot and apple juice is a long-time classic, as is beetroot, celery, apple and cucumber. If you were just juice cleansing for one day you could certainly do an all-fruit juice cleanse, but if you go longer and do too much fruit your body can start to feel very off-kilter (from too much fruit sugar) and you will find yourself craving fat or something dry and very non-juicy in order to redress the balance. Therefore, whatever stage you are at, a good mixture of fruits, vegetables and green leafy vegetables is usually a winner, with the fruit part being less and less, the more experienced you get. Also, if weight loss is of importance to you then please also bear in mind that you will lose a lot more weight on vegetable/green juices than on the fruit juices because of the massive difference in calories.
Q: Do I need a juicer of my own or is there another way around it?
A: If you wish to make your own juices, then yes, you are going to need a juicer. If you don’t have one already, you could buy, beg or borrow one from a friend, neighbour or family member. If you’d like to buy one to keep and you want to save money, it’s always worth a look on Facebook Marketplace, eBay or any other similar directory/listing pertinent to your country. Another tip is to contact a juicer retailer and ask if they have any juicers that have been returned to them used or slightly damaged that they want to sell off at a discounted price. I know from my own experience of selling juicers online that there’s usually one or two of these stored somewhere in the office or warehouse at any given point in time.
Other options if you don’t want to make the juices yourself include: paying someone else to make them for you; purchasing them from a local juice bar/café; ordering them in via mail order; picking them up in bulk from a market and freezing some for drinking later.
Whatever you decide, preparation is key as you want to make sure you have enough juices or ingredients to juice and that you know how long you plan to juice cleanse for.
Q: I’m doing the math and think this might get expensive! How much is this going to cost me?
A: This will depend on how many days you juice cleanse for and how you go about it. If you’re juicing at home, your ingredients will be your only expense, along with any pure water you may purchase also. The price of ingredients will vary enormously depending on what they are, where you buy them from and whether or not they are organic. Obviously it’s far better if you can get hold of fresh organic produce, and an ideal case scenario would be a local farmers market or farm shop which would give you an incredible quality and purity of produce and at a lower price and better quality than the same produce bought from a supermarket. Fruit can come in more expensive than vegetables in terms of price versus yield, but ultimately, whichever way you go about it, yes, it’s going to cost money!
That being said, let’s consider the fact that many people would buy a couple of bottles of wine (or more) per week, plus the odd take-away or food delivery along with the normal weekly shop.
Your 3-7 day juice cleanse is going to probably cost a lot less than your usual weekly food bill, and you’re going to come out the other side of it feeling 10 years younger and like you’ve had a week in the sun. On balance, regardless of price, to me a juice cleanse is always going to be a wiser and more lucrative investment of money than a normal week of food shopping, no matter how healthy that weekly food shop may be.
Q: What about detox? Will I feel bad or get ill if I do a juice cleanse?
A: This very much depends on your previous dietary history and current state of health. For example, when I tried my very first cleanse I was just 20 years old and my dietary history was pretty awful to say the least! Until the age of 19 about 95% of my diet was junk food and I never drank plain water and ate hardly any fresh fruit or vegetables. My first cleanse was actually an ‘apple cleanse’ where I consumed nothing but apples for three days! I had read about it in a book and the author made it sound like a wonderful thing to do, and so I tried it.
Day 1 was absolutely amazing. I had more energy than I knew what to do with and felt happier, more alive and peaceful in my body than I had ever felt before. Day 2 I woke up two hours early feeling genuinely blissful and as if I had discovered one of the most magical secrets to life! I was excited to find out just how good I could feel as every hour I was feeling better and better. However… by early afternoon on Day 2 something shifted. Over the course of just 2-3 hours I felt tired, wiped out and ended up going to bed super-early. When I woke up the following morning I felt exhausted and could hardly get out of bed! In fact, I couldn’t get into work that day and had to call in sick.
I share this with you because if you have never done any kind of cleanse before you are best advised to err on the side of caution and plan for a time where you can afford to rest in bed if necessary.
It is impossible to know exactly how someone will respond to a cleanse, even years down the line with lots of experience, and so simply bear in mind that you may have a big detox like I did, or you might experience the more common symptoms of headaches, skin breakouts and fluctuating energy. All of these are completely normal and will pass.
This is why it’s important to drink lots of pure water during your cleanse, alongside your juices. The juices will enable and aid detoxification, but the water will do a much better job of flushing things out.
The most important thing to bear in mind overall is that the cleanse is not the enemy! The cleanse is actually your best friend, in that it’s enabling you to release things from your body that, left uncleansed, it would continue to hold onto which would in time potentially turn into something even less wonderful.
Q: How long should I juice cleanse for?
A: When people have never done any kind of cleanse before, I recommend starting with just one day, just to have the experience and get a feel for things and how it all works. By the end of these 24 hours you will feel amazing – quite possibly better than you ever could have imagined – and you’ll feel inspired to do more.
The next step would be to go for 2-3 days. Three days is better because there’s something that seems to happen around day three that makes all the difference and takes things to another level. In some cases this will translate to what happened to me on the apple cleanse (be ready!) and in others it could be the polar opposite where you too feel like you have discovered one of life’s greatest secrets and you just want more. Therefore I recommend making sure that if you go more than two days you are able to coincide it with a day or two off work, or on a weekend, just in case you need more rest or sleep than usual.
All of this being said, I had two women participate in my CLEANSE! program last year who had never cleansed before in their life. They both went from zero experience to two whole weeks on juice and felt incredible at the end. Originally the aim was to try for three days and see how they felt. When day three arrived, they both felt great so decided to continue on and to aim for a week. When it got to the end of that week they both didn’t want it to end and went another full week on top! This is why I say it’s impossible to predict what will happen, because there is no way of knowing in advance, and you could have an incredible and easy time of it, even if it’s your first time out the gate.
Q: Is there anything else I should know about the juice cleanse itself?
A: Yes – be prepared to feel different – not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too. This often comes as a surprise to people (it did to me!) because we see cleansing as a purely physical act. However, when we lighten up our physical body and food is no longer there to be used as a way to suppress emotion or to ‘fill the void’, interesting things start to happen! First of all, emotions may well come up. And these emotions can range from blissful happy feelings to sad, unhappy and even angry feelings. In the beginning I didn’t understand why this happened or how it happened. Now, with many years of experience under my belt, both personally and professionally, probably the most efficient way of explaining it is this:
Your body is not just a container for your bones, blood and brain! It also holds onto invisible things such as trauma, memories and pain from the past. These can get ‘locked in’ to the body when they are not processed at the time. When you lighten your diet via juicing you create a situation where the body has more energy and opportunity to clean itself physically, emotionally and mentally. Therefore anything stored recently will release first and the longer you cleanse the deeper and further back in time your process will go.
In any case, whatever your experience, it is to be celebrated, as what you experience on the outside is what was once on the inside and it’s better out than in!
Q: When should I stop a juice cleanse and how do I do that?
A: You should stop when you feel ready or if your detox symptoms are too strong or inconvenient. In most cases, you will stop when you originally decided you would stop, but sometimes people go longer than they planned, and sometimes they complete sooner. The most important thing is not the number of days that you cleanse for, but that you feel you made the right decision for you at that particular time.
In terms of how to stop, there’s a couple of things to bear in mind.
The first is that you should not just jump straight back into ‘normal’ eating. If you’ve juice cleansed for a day, a good first meal out the other side (for breakfast on day two) would be a smoothie or some fruit. Then you can go into a ‘proper meal’ situation for lunch that following day – but keep it light with at least a side salad to help keep things clean and fresh.
If you’ve juice cleansed for 2-5 days, half to one day of smoothies and fruit would be a good way to transition, with a large salad for your evening meal with a small amount of fat in the form of avocado or a small amount of hummous or nuts.
If you’ve gone beyond five days on juice, you’ll want to follow the guidelines above with a view to having at least one full day on juices and smoothies combined, and progressively transitioning from liquids to solids in a slow and considered way.
The reason? While the body acclimatises quickly to a new way of eating it doesn’t respond well to extremes – especially when those extremes happen in quick succession.
The benefit to this window out the other side is not just that the body has an easier time of it in adapting back to solids, but also that you have some time to be more thoughtful about how you’re going to eat over the next few days and weeks, and to reflect on just how much of a difference what you consume actually made.
So there we have it!
Hopefully this answers all of your questions about juice cleansing, but if not please feel free to go ahead and post them in the comments below.
As I mentioned at the start of this article, I personally juice cleanse every three months and I lead the much-loved CLEANSE! program at the same time.
CLEANSE! is a week-long program designed specifically to support anyone who wants to do a 3-7 day juice cleanse in a fun, inspirational, confidential and compassionate group setting. It provides everything (except the juices!) you need to have a fully supported experience and to be successful.
The next program begins on Saturday 16th April 2022 with a Zoom Welcome Call to help you get acclimatised and set-up, and the 7 days on juice starts two days later on Monday 18th April 2022.
If you’re curious about juice cleansing or are looking for a way to jumpstart your weight loss and/or health journey, spending a week with me and other likeminded men and women will be life-changing for you.
Juice cleansing is rejuvenating, super-healthy and delicious, and it provides an opportunity for growth and transformation in your life that you can’t find anywhere else. Plus, who doesn’t love getting support from a community of like-minded people?
Join CLEANSE! today and get all the information and support you need to make your juice cleanse a success – whether it be your very first time or your hundredth. Every juice cleanse is different but it’s all the more fun with friends!
For full information about the next run of CLEANSE! click here to read more.
I hope to see you there!