Juice cleansing: Weighing the pros and cons of this detox diet

Jan 13 2020, 12:46 pm

It’s the beginning of 2020 and many of us are pursuing our New Year’s resolutions, and for some, those goals include starting a healthy routine.

Getting back on a “healthy track” can include resetting the body with a detox, and juice cleanses are often a popular way of doing just that.

It’s no secret that this popular diet can hit your wallet, so are juice cleanses really worth forking out the big bucks for?

Peggy Kotsopoulos, Holistic Nutritionist and author of Kitchen Cures: Revolutionize Your Health With Foods That Heal¬†told Daily Hive in a phone interview that you can do a juice cleanse from home — but be prepared that it can be a process between juicing and cleaning the juicer when you’re done.

“If you can do it from home, it’s so much more worth it,”¬†Kotsopoulos said, “it is more cost-effective, and you can choose your own ingredients.”

Kotsopoulos said when you’re juicing from home, you can better control the contents and quality of the foods going into the juices compared to when you’re buying.

“You want to make sure it’s organic, and that gets really expensive if you get it through a service or through a store,” she said.

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“[The juices] can be really sweet if you get them through a service or a package. They have these red beet juices, which are so high in sugar,”¬†Kotsopoulos said about packaged juice cleanses.

For example, sometimes store-bought juice cleanses can “have six juices in a day. There might only be two green juices in there, there might be an orange juice, which has carrot and might have turmeric,” Kotsopoulos said, “but it’s very sweet.”

When you’re juicing from home,¬†Kotsopoulos recommends sticking to green juices and using organic cucumber and celery as a base because you get a lot of water and output in terms of juice.

To customize the juices, Kotsopoulos said you can add herbs that have detoxifying effects to help cleanse your liver and the body of heavy metals, and to sweeten the juices, apples and pears are your best options.

When you’re shopping for a juice cleanse, you can find some packages ranging from one to seven days. “I personally don’t recommend juice cleansing for more than three days,”¬†Kotsopoulos said.

While juice cleansing gives your digestive system a “break,” clears up your skin a little, and eliminates toxins,¬†Kotsopoulos says the “most important thing when it comes to eating well and cleansing and detoxifying is where are the toxins going — you have to eliminate them from your system,” explaining that you need fibre for the toxins to bind to in order to be flushed out.

“You’re not getting any fibre in a juice cleanse, at all. You’re just getting the juice — it can be high in¬†chlorophyll and vitamins and minerals and all that goodness,”¬†Kotsopoulos said. “If you were going to do a smoothie for example, that has the fibre in it, you’re still getting all that nutrients in it, or eating a green salad — but the fibre is the most important thing to bind on to the toxins to help eliminate it from your body.”

“Plus, your energy levels really decline after a while,”Kotsopoulos said, “because you’re not getting enough calories.”

“You’re doing calorie restriction for three days, let’s say, and that’s taxing on your body in a whole other way: your metabolism tends to slow down, you feel sluggish, you might not feel great — and that’s all normal, but that’s because you’re also not getting all the nutrients and all the calories and the energy and the protein that you need,” she said.

“So that’s why the shorter the duration, the better [when you’re juice cleansing],” Kotsopoulos said.

“I would just do it if you kind of want to reset your system a little bit, like one day is fine, three days max,”¬†Kotsopoulos said.

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Going into a juice cleanse, it’s best to prepare ahead of time by at least a week by incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, as well as lean protein and fats,¬†Kotsopoulos said. “That’ll ease the burden on your system.”

When you are on a juice cleanse,¬†Kotsopoulos said it’s important to listen to your body; for example, if you’re not feeling well on the first day, “don’t push yourself.” You can add a salad or nuts to snack on if you’re feeling low on energy. “The point of [juice cleansing] is to make you feel better at the end of it.”

Kotsopoulos said another great way to reset your system on a daily basis, is having a glass of room-temperature water with a squeeze of lemon and cayenne pepper each morning about a half hour before you have breakfast, supplements, or anything to drink, adding “when you’re sleeping at night is when your body is actually working the hardest to heal or repair and eliminate toxins,” and the lemon juice helps to cleanse the liver.

Kotsopoulos said drinking green juice doesn’t have to be just when you’re cleansing; it’s great to include into your daily lifestyle routine as a snack during the day.

For recipe ideas, including juicing and smoothies, you can follow Kotsopoulos online on  Twitter and Instagram.