When I tell people that I juice and that I've completed multiple juice cleanses, there are a few responses that I get. Of course, people who are also juicers are excited to meet another like-minded soul, but more often people meet my comments with disbelief and questions. Perhaps they've tried juicing at some point, without success. Or, maybe they just heard something that has kept them from giving it a try. Whatever the case, I'm happy to share my thoughts and experiences and turn their reasons not to juice into reasons to juice.
Here are a few of the most common statements I get when I tell someone that I juice, along with my responses.
I tried juicing but I just ended up gaining weight.
A common mistake many people make when they start juicing is to only think of juicing in terms of fruit. In fact, when you do a juice fast the majority of your juice content should be vegetables. Just as in a regular diet, fruit should only be a small percentage of you eat. For instance, when I do a juice fast, three out of five of my daily juices will be primarily vegetable juice. Depending on the blend, I may add in a single piece of fruit (usually an apple) to make it taste better. The other two juices may have more fruit, but will still have some vegetables as well. Cucumber, celery, beets, and carrots all make excellent juice bases.
I tried a juice fast, but I felt awful so I had to stop.
Many people make the mistake of jumping into a juice cleanse without preparing their body. If you've been eating a typical Western diet--low in fruits and veggies and high in processed foods and sugar--and you suddenly cut out all the foods your body is addicted to, you will pay for it. It will hurt.
Day three is when you will usually feel it the worst, in the way of headaches, stomach upset, and possibly even a fever. The worse your diet is before you start, the worse you will feel on day three.
However, if you take the time during the week or so leading up to your juice fast to plan, reduce the amount of processed foods and meat in your diet, and begin adding juice to your diet on a regular basis, you can reduce those symptoms.
All that sugar in juice isn't good for you.
You are correct. If you are drinking a lot of juices high in sugar, it's not good for you. However, the amount of sugar in any juice depends entirely on what you are juicing. Choose wisely. If you are diabetic or have other health issues, you should talk to your doctor before you start juicing and find out if there are specific foods you should avoid juicing altogether. In some situations, you may find out that it's better for your system to blend your fruits and vegetables rather than juice them, as this will reduce the speed at which your body absorbs the sugar. In other situations, you may find that juicing simply isn't a good idea for you at all.
Aren't smoothies better for you since they maintain the fiber content?
It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Drinking a smoothie is no different than eating the same fruits and vegetables.
I juice because juicing is like mainlining massive amounts of nutrients. When you drink a smoothie your body still has to work for those nutrients, therefore they are absorbed more slowly. However, juicing does not remove all fiber content, so even during a juice cleanse you are still getting a decent amount of water-soluble fiber. When I do a juice cleanse one of my goals is to flush out the bad and replace it with good. By eliminating the majority of the fiber, my digestive system is allowed to rest and simply absorb the good stuff.
I hope you are using a protein supplement.
I'm not sure where this myth that you can only get protein from meat came from, but this is probably the most common response I get from people about doing a juice cleanse. Protein is plentiful in many vegetables, especially the dark green leafy kind, like kale, spinach, and collard greens. I juice a lot more greens than I would ever eat, and that's really one of the greatest things about juicing. You can get the nutrients from a huge amount of fruits and vegetables that you'd never be able to eat in a day. During the course of a seven-day juice cleanse I get plenty of protein. However, if I were to do a long juice cleanse (30 days or more) I would likely add a protein supplement.
The reasons for juicing are endless, and in my opinion, they outweigh any reasons to avoid juicing. I can honestly say that I feel like it's saved my life. I can tell a difference in how I feel when I'm juicing regularly versus not juicing. I simply feel better. And, when I notice my diet is slipping a little too far to the unhealthy side, a juice cleanse is an excellent way for me to rebound to healthier habits.
Before you jump in it's a good idea to know what to expect and how to deal with it. Knowing the reasons why many people avoid juicing and how to avoid those issues is a great way to make sure that you have a good outcome.