Have you ever participated in a juice cleanse before? Known to help give your digestive system a break to recharge and remove unwanted toxins from your body, juice cleanses have become increasingly popular among those looking to make healthy changes in their life. Learn more and read about my recent experience here.
I did something I told myself I would never do. I recently participated in a 1-day juice cleanse, which meant drinking nothing but liquids for 24 hours. For those who know me and know how much I love foods, this was a big deal!
Why did I do a juice cleanse?
As my passion for nutrition and health has continued to deepen, one “trend” that I never truly understood was any sort of liquid fast, including juice cleanses. As someone who loves to eat and knows the importance of nourishing the body with whole, nutritious foods in order to maximize health, I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around how going on a liquid fast would help someone reach a particular health goal.
But as my experiences and knowledge continue to expand, so do my opinions and thoughts on what a healthy lifestyle looks like and the tools you can use to get there. Studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and working at a local juice bar have influenced my journey and are challenging me to take my blinders off and look at health and nutrition in a different way.
Having heard about the benefits of a juice cleanse, I wanted to see what it was like for myself! I wanted to be able to speak from experience when talking to customers of the juice bar about the cleanses, as well as my future health coaching clients. I didn’t just want to know the challenges and benefits of a juice cleanse; I wanted to experience them.
Related: How to Make Juice Without A Juicer (Plus, 3 Green Juice Recipes)
What are the benefits of a juice cleanse?
While this topic is hugely controversial, I do believe that juice cleanses (done for the right reasons) can help individuals reach their health goals.
Juice cleanses are a way to get more phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables into your body than you normally would in a given day. And because you are consuming the juice without fiber, your body absorbs these nutrients into the bloodstream more quickly.
I think the biggest advantage for someone doing a juice cleanse is to look at it as a pathway to healthier living. It can provide the jumpstart needed to crave healthier foods and adopt healthier lifestyle habits.
Other benefits that may result from a juice cleanse includes: a clearer mind and increased focus, reduced symptoms related to certain illnesses, decreased inflammation, healthier skin and nails, a healthier digestive system, and even weight loss.
Related: My Favorite Hot Lemon Detox Tonic
What a Day on a Juice Cleanse Looks Like
I really didn’t know what to expect while on the juice cleanse and truth be told, I was a little nervous. I rely so heavily on nutritious foods to give me the energy I need throughout the day that I was worried about how my body was going to react when I was only feeding it juices.
Here’s what my day and thoughts on the juice cleanse looked like:
(I must note, I cheated and had some coffee. As we will talk about later, it’s best to prepare for your cleanse so you don’t, ahem, experience a raging caffeine headache).
8 am – Drink my first green juice. I woke up and was feeling anxious about the cleanse. Funny how something so small can take you outside of your comfort zone! I was just hoping I would have the energy I needed to get some work done. (Related: 5 Ways to Decrease Your Coffee Consumption)
10 am – I broke down and had some black coffee with a splash of the hemp milk. I was craving some normalcy in my day and I so I opted for a cup black coffee and only half of the hemp milk for some protein and satiety. Once I had a sip of coffee, I knew I could do this.
12 pm – Drank a root juice. Surprisingly, I was feeling great and wasn’t jittery from the coffee (which can happen sometimes when I don’t drink it with food). I was feeling focused and ready to tackle the rest of my day!
2 pm – Went to target. Big mistake. I started feeling slightly weak and hungry and decided I better go home, drink a juice and relax. I drank a green juice and the rest of my hemp milk and was productive the rest of the afternoon, while laying on the couch.
4 pm – Drank another green juice to power me through the evening.
6 pm – Made myself another hemp milk because I was feeling like I needed the protein and a little more substance. I also made (more) coffee because I thought I needed it, but actually didn’t end up drinking it!
8 pm – Drank ½ of another root juice. I was surprisingly not hungry after a day of juices.
I had one green juice leftover that I didn’t drink. I ended up waking up the next morning feeling really good and actually reached for the leftover juice, surprising myself since I thought I would want all the foods!
Takeaways from My One-Day Juice Cleanse
If I’m being honest, I didn’t think I would enjoy the cleanse as much as I did and was skeptical about the benefits I would see in just one day. But, the morning after the juice cleanse I felt great! I noticed that my skin and nails were more moisturized and it felt like I had a summer dew (in the midst of winter). I also noticed that my complexion was clearer and less blotchy, I could think more clearly and my energy levels were up.
One thing I didn’t anticipate was how much of a mental battle it would be for me on the day of the cleanse. I believe this challenge I experienced was due to the reason I did the cleanse in the first place. I consider myself a pretty healthy eater and was feeling good about my diet and food choices at the time of the cleanse. The reason I wanted to do the cleanse was for more of a test than it was to jumpstart healthier habits.
Would I do a juice cleanse again?
Absolutely! I think there is something to be said about the benefits of a cleanse and it’s something that most people can benefit from. However, if I were to do a cleanse that lasted more than a day, I would look at ways to incorporate clean, whole foods into the program that wouldn’t stress the digestive system, but would satisfy my need for substance in my day.
I believe that a cleanse shouldn’t be tasking, rather, it should be enjoyable, and it’s important to find ways to make it realistic to you and your lifestyle, while still being able to reap the benefits. Some people can only go a few hours without something to chew, others can go a few days. It’s best to find what works for you and to listen to your body. This is your journey – no one else’s!
Related: 7 Guidelines for Clean Eating
4 Tips for Making Your Juice Cleanse a Success
Now having successfully completed a juice cleanse, here are four tips to guide you towards success if you are considering one of your own (adapted from the New Moon Juice website):
Find what works for you.
Let’s be real. You probably won’t be as successful on a cleanse if you don’t sign up for something you think you might enjoy. While I believe any cleanse might push you outside of your comfort zone a bit (which is a good thing!), there’s no sense in dreading it. Maybe that means you incorporate sweeter juices, more nut milks, solid foods (within reason and are still detoxifying), or you begin with a half day and work your way to a few days cleanse.
Prepare for your cleanse!
This is what I didn’t do that I should’ve. It’s best to start eliminating certain foods from your diet before your cleanse to prevent your body from going into shock. These foods include: anything processed, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, soda, wheat and even meat. It’s also important to remind yourself and reflect on why you are doing the cleanse. Maybe write a motivational saying or reminder somewhere visible to glance at frequently during your cleanse.
Take some time to rest and relax during the cleanse.
I didn’t know the importance of resting while on the cleanse until I was already in it. This is especially important for cleanse newbies, like myself. Not only are we giving the digestive system a time to relax, this is also a time to relax your mind and take a break from the demands of every day life.
Set yourself up for success after your juice cleanse.
This is a huge step for success and something I want to dive more into. After signing up and doing a cleanse to give yourself a healthy reboot, then what do you do? Do your research and talk to the company you order your juice cleanse from about what this looks like. To me, this means not having a cheeseburger and fries the next day. It means slowly incorporating nutritious foods back into my diet and taking note about how these foods make me feel in order to find what fuels my body best.
I love how detailed this post is! I’ve considered trying something similar to this, but usually I’m put off by the flavours of the juices or it seems a bit daunting having to commit to a brand new routine!
Great post 🙂
Thanks, Chris! Even if you just incorporate more juices into your day, you will reap the benefits! But if you don’t like the flavors, don’t force yourself – it’s not for everyone!
Never tried one before
I love cold pressed juices, but the idea of a juice cleanse totally scares me too! Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂
Also, what widget do you use to get the “Click to Tweet” button? I’d love to know!
Hi Erin! I use the Click to Tweet plugin. It’s super simple!
This was SO interesting for me to read because I’ve gone back and forth on the juice cleanses. I’m a lot like you; I love EATING so the fact that I wouldn’t be chewing on anything all day is bothersome. I think I’m going to try this with my friend! Baby steps; I’ll incorporate my morning coffee as well! This is such a fabulous post. I tweeted and will be referring back to it! I also love your tip about relaxing while you do this; if I went to Target to run errands I would probably be feeling dizzy as well!
Thanks, Chelsea! I’m so glad you found this post helpful. Let me know how your first cleanse goes! 🙂
Good for you! I have done 1 juice cleanse and felt great. I’ve heard of people doing more then 1 day. Not sure if I could go more then 1 day without chewing food!
Me too! I’ve heard of some people doing a month… that blows my mind.
I’ve done a 3 day juice cleanse and honestly it sucked. I could probably do 1 day like you did. After about halfway through the 2nd day I was grumpy and hungry for solid foods. Not doing that again!
Oh no! I think that’s why I mentioned that I would incorporate some foods into a multi-day cleanse. I think I would need the substance!
thanks for these helpful tips! I did a cleanse a few years back, but I had some of the same issues as you. It’s so hard to not crave solid food. Maybe I could do better on a 24 hour cleanse (the previous one I did was 3 days). Thanks for sharing this!
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Thanks for sharing your experience! I could imagine a 3 day cleanse would be tough.
I have never tried a juice cleanse. I have thought about it, and even though I am a coffee addict too, I can go without for a day if needed (I did it for 18 months with 2 kids!). Thanks for the great info!
I can’t imagine 18 months with no coffee!! I have recently started drinking a matcha tea latte in the morning instead of coffee and I am liking it better!
Thanks for sharing! I have been thinking about doing one too!
You’re welcome, Kari!
Juice cleanses make me SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO mad! Whenever someone says they are going on one, I want to punch them in the face.
I don’t want to punch you though, don’t worry – I know you did it as an experiment and you were smart about it!
Hahahaha… they did me too GiGi! I just didn’t understand it. I think you have to do it for the right reasons and I believe you can still achieve what you want to achieve while incorporating some foods, too. I can’t imagine not eating for an extended period of time!
Wow- I have been in two minds about doing a juice cleanse, but now I’ve seen this- that’s it!
Good luck Sarah!
i have been debating doing a juice cleanse so i’m pleased to see that you have good things to say about it
You can always try it and see what you think!
I have to admit, I’m a little scared to try a juice cleanse. But you gave a lot of awesome reasons why I should get over my fears and give it a chance. I think I’m going to give it a go at the beginning of Feb. Thank you for sharing your experiences!
Good luck, Sola! Let me know how it goes!
I’ve done a few juice cleanses and Im a huge fan. I drink a green juice daily which I love
YUM!! I love it when I have a green juice on hand.
I’ve never done a juice cleanse before but I have a lot of friends that have done it. I’ve heard there are so many great benefits of doing one. I love that you said it made your skin look better. That’s always a plus as well as feeling better. I may have to complete a cleanse soon!
Yes! I also notice a difference when I drink juices regularly, so you just have to find what works for you!
Thanks for all the great tips. I’ve been curious about juice cleanses. I can’t believe that you are not hungry during it. I guess I just feel like I need to chew ! 🙂
That’s how I thought I would feel too! But it was kind of nice not having to think about what I was going to eat for once… ha!
I’ve been wanting to do a juice cleanse. I’ve never tried it before. Glad to know you’d do it again!
If you give it a try, let me know how it goes!
I do a 21 day cleanse each year in January. It’s liquids for the am and pm meals, and a big, healthy afternoon lunch. The first few days are always really tough, but my the second week I have so much more energy! Thanks for sharing. those juices look fantastic.
Now, that’s a cleanse I could do! I love that you have some foods in there somewhere 🙂
I did a 7 day lemon juice cleanse with small clean meals about2 years ago. It cleared my skin up so nice! Haven’t done anything since. Not sure if that counts 😉
I’ve seen the lemon juice cleanses! I’m glad you had meals with it… 7 days is a long time!
i have never tried juice cleaning…now i may
I’ve heard of these but never really stopped to look up on it. This seems like something I’d be interested in trying in the near future once I start some sort of exercise routine and healthy diet. Is this similar to a detox?