With all of the junk food served at festivals, you might need a detox. One option is juicing.
For some, the words juice cleanse conjures up an image of self-inflicted suffering, sacrifice, and near-starvation. And then there’s the price tag (not cheap), and the connotation (Gwyneth-y), and the crimp it puts in your social life (goodbye bars, hello board games).
Sure, we’re talking about foregoing solid food for three to five days or longer in favor of a mixed-veggie liquid diet, with hopes and likely suspicion this exercise will yield quantifiable health benefits. I get it, but I’ve done the juice cleanse more than once and experienced positive results.
I’d do it all over again — and I love food. The prospect of exiling cheese, bread and chocolate will always sound difficult. But that’s the point. A juice cleanse is a reminder we aren’t slaves to our bodies and we can live without the mouthwatering tastes we’re hooked on. And while day one of a cleanse time will move at a snail’s pace, it’s worth the fight and it’s only a few days.
As a juicing advocate, I want to share some truths and tips, along with the perspective of more experienced juicers.
TIP 1: The worse your diet is, the more unpleasant a juice cleanse will be.
Everyone will have a unique juicing experience based on mindset, type of cleanse (innumerable), and adherence to the program. The same goes for current health/diet. If you’re a caffeine addict, you’ll probably experience headaches, fatigue and even muscle cramps. If you’ve got a serious sweet tooth, be prepared for irritability, anxiety and cravings. The good news? It’s in your power to lessen the pain.
TIP 2: What you do before and after a cleanse matters.
You probably won’t like the thought of sacrificing in the days leading up to a juice cleanse, but your body will thank you for it. Follow a light, healthy diet filled with easy-to-digest foods for at least three to five days before juicing. Cut out alcohol, added sugars and caffeine – or, for serious coffee drinkers, cutting down and taking it black. Do it in phases, if that helps, with meat and dairy eliminated for at least the last few days. You can also start incorporating some green juices to get your mind and body in juicing mode.
Depending on the length of the cleanse you’ll also want to ease back in to a light, healthy diet. In short, don’t run out and wolf down a burger. Actually, you probably won’t want to. Post-cleanse your palate will be much more sensitive to processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugar and other “toxins.” And because you’ll also likely be experiencing increased energy, empowerment and overall improved mood, you won’t want to derail those hard-earned results.
TIP 3: Feeling bad can actually be a good thing.
Experiencing weakness, exhaustion, headaches, even cold- or flu-like symptoms in the midst of a juice cleanse is enough to make some people want to give up. But sometimes you got to feel bad before you can feel good. These and any withdrawal symptoms are part of the detoxifying process, says Jennifer Apol of GreenBox Organic Juice Bar. She calls this a “healing crisis” and a sign your body is cleansing.
For me, feeling achy and tired for the first day is the worst. But by day two or three I’m noticeably energized, without my morning coffee! So don’t give up. Just take it easy and make sure you’re getting adequate rest and try to drink an equal amount of water for every juice you consume.
TIP 4: Perfection is not the goal.
If cleansing gets beyond what you can handle, rather than bail on the whole thing, have a small cup of black coffee to lessen caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Or, if you are really struggling, grab a piece of fresh fruit, a handful of nuts, or have a small cup of vegetable stock, says Kourtney O’Reilly of Local Roots Juice Bar.
WHERE TO GO:
GreenBox Organic Juice Bar
5570 Wilson Avenue Southwest, Grandville
Two-to-seven-day cleanses are available and made every Friday for pick-up. You can choose from four different options. Tailored to newbies (more fruits) and juicing pros (heavy on the greens). Customizations are also available—like adding matcha to your morning juice if you normally rely on caffeine to start your day. E-mail or stop by and chat with the staff.
Malamiah Juice Bar
435 Ionia Ave SW #128, Grand Rapids
Malamiah offers five different cleanse plans, from one-to five-days. The “partial” plans include four juices and one health shot a day. Those are best for those wanting to consume a light, clean meal in the evening. “Exclusive” plans include five bottled juices and a health shot for each day. You also get to select a flavor profile to suit your palate: clean greens or spicy beet.
Local Roots Juice Bar
Kitchen coming to Portage
With an emphasis on supporting West Michigan farmers, Local Roots offers raw, cold-pressed, organic juices with ingredients that change along with the produce currently in season. Contact email@example.com to place your customized cleanse order, lasting from one day to as many as you want.
Sip Organic Juice Bar
888 Forest Hill Ave SE, Cascade
432 Norwood Ave SE, Grand Rapids
Sip’s detox program is all about retaining fiber for the nutritional benefits, as well as its ability to help stabilize the natural sugars in fruits and vegetables, says Jennifer Pohlman. This spot offers three and five-day programs, which incorporate green and protein-rich smoothies alongside organic, plant-based, gluten-free, nutrient-dense raw foods. On the menu you’ll also find juices in three different categories: green anti-inflammatory, sweet and robust, and savory. n