by Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
Spring cleaning isn’t just for your home, it’s good for your body too. Many patients have asked about the health benefits of a fasting juice cleanse. With so much conflicting information out there, I decided to offer my own thoughts on the subject.
I’m a strong advocate for juice fasting and juice dieting, so long as it is done safely. Many embark on juice cleanses with the hopes that they will lose weight within days or completely reverse chronic disease within a week.
This isn’t the case. In order for a fasting cleanse to be effective, it’s important to approach it slowly and with realistic expectations. This is especially true if you are new to a holistic diet.
The Health Benefits of a Fasting Juice Cleanse
A diet filled with highly-processed foods like fast food, microwavable meals, canned food, donuts, candy, and soda can wreak havoc on your health. Not only are these foods devoid of nutrition, they contain harmful chemicals such as aspartame and MSG that have been proven to cause chronic disease.
The process of digestion takes a lot of energy. If you eat unhealthy food most of the time, it has virtually nothing left over to cleanse your system or protect you from disease.
Drinking juiced organic vegetables floods your body with healing nutrition while giving your sluggish digestive system a break. Freed from the non-stop digestive process, your body can now focus its resources on healing damaged and exhausted tissues and organs.
Here’s what you can realistically expect from a juice cleanse:
1. Slimmer Waist
A fasting juice cleanse helps clean your lower intestine and colon of excess waste material, improving your ability to absorb nutrients from food. This helps curb junk food cravings and makes you feel full on smaller meals. Juice cleansing can also decrease bloating caused by carbohydrate intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, and other chronic digestive conditions.
2. Clearer Skin
Acne, eczema, and psoriasis are often caused by a build up of toxins in the body. Flooding your system with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help clear inflammatory skin conditions while giving it a moisturized, youthful glow.
3. Increased Energy
You don’t realize just how much energy is spent on digestion until you give it a brief respite. When you do a fasting juice cleanse, your liver gets a break from flushing food additives and environmental toxins from your system, which allows it to provide more oxygen throughout your entire body. This, along with the vitamins and minerals, gives you a natural energy boost.
4. Calmer Mood
Irritability, mood swings, depression, and anxiety are often the result of nutritional deficiencies and built-up toxins. Allowing your body to heal through a fasting juice cleanse can help you feel calmer and more emotionally stable without the need for psychiatric medications.
5. Stronger Immune System
Frequent colds and flu is often a sign your body could use some extra nutritional support. Periodic juice cleansing helps remove toxins while restoring your ability to effectively digest and assimilate nutrients from food. This type of cleanse is also an ideal way to reduce the chronic inflammatory response precipitated by allergies and autoimmune disease.
The Best Way to Detoxify and Cleanse Safely
- The Basics
If you’re new to juice cleansing (especially if you eat the Standard American Diet), start slowly. Do juice cleansing for no more than 48 hours to start. Concentrate on green vegetables such as spinach, Swiss chard, leaf lettuce, celery, and/or cucumber as a base. Add a couple of carrots and/or an apple to sweeten the juice.
If you’re diabetic, it is advisable to use a blood sugar monitor to gauge the right amount of fruit juice that’s safe for you to consume.
You can also add lemon, ginger or even raw garlic to experiment with different flavor combinations and make your juice uniquely your own.
- Preparing Your Produce
Organic vegetables are best. Dunk your produce in a small vat of cold water and white vinegar. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes. Rinse them thoroughly and dry them before cutting. Cut your vegetables and fruit small enough to fit into your juicer.
Juice enough vegetables for the day when you get up in the morning and drink your first glass then. When you feel hungry, have another glass. Most average 4-5 glasses each day.
- After Your Cleanse
Although it may be tempting to eat whatever you want after the 24-48 hour period is over, this isn’t advisable as you’ll shock your system and potentially undo all the good you did during the cleanse.
Instead, ease back into eating solid foods by following this regimen:
Day 1 – Enjoy 3 small meals of raw vegetables, fruits, broths, soups, and/or nuts
Day 2 – Anything from Day 1 and include steamed vegetables, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato, and beans
Day 3 – Anything from Day 2 and add some organic yogurt or eggs
Day 4 – Anything from Day 3 plus meat, poultry or fish if you’d like
During this time, it’s important to keep portion sizes small, chew thoroughly, and drink plenty of water.
A Note about the Herxheimer Reaction
If you’ve never done a cleansing fast before, you may experience something called a Herxheimer Reaction. This happens when built-up toxins are released faster than your body can eliminate them.
You may experience digestive upset, fatigue, headaches, sweating, and mood swings.
Be sure to do your first cleanse during a time when you won’t have to expend too much physical energy. The Herxheimer Reaction is usually mild and temporary, especially if you do short-term cleanses for 24-48 hours.
Do not attempt to do longer fasting juice cleanses until you’re more familiar with how your body responds.
Maintaining Your Improved Health After Your Cleanse
After a few days of juice fasting and slowly rebuilding your digestive system, it’s important to maintain your improved health.
This means staying off highly-processed junk food and eating a holistic diet filled with organic vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, nut butters, seeds, meat, poultry, wild-caught fish, and healthy fats such as coconut oil and olive oil.
I also recommend considering the following dietary supplements:
1. Diamond Nutritional’s Foundation Vitamins
Even when you eat the healthiest diet, you may still not be getting the essential nutrition you need to maintain good health. This is because the nutrient density of food (even organic food) has declined by an incredible 50% in the past 100 years alone.
If you’re currently taking a store-bought multivitamin, I strongly recommend stopping it. Many of these popular, supplements contain synthetic additives, preservatives, binders, and fillers that can exacerbate existing conditions (and even create new ones).
Once you’ve finished your juice cleanse, my Diamond Nutritional’s Foundation Vitamins offers your body a firm foundation on which to build a new, healthier you. This ultra-high quality supplement supplies your daily requirement of essential vitamins and minerals to seamlessly close nutritional gaps.
2. Diamond Nutritional’s N-Acetyl Cysteine
Each day, your body is bombarded by the free radicals produced by your natural metabolic process and exposure to environmental toxins. You need antioxidants to prevent chronic disease and premature aging caused by these free radicals.
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is one of the few antioxidants able to raise glutathione levels. Glutathione is an important antioxidant used in many different metabolic processes within the body making it essential to good health.
Glutathione is not well-absorbed in the body when taken orally. This is why I recommend Diamond Nutritional’s N-Acetyl Cysteine. It helps your body produce glutathione on its own so you continue to produce an adequate amount of this antioxidant to offset the daily free radical onslaught.
3. Diamond Nutritional’s Vitamin D3 – 5,000
One of the top causes of chronic disease is nutritional deficiency. The most common nutritional deficiency in the United States and Canada is vitamin D3 deficiency. Very few in this 21st century world are able to get enough vitamin D3 from daily sunshine exposure.
Vitamin D3 deficiency has been linked to autoimmune disease, behavioral disorders, mental health disorders, and even skin cancer.
Although conventional recommendations suggest 400 IUs of vitamin D3 daily for optimum levels, most in the holistic health community have discovered this is not nearly enough.
This is why I recommend Diamond Nutritional’s Vitamin D3 – 5,000. It contains a strong enough dose to optimize your vitamin D3 levels and treat chronic disease. This supplement is ideal for those who have limited sun exposure and/or live in a cold climate and for those with any type of chronic condition.
4. Diamond Nutritional’s Immune Support Formula
If one of your primary reasons for doing a fasting juice cleanse is to treat a chronic condition, I recommend Diamond Nutritional’s Immune Support Formula. It offers a unique blend of nutrients designed to both strengthen and stabilize your immune system.
These nutrients include:
- Zinc – Shown to prevent chronic colds and flu while decreasing inflammatory and neuropathic pain.
- Larch Arabinogalactan – Shown to stimulate natural killer cells and build a more responsive immune system.
- Olive Leaf Extract – One of the strongest natural antibiotics available, olive leaf extract has been shown to inhibit DNA damage and relief chronic inflammation.
- Aloe Vera Concentrate – Effective in enhancing innate immunity and suppressing oxidative injury.
Always talk with your healthcare provider before beginning any fasting or cleansing program.
A fasting juice cleanse can jump-start you on a track to lasting health and wellness!