I presume you have all heard about this juicing craze? I heard about it a couple of years ago, I always thought it was a little drastic and I don't really agree with a diet that replaces food with any sort of liquid- we are meant to eat food right? Also I love it too much to take it out my diet!
Anyway when I heard about it I thought it wasn't great to put your body into starvation mode, especially if you train a lot like me, so i just overlooked it.
After a bout of serious food poisoning and getting diagnosed with 3 server allergies (gluten, eggs and peanuts) my stomach was in turmoil- I was getting days of sever pain each time I ate and bloating, nothing was solving it. It was deeply affecting me, I see lots of other friendly faces on social media with the same issues and it's awful it makes you feel so unconfident, fat and sluggish. Nothing I ate made a difference, even if I lived on salad, so I decided I needed to do something drastic to completely detox my body and replenish my digestive system with all the good bacteria it needed to heal.
This is when I came across juicing again, I was so down and at such a low point i decided you know what? Hell yeah, let's give it a try! I decided to do 3 days- long enough to get the detox effect but not so long that I have to completely give up on my weight training.
At this point I was just so excited to see if all the benefits that I had read about (see below) were going to be true for me! I had read all sorts of great reviews and all sorts of horror stories so I was a little wary, I won't lie! However i did do a lot of research so I’m going to add my findings as well as my experiences into this blog, hope you enjoy the read and find it interesting.
To start off, whats the difference between a smoothie and a juice? The answer is lots.... When you juice a vegetable or fruit you are removing the insoluble fibre, which is important in your diet normally (keeps you feeling full, keeps your digestive system healthy) but you can go without it for a few days. When you remove the insoluble fibre your left with a thin juice that is very rich in vitamins and minerals- this is a much larger dose of these vitamins and minerals than you would normally get because if you have seen how many vegetables go into one glass of juice you would never be able to eat that amount in 1 sitting. To top this, your body can absorb the nutrients easier as your gut doesn’t need to digest all the fibre. So a smoothie is different from a fresh juice because your gut still needs to digest the fibre in a smoothie so the large influx of vitamins and minerals are not as accessible to your body.
Before you start:
For 3 days before you start eh juice cleanse, increase your water intake to 3-4L a day.
Start the day with some warm water with a slice of lemon.
It's recommended to drink 6-8 juices a day in 2-4 hour intervals.
Use all organic fruit and veg to limit the chemicals and toxins your ingesting.
Your daily intake of juices should be 40% fruit and 60% vegetables.
Drink lots of water 3-5L a day!
All vegetables should be raw.
Don’t use too much fruit!
Drink all your juices right away to get the best nutritional intake.
All you need is a juicer (not a blender, unless you want to blend the ingredients then strain then through a sieve) you can get a juicer online for a decent price.
So my 3 days starts here….
Got off to a great start, I had a juice for breakfast and really enjoyed it! I was buzzing about the whole thing. I went for a morning run to keep up the cardio during the juice cleanse.
About 11am I had my second juice, and then another about 1.30.
I wasn't hungry at all, I had loads of energy. I have only suffered 2 bouts of stomach cramps- which was good, seen as I would usually have had a whole morning of cramps and bloating.
I went for a lovely afternoon walk, still with lots of energy and feeling great! The only issue I was having was that I just wanted to chew something, sounds strange I know!
I had my 4th juice around 3.30, by this time I had a little headache but kept up and water until my last juice about 7.30.
I got a little distracted and realised I didn't actually have enough juices today, and I think the headache was due to not drinking enough water- so tomorrow I'm going to up the juices and water! Although I'm going to bed a little hungry I'm feeling surprisingly fine for someone that usually can't go 3 hours without a meal!
I woke up feeling great! My headache had gone, I was a little hungry so I smashed out an early morning run (cheeky 5k) (after my warm lemon water of course) and drank down my first juice! It was delicious (i will give you the recipe below). By mid morning i was hungry again so i had another juice and put lots and lots of green veg in this one- this filled me up for hours!
I really have been expecting to be lacking in energy but I’m really not at all! I am focusing on drinking lots of water today and increasing my juice intake to avoid the headache (see below for reasons for a headache during a juice cleanse).
Early afternoon was time for another juice- although i wasn’t actually hungry i made a lighter one- I’m really craving something to chew again- i want to bite the pear so bad before i juice it but I’m really refraining!
I had a total of 7 Juices today with my last one at 8pm to keep me full for the night, by the evening i was absolutely sick of juice, i really couldn’t face another but i forced it down.
I went to bed feeling physically great and if it was down to my physical state i could do this for weeks, but mentally I’m struggling, i just miss the verity of food, chewing and sitting down and enjoying a meal- but i just keep telling my self 1 more day and i have been planning the food i want to eat the day after- as per my obsession with food continues.
I only had 1 bout of tummy pains today and no bloating- a vast improvement on yesterday, so I’m feeling positive about that!
Today i woke up, again feeling great, although I have awful muscle aches from my run- i would never normally have this from a run this length as i do this regularly. It's because my protein intake is so minimal, my muscles cannot repair properly from the run. This is how important protein is for growth and repair after any form of exercise- but thats a entirely different topic.
So… today i had a lovely juice a breakfast, I’m feeling mentally more positive than i was when i went to sleep as i know this is the last day and I’m so excited to see if my bloating and tummy pains have gone when i have a meal tomorrow!
I had a mid morning juice and then a lunch juice- both delicious (see the recipes below). My legs are feeling tired today, showing they just can’t repair properly from my run yesterday without the adequate nutrition.
I had another 2 juices that afternoon (totalling 5 today) and i drank a lot of water to avoid the headache again. I have gone to bed feeling great and really positive for tomorrow.
My biggest surprise in this whole cleanse is how i have never really been hungry and lacking in energy- i love my food so much i never in a million years thought i would be able to complete something like this, so I’m going to bed feeling very proud of my willpower (and looking forward to breakfast ;).
When you complete the juice cleanse the first meal you have should be just fruits or vegetables to let your digestive system ease gently back into digesting fibre, then a couple of meals later introduce nuts and gluten free grains, then protein and other carbs, lastly dairy. Avoid fried or processed foods and alcohol for a few days.
Headaches- I got a headache at the end of day 1, i looked up the cause of this and it seems to be one of a few things: not enough water, not enough calories (not enough juice), caffeine withdrawal, sugar withdrawal or finally blood sugar irregularities. The second day i increased my juice intake by 2 juices and drank a lot more water (4.5 L) and i didn’t have a headache at all!
My biggest bit of advice:
Ensure you have a juice roughly every 2 hours- this stops you feeling hungry and your blood glucose dropping too much which will prevent the headaches and lack of energy.
Drink SO much water- this prevented me from getting a headache, kept me full and made me feel GREAT!!
Here is what you have all been waiting for, the benefits of Juice cleansing:
Increases energy- when your body receives the abundance of nutrients it needs and your PH is optimally balanced you will feel very energised.
Feeds the good bacteria in your gut- (my main reason for doing it) Vegetables are a very good source of prebiotics vital for a healthy digestive system. If like me, your getting stomach cramps and bloating, you could be lacking in the good bacteria in your digestive system. Ginger is especially good to help digestion and to heal an upset stomach (i added ginger to about 50% of my juices).
Detoxify your body- removes all the chemicals and toxins that accumulate in your body from foods that you won’t even believe have chemicals or toxins in.
Boosts your immune system- super charging your body with a highly dense mixture of vitamins and minerals is great for your immune system.
Lowers blood sugar levels- vegetables are very low in sugar therefore if you base your juices around vegetables you can significantly lower blood sugar levels.
Can promote weight loss- if used as part of a healthy balanced diet, adding a fresh vegetable juice into your daily food intake can decrease hunger and prevent snacking while giving your body a large intake of vitamins and minerals.
Supports brain health- research has found that it can prevent diseases such as Alcheimer’s disease.
However everything comes with its negatives and here is a few you have to consider when juice cleansing:
Juices have barely any protein, if your trying to build muscle, a juicing only cleanse will work against your efforts. Your body will break down the muscle you have built to gain enough to function.
You may experience a short term (only when on the cleanse) decrease in metabolic rate (calories burnt at rest), due to lack of calories.
Too much fruit can lead to blood sugar swings, to try and stick to one piece of fruit per juice.
You miss out on fibre- long term we do need insoluble fibre in our diet as it scrubs the digestive tract clean and gets rid of plaque and trapped toxins, it also helps to slow down the absorption of sugar into the blood and keeps your bowls moving.
The verdict 1 day later.....
After 2 meals (mainly consisting of very plain foods and fruit and veg, I have experienced NO bloating or stomach pains! I am over the moon, i realise its early days yet but this is a massive improvement already- i have been nearly pain and bloat free for almost 4 days now! I did have a few tummy rumbles the first meal after the cleanse as my stomach was getting used to digesting fibre and food again but I'm feeling so positive on the whole!
My thoughts on juice cleansing:
For me this juice cleanse has been great, it’s been the breakthrough i have needed to sort my digestive system out and stop the bloating and pains. That said, i would never do it long term, firstly because i love food too much and secondly because i believe your missing out on vital nutrients that are very important to a healthy diet. This diet long term is just too extreme for my active lifestyle (i love the weights too much). I would however do 1-3 days again for a bit of a cleanse and reboot. I am going to incorporate juices into my normal diet maybe 3-4 times a week to get that boost of vitamins and minerals. If 3 days is too long for you why not try 1 or 2?
This cleanse has also taught me the importance of adequate nutrition when training, protein is vital for growth and repair of muscles and 2 days after my run I'm still achy because there was such a lack of protein in my diet during the cleanse. A large verity of different foods is so important!
If your an avid gym goer who cannot miss 1,2 or 3 days of weight lifting and intense workouts then this is not the cleanse for you, there is not sufficient protein intake to sustain your needs. However if you are feeling in need of a detox or a cleanse to regain some energy or just because you fancy it or like me because of medical reasons- your at the end of your tether with bloating and tummy pains then this may be a good option for you, it definitely gave me back the energy, mental positivity and stomach health that I needed.
If you looking for weight loss, I do not consider this a good option, it's not sustainable long term, your missing good fats that your brain needs to function and other important nutrients. Trying to loose weight and you like the whole fasting thing? Maybe look into the 5:2 diet (5 days of eating normal and 2 days of fasting), you could incorporate juicing into the 2 days your fasting and you would get the benefits of both the dense vitamins and minerals and also the fasting (if you only have a couple of juices).
Hope you have enjoyed this read, If you have any questions about juicing or want to hear more about my experience, please contact me- on the contact section of my website, as per usual i love hearing from you and getting your feedback!
Some of my favourite recipes:
Lime and Coconut Blast:
250ml Coconut water
2 Celery sticks
Fruity Fresh: (I used this as a post workout juice as its high in sugary carbohydrates)
1/2 a Pineapple
250ml Coconut water
Ginger and Carrot:
1 inch Ginger
3 Celery sticks
Get the Beets Going:
1 apple or orange
1 inch ginger
2 celery sticks
1 green pepper
The Kiwi- Coconut Bomb:
250ml coconut water
2 celery sticks
2 handfuls of spinach