Ayurvedic Take on Juice Cleanse

How To Make Juicing Safe and Effective

Does cleansing from long-stored toxins and regaining child like energy sound appealing to you? Did you hear amazing reviews from friends and strangers about the miracle powers of a week-long juice cleanse? Are you considering investing in one sometime soon?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you will find this article very interesting.

Juice cleanses are everywhere! Every celebrity is doing them and every other deli claims to have a juice bar. There are companies even that will deliver a set juices to your door every morning if you decide to try a juice cleanse yourself. All the marketing, skinny hip-looking people publicly sipping green liquid, and a huge celebrity following probably make you wonder if drinking a green-monster concoction will set you free from extra baggage that stuck around from the holiday season and turn you into an energizer bunny while cleansing skin and preventing allergies.

Juice cleansing can sound like a panacea that requires just a little bit of will power (since most juice cleanse companies convince you that you won’t feel hunger at all) and some monetary investment.

Last summer I was an ardent juice cleanse supporter myself. Once a week throughout the summer I would have a liter of green juice with lemon and ginger (no apples, carrots, or beets – just vegetables) and nothing else. This was my way of letting my digestive system rest from solid food and detox or so I thought. In Augist 2010 I met Dr Vassant Lad and my pretty green world turned upside down. During a 2 day ayurvedic workshop on ayurvedic diagnostic techniques I simultaneously got unexpected explanations for my occasional digestion issues, fatigue, and constantly cold hands. When Dr Lad matter-of-factly noted that my weekly juices were to blame and offered me to boil my precious enzyme-rich vegetables before juicing I almost wanted to kick him! “How dare you say that the purest form of chlorophyll and raw enzymes are bad?!” It didn’t make any sense! So the research started… And still continues to this day. But here is what I found so far and how you can use it to get the most out of your juice cleanse if you decide to do it:

Juice cleanse is not for everyone. All the advice in Ayurveda depends on “who” we are talking about. Body constitution, eating habits, current life style, and time of the year have to be considered before embarking on any kind of fasting. Fasting in general can be good because your stomach will have more time to digest left-over food. Potentially it can give more energy and lightness to body and mind. Different constitutions can benefit from different fasting methods. For example, eating light foods, eating just fruits, skipping one meal, skipping food for the entire day, going on juices for a day or drinking just water. Juice cleanses are not recommended for Vata type people because due to their weak digestive system raw juices will make them bloated and tired. If you are a pure Vata type or have been experiencing any digestive issues lately start by eating light meals at the regular times of the day. Pitta people can’t tolerate complete fasting because their metabolism is very strong. Juice fasting with cooling and blood purifying vegetables is a good option for Pitta types. While Kaphas are ideal people for fasting. They can skip one meal or go on a “no food for entire day” regimen. Kapha types will feel full of energy on juice cleanses.
Juice is a super concentrated food. And it requires chewing! How long would it take you to eat 5 pounds of greens that went into a glass of juice? Often we gulp it down the same way as water without paying attention to taste. Sip your juice slowly and let your body process the taste and the effects of a super concentrated elixir. Chewing and tasting food is beneficial for digestion and lets your body recognize all the nutrients. Make juice drinking and exercise of minfulness!
Juice doesn’t last for 3 days! (unless it is pasteurized). Juice loses it’s precious qualities pretty quickly. As soon as a fruit or vegetable is processed, the natural enzymes in the juice begin to break down the other nutrients. Because vegetables contain more enzymes than fruits, their nutrients are depleted faster. Once vegetable juices start to thicken, all that’s left are water, minerals and calories, says Dr. Bailey. It is best to drink your juice within 30 minutes. Otherwise, you might as well drink sweetened tea.
Bloating and fatigue are to be expected in the first couple of days. As soon as you restrict food intake your body turns to other pressing responsibilities instead of digestion. Quite often it will cleansing out by-products and undigested food leftovers. This can leave you feeling tired and sleepy especially on the 2-3 day of a juice cleanse. If you decide to do a juice cleanse then choose a period of time when you can cut down on physical and mental activity and let your body restore.
Be strategic about what goes into your juice. Different fruits and vegetables have different effects on our body. While some are stimulating the detoxification process on the cellular level, others are just pleasantly tasting fructose. Do your research and ask for a specific mixture at the juice bar. Great combo for Spring is beets, radish, cilantro, parsley, carrot, and celery. Beet juice is particularly effective at stimulating the liver. This allows the body to eliminate stored toxins caused by a poor diet and sometimes by prolonged use of antibiotics. While carrots help fight seasonal mood slump and brightens up the skin. Ayurveda also recommends adding some spices to boost the effects of juices and make them less Vata aggravating. Good juice additions are ginger, black pepper, aloe vera gel, and curcumin. Curcumin for example has been shown to prevent and/or cure cancer in laboratory tests. It is used to cleanse the liver, as an anti-inflammatory, to bolster the skin, heart and lungs, to purify the body and mind, and in the treatment of food poisoning, ease gallstones and indigestion. It helps balance cholesterol levels, boosts the immunity system, and modern research has found it beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Try it in a carrot juice!
Juice is not enough to cleanse. Actually, it can easily cause bloating and irregularity. Traditionally, an important part of juice cleanse was the use of laxatives or enemas to cleanse the lower digestive tract because the juice will not supply enough fiber to keep the bowels moving. Since the removal of wastes is essential to prevent the toxins in the digestive tract from being reabsorbed into the bloodstream juice therapists recommend mixtures of slippery elm or other herbs to cleanse the bowels while on the juice-only fast.
Juice doesn’t substitute whole vegetables, especially the commonly lacking in the Western diet fiber! So drink your juice all you want but make sure to eat fresh vegetables and grains to keep your body clean throughout the whole year.

What are your thoughts on juice cleansing? How you done a juice cleanse? What did you feel like? Let me know in the comments section! If you want to learn more about ayurveda and health, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog (top right of the page)! You will get a weekly update on all new posts and  will never miss out on great diet tips anymore!


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Happy Cleansing!

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