Beginner's Guide to Juice Cleanses

Written by Katie Bush, @kbush.fla

Hi GTS fans! I am here to give you some of the most important information about juice cleanses – a beginner’s guide, if you will. If you aren’t already on board with doing juice cleanses, you might first ask “why do I want to go 3 days without eating?”. Good question. As the queen of hangry, I can confidently tell you it’s not that bad, and I think you will feel really great afterward.

A juice cleanse is a great way to let your body rest while still providing it with nutrients. Digesting food, especially unhealthy food, makes the body work very hard to break down what you’re eating – it’s an extremely tolling process on your body. A juice cleanse allows the body to be flooded with nutrients from a large variety of fruits and veggies. A proper cold pressed juice contains the nutrients and enzymes of anywhere from 3 to 6 pounds of produce. Because the juice is cold pressed it does not activate the digestive enzymes in the stomach, instead it is quickly absorbed into the blood stream. Now that’s instant gratification!

Beginner's Guide to Juice Cleanses

How do you know if you should do a juice cleanse? If you are feeling sluggish, if you have the motivation to start a new eating habit (paleo, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc.), or if you are ready to give your system a reset from recent indulgence… those are all very good reasons to do a juice cleanse.

There are so many juice cleanse options out there. I, personally, always encourage supporting your local small business whenever possible. Juices are heavily regulated by the FDA; if you see cold pressed juice in your local big chain grocery store chances are it is preserved via a process called high pressure preserving/pasteurization a.k.a. HPP. HPP is a process in which juice is bottled and then put in a chamber; thechamber then applies a pressure that is so strong that the deepest part of the ocean can only achieve 1/5th of the pressure that this machine achieves. This allows juices to last anywhere from 30-45 days on the shelf. Companies claim this targets only the “bad” (microbial) enzymes in the produce to prevent oxidation and fermentation. Take into consideration that most fruits and veggies don’t last 45 days in their natural state in your fridge. I believe HPP is killing the good with the bad.

The benefit of HPP is your juice is more likely to survive the stressors of shipping so you can order a cleanse and have it delivered to your door a week before you plan to start. The benefit of raw cold pressed juice is you have many more live enzymes and nutrients to feed to your body. Plus, you are supporting a juice bar in your nearby community!

Beginner's Guide to Juice Cleanses

So, you have found a local juice bar and you are ready to cleanse with fresh raw juice, do you do 1 or 3 days? What are the benefits of each?

A 1 day cleanse is great for someone who already follows a very strict diet or workout plan. The body is given a day to be flooded with nutrients, but you can still follow your normal workout regime. This provides the body a boost of energy without letting it feel too depleted. Many people use 1 day cleanses as a routine maintenance to their diet and exercise plan. You could safely do a one day cleanse weekly.

A 3-day cleanse is a great option for someone who has been over-indulgent and needs to allow their body to take an extended break. 3 days is most often suggested as the maximum amount of days to cleanse for a first-time cleanser. Your body has an opportunity to rest, reset, and take in a large amount of nutrients and enzymes.

Are you convinced you’re ready for a cleanse yet? I think you can do it!

Before you start your cleanse, start easing your body into lighter meals and move away from unprocessed foods as much as possible. If you can start to cut back or nix the coffee, that will greatly help with how you feel during your cleanse.

During the cleanse, start your mornings with a warm lemon water. It is advised to drink a glass (8-12oz) of water between each juice; be prepared for frequent trips to empty the bladder. If you are feeling hungry drink extra water or you can have decaf tea. Absolutely no coffee, friends. While it is not detrimental to the cleanse if you have a snack in a case of extreme hunger, you should avoid it. Eating anything will activate your digestive enzymes and essentially void the cleanse process.

Once your cleanse is over don’t go running out for a greasy pizza! You wouldn’t want to spoil all that hard work and sacrifice! This is a great opportunity to start anew. Light salads and soups to start, and then you can transition into fish or chicken if you are a meat eater. Many people take the opportunity after a cleanse to start an elimination diet and find out what may have been causing prolonged bloating or fatigue.

You may experience headaches if you aren’t drinking enough liquids or if you are detoxing from excessive caffeine consumption. Some may feel lightheaded or fatigued from changes in insulin levels; it’s often advised to reduce workouts and really let your body rest. Many people feel best on day three with increased energy levels and a self-esteem boost. You may have also lost some water weight, but if you don’t keep sodium levels down and water consumption up, it will come back quickly.

With all this information, you are ready to march into your nearest juice bar and confidently order your first cleanse! Connect with me on Instagram if this post sparked more questions for you.


Katie Bush manages and co-owns Press’d Juice Bar & Kitchen in Winter Garden, FL where she likes to spend her days off walking her dogs on the trail and her evenings in a yoga studio or crossfit gym.

@kbush.fla on Instagram

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