After a few weeks (ok, more like a month) of cocktails, cookies, and cheese plates, you’re not alone in thinking that a diet solely consisting of juice sounds like the golden ticket to get you back on track.
Juice cleanses have become ubiquitous in our culture, with lots of options promising weight loss, better digestion, glowing skin and clearer thinking. The trouble is, there really isn’t any science supporting the ‘cleansing benefits’ of these programs.
Sure, switching up your holiday diet, in favour of something completely centred around fruits and veggies does have some benefits, but in #ReflexNation we think if you want to rid your body of all the crap you’ve recently put in it, don’t do a juice cleanse. Here are our reasons why.
Protein helps us build, renew and repair our muscles and tissues. It is also an essential nutrient needed to keep our immune system strong and healthy. Protein, especially whey protein powder, also contains L-cysteine, an amino acid that is required for the production of glutathione; a potent molecule that helps remove toxins from the liver.
Outside of the obvious reasons (like it’s hard to juice a steak or beans), most cleanses (juice or otherwise) limit protein as we typically overeat it compared to our veggies.
Instead of skipping this important macronutrient altogether, opt for a high-quality protein powder. If you are trying to ‘cleanse’ and reduce your toxic load be sure to choose a high-quality brand that is free of artificial flavours, sweeteners, or any added fillers.
Our digestive system is one of our major pathways of elimination. To get the toxins out, we have to keep it moving.
One of the best ways to keep our intestinal tract chugging along is to eat a diet high in fibre. Fibre also provides fuel to the trillions of our gut bacteria, which is another critical component of a healthy (and mobile) digestive system.
Unfortunately, when we juice fruits and veggies, we lose this critical component. Proponents of juice cleanses say that this makes the nutrients easier for the body to absorb, but again, this isn’t supported by science. Properly chewing your food is the easiest way to make food more digestible, and gives you both the nutrients and fibre that your body needs.
Many juices rely on the natural sweetness of fruit to cut the more bitter tastes of greens like kale, chard, and spinach. Unfortunately, without the fibre to slow the effects of that sugar on our body, we can be left with a sugar-bomb that may contain up to 50 grams per serving!
When we consume sugar (in any form), our body signals the release of insulin to clear the sugar from our blood and store it in either the form of glycogen or fat for use as fuel at a later date. Continually consuming a high amount of sugar can lead to hypoglycemia, weight gain, and insulin resistance.
Instead of juices try consuming more whole fruits and veggies. If you like the idea of drinking your greens (or anything else from the produce aisle), try whipping up a smoothie. You’ll keep the fibre, and can add in a little protein and fat (nut butter, avocado, coconut oil) to help keep blood sugar levels balanced.
The human body is well-designed to remove toxins via several pathways – our skin, digestive system, lungs, kidneys, liver, lymph, and blood.
Increasing fruit and veggie intake is a great way to bump up your intake of the nutrients your body needs to facilitate this, but it is only part of the equation.
We’ve already mentioned fibre, and the importance of keeping your digestive tract moving (a daily probiotic is also a great tool for this!).
To support the skin, lungs, and circulation (i.e. your blood and lymph), there is nothing like a good ol’ fashion sweat session to get the toxins out. Can you image grinding it out at the gym after a few days of only juice?! Eat clean, train hard. It’s the best approach to support your entire body.
A lot of people turn to juice cleanses this time of year to help them hit ‘reset’ and lose the holiday weight quickly. Sure, a 3-day cleanse may help you drop a few pounds and make you feel a sense of accomplishment (getting through one takes mental stamina), but looking to ‘quick-fixes’ doesn’t set you up for success in the year ahead.
If your goal this year is to feel and look great then you’re better off starting to introduce healthy habits into your daily routine that you can really stick to. Try incorporating more veggies, lean protein sources, and healthy fats into your daily meals. Set a goal number of workouts you want to achieve every week. Do your best to get to bed on time (and sleep at least seven hours!), and find ways to better manage stress.
If you have any questions about how to start giving your body a healthy reset, head into your nearest Reflex store. Our expert staff can help you customize a plan that works for you and your goals. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to give us a shout on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. We are #ReflexNation.
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