Written by Nutrition Nation nutritionist Dilal Ranasinghe.
As we start 2015 with our New Years resolutions held in high regard, we are committed to improving our lifestyles, starting that diet we discussed before the holidays and are aiming to start the year on a good foot.
Juice cleanses have been the talk of town for years. Although some cleanse programs on the market are excellent, some of these programs are very aggressive and haven’t been given the proper approvals of certified nutritionists. This has left the public questioning the whole ethos and benefits of the juice cleanse.
We believe that regularly juice cleansing (normally every 4-6 months), should be an important part of a healthy lifestyle. “It can have significant benefits to your body and allow your system to almost reset. It is also the best starting point for all diets or weight loss programs, as your body is cleaned of all toxins and is prepared for a “new nutiritional journey” explains Dilal Ranasinghe. We do however encourage individuals to eat some raw / neutral foods during the cleanse (raw fruit and vegetables, brown rice, avocado etc). This makes it easier to follow and maintain, yet still allows you to achieve all the benefits of a juice cleanse.
How do you know if you need a cleanse?
If you have any 4 of the following symptoms, you are likely to need a detox or cleanse
- White or yellow-coated tongue and/or bad breath
- Fluid retention and/or congested sinuses
- Increased belly or visceral fat
- Cravings and/or blood sugar issues
- Gallbladder issues or you had it removed
- Abdominal bloating
- Overheating/excess sweating
- Weight loss resistance
- Acne, rosacea, itchy skin
- Fatigue unrelieved by more sleep, especially in the morning
- Autoimmunity/ resistance to gluten or other food allergies.
- Chemical sensitivity – you’re a lightweight when you drink alcohol or smelling fragrances makes you anxious
So what are the reasons for juice cleansing?
1) Rest the stomach. For the tens of millions of people who are on acid-suppressing drugs–and for older folks who often don’t produce enough stomach acid–making the stomach work less to extract nutrients can be a huge benefit. Juices require less of the stomach’s digestive processing (churning, acid and pepsin).
2) Rest and repair the gut. Toxic foods (including saturated fats, refined carbs, foods with additives, pesticides and allergenic foods), taking medications (such as antibiotics or antacids), and even stress can impair the intestine’s functioning. There can easily be an imbalance in the gut microbiome (flora and fauna balance) as well as actual breaks in the intestinal barrier (“leaky gut”) — allowing substances into our bodies that should not get a free pass (5). Consuming a phytonutrient-dense rainbow plant-based juice diet allows food to be assimilated quickly through the intestine–consuming less energy, while the toxin-free, nutrient-dense food helps to repair the gut itself.
3) Rest the liver. The liver is our main detoxifying organ. Every molecule of food that is absorbed through the intestinal wall (fibre is not absorbed) moves into the liver for detoxification and preparation before being allowed to enter the rest of the body. Problem is, there are too many toxins for most of our livers to handle–with many passing unchecked into the general circulation to wreak havoc in distant cells. An organic juice cleanse rests the liver’s overload.
4) Reduce your appetite. Juicing doesn’t really shrink the stomach–although it feels like it does. Juicing eliminates the habit of comfort eating, and makes you feel satiated with less food than usual. This provides a big psychological boost to help get over the hurdle of changing habits.
5) Ease food decision-making. Juicing focuses on consuming fresh whole food produce every few hours–and reduces the enslavement of thinking constantly about what the next meal is going to be. Not only do we feel sated, but realise we are no longer slaves to our addictions with (often very harmful) foods.
6) Eliminate harmful foods. The juice cleanse eliminates dairy, wheat, gluten and fermented foods from the diet (as well as coffee and alcohol). In my experience, the majority of patients over 40 are relatively sensitive to wheat. Being off this–and other common trigger foods for a period–then reintroducing them can help define what foods are causing our body problems.
7) Floods our body with super nutrition. Being on an all-produce diet gives us not only the vitamins and minerals but the all-important phytonutrients that are powerhouses for the clean-up and healing process. Juices are by nature raw foods–and retain nutrients that would be destroyed by cooking, including some B vitamins and especially (digestive and anti-inflammatory) enzymes.
8) Lose weight. As you are feeling better and having more energy, you also naturally lose weight. Some of this is water bloat, but also some is fat. A juice cleanse (three days minimum) is a great way to jump start a diet. It not only helps control appetite and cravings, but is naturally lower in calories, while supplying the body with probably more concentrated beneficial energising and healing nutrients than it has seen before.
9) Improve energy. After the first day’s adjustment period (mostly missing crunching, and any coffee/alcohol cessation symptoms), most people begin to feel much more energy and clarity (by consuming only fresh juices) than they ever did with frequent caffeine drinks.
10) Rehydrate the body. Most of my new patients consume inadequate fluids, often having diuretics such as coffee or tea as their main beverages. Drinking sufficient fluids (5-6 glasses/day) makes the body function more efficiently, increases energy (often successfully removing the afternoon blahs/brain fog), and helps insure proper elimination of toxins.
11) Reduce physical problems. You begin to feel generally better, not just with your energy, but with many chronic symptoms such as headaches, rashes, general aches, congested sinuses and chest, and bloating/cramping/gas. Too much of the time our body is fighting off the things we do to it (especially with food — but also with lack of sleep, inactivity and stress). Take a break, rest the body (and mind) and flood it with nutrients.
12) Allow maximum detoxification. To optimally support all phases of the body’s natural detox process, you need a very broad range of plant-supplied nutrients like anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories. By providing the body with super-nutrient dense foods juicing allows the body to have more of the resources it needs to support the phases of detoxification, and even to begin to help remove the cumulative toxins stored in the body.
13) Heal our cells. Switching to an organic plant-based diet allows cells to work optimally to re-establish efficient internal messaging and manufacturing processes, allowing the mitochondria to create energy without having to fight off a plethora of free radicals and inflammation, and reducing some of the impediments to proper DNA functioning.
In conclusion, make sure you try a juice cleanse however if doing it for the first time, please request a certified nutritionist monitor you and support you.
Foodie will be doing a juice cleanse this week sponsored by Punch Detox, for the purpose of giving you ‘guinea pig’ of sort, and insight into the effects and benefits of juice cleansing. Stay tuned for more on this later today!
Written by Nutrition Nation nutritionist Dilal Ranasinghe.
The team from Nutrition Nation can help you change your life for the better creating long term improvements in all aspects of your life. They offer nutritional counselling and lifestyle guidance for adults and their families in Hong Kong.