It’s the time of year when most diets commence. You’ve somehow managed to add a kilo or two to the bathroom scale and magic tailors have been in during the night and removed an inch or two from the circumference of your trousers. Christmas may be gone, but the cold weather and dark nights have stuck around and we are often left feeling deflated mentally and spiritually, but inflated in the waistband department.
Most of us have eaten and drunk too much over Christmas and New Year; partied too much and exercised too little. And now it’s back to work. Now that the festive season is truly over and our party hats have wilted and been put away for next year, it is back to the land of the living, noses to the grindstone and time to take stock and consider how we want to improve in the year ahead.
Thinking that you can only eat half a grapefruit and the juice of a satsuma for breakfast, toast with no topping for lunch with no carbs before 4pm and after 4.15pm, with half a malteser at weekends, for the rest of your life can seem depressing, for some. So a good quick way to jumpstart the new year and detox all those icky things from your system, or at least give them a darn good shove, and to lose a bit of extra weight at the same time, is to consider a small, controlled juice fast.
A juice fast is just that, nothing but fresh, clean fruit and vegetable juices for a short period of time ranging from 1 to 7 days (seasoned fruit fasters have notched up 90 days and beyond!) depending on your level of commitment but a one-day fast is enough to give you a taster and to give your body a chance to rest, and lose a pound or two of toxins. And believe it or not, going without food for a day or three, often sounds much worse than it is. People worry that they will be constantly hungry, which is not the case. With juice fasting, often called juice feasting, whenever you are hungry, you drink juice.
Juice fasting is an excellent method for cleansing your entire system and losing weight. During a fast your body will selectively kill those diseased and damaged old cells, making room for the healthy bouncy cells to take over. They are effective because they supply fabulous enzymes that kickstart the cleansing process, whilst not ‘eating’ means that the entire digestive system takes a well-earned and much needed holiday having had to cope with a complicated variety of food types over a short period of time.
It is recommended that juice fasters or feasters use a combination of fruit and vegetable juices as fruit juices contain a lot of natural sugar which can contribute to blood sugar issues, whereas vegetable juices have an alkalizing effect on the body. Green juices (ie those containing green vegetables) have become very popular with the raw food movement and in detox centers all over the world, as their ability to rebuild good health have been recognised. Using 50% green vegetables (eg kale, cucumber, parsley, spinach) and 50% fruits (eg mango, papaya, peach, orange, apple, blueberries) is recommended for amateur fasters. Experienced fasters can up the green vegetable percentage to as high as 100%.
It is best to do a juice fast during the weekend or on a non-work day. Stock up on fresh organic fruits and vegetables, rest as much as possible and go to bed early. Unfortunately, convenient though they are, packaged fruit and vegetable juices are highly processed and the nutrients have been seriously depleted during the juicing, heating and storage process. Drinking clean, good quality water and drinking unsweetened herbal teas is also recommended.
Juice fasting is generally safe but if you are pregnant or nursing; have blood sugar disorders (such as hypoglycemia); suffer from or have ever suffered from eating disorders, have recently undergone surgery; take prescription drugs; have low blood pressure, kidney/liver disease; epilepsy or any terminal disease, please do not entertain a fast. It is recommended that you consult your physician before doing any type of fast.