Here’s what happens to your body on a juice cleanse
With the new year upon us and many resolutions to get your health into gear, among the many things to try is a juice cleanse.
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about juice cleanses, and with enough nutrition jargon, you can easily find yourself confused about what actually happens when you eliminate all solid food and only drink juice.
Over the course of three to five days, your body will undergo a series of changes, revealing the status of your current health, and leaving you feeling lighter and revitalized.
When you first start a cleanse, you will immediately feel hungry! What a surprise, right? While the body experiences a sudden on surge of hunger, it is much more of a habitual response by the body than a physiological need. Over a lifetime of eating every 3-4 hours, our bodies become accustomed to routine, and an upset to the routine may come as an unpleasant shock to your body. Additionally, your digestion is functioning normally, unaware of the diet switch, causing the quick surge in appetite. You may feel a sense of lethargy towards the end of the first day. This is due to the caloric deficit from the lack of common macronutrients like protein and fat. If you tend to workout later in the day, you may need to take it easy since your body will be lower in energy than normal. But don’t be afraid to work up a bit of a sweat.
If you are a notorious snacker or late-night muncher, opt for some herbal tea or lemon water to fight off cravings. Your body is entering into a fasted state which will aid in weight-loss and a sudden introduction of calories may cause this process to stop.
Halfway through your cleanse, you may be experiencing caffeine withdrawals. If you are an avid coffee drinker, this will be the most challenging stage. At this point, your digestion has slowed down and the hunger and cravings may have subsided. You may have noticed you are having to visit the bathroom more frequently. The lack of fiber and protein, which would usually slow digestion by acting as a binder, is no longer present, so the fluids are easily passing through your system. While it may be slightly uncomfortable, your stomach and intestines are getting a nice holiday from their usually “cruddy” job.
It is important to know that the goal of a cleanse isn’t to simply starve yourself for weight-loss but to flush your system and allow for more optimal functioning, helping to solve many chronic health problems. As such, if you desperately need a snack, a piece of fruit or handful of almonds will do wonders for your mental health without halting the cleaning process.
Wrapping up the cleanse and entering back onto a solid food diet, you should be feeling much lighter inside and out. You may even notice a sense of mental clarity or a lifting of common “brain fog.” Often times, harmful foods to the gut like gluten or dairy can cause feelings of chronic malaise so removing them your body entirely can do you a lot of good. Many people are lactose or gluten intolerant without realizing it, so take note of how you feel post-cleanse. Perhaps look towards keeping these particular foods removed from you diet for the next couple of weeks, to see if your chronic disturbances were due to these ingredients. In any case, your stomach and digestion will have slowed and quieted, so reintroduce solid foods slowly, keeping fat intake to a minimum, to keep discomfort to a minimum.
Undertaking a juice cleanse should not be a mystery, nor should it seem daunting. There are some clear expectations you can take with you before deciding whether it's something you want to try.
Learn more about the benefits of juicing.