It’s spring time, so you may want to cleanse your system of toxins, drop a few kilos and feel vital by substituting food with fruit and vegetable juices. Although juice fasts sound appealing and are increasing in popularity, the safety and benefits of a diet of juices are still up for debate.
In one small study, eight days of juice fasting led to a sudden decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels but the levels returned to normal just one week after the fast was completed. Despite what some pundits may say, there is no scientific evidence for the benefit of fasting. In some cases, fasting may be detrimental to health through depriving the body of essential nutrients needed in certain situations such as in pregnancy or ill health.
Depriving our body of food lowers our energy and immune response, weakening its ability to fight infection. Fasting increases stress on the body and can lead to fatigue and dizziness. The very important lean muscle mass may also be lost when the body is continually deprived of protein.
There’s no need to throw out the juicer just yet. Fruit and vegie juices are a vital part of a balanced, wholefood diet. The fresh enzymes found in uncooked foods are nutritious and energy building to the body. Did you know that beetroot and carrot juice aids the liver in detoxing the body, and ginger helps with digestion? Fresh ‘greens’ detox the blood and digestive tract, so consider these when preparing your juice recipe.
Considering a fast usually means good eating habits have lapsed and there’s been a period of overindulgence of wrong foods and drink.
The human body is a self-healing, self-cleansing organism that responds positively to conscious, healthy eating habits, so to promote the body’s ability to cleanse itself and get back in body balance, follow these simple guidelines:-
Make a conscious decision to:
- Eat only natural, whole foods.
- Project meals for each day ahead of time, and be prepared.
- Include one juice per day, mid-morning or afternoon.
- Juice only the quantity of fruit and veg that you would eat in one meal. Juices are a concentrated food that can put pressure on the body when overdone. It’s ok to dilute your juice with spring or filtered water.
- Eat meals without distraction, be mentally present and give thanks for each delicious bite.
- Consider portion sizes. Just reduce the amount of food eaten to drop a couple of kilos.
- Reduce white starchy carbohydrates and increase protein and fresh vegetables and legumes.
- Hard cheeses and sweet foods are a treat. Treat them that way.
- Alcohol is a toxin, avoid it.
- Large quantities of processed sugar is harmful to the body. Avoid it.
- ‘Break bread’ with friends and family where possible.
One week of eating consciously will bring back that bubbly, energetic self. Do it for 8 weeks and eating habits are changed into healthy lifestyle.