Juicing and Smoothies For Dummies
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Brief periods of drinking only fresh fruit and/or vegetable juices and plenty of pure water can be a healthy way to give your digestive system a complete rest so that your body can do the toxin elimination and organ repair work it's designed to do. Juice fasts are healthy because

  • Your cells are being nourished, not starved.

  • Your organs of elimination aren't working to digest food, so they can focus on clearing out built-up debris and start to move toxins stored deep in fat and other tissues.

The benefits of a juice fast

Finding the discipline and determination within yourself to exert self-control and forgo solid food in order to fast on fresh raw juices for at least one full day is exhilarating in itself. It spurs confidence that you can have greater control over your lifestyle decisions and diet. The effect of being cleansed or feeling flushed actually makes you want to continue eating lightly and taking juices long after the juice fast is officially over.

The long-term effect is that it keeps you committed to choosing a green lifestyle; eating only organic foods; and eating whole fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, chicken, and fish (while being careful about the kind and amount of dairy and meat youconsume).

Immediately after a juice fast, you'll experience a physical and mental high — the juice high. Some people shed pounds while juice fasting.

Knowing how often to do a juice fast

Many people choose to fast using only fresh, raw juice one day every week. Others choose to use juice fasts when preparing to focus on a mental task (for example, before studying for an important test). Most people use the changing seasons or other significant markers (a birthday or other anniversary) to take a personal time-out and use a juice fast to bring the mental, spiritual, and physical aspects of their being into balance.

Some people actually go on a retreat and combine meditation with other forms of reflection. All these ways of juice fasting are excellent preventive measures for ensuring overall health, physical energy, and mental clarity.

How long to fast

As with any new change, it's always best to start slowly and build up to longer periods of juice fasting. If you're new to juicing, allow at least a month of experimenting with the recipes in this book, trimming your diet to a whole-foods approach, and finding your own level of tolerance for the pure, raw enzymes and phytonutrients your body will be getting before you even consider a juice fast.

If you've spent years indulging in a high-fat, low-fiber diet with or without alcohol, drugs, and other chemical exposure, you're going to feel the punch of this new way of living.

After you're used to juicing, start your first juice fast with one or two days at the most. When you see what's involved and how you feel afterward, you can decide how often and when you want to enjoy your juice fast regimen. Stick with one or two days every year or every few months if you like. Or start to increase the time by one day each fast. You shouldn't do a juice fast for more than five days unless you're working with a health practitioner.

Who should decline from fasting

If you're pregnant or breast-feeding, a juice fast isn't advised. People who are recovering from illness or surgery should check with their healthcare provider before juice fasting. Growing children or teenagers who are eating a whole food, fruit, and vegetable-rich diet don't benefit from juice fasting.

Teens and young adults may need supervision with juice fasting in order to prevent unhealthy habits from developing and to guard against diet extremes that may lead to anorexia.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Pat Crocker is a professional home economist specializing in herbs and healthy foods. She has been growing, photographing, teaching, and writing about herbs, food, and healthy diets for more than two decades. Pat lectures at international conventions and is a seasoned television and radio guest.

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