Juicing and Smoothies For Dummies
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In order for a juice fast to be effective, you need to do it right. Here, you are taken through each phase of a juice fast, starting in the weeks leading up to it.

A few weeks before the juice fast

Start a few weeks in advance by mentally preparing for a juice fast. Take some personal downtime while juice fasting; for example, choose to do it over a long weekend. Mark the date on your calendar and keep the actual juice fast days clear of any obligations. When you've selected and blocked off the actual days for juice fasting, focus some mental energy on visualizing what you'll be doing to fill the days and evenings and what functions the fruits, vegetables, and herbs will be accomplishing in your body.

The week before the juice fast

The week before, clean your house, organize your music, or get in some books you've wanted to read. Tell family and friends that this is your "cleanse weekend" so they know you won't want to have dinner at a restaurant or go to a party.

It's not that you can't do anything while fasting. You might want to choose to do reflective things that bring you inner peace when you fast.

Two days before the juice fast

Prepare a list of whole foods, fruits, vegetables, and herbs that you'll be consuming before, during, and after the juice fast. Shop for, clean, and store them so they're ready when you need to prepare the light, raw meals and use them in the actual juice fast.

The day before the juice fast

Eat only raw foods and don't eat any dairy or meat products. You can prepare a smoothie for breakfast and a fruit or vegetable salad using a dressing of one part raw nut or avocado oil to two parts lemon or lime juice for lunch and dinner. Snack on raw fruits or vegetables and raw, unsalted nuts and seeds. If you have a high-performance blender, you can prepare a hot soup using vegetables.

During the fast

You're mentally ready and you have all the ingredients for your day or two of juice fasting. Now it's easy: Simply make yourself a fresh juice four to six times every day. You can choose to have only fruit or only vegetable juices, or you may decide to have pure fruit juices until noon and then vegetable (or a combination of fruit and vegetable) juices after noon. The important thing is that you don't eat anything during the days of the fast.

Drink eight glasses of pure water or water with pure lemon juice added and, if you like, herbal teas. Light exercise such as walking, stretching, dancing, gardening, or yoga is great during juice fasting. You can go to work if you need to, and you can socialize — just don't do strenuous exercise/work or put yourself in a stressful situation.

To facilitate toxin release, do the following:

  • Every morning of your fast, use a dry loofah sponge or a natural bristle brush to dry-brush your body all over. Take a shower and then rinse under cool water.

  • Every morning of your fast, take a warm water enema. Because you aren't eating solids and the fiber isn't helping eliminate food, you'll benefit from an enema, which injects the liquid into the rectum to help release food from it.

  • Be sure to drink a minimum of eight glasses of water every day. Drinking eight glasses of water during a juice fast is critical in helping your body to dilute and eliminate toxins.

  • Each evening of your fast, take a full-soak bath. Fill the tub with hot water that's comfortable to sit in and add 1 cup of baking soda and the juice of 3 lemons to the water. Immerse your entire body in the water for 30 to 90 minutes, topping up with hot water as the water cools.

You may experience headache and slight depression during a juice fast, especially if you're used to coffee and alcohol or junk foods loaded with chemicals. These feelings will pass, but it could take three or four days.

By juice fasting and allowing your digestive organs to rest, the toxins stored in them and in other body tissues are released back into your bloodstream where they can do damage all over again. But because you aren't eating solid food, your kidneys, liver, gallbladder, and spleen can deal with the reappearing waste. Pure water is essential in helping to dilute and move these chemicals out of your body.

You also may experience minor aches or sore muscles, temporary exhaustion, loss of appetite, runny nose, acne, body odor, and bad breath. These symptoms will pass, and you'll begin to have the opposite reaction — your skin will clear and other minor irritations will disappear. If you feel more than uncomfortable during a fast, discontinue it and resume a light, whole-foods diet.

The day after the juice fast

You did it, congratulations! You feel great, like you could do this forever. Or maybe you're ravenous and feel as if you could eat a horse. Either way, go gently back to eating and promise yourself that this is the start of a healthy lifestyle.

The day after the juice fast, eat only raw foods and don't eat any dairy or meat products. You can prepare breakfast, snacks, and a fruit or vegetable salad.

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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