Juicing isn’t just a fad diet backed by celebrities. It’s an excellent way to cleanse your system, detox your body of toxins, and prepare for a healthier diet. You can even help your body deal with cravings (especially sugar cravings) by reducing the urge to satisfy those urges. But more than that, it’s a fantastic way to familiarize yourself with unfamiliar fruits and vegetables and intake a healthy balance of nutrients. Avoid these five mistakes to get the most out of your experience.
Mistake #1: Using Only One Recipe or the Same Ingredients Every Day
To cleanse and remain healthy, which is the point of juicing, you need to make sure your body is getting all of the nutrients it needs. Kale is great for you and has excellent health benefits, but it’s not enough. Carrots are good for you, but they’re not enough – and too much beta-carotene can make your skin turn orange so you’ll look like you invested in a bad spray tan.
To mix things up, make a hearty orange recipe heavy in carrots and orange your breakfast juice one day. Then, use kale for your lunch base and beets for your dinner beverage. Pay attention to color to make sure you’re getting the correct balance of vitamins and minerals. Even better focus on seasonal produce first, so you can make sure you’re getting the freshest ingredients as your base.
Mistake #2: Not Drinking Enough Water
Water is essential for our body to function properly. Sure, fruit and veggies contain water, but you still need to be drinking plenty of water. Keep an eye on the color of your urine. If it’s yellow, you’re not getting enough water, just like when you’re following your usual diet. Shoot for clear urine to be sure you’re getting the hydration you need.
You might also consider adding apple cider vinegar shots to your water routine. Adding about two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to 8 ounces of water (with honey or ginger powder if you can’t stand the taste) right before drinking your juice can help your cleanse by reducing the spike in blood sugar. After you’ve finished your cleanse, keep it up to reduce bloating. However, don’t drink just a straight shot of apple cider vinegar. Not only can it destroy your tooth’s enamel, but it can severely damage your esophagus.
Mistake # 3: Not Including Sources of Fat and Protein
Fat is not the enemy. Our bodies need fat, in limitation, to function. Fat and protein keep our bodies going longer so we don’t burn out, fall asleep, and suffer from raging hunger. When juicing, add chia seeds or flax seeds to your juicer. They have extra fiber, are high in antioxidants, are anti-inflammatory, and will slow down digestion so you will feel fuller, longer and help prevent the mid-morning crash.
Although many of the items you’ll be putting in your juice have fiber, juicing also removes them, depending on your juicer. To get a little more fiber, make sure you’re using as much of the pulp as possible.
Mistake #4: Too Many Fruits and Sweet Vegetables
Fruits, including berries, have beneficial nutrients and vitamins that can boost immunity and improve health. However, even though our bodies process sugars from fruits better than added sugars, they can still cause your insulin and blood sugar to shoot up and then crash. This will leave you drained and hungry. Instead, select a healthy balance of about 80% vegetables and 20% fruit.
However, some vegetables, including carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes, are also high in sugar. That’s okay, but make sure you’re balancing sweet vegetables and fruits to only the 20% mentioned above and incorporating plenty of greens. If you don’t like the taste, add in other flavors, including hot peppers, ginger, or spices such as rosemary and basil. Don’t be afraid to look at other people’s recipes to make sure you’re properly balancing nutrients and flavors.
Mistake #5: Not Drinking Enough Juice
There are two ways to juice: feast or fast. Fasting involves drinking about 2 liters of juice. This is best done when you have a light weekend or are on a retreat that doesn’t involve a lot of activity. Since it’s a very limited number of calories (depending on what you’re putting in), it can leave you hungry and tired. That probably won’t matter if you’re taking it easy.
However, if you’re going about your regular day of school, work, and/or taking care of your family, juice feasting is a better choice. It requires drinking at least three liters of juice per day – that’s one per meal – and will make sure you get the necessary calories. Four liters or more is even better. This gives your body an ample amount of vitamins and nutrients and will keep you from being hungry, tired, and spacey, as you go through your day.
In conclusion, juicing can be excellent way to boost your health, wellness, and feel better. As you finish your juice cleanse, make sure to ease back onto your regular diet slowly, as you’ll still be experiencing some of the benefits. Happy Juicing!