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It seems these days the juice cleanse industry is taking the world by storm and becoming especially popular in the health and wellness field. It’s all the rage right now, and for good reason! Whether its to kick-start your new diet, shed some water weight to fit into your dream dress or just to detox your body, a juice cleanse is a great way to give your body and digestive system a much-needed break. If you haven’t heard of juice cleanses from your favorite A-list celebrity or even your mother in law, see why it has become more popular and why it’s not going away anytime soon.

​So what is a juice cleanse exactly? It really depends on where you are getting your juice cleanse from. Every juicing company may do it a little differently, however, the concept is the same: You don’t eat anything for a set number of days and instead you drink juice for all of your nutritional needs. It’s most common that you drink about six juices a day, one every few hours or so.


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What happens to your body on a juice cleanse? ​Juice cleanses are much different than straight fasting. Instead of your body going into a state of ketosis, where your body will start to break down fat to produce energy, drinking juice gives your body the needed nutrients to produce energy on its own. In addition, while on a juice cleanse you are still consuming about 900-1,200 calories a day compared to 1,500 to 2,000 or more calories a day you would be eating normally, therefore your body is not relying solely on it’s fat reserves to survive. You are also conserving energy by NOT eating food, about 20-30% of the energy you get from your food is burnt while simply digesting your food. By not eating food you are bypassing the digestion process and getting all that energy straight from the nutrients in the juice.   

​Another question to keep in mind is, how is the juice made and are they using organic produce? The most common way, and I would argue the best way, juice cleanses are made is the cold-pressed method. This method of juicing doesn’t heat up the juice or use centrifugal force (AKA blending) to create the juice. When you do this, most of the nutrients are lost in the process of making the juice by heating the juice or aerating the juice too much. The cold pressed method relies solely on pressure, which maintains the integrity of the produces cellular structure and yields the most amounts of nutrients possible.
 
It is also important to consume juice that is unpasteurized. Pasteurization occurs to ALL the juice you would buy off the shelf at any superstore, such as Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, or Albertsons for example. This makes the juice more “shelf stable” and allows for it to stay on the shelf longer than unpasteurized juice. However, the process of pasteurization also depletes most of the nutrients needed to properly do a juice cleanse. The most common way of pasteurization is HPP, or high-pressure processing, which increases the shelf life of the juice. Meaning juicing companies can have their juice on the shelves for up to 30 days at a time. When this happens, you’re not always getting the freshest juice possible, and most if not all of the good nutrients have depleted within the first 5-6 days of the juice being on the shelf. Therefore you are losing out on important nutritional benefits when drinking pasteurized or HPP juice. Therefore, I recommend looking into local juicing companies rather than having a cleanse shipped to you or buying one off the shelves of a super store. This ensures you are getting the most out of your cleanse, AND you are supporting your local businesses.   

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With all of this in mind it’s time to ask, how long should you do a juice cleanse for?  Knowing how long you should do a juice cleanse for can be challenging to navigate. Finding the balance between discipline and remaining healthy while on a cleanse is always something to consider when thinking about the length of your cleanse. However, many experts say that the optimal time to do a juice cleanse is three to five days. This is the optimal amount of time to allow your body to detox and restart your mind and body. However, if you are doing a cleanse to try and lose weight (which I don’t recommend for many reasons) this amount of time may not do the trick. Most of the weight you lose during this time will be water weight and you may gain a few pounds back after you start eating regularly again (especially if you go back to unhealthy eating habits).
 
With that being said, I am a big advocate for knowing your own body and your own limitations, so listen to what your body is telling you. If a one-day cleanse is your limit, then go for it. Maybe next time push yourself one more day and see how you feel. I can attest that the first day is ALWAYS the hardest, so don’t judge a cleanse based on the first day alone. Everyone struggles with his or her first day. However, by day three many experts say (and I can attest to this personally) that you will feel so much better, crave much less junk food, and your gut will be happy, healthy and ready to start eating healthy again.

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Ready to start a juice cleanse?  Check out Boise Juice Co. they are a locally owned and operated company that specializes in juice cleanses as well as whole food smoothies and acai bowls. They were actually the FIRST in the treasure valley to open their doors and provide a healthy alternative to locals looking to put their health first. Their website also has a great FAQ page that can help answer any questions you may have about a juice cleanse and their staff members are super knowledgeable and will even customize a juice cleanse to fit your specific wants and/or needs. So go into either one of their two locations in Boise or check them out online at www.boisejuice.com