7 Tips for Surviving a Juice Cleanse
So you’re ready to give your digestive system a break by trying a juice cleanse, but you’re intimidated by the whole, you know, no food thing. Don’t panic, friend. Here are eight tried and tested tips for surviving a juice cleanse.
- Pick a cleanse that works for you.
Do your research and choose a cleanse that seems reasonable for your life. If you’re new to detoxing and aren’t sure how long you will be able to go without food, then a weekend juicing program sounds about right. But who knows, maybe you’re up for challenge and are ready to tackle a full week of juicing. Whatever you choose, just remember this is supposed to be beneficial for you, so pick a time frame that is realistic for your lifestyle. Then get excited – the detox is about to begin!
- Clear your schedule.
Weekend of your best friend’s wedding? The week of Thanksgiving? These are not the times to plan your juice cleanse. Set yourself up for success by choosing a time when you don’t have too much going on at work, and you don’t have any food-centered social events. Mark it in your calendar and call it a day.
- Prep your body.
If you’ve been going heavy on the party scene lately, then it’s time to prep the body because juicing doesn’t work the same for everyone. Some people experience ﬂu-like symptoms from bacterial die-off, and others don’t have any side effects. Some find themselves running to the bathroom multiple times a day, while others don’t notice a difference. To ease unpleasant side effects, prep your body before the cleanse by cleaning up your diet. Swap the sugary cereal for yogurt, and replace processed junk with light, easy-to-digest foods like well-cooked veggies. Spend a few days or a few weeks cleaning up your diet prior to your detox. The juicing will be less of a shock to your body if you clean up your diet beforehand.
- Know what to expect.
Let’s be real, juicing is obviously less labor intensive than throwing a dinner party, but it still requires a bit of effort on your part. Thoroughly washing the fruits and veggies, cleaning the juicer, and making your juices ahead of time due to scheduling conflicts can seem like a big pain, but acknowledging the work ahead of time and understanding the benefits you’ll reap will set the foundation for a successful cleanse. Scared you’ll feel irritable while cleansing? Relax, it’s normal. Eating can be really emotional for some people, so not eating may trigger emotional changes at various times throughout your cleanse. Create a game plan for what you’ll do if this happens. Keeping a journal is a great idea.
Worried about the physical side of it? Rest assured, cleanses affect people differently. That nightmare experience your friend told you about might not be in store for you. Yeah, your body may feel weak, but you never know, you may feel full of energy. Understanding that whatever you experience is simply part of your detox will make the physical changes you notice less of a surprise during your cleanse.
- Pamper yourself.
Sitting around the house doing nothing while you’re juicing is a recipe for a pity party for one. Please, get off your couch and set out on a self-care mission. You may not have the energy to hit up a heated power yoga class, but get outside for a leisurely stroll or bike ride. Do things you don’t normally take the time to do- take a bath with essential oils, start that book you’ve wanted to read, head out to a meditation class. These activities will not only serve as a distraction from your cravings, but they’re also beneficial to your physical and mental health.
- Don’t get hungry.
Juicing isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal. Some people need more juice than others. The best tip for surviving a juice cleanse is this: If you’re hungry, drink more juice. You’ll probably never feel full while juicing, but that isn’t the point. Aim to feel nourished.
- Celebrate. (But go easy).
Woo! You’ve completed your juice cleanse! Friends want to celebrate at happy hour! Probably a bad idea. Remember, your digestive system has had a break for the last few days so let it ease back to work by feeding yourself light, easy-to-digest food and drink.
Relocate the celebration to a teahouse and give yourself a pat on the back for committing yourself to cleansing in the name of health.
Eastern vs. Western Medicine: the Showdown
If you have only scoffed at Eastern medicine before, such as acupuncture and holistic treatments, this infographic may cause you to think again. Traditional Chinese medicine, also referred to as TCM, is the broad chunk of what’s considered Eastern medicine. TCM is a broad range of alternative chinese medicine practices sharing common concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage (Tui na), exercise (qigong), and dietary therapy.
What makes Eastern medicine so different than Western is that instead of prescribing a “one size fits all” for all patients with certain symptoms, Eastern medicine looks at the needs of each individual and unique body and acts accordingly. In essence, it’s a short-term versus long-term action plan.
Here are 6 lessons one student of TCM learned by watching the doctors and seeing their expertise. She shares her story:
- Listen—Really Listen.
The first TCM practitioner I shadowed explained to me that to practice TCM is to “listen with your whole body”. Pay attention and use every sense you have, he said. I watched this doctor as he diagnosed a woman with new-onset cervical cancer and severe anemia the moment she walked into his exam room, and within two minutes, without blood tests or CTs, sent her to be admitted to a (Western) medical service. I’ve seen expert clinicians make remarkable diagnoses, but this was something else!
“How could you know what you had and that she needed to be admitted?” I asked.
“I smelled the cervical cancer,” he said. “I looked and saw the anemia. I heard her speak and I knew she could not care for herself at home.” (I followed her records in the hospital; he was right on all accounts.)
- Focus on the Diagnosis
I watched another TCM doctor patiently explain to a young woman with long-standing abdominal pain why painkillers were not the answer.
“Why should we treat you for something if we don’t know what it is?” he said. “Let’s find out the diagnosis first.” What an important lesson for us—to always begin with the diagnosis.
- Treat the Whole Person
“A big difference between our two practices,” said one TCM doctor, “is that Western medicine treats people as organs. Eastern holistic medicine treats people as a whole.” Indeed, I watched her inquire about family, diet, and life stressors. She counseled on issues of family planning, food safety, and managing debt. She even helped patients who needed advice on caring for the their elderly parents and choosing schools for their child. This is truly “whole person” care!
- Health Is Not Just About Disease, But Also About Wellness
There is a term in Chinese that does not have its exact equivalent in English. The closest translation is probably “tune-up to remain in balance,” but it doesn’t do the term justice, because it refers to maintaining and promoting wellness. Many choose to see a TCM doctor not because they are ill, but because they want to be well. They believe TCM helps them keep in balance. It’s an important lesson for doctors and patients alike to address wellness and prevention.
- Medicine Is a Life-Long Practice
Western medicine reveres the newest as the best; in contrast, patients revere old TCM doctors for their knowledge and experience. Practicing doctors do not rest on their laurels.
“This is a practice that has taken thousands of years to develop,” I was told. “That’s why you must keep learning throughout your life, and even then you will only learn just a small fraction.” Western medicine should be no different: not only are there new medical advances all the time, doctors need to continually improve their skills in the art of medicine.
- Evidence Is in the Eyes of the Beholder
Evidence-based medicine was my mantra in Western medical training, so I was highly skeptical of the anecdotes I heard. But then I met so many patients who said that they were able to get relief from Eastern remedies while Western treatments failed them. Could there be a placebo effect? Sure. Is research important? Of course. But research is done on populations, and our treatment is of individuals. It has taken me a while to accept that I may not always be able to explain why—but that the care should be for the individual patient, not a population of patients.
“In a way, there is more evidence for our type of medicine than for yours,” a TCM teacher told me. “We have four thousand years of experience—that must count for something!”
Fascinated? Here’s more information on Eastern versus Western medicine for you to feast your eyes on: