Getting Started on a Juice Fast

Juice fasting proponents claim you'll get the most from your juice fast — which typically last three to five days — by preparing yourself physically and mentally for the challenge. Before you start a juice fast, it is strongly recommended that you consult your doctor to discuss the effects the fast may have on your body.

Although many chiropractors, naturopaths, natural healers, masseuses, and other alternative medicine practitioners offer nutritional counseling and supplements as part of their services, they do not have the training to replicate the advice of a medical physician.

Physical Prep for Juice Fasts

To make the transition from solid to liquid foods, about five days before your fast begin weaning off grains, breads, dairy, fish, and meat, and consume a pre-fat diet high in cooked vegetables, salads, fruits, and juices.

The next day, limit your foods to raw salads, juices, and fruits, becoming progressively stricter as your fast approaches but being careful not to eliminate juice and water from your diet. Try replacing breakfast with juice and gradually work up to ingesting only juice before dinner.

Try eating nothing but grapes on one of your pre-fast days — they act as a strong detoxifying agent. Another day, eat nothing but melons or apples or citrus, which also allegedly have cleansing effects. Lettuce and sprouts are also good pre-fast foods.

Doing a Fast

If you're new to fasting, it's highly recommended you do your first fast under the supervision of fasting experts at health spas or clinics. Experts claim that three-day fasts are especially effective for breaking binges, cravings, and other bad eating habits. However, you may want to start with a one-day fast, especially if you're doing it on your own.

What to Expect

During a short fast lasting a few days, the pH balance of your stomach changes, becoming more alkaline. As your stomach contracts and the digestive tract is cleansed, you will experience the most dramatic weight loss as water, minerals, and water soluble vitamins are heavily excreted and you lose up to 75 grams of protein per day. You're also likely to experience hunger, headaches, light headedness, and copious urination.

During longer fasts lasting anywhere from four days to a week, the liver begins to eliminate chemicals and toxins in your body, which may make you feel nauseous, exhausted, nervous, and short of breath. You may develop bad breath, diarrhea, body odor, and skin eruptions.

During extended fasts lasting two weeks or longer, blood toxins are eliminated from the body as deep tissue cleansing and organ detox begins. You may experience anything from stress and irritability to a sense of euphoria and well-being, which medical science attributes not to cleansing and regeneration, but to starvation.

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