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Juice Fast

Learn how to go on a 3-day juice fast


Updated June 25, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

juice fast
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What is a Juice Fast?

A juice fast is a type of detox diet that involves consuming only raw vegetable and fruit juice and water for a short period of time. It is considered one of the more rapid methods of detoxification due to the reduced food intake and absence of solid food.

A typical juice fast lasts one to five days. Consultation with a health care professional is often recommended for fasts longer than three days or for anyone with a preexisting health condition.

The juice can be extracted at home using a juicer. As an alternative, juice cleanse companies such as Blueprint Cleanse, Organic Avenue, and Pressed Juicery sell cleanse packages made up of various fresh pressed juices that are delivered by courier across the United States.

How It's Typically Done:

1) Preparation for a Juice Fast – 3 Days Before - Although it can be tempting to jump into a juice fast, preparation is essential because it affects how a person responds to the cleanse. Certain foods, such as coffee, sugar, meat, dairy, alcohol, and wheat are phased out to reduce headaches, cravings, and other withdrawal symptoms. It’s also important to up your intake of fresh vegetables during the pre-fast. See How to Prepare for a Detox Diet for essential tips to get ready.

2) 3-Day Juice Fast - During the actual fasting days, approximately 32 to 96 ounces of juice is suggested, with at least half of the juice being green vegetable-based. Green vegetables are rich in chlorophyll, which is said to help cleanse and heal the digestive tract.

This is a typical day on a 3 day juice fast:

Drink a glass of room temperature or lukewarm water in between each juice to promote elimination.

To optimize the absorption of nutrients, drink each juice slowly rather than gulping it down. Juices should be consumed approximately one to two hours apart. The final beverage of the day should be at least three hours before bedtime.

Fruits and vegetables used to make the juices often include celery, kale, carrot, cabbage, apple, spinach, beets, and leafy greens. Avocados and bananas don't juice well, and the pits of peaches, apricots, cherries and other fruit, apple seeds, carrot and rhubarb tops, and tough skins of kiwi, pineapple and mangos should be avoided. Organic produce is best, but if it's unavailable, a fruit and vegetable wash (often available in health food stores) may help to remove some pesticide residues. Find out more about common juicing ingredients.

People often find it easiest to juice at the beginning or end of the day and to make enough for one full day. Although juice should be consumed as close to the time of juicing as possible, juice can be stored covered in glass or BPA-free cups or bottles.

If hunger pangs are persistent or uncomfortable, vegetable broth or a small snack such as carrots, celery, a salad, or a piece of fruit is often suggested. If it is a person’s first time on a juice fast, a modified juice fast that includes a salad each day for lunch or dinner may be recommended.

3) Breaking the Juice Fast - After the juice fast is complete, food is usually reintroduced into the diet over several days. Find out how to break the fast.

4) Common Questions - Find out the answers to commonly asked questions about juice fasting, such as "how will I feel?"

Other Parts of a Juice Fast

There are other components of a well-designed juice fast:

1) Physical activity

While it’s a good idea to tone down your exercise routine during a juice fast, mild exercise such as walking can help to boost blood and lymphatic circulation. Also try massage therapy (such as Swedish massage, lymphatic drainage, deep tissue massage, and Thai massage), contrast showers, and skin brushing, which can be done as part of your regular shower.

2) Promote elimination

Stored toxins that are mobilized during a cleanse must be released out of the system or they are can be reabsorbed into the system. Proponents of juice fasting may recommend colonic irrigation or an enema at the start of a juice fast. Other methods of promoting elimination include herbal laxatives, such as senna tea or cascara, detox teas, and increased fluid intake.

3) Mind/body wellness

Stress can have negative effects on health and can impair detoxification. Allow the mind to rest by incorporating mind/body practices such as diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation. Try to get plenty of rest. Go to bed as early as you can and take naps if possible.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is associated with anger, the kidneys with fear, and the gallbladder holds frustration. Proponents of juice fasting believe that old emotions may arise and be cleansed from the system as the corresponding organs are cleansed. See Understanding Emotions in Traditional Chinese Medicine to learn more about the fascinating relationships between emotions and physical symptoms.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment. It is essential that you discuss with your doctor before trying any new health program or treatment.

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