Set a goal. Seasoned fasters can go for as long as three weeks on a juice fast, however if this is your first time, it is recommended that you start with a smaller, more manageable target, such as three days. Fasting can be tough, both physically and mentally, so you may find it easier to start small. It is better to complete a short fast successfully than to falter in the middle of a long one.
To complete a three day juice fast, you will actually be following a five day plan – taking one day to ease your body into the fast and one day to ease out.
If this is your first fast, it may be helpful to rope in a friend to go through the process with you. You can help motivate one another and a slight competitive edge will keep you from giving in to temptations!
Go grocery shopping. For your juice fast, you will need large quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables – probably more than you realize. It is very important that you buy organic produce, free from pesticides – the whole idea of the juice fast is to rid toxins from your body, not introduce more.
Stock up on oranges, lemons, limes, tomatoes, spinach, kale, celery, carrots, cucumbers, apples, grapes, blueberries, beets, garlic and ginger root.
If possible, you should also stock up on some good quality spring water from a company that uses food grade plastic or glass bottles. You will be drinking lots of water as part of your fast.
If you are careful about what you put into your body and focus on a healthy diet, you can have good digestion.
The USDA has a great food pyramid. Take the recommended calories. Those calories should come from healthy sources. Plants, fruits, and vegetables probably should make up half, a quarter of starches, and then another quarter of proteins.
People usually consume pre-packaged food that is excessively processed. Fast consumable foods are a detriment because they contain a lot of additives.
Invest in a good juicer. Having a good quality juicer is essential when performing a juice fast, as it will maximize the amount of juice that you get from your fruit and veg and will save you time and effort on preparation and clean-up. Make sure you get a juicer with at least 700 watts, which will easily power through any fresh produce you throw at it. You should also look for a juicer with as few parts to assemble and disassemble as possible, as this will make the juicing process faster.
Buying a new juicer can be a big expense, but it will be worth the investment, especially if you plan on making regular juice fasts a part of your lifestyle. You will probably need to spend at least $150 to get a decent juicer, but this should last you 15-20 years.
It is not possible to substitute a juicer for a blender when performing a juice fast. If you use a blender, you will end up with a smoothie rather than a juice. A smoothie still contains fibers from the fruit and veg – and although this is normally a good thing – you do not want any fiber in your diet while on a juice fast. This is because your body uses up too much energy when digesting fiber – energy which your body needs to rid itself of toxins.
Decide when to do your juice fast. Timing is important when it comes to juice fasting. You will need to ensure that you have plenty of time in the mornings to prepare your juices and that you do not have any high-energy activities planned for the 3-5 day period, especially if it's your first time. Many first-time fasters plan their juice fast for over a weekend, from Friday to Sunday, when they can be at home for extended periods of time.
Some fasters suffer from headaches and low energy when completing a fast (though others claim to have higher energy levels than normal) and you may find yourself needing to take a nap in the middle of the afternoon to conserve energy.
You should also be aware that as the juice fast stimulates the flushing out of toxins from the body, your body will need to eliminate this waste frequently. For this reason, it may be best to stay in close proximity to a toilet for the duration of your fast.
Prepare your body for the juice fast. Before the three day juice fast begins in earnest, you will need to take a day to prepare your body for the days ahead. This can be done by eating only raw fruits and vegetables the day before the fast. If you like, you can get your body accustomed to the fast by only drinking juice for breakfast and lunch, then having a solid meal of salad or other raw vegetables and fruit.
Some fasters also advise cleansing the system with a purgative (a natural laxative) or an enema before beginning the fast, although this is optional.
Make plenty of fresh juice every morning. If you have plenty of time on your hands in the morning, you can save yourself a significant amount of effort throughout the day by making the entire day's juice in one go. You can then keep it in the fridge until you're ready to drink it. Alternatively, you can just prepare the fruit and veg you intend to use in each juice and store it in ziploc bags in the fridge until you're ready to juice!
Experiment with different fruit and veg combinations to get tasty and unusual combinations. Really put some thought into what flavors will work well together – that way drinking your juice will be a pleasure rather than a chore.
When doing a juice fast, you should try to keep the ratio of fruit juice to vegetable juice at 20:80. Fruit juices can contain a lot of sugars which are harder for your body to process, so perhaps limit the fruit juices to the morning and stick to vegetable juices for lunch and dinner.
Drink as much juice as you like throughout the day. A juice fast isn't supposed to leave you starving – your body will need the vitamins and nutrients from the juice to keep you going and do the important work of cleansing your body. For this reason, there is no limit on how much juice you should drink throughout the day. Whenever you feel hungry or thirsty, drink a juice. You should be drinking at least four servings of juice a day.
If you are doing the juice fast to lose weight, you should not try to limit your juice intake either. Your body is being deprived of enough calories as it is, and limiting your juice intake will only send your body into survival mode and cause it to retain any extra weight. So stick to a minimum of 4 glasses a day.
Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is extremely important when on a juice cleanse, as the water will help to flush toxins from your system, along with helping you to rehydrate after eliminations. Drinking water will also help to keep sensations of hunger at bay. You should aim to drink at least 16 oz of water with each juice, either by diluting the juice with 50% water, or by drinking them one after the other. You should also drink additional water between juices.
Drinking herbal tea is another great way to drink more water – just try to stick with green, decaffeinated versions.
Do some light exercise. A little light exercise each day of the fast will allow you to take your mind off any hunger symptoms and will help to stimulate digestive movement. A short walk outdoors or some simple yoga movements will do you good, but refrain from anything more strenuous, as it may leave you feeling weak.
Rid your system of waste. Many people will experience bowel movements naturally, but you can help the process along by performing an enema once a day, preferably in the morning. This will help your body to clear out any built up toxins in the colon. Drinking a glass of warm water with some freshly squeezed lemon juice and a little honey (for sweetness) first thing in the morning has also been proven to stimulate bowel movements.
Continue fasting for another two days. Follow the same schedule for the following two days, drinking as much juice and water as you please. You may need to do another grocery run if you are running low on fresh produce. You should also continue to experiment with different recipes to keep your juice intake varied and interesting.
Stay strong. No matter how enthusiastic you feel at the beginning of your cleanse, you are sure to be faced with temptations and tests of your willpower over the course of the three days. You will become more sensitive to smells and solid food may seem to be calling to you to be eaten. Stay strong and remember why you decided to do the cleanse in the first place – you are ridding your body of toxins that have built up over the course of many years. You will feel much better afterwards – both physically and mentally – and enjoy the satisfaction at having successfully completed your first juice fast.
Some people enjoy the fasting process and claim to experience a surge, rather than a drain, of energy. Hopefully you will be one of these lucky people!
Try to take your mind off the fast by engaging in relaxing and restorative activities such as meditation, reading, stretching and craft projects. Without having to plan your day around mealtimes, you will have a lot more time on your hands.
Take a day to ease your body out of the fast. This day will be similar to the day prior to the cleanse – you will eat only salads and fruits. Stick with small portions so as not to overwhelm your stomach and digestive system.
Gradually return to normal food. After the easing-in period, you can gradually return to your regular diet by introducing foods such as eggs and dairy products, wholegrain rice and cereals, and lean meats. You should still try to refrain from eating processed foods, to avoid undoing the good work you did during your cleanse.
Eating pizza or other processed foods immediately after finishing your cleanse is not a good idea, and may even leave you feeling ill.
Think about introducing a 24 hour weekly juice fast into your routine. Doing a juice cleanse once a week will help you to maintain the level of detoxification you reached while doing your fast. It is actually quite simple to do as you can divide the 24 hours over a two day period. Start by having an early dinner one evening, then eat nothing for the rest of the night. Sleep through 8 of the 24 hours, then have a juice for breakfast and lunch that day. You can then eat a solid meal for dinner that night.
Try a longer fast next time. Once you have done a three day fast, you can move on to doing longer cleanses periodically, progressing towards a 7 day or even 14 day juice fast, if desired. Although this may seem daunting, many seasoned fasters claim that the fasting actually becomes easier the longer you go without solid food. Your body trains itself not to feel hunger, as it recognizes that it is getting all the nutrition it needs from the juice.
Be warned, however. With longer fasts, your body will start eliminating toxins through the skin and lungs and you may notice a funny or unpleasant smell emanating from your body.
With longer fasts, you may want to include protein and iron supplements in your juices, to give you more energy and prevent yourself from becoming anemic. These supplements can be found at health food stores.
Morning grapefruit juice. Juice 1/2 of a peeled grapefruit, 15 seedless red or green grapes and 1 1/2 cups of blueberries for delicious way to kickstart your day.
Morning digestion booster. Juice 2 granny smith apples, 1 peeled orange, 1 cucumber, 4 washed kale leaves and 1/4 of a peeled lemon for a drink that's sure to give your digestive system a wake-up call.
Beet lunch-time juice. Juice 1/2 a beet, half a cucumber and 5 carrots for a vibrantly-colored midday boost.
Italian-style tomato juice. Juice 2 tomatoes, one or two peeled garlic cloves, 1/4 of a peeled lemon and a handful of basil leaves for a lunchtime treat that's like bruschetta in a glass.
Dinner-time green machine. Juice 4 washed kale leaves, 2 cups of spinach, 2 apples, 2 celery stalks, 1/2 a cucumber, 1 carrot and a 1 inch (2.5 cm) piece of ginger root for a filling drink packed with vitamins and nutrients.
Evening sunset juice. Juice 1 sliced beet, 1 carrot, 1 cucumber, 4 kale leave, 1 green apple, 1/4 of a peeled lemon and 1/4 of a peeled lime.