Juice cleansing: the main dos and don’ts!

With the new year in full swing, many of us are looking for ways to shake up our metabolism after December's indulgences.

During a juice cleanse, your meals are replaced with either homemade or purchased fruit and vegetable juices, allowing your body to rid itself of built-up toxins from processed and high-fat foods. The diet typically lasts anywhere between one and seven days – if this is your first time, three days or under is a good starting point. 

While a juice cleanse is a great detox option, there are a few things to keep in mind if you're considering trying one out. Here are our key dos and don'ts…

What to do

1. Do pick your days wisely
A juice cleanse is difficult enough to begin with, so don't hinder your chances by scheduling your cleanse for a week when you have big social or work commitments – you'll only make the whole process harder to stick to.

2. Do prepare yourself for the detox
Mood swings, headaches and bloating are all common problems when you subject your body to a detox, but you can reduce the likelihood of these symptoms by preparing your body for the cleanse. Avoid caffeinated beverages and sugary or fatty foods in the days leading up to your juice cleanse, and keep well hydrated both before and during your detox days. 

3. Do stay active (in moderation!)
You may feel weaker than usual during your cleanse, but light exercise can actually help you feel more energised and can even help your body to eliminate toxins. Heavy exercise should be avoided as your body is already working with a reduced calorie intake.

What not to do

1. Don't do it because everyone else is
A juice cleanse might be the detox diet of the moment, but that does not necessarily mean it's the right choice for you. If you struggle with intense cravings or have a history of disordered eating, a juice cleanse might end up doing more harm than good. The aim here is to eat clean and healthy, not to make yourself miserable.

2. Don't use the cleanse as a quick fix
Ideally, a juice cleanse should act as the start of your journey toward a healthier and cleaner diet – not a quick fix to drop a few pounds. If your plan is to go back to eating fatty and sugary foods again as soon as your cleanse is over , you'll soon notice those pounds creeping back on.

3. Don't be too hard on yourself
A juice cleanse is going to be difficult. If you end up caving and eating a snack, don't berate yourself. Simply pick up where you left off – it's not the end of the world.