Why You Need to Detox with a 3 Day Juice Cleanse Plus Simple Steps & Recipes

Pop quiz: what takes just 3 days, is simple to do, and will leave you feeling lighter and more refreshed? If you said “juice cleanse”, you’re right! A 3 day juice cleanse (or fast) is loaded with benefits and is an easy way to begin taking control of your health. You’ll soon be wondering why you didn’t do one sooner.

Fasting has been practiced throughout history for various reasons. In ancient times, fasting was primarily a spiritual practice, meant to cleanse the body and soul and to aid in meditation.

These days, our goals are health-motivated, as fasting has been praised for its wonderful effects on the body – from weight loss to a greater sense of wellbeing. So, is fasting that good for us? And do we need to drink nothing but water for a week, or should we follow a more balanced approach?

In this article, we will be exploring the benefits and the how/why of a short-term juice cleanse or detox. Rather than avoiding all food, a juice cleanse is a gentle approach that combines fruit and vegetable juices, herbal teas and distilled/purified water. This provides a lot of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to help support the body’s natural cleansing processes while keeping the body adequately nourished.

Juice Cleanse Benefits

The human intestinal tract is home to the gut microbiota, comprised of different kinds of bacteria. Two-thirds of this bacteria is unique to each person. Our gut bacteria play many roles, including helping to digest foods, helping the body to produce certain vitamins, fighting off infections, and much more. Gut bacteria is so important, in fact, that the presence of specific strains have been linked to diabetes, obesity, cholesterol levels, immune system function and even mental health.

green juice for a 3 day juice cleanse

Recent studies have highlighted some important benefits of consuming fruit/vegetable juices. Some of these are more obvious, such as weight loss, a reduction in BMI and an increased sense of wellbeing. Others are more subtle – such as a change in the composition of the gut microbiota itself, and positive effects on blood lipid profiles.

We have been told that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is beneficial for health, and for helping to keep cardiovascular disease at bay, but do we have to eat our fruits and vegetables? It turns out that drinking them may be just as effective, if not more so. For example, consumption of certain vegetable juices, such as beetroot and carrot, have shown a positive effect on blood pressure due to their high nitrate and polyphenol content.

Is a Juice Cleanse Right for Everyone?

Is this the next miracle cure? In a word, no. Do not undertake a juice detox if you are pregnant or nursing, if you are diabetic, suffering from kidney disease, or if you’ve been diagnosed with an eating disorder. While not unhealthy, juice cleanses can be lower in calories than a standard diet, and as a result, some people may experience hunger, light-headedness or dizziness, irritability, headaches and feeling just plain tired.

But what about all those benefits? I want those too!” you may be saying. It’s important to remember that if you fall into any of the groups mentioned above, you should consult with your doctor. More importantly, you can consume fruit and vegetable juices – alongside your regular meals – and your body will still absorb all those vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

How To: DIY 3 Day Juice Cleanse

It is best to begin the juice cleanse on a weekend. You need time to prepare the juices, to adjust to the schedule, and to get plenty of rest. Try to not schedule any demanding or stressful activities while you are doing your cleanse. It’s only 3 days! Use this time for yourself.

Some helpful practices during this time include journaling, meditating, listening to relaxing music, getting plenty of rest and going to bed early, and avoiding strenuous physical exercise under any circumstances.

During the cleanse, you will be consuming a fruit/vegetable juice every 2 hours for a total of 6 juices a day, and plenty of distilled water and/or herbal tea in between your juice “meals”. You can prepare the juices as you need them, or prepare the day’s juices all at once and store them in glass jars with tight-fitting lids in the fridge. If you don’t have one, you might like to try out a cold press juicer for making the best nutrient-rich juices.

Recipes for a 3 Day Juice Cleanse

The world – or produce aisle – is your oyster! Vegetables that are excellent for juicing include cucumbers, celery, leafy greens, cabbage, bunches of herbs, beets and carrots. Most fruits are great as well, with an emphasis on apples, pears, pineapple, melons, and citrus fruits. If using fruits with pits, those will need to be removed before juicing. Peel your citrus fruits roughly with a knife before juicing to avoid too much of a bitter taste in your juices.

A good rule of thumb to follow for each juice is to always include 3 or 4 green vegetables, 1 fruit for sweetness and 1 citrus fruit with a ratio of at least 70 percent vegetable juice to 30 percent fruit juice.

A sample day’s schedule and menu is listed below, but you are free to customize as you feel the need. Remember to only consume distilled or purified water during the cleanse.

Sample Day Schedule

6:00AM – Hot water with the juice of 1/2 lemon

7:00AM – (Herbal tea / water)

8:00AM – Basic Green Juice

9:00AM – (Herbal tea / water)

10:00AM – Blood Cleanser

11:00AM – (Herbal tea / water)

12:00PM – Green Juice #2

1:00 PM – (Herbal tea / water)

2:00PM – Sweet Tooth

3:00PM – (Herbal tea / water)

4:00PM – Green Juice #3

5:00PM – (Herbal tea / water)

6:00PM – Green Juice #4

8:00PM – Chamomile tea

Basic Green Juice:

1 bunch parsley
2 celery ribs
1/2 cucumber
1 handful kale or spinach
1 green apple
1 lemon
Blood Cleanser:

1 bunch parsley
2 beets
2 carrots
1 red apple
1 orange

Green Juice #2:

1 bunch cilantro
1 large handful kale
1 cucumber
2 celery ribs
1/4 pineapple
1 lemon
Green Juice #3:

1 orange
1 apple
1 head romaine lettuce
1/4 head cabbage
1 cucumber

Green Juice #4:

1 bunch parsley
1/4 head cabbage
2 carrots
2 ribs celery
2 green apples
1 lemon
Sweet Tooth:

1 bunch cilantro
1 handful spinach
2 carrots
1 green apple
1/2 pineapple
1 orange

After the Detox is Over – What Now?

You did it! Hooray! Pat yourself on the back! Now, you can order yourself some pizza, sit back, relax and…

Not so fast. Your body has not digested solid food in over 3 days so please be gentle with yourself.  Unless you want to be running to the bathroom every 10 minutes or end up doubled over in pain, you will need to follow a few simple rules.

Reintroduce food gradually, working your way up from simple meals to more complex ones. Avoid coffee, black tea, or any caffeine or sugar-laden beverage. Caffeine is a diuretic and will only cause you cramps and much grief at this point. Choose warm herbal tea and lemon water in the morning for days 4, 5 and 6 and make sure your portion sizes are small so as not to overwhelm your digestive system.

Begin with simple meals in the form of fruits and lightly steamed vegetables, as well as nuts and seeds. Add some avocado for a snack, and a cup of warm almond milk at bedtime.

On day 2 add some starch in the form of brown rice, sweet potatoes or oatmeal, as well as more healthy fats.

On day 3 you may add eggs, and a small amount of dairy in the form of plain yogurt. Do not eat meat until day 4.

How Often Can I Do a Juice Cleanse?

If you completed a 3 day juice cleanse and felt refreshed, lighter and overall happy with the results, it is perfectly acceptable to repeat the cleanse four times a year, with the changing of the seasons. Ultimately, listen to your body and make sure you are drinking enough and getting enough rest. If you follow the basic principles set out in this article, you will be well on your way to a renewed sense of health, vitality, and wellbeing!


SOURCES:

“Gut Microbiota Info” (https://www.gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com/en/about-gut-microbiota-info/)

Aw, W., Fukuda, S. (May 24, 2017) “Understanding the role of the gut ecosystem in diabetes mellitus” 2018 Jan; 9(1): 5–12. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5754518/ )

Henning, Susanne M., Yang, J., Shao, P., Lee, Ru-Po, Huang, J., Ly, A., Hsu, M., Lu, QY, Thames, G., Heber, D., Li, Z. (May 19, 2017) “Health benefit of vegetable/fruit juice-based diet: Role of microbiome” Scientific Reports 2017; 7: 2167.(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5438379/ )

Zheng, J., Zhou, Y., Li, S., Zhang, P., Zhou, T., Xu, DP., Li, HB. (March 4, 2017) “Effects and Mechanisms of Fruit and Vegetable Juices on Cardiovascular Diseases” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2017 Mar; 18(3): 555 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372571/ )

Parsons, Steve. “The Art of Juice Fasting.” Alive Magazine. 24 April 2015  (https://www.alive.com/health/the-art-of-juice-fasting/ )

Laura Constantinescu, CHN

Laura is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and is passionate about helping people achieve optimal health. She is particularly interested in autoimmune conditions and food allergies.

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