"I'm cleansing" is a trendy little phrase chirped by brides and non-brides alike who are looking to get healthy or shed pounds. But is there a right way to cleanse? Health Coach Sari Dana, an advocate for Juice From The Raw, thinks so, and when done correctly, the benefits are worth it. "Radiant skin, healthy hair and nails, better sleep patterns, increased mental clarity, energy, and stamina are just some of the highlights of juicing," says Dana. For best results, brides should start one month before the big day so their body has time to transition back into healthy eating habits. Convinced? Read on for six things you should know before you start a juice cleanse.
1. Do a Proper Prep
The day before you start, nix dairy, refined sugar, and alcohol—the acids could interfere with your cleanse. "Eating water-rich fruits and vegetables and starting your day with lemon water is a great way to prepare for a cleanse," says Dana.
2. Choose Wisely
For best results, Dana recommends picking a juice that is raw, cold-pressed, and low in sugar. "Juices produced with minimal heat and oxygen that are frozen immediately retain the optimal amount of nutrients," she says. Start with a three-day cleanse that contains fruit juices—the sugar makes the transition easier, Dana says. The goal is to eventually build up to juices that contain more vegetables than fruit.
3. Have Realistic Goals
The hard truth? There is no quick fix when it comes to dropping pounds. Look at a juice cleanse as the spark to your get-healthy fire. "It's a great way for a bride to jump-start her body to begin craving healthier food choices, such as more fruits and vegetables and less sugar, salt and processed foods," says Dana.
4. Push Through This, Adjust That
It's totally normal to feel cranky and tired when your body stops taking in addictive, unhealthy foods, according to Dana. "Our bodies have become accustomed to pre-packaged, processed foods, and the detoxification process disrupts this everyday cycle," she adds. Essentially, your body on a cleanse is breaking up with empty calories and being reconditioned to depend on nutrient-rich foods.
Feeling faint, however, is a red flag. Sip on broth-based soup rich in sodium, or snack on raw or steamed veggies. "The detoxifying process is quite an energy-consuming function, so it's important to listen to your body and rest if you feel faint," adds Dana.
5. Don't Go Nuts Post-Cleanse
Remember, the purpose of a cleanse is to balance your body, Dana says. Don't ruin it by flooding it with alcohol and heavy foods. "Post-cleanse, it's important to respect your body and the hard cleansing work it has done for you," says Dana. Fight the urge to indulge. Instead, ease back into healthy eating habits. Completing a cleanse four weeks before the big day gives you a chance to slowly return to normal eating habits in time for the wedding.
6. Sip on Juice to Maintain Healthy Balance
For extra credit and long-term benefits, Dana recommends juicing one day a week following the initial cleanse. Non-committal when it comes to cleansing? "Incorporating a juice into your everyday routine is an inexpensive way to gain long-term health benefits," says Dana. A green juice in the morning or post-workout is a great way to still reap the benefits.