How to break a juice cleanse or fast safely – great tips on how to introduce foods properly.
A juice fast or cleanse, can be one of the most exhilarating things you can do for your body and your mind. It’s like a complete body reset; flushing out all the toxins and unhealthy habits and creating a new way of living, eating and being. Drinking vegetable juices for a prolonged period of time causes your body to take a break from digesting food and focus it’s energy on the places that need healing. In effect, it leaves your digestive system somewhat idle. Once you are ready to begin eating normally, your digestive system is still sleeping – it’s up to you to wake it gently and carefully, so as not to undo all your hard work. Here I will try to give you the best tips to do so!
- The longer you fast, the longer it takes to break your fast
You want to make sure that you are introducing foods back into your system gradually, therefore the longer your digestive system has been asleep, the longer it takes to wake it up without shocking it. I mean, no one wants to be woken up by a loud horn, right? The general consensus is for every four days you fast, you take a day to break your fast. So as an estimate, 7 days = 1 1/2 days, 10 days = 2 1/2 days, 20 days = 5 days and so on.
- Slowly add in food groups one at a time
Being gentle requires you breaking your fast with foods that are easy on your system. Your craving symptoms on a juice fast will probably have you wanting to scarf down a pizza – but please, DON’T DO THAT! Instead, start off with some soft fruit: mangos, peaches, papayas, apples, melons or bananas. You can totally make smoothies like my Berry Cherry Green Smoothie. If you think fruit could cause you upset due to it’s sugars, try drinking some vegetable broth and moving on to thicker soups like my Butternut Squash Soup (without the plantains). With vegetables, start off with leafy greens like lettuce and spinach and then move on to harder vegetables, like cucumbers and celery. After introducing the greens, you could also move on to lightly steaming some vegetables like carrots and broccoli. Depending on how long you are juicing for, you want to do this for your first day or few days to be safe – then you can begin to add in your protein: dairy (if you are choosing to) and animal products.
- Savour every bite
You want to make sure that when breaking your juice fast, you listen closely to your body. You don’t want to overload your digestive system with work, when all it needs is a few bites or sips to wake it up. Enjoy your food and chew slowly, a juice fast allows you the pleasure of a refreshed palette and you will be able to taste food better. This also helps the process of digestion, as it begins in the mouth. Let food begin to be a pleasurable experience rather than one whose sole purpose is to curb hunger.
- Keep drinking juices!!!
This is a big one. A juice fast should be the start of great relationship with vegetable juices and not the end! Endeavour to keep drinking juices as you break your fast and as you move on to your diet of choice. They will not stop being good for you once you begin to eat normally, so let it be a constant part of your life!
However you choose to eat after a juice fast is solely up to you. Some people take on a raw food lifestyle, while people (like me) go on back to being Paleo, albeit stricter than usual (but only strict for the first few months *wink*). Whatever you choose, make sure to stand by the principle of being good to your body and eating foods that will benefit and heal you from the inside out. The effects of a juice fast don’t end once you finish: they can be sustained throughout your whole life.