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You Asked! Should I Do a Juice Cleanse to Beat Bloat?

Q: I’m feeling bloated, heavy, and just blah, and am considering a five-day juice cleanse. Do you recommend any?
A: No. We don’t recommend juice cleanses, but we DO have some cleansing tips for getting rid of that bloated, heavy, blah feeling. First, let us explain why we wouldn’t recommend you do a juice cleanse.

  1. It doesn’t address why you’re feeling bloated, heavy, and blah. A juice cleanse MIGHT make you feel better for a few days, but what happens when you go back to the same habits that were making you feel lousy in the first place?
  2. You might feel worse. Many of the juice cleanses offered don’t contain much protein — meaning you’ll be getting a whole lot of carbohydrate from the fruit in the juices, but not the right balance of fat and protein to help keep your blood sugar steady. That can mean energy crashes, headaches, and grouchiness.
  3. You might skip workouts. If you’re not feeling great, and potentially not getting enough calories (some of the juice plans are 1200 calories or less), then it’s very likely that you won’t feel like working up a sweat. That stinks, since exercise can actually help reduce that bloated feeling.
  4. Your food-shopping budget will be SO blown. A typical juice cleanse will run you about $60 each day — $300 for a 5-day cleanse. You could buy a whole lot of fresh fruits, veggies, beans, lentils, whole grains, spices, and other delicious, healthful ingredients that would turn your kitchen into a detoxifying, meal-making hub. You could also take some of that money and buy a few hours of healthy cooking lessons, if you felt that would help you stay on track longer-term.
  5. Your social life is kaput for the week. Do you really think you’re going to bring your juice along to happy hour with coworkers, or sip juice while your friends eat a leisurely weekend brunch? Not likely.

So what would we recommend to toss that bloated, heavy, blah feeling to the curb? A REAL food cleanse. Try eating only unrefined foods for a week. That means instead of bread, pasta, and breakfast cereal, choose whole grains like quinoa, cracked wheat, buckwheat, millet, oats, or wheat berries. Instead of salad dressings with lists of ingredients longer than this blog post, opt for olive oil and vinegar.

Instead of blueberry yogurt, stir fresh (or frozen) blueberries into plain yogurt with some cinnamon and toasted walnuts. Instead of hitting the snack machine for crackers or chips in the afternoon, pack an apple and almonds. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water — enough to make your urine clear/light yellow, rather than darker. (If it looks like lemonade, you’re good… if it looks like apple juice, you need to sip more water). Replace at least one cup of coffee each day with green tea and lemon. Finally, move your body every single day, whether it’s hitting the gym, heading to yoga, dancing around your house, or going for a long walk.

Eat less refined foods for a week, stay hydrated, and move daily and we bet you’ll be feeling better within a week. The benefit of our plan is that after the initial five days, you can sustain these habits, so you feel better for the long haul.

Have you ever tried a juice cleanse, or been tempted to? What were the results?