If you don’t feel ready to try out water fasting, then juice fasting is a great place to start. Otherwise known as a “juice diet”, it involves the elimination of solid food from your daily consumption. In other words, instead of eating and drinking, you only drink.
Beyond this single restriction, the possibilities of how to juice-fast are virtually endless. Fundamentally, though, there are two basic categories: juices based on fruits or those based on vegetables.
If you’ve never tried a juice fast before, you’ll probably find it easier to begin with fruit juices, given that the high sugar content will provide your body with plenty of calories to get through the day. In fact, you may well find that you have more energy than usual! Consequently, it’s no problem to live on a fruit diet while continuing your usual life and work. The only complaint about fruit-juice fasts tends to be that people sometimes find it too acidic on the stomach. Often, though, this occurs because the stomach itself is chronically over-stressed through eating heavy meals. By first avoiding acid-forming foods such as meat, alcohol and coffee, your stomach will stop producing so much acid to begin with, so that when you decide to take on a fruit diet, the natural citric acid contained in the fruits doesn’t upset your stomach.
Any fruit juice works well, but the two most popular diets consist of either apple juice or citrus juices (especially orange juice). In their own way, both are extremely good for you, especially in terms of how they work on the liver. The malic acid in apple juice gives your liver a rest as well as helping to soften any gallstones, while the citric acid more prevalent in orange juice provides a thorough detox.
The health benefits of a fruit-juice diet tend to be strongest in the context of a so-called “mono-diet” – that is, you drink the juice of only one fruit. If you’re new to dieting and fasting, though, you’ll probably find that a variety of juices will seem less boring. That’s okay :-). If you already feel challenged by not having anything solid to chew on, then there’s no need to make life any more difficult by further limiting the framework of your diet! Believe me, most people are addicted to chewing (just think, for instance, about the worldwide success of chewing gum…), and so any juice fast presents an emotional challenge, even if physically you’re ingesting plenty of calories.
Given the low calorie content of most vegetables, vegetable-based juice fasts tend to involve both a physical and an emotional challenge. For this reason, it makes sense to try one after having first gained a little experience with fruit-juice fasts, if only so that you can better identify the source of any psychological resistance during the fast: whether you’re reacting emotionally to the physical challenge of fewer calories or whether it’s a question of a purely emotional reaction to the lack of solid food. Sometimes it can be difficult to disentangle the two feelings.
In addition to a diet based on vegetable juices, vegetables also offer the possibility of a soup diet. For many people, the warmth of soups offers comfort, which can compensate for the deprivation perceived by restricting what you eat. Whatever format you choose, though, a vegetable-based juice fast is as equally beneficial to your body as a fruit-juice fast. The reduction in calories catalyses detoxification through the burning of fat, virtually all vegetables help to improve your blood pH, and the abundance of vitamins and minerals can only do you good!
You might wonder how long a juice fast is sustainable. Given the high caloric content of a fruit-juice diet, you can thrive physically for long periods of time, even months! It’s mostly a question of how long your ego is willing to accept the restrictions to chewing and the limited palette with regard to taste. On the other hand, most people undertake vegetable-based juice fasts for shorter periods because they more severely limit your caloric intake Nevertheless, there are always solutions if you feel inclined towards a vegetable-based juice fast but lack the courage. One possibility is to juice or at least to purée vegetables containing more calories, such as potatoes. Another is to combine fruits into an otherwise vegetable-based juice fast. One such version is to consume fruit juices early in the day, switching over to vegetable juices and/or soups later on in the day.
The possibilities really are endless.
So just do it – your body will thank you!