Juice cleansing is a popular trend currently going on to help lose that extra bit of fat. Obviously, this is a very favourable for postpartum moms looking to get back to their old bodies as fast as possible. However, some of these juice cleanses can be harmful for both the mother and infant if you are breastfeeding and if done improperly. In some cases - if done at all. Here are a things to consider if you are thinking of starting a juice cleanse or series.
A juice cleanse can differ in definition depending on person to person, but most recognize it as a short term period where you subtract all food and drink from your diet other than certain juices and smoothies. According to Eat This, a juice cleanse is "a 'detox' diet that can last from a few days to several weeks in which a person consumes only fruit and vegetable juices to obtain nutrition while otherwise abstaining from eating food." This is similar to a fad called the lemonade diet which proved to be an effective way to lose weight in a short amount of time whilst detoxing your liver, kidneys etc. These cleanses, however, are not to be confused with "detox teas" of which are meant to be taken on an irregular basis.
Here are the pros and cons to consider if you are thinking of starting a juice cleanse or series.
15 Pro: Unhealthy Food is Off Limits
One of the biggest reasons a cleanse works is it eliminates the potential to eat that bag of chips or snag that extra doughnut in the break room. The cravings will still be there, but for those who are determined enough to stick to a juice cleanse, this can be a health boost. Along with weight loss, the elimination of junk and other unhealthy foods can result in an increase in energy and your mood. Some companies, such as Fit Juice, have even claimed to help depression because of certain vitamin spikes.
14 Pro: You Make it from Scratch
A benefit of juice cleansing - if you're not buying pre made juices - is that you are making them from scratch. You will need to stock up on plenty of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables and of course a juicer or blender. This will give you control of what you are "eating", which is key when trying to obtain a healthy lifestyle. You can buy organic produce, mix up the fruit and veggies to your preferred flavor, and even prepare your juices in advance and refrigerate them for the week. Meal prep and cooking from scratch is one of the things that will encourage you to become more conscious of what you are putting into your body. So, juicing can be a step in that direction.
13 Pro: It Helps You Eat Your Veggies
If you aren't a fan of eating fruits and vegetables this can be a good alternative. Of course, consuming fruits and vegetables the old fashioned way is the best but for those who won't eat them any other way, juicing them will help mask the unpleasant taste of that kale or broccoli! You can mix your greens with some of your favourite fruits or fresh herbs for a sweeter taste. It's an easy 5 minute drink that can help you get at least half of your daily intake of fruits and veggies - something picky eaters and breastfeedings moms want to make sure they are getting.
12 Pro: It Gives You More Energy!
If a juice cleanse is done properly and one doesn't allow one's self to have protein or fibre deficiencies, a cleanse can keep your energy and emotional levels up. Many who partake in a juice cleanse are drastically changing their lifestyle choices. If one's lifestyle was full of carbonated drinks and saturated fats than a juice cleanse will immediately affect them. Their energy levels go up thus creating a better emotional health as you won't feel tired or have that stress.
11 Pro: Cleansing Your Body
New mothers, especially those who are breastfeeding, are not recommended to partake in a juice cleanse. The specific reason why is that juice cleanses are meant for those who are in peak health condition; those who are looking to lose that extra bit of fat but are already under a healthy eating and workout schedule. As Danniel Swatosh, c0-founder of Heartbeet Juicery, says "this is meant to be a supplement to a healthy diet. It’s about putting more good things in your body and steering clear of processed foods...We don’t recommend this as a cleanse for new moms". According to M.D Melina Jampolis in an interview with Shape.com, the reasoning behind this knowledge is that juice cleanses or even juice supplements, may not provide enough calories one needs while breastfeeding. The nutrients and vitamins might be provided by juices, but nutrients from fats or proteins may be lacking. This can be dangerous for the child as infants need a certain amount of calories and nutrients per day to be healthy. Juice cleanses also have the possibility of leaving the mother weaker than she normally would be postpartum.
10 Pro: You See Results
Yes, wait until you're strong enough and healthy enough to go through with a juice cleanse. Also wait until you're done breast feeding, at least 12 months after your baby is born. This ensures you won't damage any nutrients-building your newborn may need, as well it ensures the mother will be at a normal 'health' level for such a shock to the body.
9 Pro: Cleansing
Sometimes doing an all-out 7-day cleanse isn't for everyone. A cleanse can also mean taking the natural juices from fruits and vegetables as a supplement for one meal a day, rather than three. Shape.com suggests using a more vegetable based juice, adding one fruit for sweetness, as a way to keep sugar levels low. This way, as a new mother, you are able to replenish your nutrient and vitamin levels without sacrificing other fats and proteins in your diet. These juices can also be transformed into shakes with added protein powder, to help new mother's keep up with the extra amount of protein one should intake.
8 Con: Not Very Effective
It's all dependant on the individuals goals for the juice cleanse. Juice cleanses are great for those seeking to replenish the nutrients in their bodies, keep their energy levels up, and increase their overall health. However, most professionals suggest instead of a juice cleanse to partake in drinking one or two Green Juices per day over a long period of time. Dr. Mercola, is one said professional who endorses the use of Green Juice as a way to maintain health and get that, at times impossible, fruit or vegetables intake which ranges between 5-13 servings per day.
For those seeking to lose instant weight, this might not be the thing for you. Sure if you're overly obese, a juice cleanse could be an effective way to lose a lot of weight in a short time - as you're already taking in such a high calorie count. However, most seeking to do a juice cleanse don't fit in that "obesity" category, therefore, a juice cleanse wouldn't be as effective on them to lose weight as juice cleanses will give an average 1500 calories a day. As 1500 is a relatively normal amount of calorie intake, those who eat a regular amount per day won't notice a large weight loss due to the cleanse. Eating a clean diet and partaking in regular exercise is still a more effective way to lose weight.
7 Con: High Blood Sugar Levels
Lets be real here - only drinking "green juices" is a little unrealistic. Many who choose to partake in juice cleanses end up adding copious amounts of fruit to their diet. Fruits are an essential to a person's health, if used in proper amounts. Introducing a wave of fruits into your diet is sure to spike your sugar levels and if done for too long can increase your risk for diabetes. "Keep it green" is a good motto, but if you can't stick to it maybe think of easing up on the number of juices you're having per day!
6 Con: Body Image Expectations
One's desire to radically try a juice cleanse after giving birth stems from the harsh pressures we put on each other to look a certain way...even after you go through one of natures hardest experiences for a body. New mothers are constantly shoved information to lose those "10 extra pounds of baby fat" right after giving birth; which, in return is creating more social issues for us to deal with. In an article by the Daily Mail, author Emma Innes wrote, "22 per cent [of new mothers] felt pressure to ‘do things right’" which resulted in higher depression rates, according to a report released by Netmums (2013). These pressures included money and work troubles, care giving concerns, and the idea of what a "perfect" mom looked like physically.
5 Con: Gaining The Weight Back
Juice cleanses will make you lose weight through a fat burning process called ketosis. However, a portion of the weight you lose will also be water weight. This is the reason most feel less bloated after they partake in a juice cleanse. But, as pointed out by Elemental Wellness, this is more likely to lead to weight gain once the cleanse is over. A common myth people associate juice cleanses with is the speeding up of one's metabolism. This, however, was proven to be not true by Cari Nierenberg of livescience.com.
4 Con: Buying Into It
With these social implications put on new moms, it's no shock that juice cleanses and the materials that go with it are selling like hotcakes. There's "big business" in juice cleansing now as juice bars are opening up in local shopping centres and juicing machines are added to Starbucks nationwide. Just like any monopoly, we must be wary of businesses who's turnover rate is increasing and by-passing multimillion dollar companies as we speak. According to the Telegraph UK, companies like Coca-Cola, who are now seeing their beverages compete with juice bottles by the likes of BluePrint, who had a 16 million turnover rate over a 5 year term in 2012.
3 Con: Side Effects
If your body is not in a strong, healthy state already a juice cleanse can be very detrimental. Common reports of side effects include: dizziness, spikes in blood sugar, headaches, constipation, fatigue, and the list goes on. This is why we very much stress that you do not do a cleanse while breastfeeding or pregnant. When people explain they "feel brand new" while on a juice cleanse it's because they're going through a process called ketosis. Ketosis can cause nausea and ultimately organ failure (if a cleanse is done for too long).
2 Con: Cleansing is Not Cheap!
As stated before, this is a booming new business and monopoly so many products will be thrown in your face- some at a more expensive price than the other. First off, the juicer ranges from $50-$400 USD for those who are planning on making their own juices. This can save you money in the long run if you're planning on having a juice per day, however, it may not be worth it for a 7-day challenge. Next, the vegetables and supplements themselves which can add up when one cup of juice contains: 1 carrot, 1 tomato, 1 apple, 2 celery sticks and so on. For those partaking in a cleansing challenge you will also be expecting high charges.
1 Con: Potential Deficiencies
Similar to how easy it is to spike your blood sugar levels by juicing, a cleanse can also cause you to become deficient in certain areas. Although juicing can fill your body with tones of helpful vitamins and nutrients, it is important to remember your body needs other components to survive. According to ActiveBeat.co, the most common deficiencies that occur from juice cleanses are protein and fibre. This will cause immediate weight loss, but will ultimately leave you with a lack of energy and feeling ill. This can also cause you to burn off muscle, rather than fat, which was the original objective.