The Juicy Side Of Fasting

Take a break from unhealthy foods habits and heal your internal system by going on a juice diet

Everyday life can be wearing on the body with the unhealthy food and drinks we consume, the air pollutants we breathe and the stress of daily life. All this can lead to the accumulation of toxins, which can cause lethargy, lower immunity and hormonal imbalance, to name a few.

A juice fast or cleanse has been popular in America for decades as a self-help solution for detoxing the body. It has only recently gained traction in Vietnam due to the consumer’s growing interest and awareness of healthy food and lifestyle.

What Is A Juice Fast?
A juice fast is the consumption of only juice or liquids, such as water and tea, over a period of time from a minimum of one day to as long as a month. One of the advantages of doing a juice fast as opposed to strict fasting (only water) is that the body receives vital nutrients from the vegetables and fruits that goes directly into the bloodstream without having to burden the digestive system.

The Health Benefits
There is a long list of health benefits, such as reducing inflammation (arthritis), promoting detoxification by eliminating stored toxins, and balancing blood pressure. In general, after a juice fast, you feel more energetic because your body is doing less work in addition to receiving vital nutrients that goes directly into your bloodstream.

How Does It Work?
Juice fasting may seem simple but as Rosanne Lee, co-founder of Mandala Juice, points out, “The success of a juice fast is not only about adhering to the fasting guidelines but also being prepared and managing expectations.” She recommends to start cutting back on processed foods, sugars, dairy, red meats, alcohol and caffeine a few days before the fast so the body can adapt more easily to a purely juice diet.

What To Expect?
The first two days of the cleanse are admittedly the most difficult, where managing food cravings and experiencing uncomfortable side effects such as headaches can be challenging. Coffee drinkers are more susceptible to experiencing withdrawal headaches, which is the top reason why people give up after the first couple of days. According to the Mandala Juice cleansing guideline, drinking green tea as a coffee substitute during the fast can help prevent headaches and they also advise snacking on nuts and seeds if the hunger becomes unbearable or you feel lethargic. Their philosophy is that it is better to continue the fast in a moderate way than to give up altogether.

After the third day, the body will start feeling lighter and more invigorated as it adapts to this new routine. Just as there is a pre-fast guideline, the post-fast is equally important. To break the juice fast, it is important to slowly introduce solid foods with only fruit (a banana) for the first day, adding salads and steamed vegetables on the second. After the fast (particularly those on a longer fast), you will notice that your appetite is smaller and the body craves healthier food options. This is a great time to re-boot your body, especially if your goal is for a healthy lifestyle change.

How To Juice?
As juice provides the vital nutrients during a fast, it is important the juice itself is wholesome which is dependent on the source of the fruit and vegetable and how it is processed. Organic, Global GAP-certified fruit and vegetable is highly recommended. The preferred methodology is slow juicing also known as cold-pressed using a masticating juicer. Compared to juice extraction from a blender and other methods, a cold-pressed juice contains up to five times more vitamins, minerals and enzymes due to minimal exposure to heat and air. Additionally, slow juicing does not cause oxidation so it means that the enzymes and nutrients are preserved and the freshness lasts longer, up to 48 hours. Trusted juice brands such as Mandala Juice, Jus, or Ep all follow these guidelines.

If you have no time to make your own juice, try the Detox Cleanse Kit by Mandala Juice which comes in packs of eight bottles (300ml each) of different vegetable and fruit combination for one-day, three-day and seven-day programs. The eight bottles per day  are designed to be consumed every two to three hours throughout the day ensuring sufficient nutrient intake. Mandala’s juice is as pure as they come  since no water, sugar or preservatives are added.

Juice bottle isolated on white background

Group Support
If you find doing a cleanse by yourself is too challenging and prefer the comradery and support of a group, then joining a retreat of like-minded individuals is your best  bet. Fortunately, you won’t have to go far since Vietnam Detox operates four and seven-day retreats in Dalat. In addition to fasting, the retreat offers educational workshop and activities, such as guided forest walks to make the experience more enjoyable. The educational workshops are led by Dieter Buchner, Founder and Retreat Leader, who believes that education on healthy living and how to prepare your own juice and healthy foods are the key  factors in helping participants sustain a healthy lifestyle when they return to their everyday life. Another benefit of the retreat is being able to spend time in nature with forest walks, which not only burn calories but, more importantly, allows your body to decompress and to reconnect with your inner self.

A juice fast is not for everyone and the key to a successful fast is starting with realistic expectations. If you are new to a juice fast, you can start with a one-day cleanse and continue to add more days when you are more comfortable with the process.

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