Alternatives to Juice Cleanses

I never knew eating a banana could bring me so much joy. I don’t even care for bananas very much, but I was on day six of a ten-day juice cleanse and I was finally allowed to eat one thing. A banana. And it was the best banana ever. I knew a juice cleanse would be a challenge for me because of my love for food. What I didn’t realize was how much I would miss the actual act of eating itself: cutting the food, taking a bite, chewing it. Oh, how I missed chewing.

After completing such a long, trying challenge, you can imagine how disappointed I was to learn that juice cleanses aren’t even that beneficial. My research explained that they tend to be very high in sugar and very low in fiber, leaving you feeling tired, unsatisfied and irritable. Furthermore, the theory that such cleanses are necessary to rid your body of toxins isn’t true as your body naturally does this on its own every day.


Although I did in fact feel tired, unsatisfied and irritable, I also felt accomplished, less bloated and ready to continue to conquer my health and fitness goals. Luckily, I learned that there are many other ways that all of this can be achieved.

  1. Try a daily gallon challenge. 128 ounces of water in one day may sound daunting, maybe even unreasonable. However, multiple medical publications recommend 91 ounces of water per day for women and 125 ounces per day for men. Although it may take some time to get used to the daily challenge, it won’t take long for your flat belly to appear. The increase in water intake will aid your body’s natural process to rid itself of toxins. It will also flush your system of any excess sodium that may be resulting in bloat. Other benefits include an increase in energy, a decrease in appetite and a clearer complexion. The best part? You can accomplish all of this while continuing to eat food!
  2. Reverse your mindset. Instead of trying to rid your body of toxins, how about trying to avoid putting toxins into your body in the first place? Cut out as much refined sugar, processed food and alcohol as possible each day. Your bloat will disappear and you’ll be feeling lighter and more energized before you know it.
  3. Still want to try a more traditional detox? Try a soup detox. You can still pack your diet with veggies without ridding them of fiber. The chances are also good that you will feel fuller longer and won’t feel as deprived. If this sounds good to you, check out these resources I found to help you get started:
  1. Another way to get the biggest nutritional bang for your buck is through the increased consumption of raw foods. This type of diet modification incorporates some of the exact same foods and ingredients that you intake when juicing and more, but you get to eat them! It can be challenging to start and to adjust to not cooking all of your food. However, I found a couple guides that can help. This guide is meant for beginners and shows you how to replace just a few meals a week with raw meals. If you are interested in a clean diet that incorporates both raw and cooked foods into all of your meals, then Axe’s guide may be more appropriate for you.
  2. Is your heart still set on the idea of a juice cleanse? Perhaps try to consider a smoothie cleanse instead. Whole fruit and vegetable smoothies still allow you to intake the nutrients and fiber that juicing leaves out. Even better, you can add additional ingredients and proteins that juicing may also leave out. You can still feel like you’re making steps toward a major change without the feeling of deprivation and hunger. Get started with Skinny Ms.’s guide to the perfect skinny smoothie or Hello Glow’s guide to a foolproof green smoothie.


What is your favorite way to cleanse or detox? Please share in the comments!

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About Ashley McCullough

Ashley McCullough has been an active advocate of weight lifting, taco eating, city living and not running for as long as she can remember. A lifelong Notre Dame fan, she graduated from Saint Mary’s College in 2012 with a degree in Elementary Education. By day, you can find her organizing objects by color, singing, chanting, dancing around, and reading with her kindergarten class. After the school bell rings, well, not much changes. She continues to do all that. But she also thoroughly enjoys conversing and interacting with adults at group fitness classes and #Sweatworking events. Ashley was born and raised in the suburbs and moved to the city 4 years ago. She never plans to leave… unless she is able to find a beach house on a mountain in a major industrial city on a private island. Then she just might.