What You Learn From 30 Days of No Booze, Sugar, Gluten, or Dairy

Blogger Grace Boyle of Small Hands, Big Ideas describes what it’s like to go through a 30-day cleanse.

I embarked on a 30-day food challenge. It was pretty strict. At a high level, I couldn’t have:

Gluten/WheatDairyBoozeSugar

That eliminates a lot of things we enjoy in our daily consumption of food. But ensures for a lot of clean eating, and it also promoted points for sleeping eight hours, five days a week of working out (I didn’t always get five, but always worked out like I do anyway), and 10 minutes a day of meditation or some sort of quiet time without technology.

Today is the last day of the challenge, and I’m happy to say I stuck to ¡ª I’m most happy about the no booze and no sugar.

The biggest win for me was about forming new habits. There are a lot of two-week cleanses or 10-day challenges, and for me, I knew I needed to do a full 30 days. I feel like anyone could do anything for 30 days, and I needed to commit to it ¡ª all or nothing. No point to skimp here or there ¡ª might as well do it all the way. Besides a few little hiccups, or not being able to control what my food was cooked in or when I ate out, I was as strict as could be.

What I learned:Clean food can be good. I scoured Instagram, Pinterest, magazines, etc. to find delicious recipes that were clean eating/Paleo-inspired, and when I cooked for people, they all enjoyed it. It wasn’t like I was limiting myself from all good food, because whole and healthy food is good too, banishing the misconception that you have to eat bland food to eat clean.I cooked a lot more. I love cooking, so that was great to get back to. Especially in the Winter, I’ve gotten into habits being so tired after work or working out, so we would resort to takeout or throwaway meals, because it was easy (frozen pizza anyone)? Not only does it save money, but it’s also good to cook together and find that balance of being creative in the kitchen.I slept better. I don’t sleep well even with a few drinks, so I slept really well the last 30 days.I felt very clear. I think it’s largely to do with gluten, but I generally didn’t feel foggy. Your food and diet have such a big impact on this.Self-control is an amazing thing. I felt powerful and loved knowing that I didn’t “need” anything and that I’m not addicted to anything. It’s a good feeling to be able to say no and put my foot down, and that’s that.Muscle weighs more than fat ¡ª go by how you feel. The point is to feel good. I don’t own a scale, and with all the heavy lifting I do at CrossFit, my weight doesn’t really reflect what I look like (or feel like). I did weigh myself near the end of the challenge at a doctor’s appointment, and I was let down to realize I weighed the same as I remembered, perhaps even more. After talking myself off a ledge, I reminded myself that I feel good and fit into clothes far better than before. I also measured inches before and after, and lost a total of 7.5 inches (waist, bust, thighs), which is where it really matters for me. In my waist alone, I am down 3.5 inches.This particular challenge eliminated not only sugar but also healthy ones like honey, for instance, so because this challenge is so strict, it isn’t really that sustainable. I still want to have the flexibility to go out and enjoy with friends, but I think I’ve swung the pendulum back. I think, for most of the time, I will eat clean and, for a smaller percentage, eat when I feel good and right without being stressed. Now that I saw that I can do it and that I feel better overall, I’m apt to try it more often than not.If you set your mind to it, you can do it. The biggest fear I had, was that I would fail and that I wasn’t strong enough. That I’m just that fat kid who wants to eat a bag of cookies and can’t restrain myself (parts of this may always be true because I truly love food). I held off on similar challenges at my own CrossFit gym because of the pressure and I felt too overwhelmed. Finally with other co-workers doing this with me and feeling stuffed from the holidays, I decided to take the leap. It’s a huge resurgence for me to remember that my physical and mental toughness is strong. I did have a few freak-outs during the 30-day period, I’ll admit that, and there were times where I had to forgo social outings. I missed certain foods a lot or watched everyone indulge in cheese and wine while I chugged soda water, but it was worth it. And I made it. Unscathed even!

Although today is the last day, I’m not rushing off to get a bottle of wine and I will keep cooking more and probably eating like I have for the last 30 days (with some windows for fun). For now, I’m going to give myself a hug and relax a little though. ‘Cause, I did it!

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne

7 Myths Nutritionists Wish You’d Stop Believing

There’s a lot of misinformation out there, but dietitian Julie Upton, MS, RD, of Appetite For Health, is here to shed light on seven nutritional myths that could mess with your weight-loss efforts and your health.

The Internet is like the Wild West when it comes to nutrition information: anything goes. Websites are rife with less-than-accurate nutrition facts, which only fuels food myths and adds to consumers’ confusion about which picks are the healthiest. At best, you can hope there’s a kernel of truth in what you’re reading, but more often than not, there’s no scientific basis for these myths. Below are seven of the most popular nutrition myths and the real deal on each.

Related: Look For These 46 Ways Added Sugar Can Appear on Your Food Label

Myth 1: You need to detox your body with a juice cleanse.

Fact: From celebrities to personal trainers, there’s no shortage of so-called experts advocating fasts or juice cleanses to detox. If you Google “detox,” you’ll get nearly 64 million results for diet programs and treatments that are supposed to help “flush out your system,” “remove toxic substances from the body,” “give your GI tract a rest,” or “speed up your metabolism” and “enhance your overall health.” But despite all the hype and popularity, there’s little proof that fasting or following a deprivation diet for several days actually delivers on any of the above promises.

While an occasional short fast or a day of following a “juice diet” won’t cause harm for most healthy people, it will likely leave you feeling cranky and hungry. If you really want to be and feel your best, eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, get adequate sleep, and don’t drink more than one alcoholic beverage per day.

Myth 2: Diet sodas make you gain weight.

Fact: While you may have read that diet beverages make you gain weight, a recent clinical trial found just the opposite. In the 12-week study, published in the journal Obesity, dieters who drank diet beverages lost 13 pounds on average ¡ª 44 percent more than subjects drinking water only, who lost an average of nine pounds. What’s more, the diet-soda drinkers reported feeling more satisfied. This study adds to a substantial body of research demonstrating that low-calorie sweeteners and the diet beverages that contain them do not hinder but can in fact help with weight loss. Two peer-reviewed studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by researchers from the University of North Carolina in 2012 and 2013 randomly assigned subjects to drink either water or diet beverages (without making any other changes to their diet). After six months, the diet-beverage group had a greater likelihood of reaching a meaningful amount of weight loss ¡ª five percent of one’s body weight ¡ª compared to the control group. These studies reinforce that if you’re trying to lose weight, diet beverages may help you peel off pounds, as they can help you achieve and maintain a lower-calorie eating plan.

Myth 3: Canola oil is made from rapeseed plants, which are toxic.

Fact: Canola oil comes from the crushed seeds of canola plants ¡ª not rapeseed plants, which are, in fact, harmful. Rapeseed oil contains high levels of erucic acid, which is linked to heart disease and therefore is not allowed to be sold in the US. While the two plants are cousins, they’re distinctly different in their composition. In the 1960s, farmers used breeding methods to help eliminate the erucic acid from canola plants, and canola oil is now regulated to contain negligible amounts of the compound, ensuring that canola oil is 100 percent safe. In fact, it also happens to be one of the healthiest oils (behind olive oil) because it has less saturated fat and more heart-protective omega-3s than other vegetable oils. Canola oil is just seven percent saturated fat compared to olive oil, which is 15 percent saturated fat.

Related: Confused About Added Sugars? Read a Nutritionist’s Advice on the Matter

Myth 4: Sea salt has less sodium than table salt and is mineral-rich.

Fact: Run-of-the-mill Morton table salt and gourmet Himalayan sea salt contain essentially the same amount of sodium per teaspoon ¡ª 2,300 milligrams. As for minerals, neither contains enough of any mineral to make it a clear winner over the other. For instance, a teaspoon of table salt has just 1 mg calcium compared to 12 mg in sea salt. Since 12 mg is just one percent of your daily needs, it’s not a very healthy way to get calcium into your diet.

Most people believe that sea salt tastes better and, in some cases, you may be able to use less of it (and therefore reduce your sodium intake), but it is by no means a lower-sodium and more mineral-rich option. Keep in mind, sea salt lacks iodine ¡ª and not getting enough of this compound can lead to goiter, intellectual impairments, growth retardation, and much more. In fact, iodine deficiency is a serious health threat, especially among pregnant women, according to Boston University researchers, so don’t use sea salt exclusively in your diet.

Myth 5: Some foods, like celery, have negative calories.

Fact: When something sounds too good to be true, well, it probably is. Take “negative-calorie foods” as an example. The notion is that digesting certain foods burns more calories than those foods provide. The faulty logic of this urban legend is based on the scientifically proven thermic effect of food (TEF), which simply means the amount of energy the body uses to digest a food. The thinking goes, if you were to eat a very low-calorie food ¡ª common examples include celery, apples, and limes ¡ª then you’d actually create a calorie deficit. In other words, these foods would end up costing less-than-zero calories.

Sadly, there are no negative-calorie foods. The TEF generally ranges from 10 percent to 20 percent of the calories in a food. So let’s say a celery stalk has seven calories. Even if you assume a 20 percent TEF, that means you’re still left with about five and a half calories.

Myth 6: It takes 21 days to break a bad habit (or form a new one).

Fact: Popular self-help gurus and many diet plans claim that it will take 21 days to form a new healthy habit ¡ª or break a bad one. The truth is, there is no magical time frame for breaking bad habits. One study that evaluated behavior change found that creating a new habit, like eating a piece of fruit daily, took an average of 66 days. However, there were wide variations ¡ª anywhere from 18 days to 254 days. The authors found the adaptation time was a function of how hard the new behavior is as well as the individual. If you’re trying something new, like daily exercise, give yourself time to make it a routine. It may not happen overnight ¡ª or even in 21 days!

Myth 7: Muscle can turn to fat ( . . . and vice versa).

Fact: You’ll often hear someone at the gym say something like, “Since my injury, my muscles have turned to mush.” But this isn’t the case because muscle and fat tissues are entirely different, and therefore they can never transform from one to the other. It’s the equivalent of saying you can turn water into wine or lead into gold.

What really happens when you stop exercising is that your muscle mass declines. And how you gain fat tissue is when you eat more calories than you burn off, which is much easier to do when you’re not exercising. And likewise, when you up your exercise routine, you’ll add lean tissue and might start burning excess body fat, but your fat didn’t turn into muscle.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

7 Myths Nutritionists Wish You’d Stop Believing

There’s a lot of misinformation out there| but dietitian Julie Upton| MS| RD| of Appetite For Health| is here to shed light on seven nutritional myths that could mess with your weight-loss efforts and your health.

The Internet is like the Wild West when it comes to nutrition information: anything goes. Websites are rife with less-than-accurate nutrition facts| which only fuels food myths and adds to consumers’ confusion about which picks are the healthiest. At best| you can hope there’s a kernel of truth in what you’re reading| but more often than not| there’s no scientific basis for these myths. Below are seven of the most popular nutrition myths and the real deal on each.

Related: Look For These 46 Ways Added Sugar Can Appear on Your Food Label

Myth 1: You need to detox your body with a juice cleanse.

Fact: From celebrities to personal trainers| there’s no shortage of so-called experts advocating fasts or juice cleanses to detox. If you Google “detox|” you’ll get nearly 64 million results for diet programs and treatments that are supposed to help “flush out your system|” “remove toxic substances from the body|” “give your GI tract a rest|” or “speed up your metabolism” and “enhance your overall health.” But despite all the hype and popularity| there’s little proof that fasting or following a deprivation diet for several days actually delivers on any of the above promises.

While an occasional short fast or a day of following a “juice diet” won’t cause harm for most healthy people| it will likely leave you feeling cranky and hungry. If you really want to be and feel your best| eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables| get adequate sleep| and don’t drink more than one alcoholic beverage per day.

Myth 2: Diet sodas make you gain weight.

Fact: While you may have read that diet beverages make you gain weight| a recent clinical trial found just the opposite. In the 12-week study| published in the journal Obesity| dieters who drank diet beverages lost 13 pounds on average 44 percent more than subjects drinking water only| who lost an average of nine pounds. What’s more| the diet-soda drinkers reported feeling more satisfied. This study adds to a substantial body of research demonstrating that low-calorie sweeteners and the diet beverages that contain them do not hinder but can in fact help with weight loss. Two peer-reviewed studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by researchers from the University of North Carolina in 2012 and 2013 randomly assigned subjects to drink either water or diet beverages (without making any other changes to their diet). After six months| the diet-beverage group had a greater likelihood of reaching a meaningful amount of weight loss five percent of one’s body weight compared to the control group. These studies reinforce that if you’re trying to lose weight| diet beverages may help you peel off pounds| as they can help you achieve and maintain a lower-calorie eating plan.

Myth 3: Canola oil is made from rapeseed plants| which are toxic.

Fact: Canola oil comes from the crushed seeds of canola plants not rapeseed plants| which are| in fact| harmful. Rapeseed oil contains high levels of erucic acid| which is linked to heart disease and therefore is not allowed to be sold in the US. While the two plants are cousins| they’re distinctly different in their composition. In the 1960s| farmers used breeding methods to help eliminate the erucic acid from canola plants| and canola oil is now regulated to contain negligible amounts of the compound| ensuring that canola oil is 100 percent safe. In fact| it also happens to be one of the healthiest oils (behind olive oil) because it has less saturated fat and more heart-protective omega-3s than other vegetable oils. Canola oil is just seven percent saturated fat compared to olive oil| which is 15 percent saturated fat.

Related: Confused About Added Sugars? Read a Nutritionist’s Advice on the Matter

Myth 4: Sea salt has less sodium than table salt and is mineral-rich.

Fact: Run-of-the-mill Morton table salt and gourmet Himalayan sea salt contain essentially the same amount of sodium per teaspoon 2|300 milligrams. As for minerals| neither contains enough of any mineral to make it a clear winner over the other. For instance| a teaspoon of table salt has just 1 mg calcium compared to 12 mg in sea salt. Since 12 mg is just one percent of your daily needs| it’s not a very healthy way to get calcium into your diet.

Most people believe that sea salt tastes better and| in some cases| you may be able to use less of it (and therefore reduce your sodium intake)| but it is by no means a lower-sodium and more mineral-rich option. Keep in mind| sea salt lacks iodine and not getting enough of this compound can lead to goiter| intellectual impairments| growth retardation| and much more. In fact| iodine deficiency is a serious health threat| especially among pregnant women| according to Boston University researchers| so don’t use sea salt exclusively in your diet.

Myth 5: Some foods| like celery| have negative calories.

Fact: When something sounds too good to be true| well| it probably is. Take “negative-calorie foods” as an example. The notion is that digesting certain foods burns more calories than those foods provide. The faulty logic of this urban legend is based on the scientifically proven thermic effect of food (TEF)| which simply means the amount of energy the body uses to digest a food. The thinking goes| if you were to eat a very low-calorie food common examples include celery| apples| and limes then you’d actually create a calorie deficit. In other words| these foods would end up costing less-than-zero calories.

Sadly| there are no negative-calorie foods. The TEF generally ranges from 10 percent to 20 percent of the calories in a food. So let’s say a celery stalk has seven calories. Even if you assume a 20 percent TEF| that means you’re still left with about five and a half calories.

Myth 6: It takes 21 days to break a bad habit (or form a new one).

Fact: Popular self-help gurus and many diet plans claim that it will take 21 days to form a new healthy habit or break a bad one. The truth is| there is no magical time frame for breaking bad habits. One study that evaluated behavior change found that creating a new habit| like eating a piece of fruit daily| took an average of 66 days. However| there were wide variations anywhere from 18 days to 254 days. The authors found the adaptation time was a function of how hard the new behavior is as well as the individual. If you’re trying something new| like daily exercise| give yourself time to make it a routine. It may not happen overnight ¡ª or even in 21 days!

Myth 7: Muscle can turn to fat ( . . . and vice versa).

Fact: You’ll often hear someone at the gym say something like| “Since my injury| my muscles have turned to mush.” But this isn’t the case because muscle and fat tissues are entirely different| and therefore they can never transform from one to the other. It’s the equivalent of saying you can turn water into wine or lead into gold.

What really happens when you stop exercising is that your muscle mass declines. And how you gain fat tissue is when you eat more calories than you burn off| which is much easier to do when you’re not exercising. And likewise| when you up your exercise routine| you’ll add lean tissue and might start burning excess body fat| but your fat didn’t turn into muscle.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

If You Want a Detox but Love Food, These Cleanses Are For You

If You Want a Detox but Love Food| These Cleanses Are For You

It’s inevitable. Come January| someone around you is extolling the benefits of a juice cleanse. And since you went overboard during the holidays and show no signs of stopping| you start to think that a major detox is exactly what your body needs. Before you believe that your body is working in overdrive digesting all that food| it’s important to note that the proven benefits from juice cleansing are still murky. Here’s what we do know: fiber is a good thing| and so is protein| but these are the nutrients most cleanses leave out.

If you’re playing with the idea of a cleanse but don’t want to commit to a juicing-only lifestyle| there are more and more companies here for you. All these cleanses leave the fiber and protein in and get rid of all the crap| and some even reward you with a dessert!

| Daily Harvest

While not marketed as such| Daily Harvest ($48 for six smoothies) is the perfect way to try a smoothie cleanse. Each of its smoothie cups comes packed with whole organic produce| nut butters| and other nutritional powerhouses like chia seeds| flax| and cacao u2014 all you have to do is add the water| almond milk| or coconut milk and blend away! With over 14 blends to choose from| there’s bound to be something for everyone| and the prep is beyond simple. Full of fiber| protein| and other good-for-you nutrients| the Daily Harvest smoothies are a perfect way to give your body a reset.

| The Splendid Spoon Soup Cleanse

A popular complaint among those on a juice cleanse is how much they miss eating. It’s an important ritual u2014 the act of carving out time to sit down and enjoy the food in front you. The ingredients known to detoxify the body.

| The Ra-Ra From Can Can Cleanse

For juice-aholics or those who can’t imagine a cleanse without any cold-pressed goodness| soups and salads.

| LuliTonix

Though you still subsist on six bottles of liquid a day| LuliTonix ($180 for a three-day cleanse) is no juice cleanse. Instead| think of LuliTonix as some of the best blended drinks you’ll ever have. Unlike the vast majority of bottled smoothies you’ll find in stores| LuliTonix blends are not brimming with sugar but contain tons of leafy greens| as well as good-for-you herbs and spices like mint| ginger| and cinnamon. Best of all| unlike cold-pressed juice| LuliTonix drinks contain plenty of good-for-you fiber. Its cleanse programs are also customizable should you want a minicleanse or one that is adequate enough to support an intense workout regimen.

| The Metabolism Kit From Urban Remedy

Deprived is the last thing you’ll feel if you choose The Metabolism Kit ($235 for a three-day cleanse) from Urban Remedy. You’ll be sent snacks| teas| cold-pressed juices| coffee| and meals for both lunch and dinner. All are made from organic and low-glycemic ingredients that are known to help boost the body’s metabolism. It’s the perfect choice when you’re looking to detox or jump-start weight-loss goals.

| Soupure

Like the Splendid Spoon| healing (and on-trend) bone broth| though a vegan option is also available.

| Raw Cooler From Cooler Cleanse

Have your cleanse and eat cake| too! The Raw Cooler ($72 for one day) from Cooler Cleanse consists of three cold-pressed juices and also a raw-food snack| meal| and dessert (apple pie| tarts| and pudding are just a few of the dessert offerings).

| Real Food Works Detox Soup Cleanse

Watch out| juice u2014 it looks like soup cleanses are taking over the detox scene! The Real Food Works Detox Soup Cleanse ($68 for a one-day cleanse) consists of six gluten-| soy-| and nut-free soups that are full of fiber and low in sugar.

| The Yoga For Bad People Cleanse From Juice Press

Coffee-lovers| rejoice! This 1|200-calorie cleanse from Juice Press ($48 for a one-day cleanse) does not ask you to sacrifice your caffeine habit| which is a given in almost every other cleanse out there. Instead| you get to enjoy a cold-brewed almond latte alongside three cold-pressed juices and a marinated kale salad. If this program doesn’t appeal to you| try Juice Press soup cleanse or 1/2 Day Cleanse instead.

Juice Cleanses: Do They Work?

Going on a juice cleanse, or drinking nothing but pressed juices extracted from fruits and vegetables for a few days or weeks, has been all the rage over the past few years. The idea sounds like a good one ¡ª after all, who wouldn’t want to combat the effects of a wild night out or a life of indulgent eating with a few days or weeks of “detox” to rid your body of lurking toxins? They’re backed by celebrities and celebrity doctors alike, so it’s no wonder that drinking your diet has been steadily gaining popularity. But is following a juice cleanse safe? Get the facts below, and then decide whether to juice or not to juice!

What’s the Appeal?

Many of juicing’s benefits are more anecdotal than scientifically based; chances are you know an enthusiastic juicing friend or two. Many claim that juicing vegetables and fruits allows you to absorb the nutrients easier than eating them, since less digestive work is needed. Proponents also claim that following a juice-only diet can help your body detox, which may lead to more energy, clearer skin, and fewer digestive and other health issues. With high-profile juicing fans like Nicole Richie, Salma Hayek, and Gwyneth Paltrow and it-changed-my-life testimonials like Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead ¡ª a documentary about a man’s 60-day all-juice diet and his subsequent healthy transformation ¡ª it’s no wonder the popularity of going on an all-juice diet has only grown.

Does It Work?

The lack of peer-reviewed studies on the effects of juicing has led to conflicting information about whether it’s a do or a don’t. Most experts, however, agree that going on a juice fast is unnecessary for ridding your body of toxins. Our liver and kidneys are already effective at eliminating any unneeded waste, so following a liquid-based diet won’t help any more than normal, although giving up junk foods and processed ingredients can only help give your digestive system a rest.

A juice-based diet can be a good way of getting far more phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables than you could normally eat, and going on a “detox” for a few days can also help jump-start a commitment to a healthier diet. Many experts, like Dr. Frank Lipman, tout the psychological effect of going on a juice fast, like motivating you to be healthier overall or feeling like you can think more clearly. Juice programs also promise you’ll end your cleanse with a clearer, less foggy mind; more nutrients in your diet; and, possibly, weight loss.

Will You Lose Weight?

While most big-name juice cleanses won’t promise weight loss at the end of your detox, it’s not unusual for people to go on one hoping to drop a few pounds (which some juice companies call a “side effect” of their programs). But be aware that weight loss doesn’t happen for everyone, since many juice cleanse programs already include an adequate amount of calories, and any weight you lose will most likely come back as soon as you reintroduce solid foods, especially if you fall back into unhealthy eating habits. “When people go into a cleanse thinking that it’s the solution to their weight issue, they’re in for a big surprise,” says trainer Heidi Powell. “They might drop some weight, but as soon as the cleanse is over, most likely their weight is going to come back. It’s important that if you do start your diet with a cleanse that you have a plan for when the cleanse is up.”

Another weight-related downfall: going on a cleanse usually means you aren’t fueling your body adequately for a normal workout routine. Taking an intense Tabata class while on a juice cleanse? Not a good mix. Some programs recommend you limit your activity to walks and low-impact exercise while you detox, which means you’re burning far fewer calories than you could be ¡ª and missing out on metabolism-boosting, muscle-building workouts as well. While it’s not always a bad idea to give your body a rest, if you’re trying to lose weight and are thinking of going on a juice cleanse to do so, its effect on your workout routine is something to consider.

What Are the Risks?

Depending on your particular program, detox diets like juice fasts may cause many different problems, like dehydration, nausea, or fatigue. They can also cause you to miss out on other much-needed nutrients like fiber and protein while filling you up on too much sugar, which is why celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak calls juice cleanses “the worst things ever.” “You are essentially starving yourself for a period of time while on the cleanse, and when you’re done, your body will fight back to gain back what it lost,” he tells us. “There is no protein in juice. There is no fiber in juice. There are no healthy fats in juice. The amount of produce that you would need to create a sizable beverage or juice is a calorie bomb and full of sugar.” Instead, Harley recommends smoothies over juice in order to get those important nutrients from the seeds and skin of your produce.

How to Do It Right

If you’re convinced that a juice cleanse is right for you, first do your research. “Make sure you know what’s in the juice so it’s all-natural,” says Tracey Mallett, a trainer and founder of The Booty Barre. Most high-profile cleanses like BluePrint and Ritual Cleanse are made from organic, raw ingredients, but be sure you understand exactly what’s going into the bottle before you commit. And don’t forget about calorie counts! Whether or not your chosen cleanse is as restrictive as going on a Master Cleanse, one program may have you ingesting fewer than 500 calories a day, while others allow you to drink as much juice as you want or incorporate eating fresh, whole foods as well. Do your research so you know whether or not you’ll be getting all the nutrients and calories you need, and talk to your doctor before you start a detox program.

Once you’ve found a good option, don’t just go straight from greasy foods to green juices. Dr. Oz recommends that you never start a juice fast without first ensuring that you are eating a normal nutrient-rich diet for at least a month. Many juice cleanses involve a precleanse program of eliminating foods like dairy, caffeine, and alcohol before starting the cleanse, so be sure to follow their instructions.

An even healthier, fiber-filled option? Skip the fast, and eat the same fruits and vegetables you’d find in a cleanse, supplementing with juice for an extra dose of nutrients (for an easy way to do this, try one of our healthy smoothie recipes). If you’re looking to add a healthy juice or two to your daily diet to boost energy or get more nutrients, try a few of these recipes below:

Low-Sugar Green Juice for more energyGreen Juice With Apple and CarrotSweet Greens Juice

Choosing the right juicer is also important. Read our guide to the top five juicing machines before you buy.

Image Sources: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne and POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO

Juice Cleanses: Do They Work?

Going on a juice cleanse| or drinking nothing but pressed juices extracted from fruits and vegetables for a few days or weeks| has been all the rage over the past few years. The idea sounds like a good one ¡ª after all| who wouldn’t want to combat the effects of a wild night out or a life of indulgent eating with a few days or weeks of “detox” to rid your body of lurking toxins? They’re backed by celebrities and celebrity doctors alike| so it’s no wonder that drinking your diet has been steadily gaining popularity. But is following a juice cleanse safe? Get the facts below| and then decide whether to juice or not to juice!

What’s the Appeal?

Many of juicing’s benefits are more anecdotal than scientifically based; chances are you know an enthusiastic juicing friend or two. Many claim that juicing vegetables and fruits allows you to absorb the nutrients easier than eating them| since less digestive work is needed. Proponents also claim that following a juice-only diet can help your body detox| which may lead to more energy| clearer skin| and fewer digestive and other health issues. With high-profile juicing fans like Nicole Richie| Salma Hayek| and Gwyneth Paltrow and it-changed-my-life testimonials like Fat| Sick| and Nearly Dead ¡ª a documentary about a man’s 60-day all-juice diet and his subsequent healthy transformation ¡ª it’s no wonder the popularity of going on an all-juice diet has only grown.

Does It Work?

The lack of peer-reviewed studies on the effects of juicing has led to conflicting information about whether it’s a do or a don’t. Most experts| however| agree that going on a juice fast is unnecessary for ridding your body of toxins. Our liver and kidneys are already effective at eliminating any unneeded waste| so following a liquid-based diet won’t help any more than normal| although giving up junk foods and processed ingredients can only help give your digestive system a rest.

A juice-based diet can be a good way of getting far more phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables than you could normally eat| and going on a “detox” for a few days can also help jump-start a commitment to a healthier diet. Many experts| like Dr. Frank Lipman| tout the psychological effect of going on a juice fast| like motivating you to be healthier overall or feeling like you can think more clearly. Juice programs also promise you’ll end your cleanse with a clearer| less foggy mind; more nutrients in your diet; and| possibly| weight loss.

Will You Lose Weight?

While most big-name juice cleanses won’t promise weight loss at the end of your detox| it’s not unusual for people to go on one hoping to drop a few pounds (which some juice companies call a “side effect” of their programs). But be aware that weight loss doesn’t happen for everyone| since many juice cleanse programs already include an adequate amount of calories| and any weight you lose will most likely come back as soon as you reintroduce solid foods| especially if you fall back into unhealthy eating habits. “When people go into a cleanse thinking that it’s the solution to their weight issue| they’re in for a big surprise|” says trainer Heidi Powell. “They might drop some weight| but as soon as the cleanse is over| most likely their weight is going to come back. It’s important that if you do start your diet with a cleanse that you have a plan for when the cleanse is up.”

Another weight-related downfall: going on a cleanse usually means you aren’t fueling your body adequately for a normal workout routine. Taking an intense Tabata class while on a juice cleanse? Not a good mix. Some programs recommend you limit your activity to walks and low-impact exercise while you detox| which means you’re burning far fewer calories than you could be ¡ª and missing out on metabolism-boosting| muscle-building workouts as well. While it’s not always a bad idea to give your body a rest| if you’re trying to lose weight and are thinking of going on a juice cleanse to do so| its effect on your workout routine is something to consider.

What Are the Risks?

Depending on your particular program| detox diets like juice fasts may cause many different problems| like dehydration| nausea| or fatigue. They can also cause you to miss out on other much-needed nutrients like fiber and protein while filling you up on too much sugar| which is why celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak calls juice cleanses “the worst things ever.” “You are essentially starving yourself for a period of time while on the cleanse| and when you’re done| your body will fight back to gain back what it lost|” he tells us. “There is no protein in juice. There is no fiber in juice. There are no healthy fats in juice. The amount of produce that you would need to create a sizable beverage or juice is a calorie bomb and full of sugar.” Instead| Harley recommends smoothies over juice in order to get those important nutrients from the seeds and skin of your produce.

How to Do It Right

If you’re convinced that a juice cleanse is right for you| first do your research. “Make sure you know what’s in the juice so it’s all-natural|” says Tracey Mallett| a trainer and founder of The Booty Barre. Most high-profile cleanses like BluePrint and Ritual Cleanse are made from organic| raw ingredients| but be sure you understand exactly what’s going into the bottle before you commit. And don’t forget about calorie counts! Whether or not your chosen cleanse is as restrictive as going on a Master Cleanse| one program may have you ingesting fewer than 500 calories a day| while others allow you to drink as much juice as you want or incorporate eating fresh| whole foods as well. Do your research so you know whether or not you’ll be getting all the nutrients and calories you need| and talk to your doctor before you start a detox program.

Once you’ve found a good option| don’t just go straight from greasy foods to green juices. Dr. Oz recommends that you never start a juice fast without first ensuring that you are eating a normal nutrient-rich diet for at least a month. Many juice cleanses involve a precleanse program of eliminating foods like dairy| caffeine| and alcohol before starting the cleanse| so be sure to follow their instructions.

An even healthier| fiber-filled option? Skip the fast| and eat the same fruits and vegetables you’d find in a cleanse| supplementing with juice for an extra dose of nutrients (for an easy way to do this| try one of our healthy smoothie recipes). If you’re looking to add a healthy juice or two to your daily diet to boost energy or get more nutrients| try a few of these recipes below:

Low-Sugar Green Juice for more energyGreen Juice With Apple and CarrotSweet Greens Juice

Choosing the right juicer is also important. Read our guide to the top five juicing machines before you buy.

Image Sources: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne and POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO

A Nutritionist Shares Her Tips For Detoxing

Without the monotony of the workweek to help keep you in check, it’s easy to veer away from a healthy routine during the weekend. Workouts get skipped, too many cocktails are sipped, and you wake up on Monday full of regret. Instead of thinking about what you should have done, Monday marks the perfect time to get back on track, setting the tone for the rest of the week. Before you lock yourself down on a no-carb, no-alcohol, no-everything diet, start with these approachable detoxing tips from Eve Kessner, holistic nutritionist and SoulCycle instructor.

    Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Eve can’t stress this point enough, “Drink lots of water!” Besides balancing out the dehydrating effects of any imbibing you did over the weekend, Eve credits water with helping the body “flush out any toxins it’s holding on to.” Start the morning with our wonder beverage of choice: hot water with a lemon, which among other things has been shown to aid in weight loss. From there, be sure to drink from your water bottle throughout the day. Make it a goal to refill it more than a few times before hitting the hay.Get up and move: When it comes to sweating out the bad stuff and upping endorphin levels, Eve says that exercise is key. If you’re up for it, she suggests a fast-paced cardio session since it will boost the body’s metabolism, allowing you to better burn off some of those weekend indulgences. If you went too overboard on Sunday and the thought of a high-intensity workout has your stomach feeling queasy, opt for a walk or restorative yoga session instead.Eat clean: After a few food-filled and sleep-deprived nights, it’s important to not give in to junk-food cravings. That pumpkin cream cheese muffin might seem like a good breakfast, but you’ll end up feeling worse than you did when you woke up. Now is the time to eat fresh, whole foods. “Raw foods have higher nutrient density, so you get more bang for your buck and inherently less sugar,” says Eve. Enjoy a nutrient-rich smoothie for breakfast, a fresh salad for lunch, and follow Eve’s guidelines for putting together the perfect dinner. Above all, Eve says to “avoid anything processed.”Get some rest: One of the best ways to reset the body is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. “This one is tough [when you have a busy schedule], but superimportant for your body’s recovery,” says Eve. Skipping out on enough sleep can lead to stress, weight gain, and an overall decline in good health. If falling asleep is hard for you, follow these all-day habits for a better night’s rest.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

A Nutritionist Shares Her Tips For Detoxing

Without the monotony of the workweek to help keep you in check| it’s easy to veer away from a healthy routine during the weekend. Workouts get skipped| too many cocktails are sipped| and you wake up on Monday full of regret. Instead of thinking about what you should have done| Monday marks the perfect time to get back on track| setting the tone for the rest of the week. Before you lock yourself down on a no-carb| no-alcohol| no-everything diet| start with these approachable detoxing tips from Eve Kessner| holistic nutritionist and SoulCycle instructor.

    Hydrate| hydrate| hydrate: Eve can’t stress this point enough| “Drink lots of water!” Besides balancing out the dehydrating effects of any imbibing you did over the weekend| Eve credits water with helping the body “flush out any toxins it’s holding on to.” Start the morning with our wonder beverage of choice: hot water with a lemon| which among other things has been shown to aid in weight loss. From there| be sure to drink from your water bottle throughout the day. Make it a goal to refill it more than a few times before hitting the hay.Get up and move: When it comes to sweating out the bad stuff and upping endorphin levels| Eve says that exercise is key. If you’re up for it| she suggests a fast-paced cardio session since it will boost the body’s metabolism| allowing you to better burn off some of those weekend indulgences. If you went too overboard on Sunday and the thought of a high-intensity workout has your stomach feeling queasy| opt for a walk or restorative yoga session instead.Eat clean: After a few food-filled and sleep-deprived nights| it’s important to not give in to junk-food cravings. That pumpkin cream cheese muffin might seem like a good breakfast| but you’ll end up feeling worse than you did when you woke up. Now is the time to eat fresh| whole foods. “Raw foods have higher nutrient density| so you get more bang for your buck and inherently less sugar|” says Eve. Enjoy a nutrient-rich smoothie for breakfast| a fresh salad for lunch| and follow Eve’s guidelines for putting together the perfect dinner. Above all| Eve says to “avoid anything processed.”Get some rest: One of the best ways to reset the body is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. “This one is tough [when you have a busy schedule]| but superimportant for your body’s recovery|” says Eve. Skipping out on enough sleep can lead to stress| weight gain| and an overall decline in good health. If falling asleep is hard for you| follow these all-day habits for a better night’s rest.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

The Emotional Roller-Coaster Ride of a January Detox

The Emotional Roller-Coaster Ride of a January Detox

January is the perfect time to detox| cleanse| and reboot your body u2014 it seems like everyone is taking on a detox diet for at least a few days! But now that we’re a few weeks into the month| you might be wavering from your healthy resolutions. Whether you decided to try a strict juice cleanse or have cut out a number of foods from your diet| you’ll be able to relate to this wild ride.

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