Hi again! I am excited to talk about an alternative to a juice-only cleanse, something I’ve actually been teaching as well for many years. It’s called a Modified Juice Feast, and in short, the main difference is rather than all juice, you drink mostly juice and then eat raw, non-fatty produce. I’m actually going to be starting one tomorrow and then blogging about it throughout, so you’ll be able to get a bit of an idea of how it looks.
For this blog post though, I want to go through the main differences between an all-juice cleanse and a modified cleanse as I teach them. First off, here are some reasons someone might choose a Modified Juice Feast over an All-Juice Feast:
- If juice only feels too intimidating. Whether a newbie at cleansing or not, sometimes the idea of not chewing anything for a week or more is so intimidating that a person might not try a cleanse at all. Of course, I urge people to push their comfort zone as far as the idea of just being on juice and not chewing, but if it just feels like too much for someone, to the point of possibly not trying it at all, this is a great alternative.
- If no matter what arrangements could be made, someone simply does not have the time to make at least 4 liters/quarts of juice, which is what I recommend for an all-juice cleanse. On a Modified Juice Feast, I recommend at 2-3 liters/quarts of juice. Though juice-making still needs to happen (unless you get your juice from a juice bar, which is also totally great!), it is often quicker to make a smoothie or eat some fruit, and so generally a Modified Juice Feast does require less kitchen time.
- Somewhat related to the previous point is exercise. One of the main reasons I urge Juice FEASTing versus juice fasting (mainly a difference in how much juice someone drinks), is that if you drink enough juice, you truly can support any level of fitness. I’ve had clients who did all-juice cleanses who did CrossFit, or ran for an hour daily, did personal training that involved weights almost every day, and as long as they drank enough juice, were totally able to do it. That being said, though, if you do want to be extremely active, and you needed 7 quarts of juice to do that, there might not be the time for you to make that juice. And so again, a Modified Juice Feast does generally take less time. So don’t get me wrong: I’m not agreeing with the misconception that you can’t be active on a juice-only cleanse — you can if you drink enough juice — I’m saying the calories you get by eating something are going to be faster to make happen than by juicing them.
However, there are some, perhaps you could say disadvantages (but that’s not really the right word) of a Modified Juice Feast versus a All-Juice Feast to take in consideration.
The main thing is that with a Modified Juice Feast, you are eating/drinking fiber and pulp. You are possibly eating it, and possibly taking it in in the form of smoothies. This fiber requires a lot more energy to digest than just juice. And any energy your body has to use for digestion reduces the amount of energy it can use for cleansing. You could think of it like a pie chart: the bigger the piece for digestion, the smaller the piece for cleansing.
So what that means is that generally the standard results people report from cleansing are slower on a Modified Juice Feast. It’s sort of like the difference between running a race with a backpack of stuff in it versus not carrying anything: you’ll get there, but it will just be a little slower. I discussed this concept in my blog post, “Should You Keep the Fiber When You Cleanse?“, so be sure to go read that too. Here is a quote from one of my mentors, fasting expert Gabriel Cousens, M.D.:
“Fasting is an excellent method for cleansing your entire system. The fasting process begins after day two or three when the body goes into autolysis, the process whereby the body is digesting its own dead and dying cells. In the body’s wisdom, it selectively decomposes those cells and tissues that are in excess, diseased, damaged, aged, or dead. This allows for an improved ratio of healthy cells in the body. This is a time of increased off-loading of toxins.”
Cool, right? The thing is, on a Modified Juice Feast your body won’t go into this mode, because it registers all the fiber as “Ah, I’m still eating; I’m eating mode”. Sure, it’s a seriously awesome eating mode, but your body doesn’t really think it’s fasting.
I’m also not saying with this latter part of the discussion that you won’t get results: people do indeed get them. Think about it: to be on a Modified Juice Feast, one is taking a break from alcohol, sugar, flour, coffee, fried foods, junk food, grains, fats, etc. So there is no way that kind of shift is not going to make a huge difference. It’s just a bit slower than all-juice.
But again, if the factors I mentioned in the beginning are substantial, then it’s better to do a Modified Juice Feast than nothing, and also probably better than a person with those concerns starting an all-juice cleanse and then making it only a day or two before they want to totally give up. Keep in mind as well–you can always start off in a Modified Juice Feast and then move into an All-Juice Feast later on. And these kinds of decisions are ones I can help you make with the consultations that I offer, so feel free to email me and we can chat about what might work best for you.
So I start my Modified Juice Feast tomorrow! Be sure to check back on the blog here and sign up for newsletter updates at the top right as well. By the way, I will likely post a recipe or two along the way!