From Nicole Richie leaving the corner store with a sackful of kale smoothies or Beyoncé trying the lemonade master cleanse, it seems like juice is everywhere right now. While doctors may disagree on the health benefits of raw juice and the veracity of claims that juice cleanses flush toxins from your system, most can agree that adding raw juice to your diet is a good way to consume more essential vitamins and acclimate yourself to a healthier diet.
So what is a juice cleanse, exactly?
For some, it can mean a juice fast, which entails a juice-only diet for three to seven days. Usually the fast includes a morning, lunch, and dinner juice with several "snack juices" in between. However, not all juice cleanses mean a week without food. Many opt instead to commit to three to seven days of juice supplemented by small, healthy meals high in protein and devoid of oil and fat. There are several companies, such as BluePrint, that will deliver each day's juices to your house, but you can expect to pay upwards of $80 per day for the convenience.
The good news is, you don't have to spend a fortune to try a cleanse. All the juice recipes in the following slideshow are completely raw and super healthy. You simply need a juicer and an adventurous spirit to get started!
Ready to try it out? Here are some simple dos and don'ts for your first cleanse:
Do: Expect to sweat. And urinate. Then repeat. The first day of the cleanse is especially sweaty. Wear something sleeveless or start your cleanse on a day you don't need to leave the house.
Don't: Forget to drink water. This seems silly because you're already drinking all that juice, but between the sweating and urinating, you need all the hydration you can get.
Do: Use a juicer instead of a blender. A blender makes a gross, swampy mess that you are not going to want to drink. A juicer blends the flavors of your fresh fruits and veggies, making them much more palatable for first timers.
Don't: Torture yourself. If your head gets swimmy and you're finding it hard to concentrate, eat something! It's not a competition or an exercise in starvation, and you are not Jesus in the desert. Eat some of your carrots instead of juicing them.
Do: Check out our slideshow for some yummy juice recipes! The first five are a drink-for-drink replica of the BluePrint Renovation Cleanse (one of the most popular out there). Drinking those in two-hour increments will be almost the same cleanse you'd get if you signed up. But if your palate gets bored, try some of the other fun recipes we've rounded up!
-Emily Alford, The Daily Meal