Juice diet, juice cleanse, juice fast and juice detoxification

But, first, what the heck is a juice detox?

Today we’re going to first define the terms that confuse new juicers the most:

  • What is a Juice Cleanse?
  • What is a Juice Detox?
  • What is a Juice Fast?
  • What is a Juice Feast?
  • What is a Juice-Based Diet?

Then we’re going to learn about one of the most influential ‘juice gurus’ around today.

First, a WARNING: no Juicing Program will work with pasteurized (‘dead’) juice. Why? It’s because the high-heat of pasteurization destroys fragile protein structures, to receive the nutritional benefits of juicing, only fresh, raw juice can deliver the spectrum of minerals, enzymes and vitamins that our bodies have adapted to absorb.

Juice Cleanse vs. Detoxification (“detox”) vs. Juice-Based Diet vs. Juice Fast vs. Juice Feasting

Obviously, there are far too many marketing phrases being thrown around by juice bars. So, let’s cut through the (poorly-worded) marketing clutter and define some terms (note — this is not advocating or criticizing any of the following):

Juice Fast: typically one to five days of juicing with no solid food, limited to a certain quantity of juices per day to limit calorie intake. Juice fasting is selected to quickly lose weight, which is why this is sometimes called “the wedding fast.”

Juice Feasting: typically six to ninety days of juicing with no solid food, allowing for unlimited quantities of juices to be consumed. Juice feasting is typically selected as an alkaline diet to reduce inflammation, or as part of a “Gerson Therapy” to treat specific ailments (such as cancer fighting), but has recently been popularized under the name “Rebooting.”

Juice Detoxifications: perhaps the most confusing term of all of these, there are several types of juice detoxification, and resources about juicing often use the word “detox” to mean any of these.

Sometimes called the ‘Holiday Detox’, one type of detoxification is designed to rehydrate, cleanse the liver, and re-balance the body’s electrolytes (yes, the purpose of the Holiday Detox is to sober-up). A typical Holiday Detox includes celery, cucumber and beat juices. This detox works well if used occasionally when you are otherwise healthy, and only drink occasionally. This is not a substitute for sober living.

Much like a ketosis diet, a ‘Deep Detox’ claims to remove heavy metals from the body by eliminating as much excess fat as possible from the body (the theory behind this belief is that many metals are fat-soluble, and so are stored in the body’s fat cells). The twist with juicing to achieve a Deep Detox is that juices (usually along with teas) are selected that are both low-calorie and also support liver, kidney and pancreas cleansing. Like the Holiday Detox, the Deep Detox includes celery, cucumber and beat juices, but in more limited calories, and for a longer term (often seven to thirty days), and may also in its first day include added cayenne pepper. We’ll visit Deep Detoxes later when we talk about Joe Cross.

A ‘Colon Detox’ is just a Juice Cleanse by another name.

Juice Cleanse: the term “juice cleanse” is often mistakenly thrown around to refer to any short-term all juice diet. However, in its most strict sense, a Juice Cleanse is using juices to, well, release the bowels. Typical juice cleanses use cayenne pepper in lemon juice, ginger juice, or a combination of lemon and ginger. Advocates of juice cleanses often claim that they reduce inflammation; however, it is unclear from the literature I’ve reviewed that a cleanse reduces inflammation any more than the ginger or turmeric do independently (without the possible intestinal discomfort).

Juice-Based Diet: a Juice Based Diet is a lifestyle program (whether formal or informal) that includes juicing as a major, and regular, foundation for nutrition. It is not an all-juice diet. It does not require that the majority of your daily calories come from the consumption of juice. Nor does it require that you adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet. It simply means that you’re incorporating fresh juice regularly (preferably daily) as part of your overall nutrition plan.

Personally, I follow a juice-based diet — it’s really my juice-based lifestyle. Although I have heard people advocate for all the above approaches to juicing, but I have not even wanted to try any of the other ‘juice-only’ approaches. I believe that there is no substitute for good nutritional habits. And, the only nutrition program that is sustainable in the long run (and capable of becoming a habit) is a juice-based diet.

I also believe that each person has nuanced nutritional needs that are genetically and environmentally unique to him or her. So, I believe that a vegan diet may be right for some people, and a paleo diet may be right for others. I’ll leave the advocacy for these diets up to their proponents.[1] 

The specific ‘how’s’ of each of these juice programs is addressed in my other blogs, which you can browse in the blog section of my website (at this link).


Juice Guru Joe Cross and Deep Detoxification

Remember Joe Cross? Joe is sometimes called ‘the King of Rebooting’ because he put his system (and that of Phil Staples) through a hard-crash deep detoxification (plus nuts and beans) and filmed it all on video. The documentary is called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (here’s a link), which is an inspiring look at how juicing can radically change your health.

Most people who try juice feasting are looking for a miracle — or what Joe calls a “circuit breaker.” In Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Joe himself is contending with autoimmune issues, weight gain, and ailments that the pharmaceuticals just can’t seem to help (and frankly, his diet when he’s off the juicing wagon is really quite poor).

In case you haven’t seen the documentary, there’s this scene in the first 14 minutes, where Joe, on day 14 of his 60-day juice fast, walks by a pizzeria in New York City, and steps inside for a “smell visit.” There, he tells the audience “I would usually eat two of those” — he didn’t mean slices, he means two whole pizzas.

He describes his feelings as a level of brokenness — emotional numbing. Let’s not kid ourselves – no one eating two entire pizzas in one sitting does it to satisfy hunger. This kind of overeating is about numbing emotional issues. Feeling broken is about emotional pain. And, often, weight is a symptom of that pain. And so a myriad of diseases are similarly symptoms of that pain. For more about recovering from emotional eating, I recommend Susan Pierce Thompson’s Bright-Line Eating.

Joe, while on his juicing journey across the United States, made a new friend, Phil Staples. Phil, a truck driver from Sheldon, Iowa, is (I believe) the real star of the movie. About 45 minutes into the movie Phil decides to join Joe’s juice fast, and sequesters himself in a hotel room for an intensely deep detoxification. After two days of flu-like misery, his system resets (again, Joe calls this a reboot), and he goes on to lose over 100 pounds in 90 days.

So, what happened during these juice detoxifications? Why did they both feel so awful for a few days? According to nutritionists Larry Davis (D.C.), Joe and Phil both had sugar addictions — specifically bread and processed sugar additions. While in their prior sugar-addicted states, their bodies were generating extra insulin and enzymes so that they could process the excess sugars they were consuming. This is an extremely dangerous (and, in the USA, common) state to be in, and is a classic sign of early-stage type-2 diabetes.

As Joe and Phil dramatically lowered their bread and processed sugar intakes, their bodies had to adjust to the excess insulin their pancreases were producing. This excess insulin is the cause of their flu-like symptoms (not the body ridding itself of ‘excess metals’ or other toxins — other than the sense in which excess insulin is itself a toxin).

Don’t misunderstand — both Joe and Phil became dramatically healthier, and their reduced insulin requirements are much healthier for them (which are reflected in the glucose levels reported in the documentary). Their lower weight is dramatically better for their heart, joints, digestive tract, and also results in much lower cancer risks.

However, the movie has led to a common misconception that juicing will make you feel miserable for a few days. This does NOT have to the case! Adding juices to your diet, while reducing your sugar and bread intakes over the course of five days to a week will enable you to achieve, ultimately, similar results without feeling miserable. That said, many people like the idea of achieving their weight goal quickly, and if that’s you then feel free to try a fast, feast or cleanse. But, add a juice-based diet to your eating plan for the best results and long-term health.


Reboot with Joe for those with (hypothyroid or hashimotos) Thyroid Issues
[1] The way to know what is ‘the’ right diet for you is to, with the help of a nutritionist, track what you eat daily and record your physical data and emotional states. Then, correlate what your diet with your data. Yes, it’s hard. And yes, it’s worth it.