Wedding Juice Diet 101
Once just a wacky Hollywood fad, wedding juice diets are more popular than ever. Here's what you need to know before you start.
Know What You're Drinking
Not to be confused with smoothies -- which are made in a blender and contain a variety of ingredients, like milk and peanut butter, in addition to produce -- pure juice is what you get when whole fruits or vegetables are broken down in a juicer.
Sure, They Are Super Healthy...
Juices are full of micronutrients and phytochemicals, and they offer an easy way for your body to digest them. Plus, "Most people aren't eat- ing enough greens, like broccoli, kale, and spinach," says Joel Fuhrman, M.D., the director of research for the Nutritional Research Foundation in Flemington, New Jersey. "Having a green juice is like getting a shot of them."
But Not All Are Created Equal
The best juices contain rich-colored vegetables and fruits that are low on the glycemic index (read: not high in sugar). Libations loaded up with sweeter fruits, like pineapples and bananas, are basically fructose bombs. "Fruit should be used only as flavoring," says Fuhrman. Another caveat? The fibrous pulp is often removed during the juicing process; fiber helps you feel full after eating and slows down your body's absorption of sugar.
It's Worth Buying Organic
While it is more expensive, here it makes sense to splurge -- especially if you want to do a juice-only pro- gram for a few days. "ingesting a lot of conventional produce could, in effect, mean you're drinking concen- trated pesticides with every glass," says Susan Blum, M.D., founder and director of the Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, New York.
You Don't Have to Go Crazy
"As long as you're not dealing with a compromising health condition, a short juice ‘cleanse' can help you kick-start healthy habits," says Blum. But it's not entirely necessary in order to rid yourself of toxins. "The body is highly effective at detoxing itself," she says. You can reap benefits -- without the deprivation -- by adding a daily glass to your routine, or eating whole fruits and vegetables.
Timing Is Everything
If you do decide to embark on a cleanse, three days is a smart bet. "This is a low-calorie fast, which is why you temporarily lose weight, but anything longer can be a strain on your liver," says Blum. Just don't do this the week of your wedding-pick a stress-free time.
You Can Try These at Home
If you don't own a juicer, break out the blender. Better yet, the juices featured below -- the Nutty Blend, Sweet Treat, and Green Goodness -- offer a great way to consume vitamins, protein, and even fiber since it's not removed. Let's toast to that!