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I have done my fair share of seasonal cleansing, and juice cleansing over the years. Since it’s the New Year I feel like it’s the perfect time to shed some light on this. I prefer to juice in the warmer months as it’s easier on your system, and who really wants to drink 6 cold juices a day in January in New York? Not me, that’s for sure. It makes me cold and cranky, it’s not seasonal, and it messes with my body’s enzymes.

The best winter cleanse in my opinion is Mark Hyman’s Ultra Simple Cleanse. I’ve done this many times and even my fiancé has joined in (he has also juiced, what can I say, he is awesome!). I recommend it because you are eating real whole food and giving your body the best possible  nutrients. This is the first cleanse I ever tried back when I was afraid of juicing and didn’t want to go to extremes. There are broths, whole grains, healthy fats, pure proteins and hot baths. It’s ideal for the colder months (broths, baths, hot water with lemon) and it will really help you reset your system. You can find his book and recipe book here:

http://www.amazon.com/The-UltraSimple-Diet-Kick-Start-Metabolism/dp/1416547762

http://www.amazon.com/The-UltraMetabolism-Cookbook-Delicious-Fat-Burning/dp/1416549595

After doing this cleanse a few times I bought the cook book so I would have more recipes, but even in the original book there are a bunch of options. My favorite is the almond encrusted chicken, just divine!

Every time I do this my skin looks great, I lose the bloat, I drop a few pounds, and it’s real weight loss that sticks because I’m actually eating and detoxing versus just losing water weight, and it helps boost my metabolism! You can read all about the science behind it in the beginning of his book, I highly recommend it. I also like that it’s not a cleanse you need to do for months and that the prep time isn’t crazy. I will say it does take some work so be ready to spend time in the kitchen and plan to rest up during the week you do it, enjoy your detox baths, read, take naps and relish in some much needed quiet time.

For juice cleanses if you are in a warmer climate or if it’s a better time of the year I highly recommend The Juice Press Juice Cleanse.  I found all of the juices to be delightful and appreciated that there wasn’t a nut milk at the end of the day, just a simple green juice. You did, however, have a gazpacho type drink beforehand that made you feel like you were eating and it was surprisingly delicious! I love how clean all of these juices are and that there is no added sweetener like coconut sugar and agave that some of the other juice cleanse companies add. In my opinion without the fiber of whole fruits and vegetables to slow the insulin spike of sugar entering your blood stream it’s not a good idea to take something that has natural sugars and then add more while at the same time removing the fiber.

My energy levels stayed even and I was satisfied throughout the day because of the extra ingredients like macha, flax seed and spirulina found in the juices. I slept great on this cleanse, my skin cleared up, and I didn’t have any cravings. Juicing teaches you to really listen to your body, slow down, and get in touch with what you think hunger is. When I did my first juice cleanse my friend shared with me advice on learning what it felt like to be hungry versus just wanting to feel full and it changed my definition of hunger forever. When you start to feel like you are ready to eat (or in this case, drink your next juice), is it out of habit or an actual body need? What are you really feeding?

I’ve also done Organic Avenue Juice Cleanse a few times and really enjoyed most of the juices, the freshness, the morning energy shot, and the variety. I would make it my second recommendation as I don’t personally like the taste of all of the juices. My third recommendation would be Blueprint Juice Cleanse. I used to do this one a lot but my tastes have changed and now I find it a little sweet (there is agave in at least half of the daily juices) and I prefer the juices to have more variety versus being the same daily.

The best way to prepare for any cleanse is to start gradually eliminating certain foods 1-2 weeks ahead of time. For juicing I step this up a bit and don’t eat anything but fruits and veggies for 2 days before and 2 days after so that the cleanse isn’t so jarring once I start to detox and so my body can reacclimate to solid foods without much distress. I usually steer clear of all gluten, dairy and sugar a full week before I cleanse and start cutting down drastically the week before that, especially on caffeine. I do allow myself green tea while I cleanse, but if you can go without it, it’s recommended. If it’s your first time doing a cleanse, start with a 3 day and then work your way up to a 5 day or a 7 day. I suggest keeping a journal throughout so you can see how you feel physically as well as emotionally.

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Happy Cleansing and Happy New Year!

If this was helpful, let me know what you think in the comments section below and please share with a friend!