Dry January or Green Juice Detox? Simple tips for a healthy 2022
January is a month for change and new starts and for many people. It’s a time for Dry January or embarking on a detox or other diet to kick off a healthier lifestyle and a slimmer waistline.
Dry January, the UK’s one-month alcohol-free challenge, allows you to cut down on your alcohol intake, particularly after a month of more excessive drinking during the festive period. The challenge began in 2012 as a public health initiative from UK based charity Alcohol Change UK and today, millions of people take part in the challenge every year.
In this blog, we will help you to understand exactly what a liver detox is and how you can support your body every day, all year round, with its detoxification process. We will also explore the health benefits of green juices and the significance of ‘cold-pressed’ juices in particular.
Did you know that you’re detoxing every minute of every day? The detoxification process in your liver is happening 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and therefore needs support ALL the time, not just for a week or a month! Whilst we fully understand the temptation to buy into some sort of January ‘cleanse’ or ‘detox’ plan, at Junius we want to educate and inspire our readers to take a different approach this year.
What exactly is a liver detox?
Detoxification is the process of breaking down toxins and removing them from your body, primarily taking place in your liver.
In the first phase of the liver detoxification process, toxic compounds must be ‘metabolised’ (broken down). In the second phase those broken-down toxins are rendered safe and ready to be permanently removed from the body via a bowel movement or via urine or sweat. Some of the toxins your liver processes include alcohol, artificial sweeteners, medications, used hormones, by-products of various chemical reactions in your body, heavy metals, and environmental toxins such as pesticides, chemicals from skincare and household cleaning products, tap water and pollution.
It’s a highly nutrient-demanding process
The two phases of liver detox require help from specific nutrients such as amino acids (from protein), iron, zinc, choline, B vitamins (especially folate, B12 and B6), manganese, plus different types of beneficial fats and fibre. Therefore, juice-only ‘cleanses’, ‘fasts’ or ‘detoxes’ are not a genuine liver detox.
A common misconception
A common misconception about a liver detox is that it involves forfeiting food and drinking only green juices for a week. Whilst we are passionate advocates and producers of cold pressed juices, our award winning cold-pressed juices and shots are made with a whole-body approach to wellbeing that go beyond detox, and we always recommend them as part of a whole foods nutritiously balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
How can you support your liver detoxification process all year round?
A whole-foods diet rich in a variety of quality protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and vegetables is the best way to support your liver nutritionally with its work. Lifestyle habits such as getting good amounts of quality sleep each night (this is when your liver does a lot of its cleaning up work), moving regularly and staying well-hydrated are also really key.
Supplementing all of the above with cold-pressed green juices will help you further support and enrich your liver detox phases and pathways by adding more liver-supportive nutrients and compounds.
What are the benefits of green juices?
Cold pressed juices, specifically green juices, pack some seriously great and far-reaching nutritional benefits into one little bottle.
Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli are key ingredients in any good green juice recipe and they contain a key compound called Chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a detoxifying pigment found in all green plants, which also helps to strengthen your immune system, support the production of your red blood cells, and help your body to fight inflammation. Other helpful ingredients you can pack into a cold-pressed green juice, such as our SPA juice and shot, include liver-cleansing parsley and artichoke, hydrating celery and zingy green apple and lemon.
Another thing that makes green juices so supportive of health and the nutrient-intensive liver detox process is that they are easy to digest, which allows your body to absorb the nutrients more efficiently and more quickly.
What does ‘cold-pressed’ juice mean and how important is it?
In order to produce the highest quality juice possible, it’s important that the ingredients are cold-pressed. Cold-pressing is a reassuringly slow process that uses pressure, rather that heat, to create a superior product. It allows oxidation to be kept minimal so that the natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes can be retained in the finished product. When choosing a green juice always ensure that it is cold-pressed. At Junius, we use a process called High Pressure Processing or HPP. Microbes and pathogens cannot survive this process, plus it comes with the added benefit of a longer shelf-life and flavour and nutritional integrity from the cold pressing process remain intact.
January needn’t mean deprivation, restriction and misery!
Taking part in the Dry January challenge will certainly have its benefits if you would like to reset your alcohol consumption after the Christmas period of over-indulgence, but there is no need to couple it with a low calorie restrictive ‘cleanse’ or ‘detox’. We hope that you can now see that a so-called liver detox or any plan that doesn’t pack in nutrient-rich, whole-food balanced meals is NOT supportive of the liver detoxification process that’s happening 24/7. Instead, focus on 3 balanced meals per day with plenty of vegetables and whole grains, stay well hydrated, prioritise good sleep and move often. The addition of high-quality cold-pressed green juices will help you to super-charge your efforts and reap the benefits of a nutrient-dense diet, every day. Benefits will include more energy, more clarity, clearer skin, deeper sleep, weight loss and much more!