So you’ve done it—you have taken the plunge and decided to do a juice cleanse. Good for you! Whether you want to hit the reset button, reduce some bloat after a vacation, or just feel more energized and nourished, there are plenty of reasons to invest in your health. There’s a cleanse for everyone
regardless of your experience and goals. Now that you’re ready to take your juice cleanse by the cap, you can jump in cold turkey, right? Nope! There are some lifestyle habits that could get in the way of reaching your cleanse goals and maximizing your success, coffee being a big culprit. One question we get often: can I drink coffee during my juice cleanse?
The short answer is no—your relationship with coffee needs a break. Not only is it recommended to nix the coffee during a juice cleanse but it’s advised to taper your caffeine consumptions before and after a cleanse
. Read on to learn about how coffee interacts with your body, why you should avoid it, and some tips on surviving a juice cleanse without your daily cup o’ joe.
How Coffee Impacts Your Body During a Juice Cleanse
While coffee may seem like a magical drink from another planet here to save us all from groggy mornings and afternoons slumps, there are actually a number of ways it impacts your body (and a number of reasons why you shouldn’t drink coffee while juicing).
1. It Blocks Sleep Receptors in Your Brain
Adenosine is a molecule that helps with sleep. While the name may sound fancy, how it works is pretty straight forward. Adenosine is a product of digestion, and binds to specific cell receptors in the brain to slow down cell activity causing sleepiness. Caffeine is known as an adenosine blocker. This means that when caffeine enters your system it binds to the adenosine receptors and instead of slowing cell activity, it speeds it up. Caffeine is playing tricks on your brain and in turn gives you a perceived boost of energy. This is also why caffeine can prevent you from getting a solid night’s rest.
2. It Can Increase Stress Hormones
Once caffeine has tricked you awake, it’s followed by a boost in your cortisol (steroid hormone) and epinephrine (adrenaline) levels that is similar to acute stress. We like an energy boost as much as the next person but not the stress-induced kind.
3. It Can Alter pH Levels
Coffee is acidic, meaning that too much can mess with your pH levels, cause acid reflux, and upset your stomach—especially for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It’s not worth the risk when you are trying to detoxify and stabilize your system.
Surviving Your Juice Cleanse Coffee-Free
We know that cutting out the java is way easier said than done, but there are some tips that you can apply before, during and, after your cleanse that will make this goal achievable.
Cut Out Unexpected Caffeine Sources
We don’t expect you to cut out the coffee cold turkey, that’s crazy talk. Actually, coffee may not be your only source of caffeine that you should consider clearing out leading up to your cleanse. Start by eliminating those not-so-obvious sources of caffeine such as:
- Energy drinks
- Caffeinated teas (like green tea and black tea)
- Coffee liqueurs
- Decaf coffee
That’s right—decaf coffee! Depending on where it’s sourced from, it may have anywhere from 0.1% - 3% caffeine. This amount can be too much for those with sensitivities or if you’re looking to really clean out your diet. We recommend cutting out your caffeine intake the week leading up to your juice cleanse but the best method is to taper down gradually. This helps curb any nasty withdrawal symptoms (headaches, yikes!) and gives your body time to adjust.
Taper Down One Cup At A Time
In terms of coffee, there are different approaches you can take. One option is to progressively drink less each day or you can phase it out. Mix in an alternative such as decaf coffee (lesser of two evils) or a herbal coffee. Here’s a ratio strategy to try out:
Day 1: Drink your morning coffee as usual.
Day 2 - 5: Blend your regular coffee with 50% coffee alternative.
Day 6: Have 25% regular coffee and 75% coffee alternative.
Day 7: The transformation is complete! Feel free to adjust the ratios and length of schedule to your preference and level of caffeine dependency.
While juice cleanses are inherently hydrating because of all the water in the fruits and vegetables, that doesn’t mean you should forget about H2O all together. There are benefits to quenching your thirst during your cleanse. It will help with the detoxification process, fill you up in between juices and, keep you occupied so you feel like you’re ingesting the same amount you typically would. Let’s not forget all of the great benefits water gives our bodies on the regular:
- Regulates body temperature
- Keeps joints lubricated
- Helps prevent infections
- Delivers nutrients to cells
- Keep organs functioning properly
- Improves sleep quality
- Enhances cognition
- Boosts mood
You don’t want to overdo it. Feeling bloated isn’t fun, but aim for about 11 cups per day for females and 16 cups per day for males. Pro tip:
Try infusing your water for a fun punch of flavor. Try lemons, berries, oranges, mint leaves or cucumber slices. You can also mix your juice with water for the same hydrating effect!
Find Coffee Alternatives to Help Kick Cravings
So if you’re reading this and thinking all the science and benefits are great but you know cutting out coffee isn’t in the cards, we have the perfect solution for you! Try a herbal coffee or a caffeine-free coffee alternative. We still advise cutting it out as much as possible but this is a healthier and pH friendly way to have your cake and eat it too. There are alternatives on the market that are made from herbs, grains, fruits, and nuts. They are roasted and ground to brew and taste like coffee, and the best part is that there’s no caffeine and no tannic acidity. It won’t cancel out the alkaline value of the juices in your cleanse. Pro tip: Try using a herbal coffee or a caffeine-free coffee alternative in our above reduction strategy the week before your cleanse to gradually taper off your morning cup of java.
Avoid Coffee to Get the Most Out of Your Juice Cleanse
You’ve got this—you are going to kick butt on your next juice cleanse. Seriously, armed with this knowledge and a plan of attack to taper down your coffee and caffeine intake, you can sip easy knowing all your energy is coming from the carbohydrates in the fruits and vegetables. No tricks, no stress, just clean and healthy nutrition. Get ready to reap the rewards of more energy and a digestive system running in tip-top condition—all while detoxifying your body and balancing you out.