It’s that time of year again when gyms see a surge in membership and ambitious resolutions are made to be broken by February. It’s not easy to do a complete 180-degrees on one’s eating habits, especially coming off of holidays known for indulgence. But personally after a year of multi-course meals and food festivals, my body needs some TLC. After years of hearing about juice cleanses, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to see for myself what people have been raving about.
What I Have Learned
After weeks of research and sampling three different juice cleanses from local juiceries, I have learned quite a bit. Plain and simple, juice cleanses are a luxury and by no means an alternative diet for weight loss. Although they involved a short-time commitment, there is a significant price tag associated with these cleanses that may not make them routinely practical for the average person. But if you want to splurge on something, why not health? In addition, I have not found any published research studies that have shown proven benefit nor risk to juice cleanses. Through my own personal reasoning, however, the concept seems to make sense. Below, I have outlined suggestions and things to consider based on advice from the local juiceries and what I experienced through my cleanses.
Things to consider before starting:
- Consult a physician before starting a cleanse to see if it is right for you. With all the sugars from multiple juice cleanses in a matter of a couple of weeks, the change in my body chemistry took a toll on my skin. My face broke out like a teenager. It is probably just my own body’s reaction but just be aware that if you are jumping into a juice cleanse, checking in with your physician (especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions) may be a good idea.
- Juices are non-pasteurized, meaning they may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness to children or adults with weakened immune systems.
- Are you a juice newbie? You can always sample juices first to see if you like it. Certain flavors are quite strong and may not be very palatable to those who are not familiar with these juices. It would be difficult to invest in drinking something not to your liking.
- For those who are attempting multi-day cleanses, remember that the shelf life of juices are up to five (5) days. This means that cleansing for longer will require multiple pickups or deliveries.
During this stage, you should start preparing your body. As recommended by all the juiceries, pre-cleanse involves ridding your body first of the toxins so that the nutrients from the juices can be absorbed better and allowing the bowels to do less work. This part can be tough for some, as it includes: eliminating caffeine, refined starches, sugar, processed foods, and meat from the diet. The goal is to keep it plant-based and organic as much as possible for 3-5 days before starting a cleanse. Great options are salads, avoiding dairy, cooking with healthy oils like extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or my favorite, coconut oil. Clear broths like miso soup is a nice savory transition. Healthy meals with fish, quinoa, nuts, and brown rice are some items I ate when I needed to feel full.
One of the most, if not THE most, important recommendation was to consume copious amounts of water, especially alkaline water. I am especially thankful to Juby True manager, Yarin Anon, for his recommendations and guidance about the many health benefits of drinking water in general but especially during a cleanse. He recommends that I drink my “weight” in water (for example, 130lbs = 130oz) daily, with a minimum 64oz per day. Although there has been some controversy regarding the benefits or risks of drinking strictly alkaline or ionized water, some studies have shown that the higher pH can neutralize the enzyme pepsin that is involved with acid reflux. You can purchase alkaline water at almost any grocery story but making it yourself is also an option. Below is Yarin’s recipe for alkaline water
Yarin Anon’s Recipe for DIY Alkaline Water
12oz filtered water
Juice from ½ organic lemon
1-2 drops chlorophyll (available at health food stores, like Whole Foods)
During the Cleanse
It seemed daunting to drink that much liquid in a day. Between five to six 16oz bottles of juice on top of the minimum 64oz of water daily, I thought my facial muscles would miss mastication. However, half way through the cleanse, it was not much of a challenge, especially if I remained busy. Winning the mental game throughout the cleanses was especially satisfying and I realized that even with minimal determination, I could do anything for a couple of days. And even though I did not have the desire to eat solid foods during my cleanses, those who have never tried a cleanse may want to and that is ok! Incorporating a salad from the pre-cleanse stage into your cleanse is acceptable—however, one of the goals of juice cleansing is to give the bowels a rest. Leafy fibers and solids make your guts work, so try to power through and avoid solid foods if you can! I also had an experience with my tongue feeling raw after a cleanse due to the acidity from the juices. This is why drinking lots of water throughout the day and between bottles is very important in neutralizing those acids.
Ah, to reach the end! If you are like me, I was ready to jump back into eating pizza and fries. But wait! Post-cleaning is just as important as pre-cleansing. I had to continue to put healthy, clean foods back into my diet to ease my body back into eating solids. I cannot say that I lost “real” weight because I am sure it was mostly water weight that I quickly regained within the week, after starting solids again. But the true benefit was the way I felt after the cleanses. Following the cleanses, especially my multi-day cleanse, I felt less bloated and had almost no cravings for junk food and sweets I used to desire regularly. I actually felt my body wanting healthier items like a salad or fruit. So, it is important to slowly reintegrate solids back into your diet and enjoy a post-cleanse diet for the 2-3 days following your juice cleanse.
Local Juice Cleanses
I had the privilege to sample juice cleanses from three local juiceries. They are all fantastic companies with a fund of knowledge about their cleanses and are willing to help you build the cleanse that is right for you. And of course, I love to support local! I have listed important information about each juiceries and some of my favorites juices from each.
If you have tried a juice cleanse, please share your experiences in the comments. And if you have any questions about the cleanses, please feel free to reach out to any of these vendors. They are more than happy to be a part of your health journey in the new year. Happy cleansing!
RADISH Salad + Juice
Location: Downtown Phoenix, inside DeSoto Central Market
Online ordering? YES
The Cleanses: RADISH sources their produce from local and organic farms as much as possible. You can select from nine (9) different 12oz cold-pressed juices, ranging from $6.75-$7.50 each. The Beginner or Advanced cleanses are $40/day with an insulated Rad Bag included! A day supply includes five (5) juices + protein mylk. You can also add-on a detox drink or alkaline water to your package.
Bonus Bites: RADISH also has a food menu that included fresh salads, signature wraps, or grain bowls. These items are perfect for pre- and post-cleansing meals.
My Favorite Juice: G.L.O. (coconut water, mint, granny smith apples, pineapples, chlorophyll) – a tropical and refreshing hydrator, this juice is meant to help flush out toxins and heavy metals. Per RADISH, drink this concoction the night before your cleanse.
Locations: Downtown Phoenix (1st St.), The Madison Phoenix, Old Town Scottsdale (1st Ave.), Optima Sonoran Village Scottsdale
Online ordering? YES
Delivery? YES, to home or office, $10 fee ($60 order minimum) with limited delivery areas in Phoenix and Scottsdale
The Cleanses: Kaleidoscope juices are 100% organic, raw, cold-pressed, never high-pressure processed (HPP) or pasteurized. Categories include Greens, Roots + Fruits, Detox, and Almond Milk. You can select from The Original, The Advanced, or Build Your Own cleanses that can be packaged into 1, 2, or 3 days for $55/day. A day supply includes six (6) juices. Adding on a one of the protein milks is also an option.
Bonus Bites: Kaleidoscope in-store also offers cold brew organic coffee, including Stumptown Nitro Cold Brew on tap, healthy cookies like chocolate chip quinoa or vegan peanut butter protein, a catering menu that includes breakfast, lunch, dessert, and on-site juice bar options.
Want to get your friends in on the cleanse? Kaleidoscope also has a Cleanse with Friends program with discounts on cleanses based on the number of friends you recruit!
My Favorite Juice: Dusti Beet (beet, spinach, celery, green apple, lemon, ginger) – rich in antioxidant vitamins A and C, this juice helps curb cravings, and boosts immunity. I am usually not a fan of beets but this was well-balanced and not the usual earthy beet flavor that would typically have me hesitating.
Locations: Arcadia, Juice Bar at True Food Kitchen at Biltmore Fashion Park, and Scottsdale Quarter
Online ordering? NO
Delivery? YES, to home or office, $10 fee ($50 order minimum) with limited delivery areas in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Make sure give 36-hour notice for any delivery order.
The Cleanses: Juby True juices are 100% organic and cold pressed. Choose from The Newbie, The Apprentice, The Sage, or Build Your Own cleanses that can be packaged as 1, 2, or 3 day cleanses for $56/day. A day supply includes five (5) juices (or four (4) juices + salad) + Boost + Protein Mylk.
Bonus Bites: Juby True makes healthy snacking and eating so easy with their pre-packaged salads, crudites, protein ball bites, and organic popcorn. I especially love their brown rice protein bars that I keep in my purse for a healthy snack between meals. They also have organic coffee and delicious smoothies blended in-store.
My Favorite Juice: Basillion (fuji apple, spinach, basil, lemon, chlorophyll, cayenne) – for revitalizing metabolic boost, reducing nausea, and supporting the immune system, this bottle is bursting with sweet basil flavor. It is vibrant and different from any of other juices I’ve tried across all three juiceries. The chlorophyll makes it hydrating and there is a hint of heat from the cayenne.