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Cleansing, the Cooler Way

April 25, 2012

Juice cleanses are all the rage these days.  Although health professionals are divided as to the actual scientific benefits, the raw detox regime has many steadfast devotees.  There’s even a movement called Cleanse America, which encourages Americans to embark on a 10-day 100% raw food or juice journey, depending on your level of raw-readiness (vastly different for your average carnivore to the fruitarian, per se).  Proponents recommend juice cleansing an average of 3-4 times a year for routine health maintenance.

 

 

The basic idea behind a cleanse is that by drinking your daily intake of vitamins and nutrients, you give your digestive system a break, allowing your cells to renew and the body to restore itself.  Eliminating toxins in this way is said to help rid the body of deep-seated imbalances, particularly if you have a lot of processed foods in your diet.  Thus benefits from a cleansing regimen may result in increased energy, weight loss, clearer skin, better digestion, improved sleep, and enhanced overall sense of well-being.

So last month, I enlisted my mother to participate with me in one of such programs called the Cooler Cleanse, a company co-founded by Salma Hayek.  Having sampled a few of the more popular juice cleanses while living in NYC–such as the ever-popular Blueprint Cleanse (supported by celebs such as SJP)–I have come to the conclusion that “CC” is my favorite, simply because I find the juices to be the best tasting.

most juice programs consist of 6 juices a day

Of course, if you have the time and energy, you could always juice your own fruits and veggies!  The nice thing about these programs, however, is that the fresh-pressed juices are delivered to your doorstep overnight in conveniently assembled and tote-friendly coolers.  [*Note that many local businesses now exist that offer similar programs, if interested in a more sustainable solution.]

Personal experiences on a cleanse vary, but I will give you my account.  Although I was looking forward to it as I genuinely enjoy all of the delicious CC concoctions, cleansing to me is largely a mental challenge.  Though I did not feel hungry, I admit there were times I felt overwhelmed with fatigue and experienced “detox symptoms.”  On the plus side, I felt noticeably lighter and by day three my energy levels started to rise.  I also had really vivid dreams (weird I know, but a common side effect so I hear).

essential red juice: carrot, beet, apple & lemon

Possibly my favorite thing about a detox program though–in addition to the rejuvenation payoff–is that they force you to “reset” your palate so to speak, allowing you to curb bad food habits and overcome cravings.  In effect you become more aware of your body’s nutritional needs, and after it’s over you may just find yourself craving the natural goodness of wholesome, raw foods.

My best advice to ensure success on a cleanse program is to do it with someone, in order to hold you accountable and serve as your support system (unless you have amazing self-discipline).  You’ll also want to make sure you receive adequate rest, so it’s a good idea to set aside a period of time where you won’t be doing any heavy lifting (although light exercise is encouraged).

There is so much more I could say on the topic, but that is probably enough for now.  For a more comprehensive review of juice fasting and the different cleanses available on the market, check out this educational guide from the Everyday Health site.

Have you ever participated in a cleanse?  If so, I’d love to hear about your experience!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 25, 2012 10:46 am

    Are those juices pasteurized, do you know? I’ve done cleanses before– never raw or juice cleanses, but 2-week “clean” eating programs with detoxifying herbs and supplements. I found I would return to not-so-clean eating soon after the programs, though, so in the end I decided to do ongoing “cleansing” (with healthy eating and lots of fresh veggies) rather than one-time “cleanses”. Moderation seems to be the key for me. My body couldn’t handle the extremes of fasting or even determined cleansing.

    • April 25, 2012 11:29 am

      The juices are not pasteurized, since they want to preserve the highest vitamin and mineral content possible. I don’t know much about the 2 week detoxifying supplement/herb diets, but since you eat pretty ‘clean’ anyway, I can’t imagine what ‘falling off the wagon’ would look like for you! I agree that moderation is the key though and there’s no question that eating better all year round is better than eating clean for 2 weeks here and there to counteract an unhealthy diet. I didn’t find myself to be famished with a 3 day juice cleanse…on the other hand, I think the Master Cleanse would be a huge challenge and the more extreme 20 day water cleanse to be absolutely absurd! I find it to be a fascinating topic though.

      • April 25, 2012 11:41 am

        Yeah, pasteurization would pretty much defeat the whole purpose of the juice. I know a lot of people who are addicted to the Happy Planet or Bolthouse smoothies, but I think the pasteurization process kills off most of the benefits, anyway.

        I actually stopped doing fasts and one-shot cleanses after I learned more about Ayurvedic medicine through my family doctor. Apparently my dosha (kapha) does not deal too well with fasts (or even too many raw foods) but responds much more favorably to earthy, grounding (still healthy) foods. It was a basic, Ayurveda 101 appointment, but since then, I haven’t done any raw juice or liquid fasts. I can do smoothies and soups still, but nothing without the added fiber and plant substances. :) Every body is different, though, and I have lots of raw-food, vegan, juice-obsessed friends who are perfectly fine with that.

      • April 25, 2012 1:34 pm

        I completely agree that every body is different, and that what works for some people doesn’t work for everyone. Juice cleanses are by no means essential to a healthy lifestyle, and I hope I did not give off that impression! They are just one means towards a healthier wellbeing for those whose systems can tolerate it. I appreciate you sharing your story and prompting this discussion. :) Eventually I would like to learn more about Ayurveda…I’d be curious to know what my dosha is!

      • April 25, 2012 1:52 pm

        You didn’t come across that way at all, Jenn. I know you’re well on board with the “everybody’s different” movement. :)

        There are online quizzes where you can find out your governing dosha. Mine was given to me in a book by my doctor, but I’m sure you can find COUNTLESS questionnaires on the internet to give you a head start. Usually, constitutions that can tolerate a lot of raw food and juices are governed by Pitta, which is naturally thin/fiery/strong/athletic and can be cooled by all those raw foods. My dosha, Kapha, is slower, damper, and… um, curvier?, so it needs heating/spicier foods to bring everything back up to speed. ;)

      • April 25, 2012 2:25 pm

        Haha k good. And that’s interesting…sounds a lot like food energetics.

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