Cleansing, the Cooler Way
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.
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).
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!