girl dieting anti juice cleanse

Let’s talk about the juice cleanse fad

Here’s what I’m thinking…

Is there an alternative to juice cleanses? I just watched my friend (let’s call her X) do a 3-day juice cleanse and I’m horrified at the torture she endured. I’m pretty familiar with juice cleanses, but I’ve never actually had a friend do one. So this was an exciting time for me, for X, not so much for her toilet, but that’s disgusting and I can’t even believe I just said that. I totally understand the appeal of juice cleanses, ya know? Shed a few pounds, feel like your detoxifying your body, yada, yada, yada. I see the benefits, but are they long-lasting? Is it worth it? Better question, is it worth $200? Lol.

So, X and I went to this organic café in town and picked up a $200, 3-day juice cleanse. NBD. The reason I went with X is because she considers me the healthy friend, meanwhile I’m sitting here eating a bagel…

So X begins this cleanse. Each of the three days begins with a lemon water and ends with a nut milk. Lots of green juices in between. ~Soooo legit.~ This goes on for three days.

So I mean first of all, not being able to chew for 3 days is torture. On the very first night X, her mother and I end up in a mobile group chat discussing the issues and concerns. X was f***ing starving and miserable. Duh! Who wouldn’t be? She wanted to eat some spinach or broccoli, just something chewable. I wanted to tell X it wasn’t okay to interrupt her juice cleanse with solid foods, but I couldn’t. She was suffering! I told her some spinach was okay, because why the hell not? It’s basically rabbit food.

In the past, I interpreted juice cleanses through kind of a “no pain, no gain” lens. Well to heck with that. During the time I spent standing in that godforsaken overpriced café (it was a beautiful café, I wish I could afford to eat there for every meal) I perceived so many dents and dings in the juice-cleanse practice. I still let X go through with it, because I do think it encourages stability and allows a person to test and strengthen their willpower. But if we’re talking health benefits and health risks, I really felt like she was being ripped off.

No one explained the benefits, the dangers, the nutrients… X swiped her credit card, was handed a bag of liquid green bottles and we were on our way.  A few hours later, X and I were visiting some friends and naturally the juice cleanse came up in conversation. Someone asked, “Hey X, any protein in those juices? Any bread carbs? Fiber? Be careful!” Dude, those are great questions. Now I’m thinking and I’m thinking… Was there a healthier alternative? Was there a less painful alternative? Should X have consulted a doctor first? I wasn’t necessarily worried, but I was perplexed. X was doing a 3-day cleanse; how do people do 21-day cleanses?

QUICK LESSON IN FIBER: So you have your soluble fiber and your insoluble fiber.

Insoluble Fiber: Adds bulk to your stool. It doesn’t dissolve or absorb in water. Found in beans, veggies/greens, whole grains etc.

Soluble Fiber: Allows more water to remain in stool. Makes it softer; easier to pass through intestines. Found in lentils, beans, broccoli etc.

Juices are the most concentrated form of fruits and vegetables. So here’s what happens. The insoluble fiber is removed and what you’re left with is the most concentrated form of fruits and veggies. The cool thing about this is that your body can more easily absorb the nutrients in those juices. The not so cool thing is that you miss out on all that insoluble fiber in the pulp. Something to think about, just saying…

This whole juice cleanse trend sounds miserable. There’s gotta be a better way to detox your body and absorb more nutrients. Can a person just like, eat more fruits and vegetables? Why do nutrients need to be in juice form? Is liquid trendy? Let me know…

After lots of aggressive googling I’ve determined that YES there are alternatives. Can we think about the reason a person chooses to go on a juice cleanse in the first place?

Detox, weight loss, skin improvement, anti-aging. There are plenty of ways to remedy these issues and others without actively torturing yourself. A juice cleanse isn’t the reason you gained a whole bunch of weight, so it’s probably not going to reverse the effects either. You know what I mean? A juice cleanse might jumpstart you and motivate you to keep heading in a healthy direction, but it’s not the cure.

Here are a few alternatives I came up with that seem much more effective than self-torture for temporary happiness.

  1. Put down the goddamn candy. Refined sugar is your enemy. Sugar addiction is real and it’s dangerous. Weight gain, increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, the list of terror goes on and on. Try giving up sugar for three days. After three days of semi-torture you’ll be able to incorporate real sugar back into your diet. Maybe you’ll try the famous 21-day sugar detox. You’ll be able to retrain your tastebuds and control your cravings. Now that’s real progress.

Check out this book about the 21-day sugar detox. It’s easy to read and super informative. Diane Sanfilippo is a certified nutrition consultant and New York Times best-selling author, so you know this book is the real deal.

  1. What about a raw food diet? Lots of raw fruits, vegetables and grains. So you get to chew and physically feel full. This already sounds better than a juice cleanse. Heating food often destroys its nutrients, so give your oven a break for a few days and try the raw thing out. Sure, you’re going to crave foods that aren’t fruits and vegetables, but too bad. Your body will thank you in a few days, and you’ll have learned a lot about your body’s tolerances and intolerances. ~Body intuition~

Check this out. This book has some great info about raw diets and great recipes too. Judita Wignall is a health foods coach and an expert of natural and raw foods.

  1. Here’s a crazy idea: try a PARTIAL juice cleanse. If you are in good health but want to amp up your nutrient intake this is a great option. Maybe drink your breakfast, eat your lunch, eat a lighter dinner, and drink a nut milk for dessert. I just made that diet plan up, but it sounds pretty good right? Or what about this… Try a raw food diet for a few days with the incorporation of a partial juice cleanse. Now that sounds like my kind of detox. Raw, chew and sip. It’s perfect, you’ll retrain your tastebuds and learn about your body without torturing yourself too much.

I have one more book for you to check out. This one is a super duper Amazon best seller. This book works to promote sustainable and clean eating. So many recipes, so much information. This book will get you excited about a healthier lifestyle.

So, X is done with her juice cleanse now. Pretty sure she doesn’t feel any different than she did before, pretty sure she isn’t motivated to retrain her tastebuds. She was starving and ready to chew, so that’s exactly what she did. Can you blame the girl? Chewing is hot, juice cleanses are not.


X = My friend who just suffered through a juice cleanse