Juice Cleansing 101

Since you’re already perusing this super awesome, well-cured blog about all things juicing/healthy eating, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve either tried or been intrigued by the idea of juice cleansing and fasting. It seems like pre-made juice cleanses are the hottest thing since kale. But if you’ve ever investigated purchasing and signing up for one of these 3-5-7 day fasts, then let me break it down for you, guys. Juice cleanses are expensive, generally “cookie-cutter” by nature (I’ll get more into that later) and may be laden with ingredients that you’re not happy about.

Two co-workers of mine recently embarked on such a cleanse, while I joined them but did my own, DIY version using just fresh produce from my local farmers market and my  trusty centrifugal juicer.

Drum roll please… my cleanse was better. Why? First off, juice cleansing packages typically come with six freshly-pressed juices per day in four flavors: A “green” (with kale, apple and other vibrant veggies), a “red” (with beets and carrots), “lemonade” (with agave nectar and cayenne pepper) and “dessert” (okay – they don’t call it dessert, but since it’s made with scrumptious cashew milk and cinnamon, it’s pretty much the lifesaver of the bunch). There are a lot of companies in most major cities that offer these programs and some will even deliver your juices for the week in a nice little cooler. Here’s the rub… any juicing expert will tell you that for your body to fully utilize the enzymes and nutrients in juice, it should be as fresh as possible. Fresh juice just isn’t meant to sit around. Have you watched an apple oxidize or turn brown within moments of cutting it? Imagine it three days later. Yikes.

One co-worker noticed that by day 3, her juices tasted “off.” I believe the term “fermented” was thrown around. The other co-worker was disappointed by the lack of variety and while she loved eating beets in a salad, could barely choke down the “red” without holding her nose and grabbing a straw. This isn’t what juicing is all about. Enjoying fresh juice is about creating flavorful combinations that you personally enjoy, relishing in the fact that your body is gratefully accepting all that alkalizing goodness. Of course, if you are busy or daunted by creating your own juice cleanse, I don’t blame you. The world of juicing gets infinitely easier once you make the leap and purchase your first juicer. From there, it’s as easy as experimenting and finding what’s best for you.

For my own DIY juice cleanse, I prepared four juices in the morning before work, and two after I got home. Having my fruits and veggies already washed and ready to go made things easier. And let me give you a little tip: these fancy juice cleanse companies definitely do one thing right – their packaging. While probably not ideal for the environment (I haven’t researched recycling options yet), they usually put their juice in these semi-soft, super lightweight plastic jugs with a screw top. The good news is that these containers do well in the dishwasher and can be reused, so consider going to your local juice bar and asking if you can buy a box of them, or ask for the name of their supplier.

Good luck all your cleansers, and happy juicing!

Photo credit: Eyup Salman


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