Juices have been a part of our lives for longer than anyone can remember and I, for one, am a big fan. Whether you buy it from a supermarket or throw your favourite fruits and veggies into a blender at home, there’s nothing like a delicious juice on a tropical day. Considering all this, and the fact that I have proudly whipped up delicious green juices before, I decided that I was in for a treat when I chose to try a two-day cold-pressed juice cleanse to detoxify my system after all the junk I fed it throughout the week. Little did I know that this was a whole new ball game.
In the span of just a few months, a number of cold-pressed juiceries and brands have sprung up all over the country, taking off from the growing global demand. With fun packaging and interesting names, brands like Juicifix, Raw Pressery and JusDivine (Mumbai), JustPresssed and Antidote (Delhi) and Good Juicery (Pune) have won many loyal disciples. The reason that cold-pressed juices have such a fandom is the fact that the way your juicer macerates fresh produce hugely controls just how much nourishment makes its way into your glass. Spinning metal blades can overheat and oxidise the fruit and vegetable sap, resulting in both nutrient loss and a less palatable juice. But, when fruit and vegetable is put through a cold-pressed juicer, the nectar retains the supreme amount of nutrients, making it an instant health-shot. Also, food scientist and nutrition coach Ryan Fernando says, “If a cleanse is correctly done with the right types of ingredients, even though you may not receive all the fibre from the fruits and vegetables, you are probably going to get the ideal or recommended servings of fruits and veggies, which we usually do not manage to achieve through our regular diet.”
TWO SEEMINGLY ENDLESS DAYS
My juice package arrived in an ice-pack at the inconceivable hour of 5am on Saturday morning, but I quickly snapped out of my grogginess when I saw the colourful, well-conceived miniature bottles. The juice is pressed the same morning and delivered fresh to your doorstep, which is a huge win. Obviously, the first thing I did was lay them all out on the table, chronologically. There were six bottles per day, with timings printed on each — one for every two and a half hours. Before embarking on a two-day cleanse you are advised to:
- Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
- Get ample rest and relaxation.
- Start your morning with a cup of herbal tea or warm water.
- If you must eat, keep it raw and have some salads or fruits.
- Ease up on your regular workout regimen; maybe go on a couple of light walks.
Abiding by all the rules, I was extremely excited when I opened my first bottle at 9am. The green liquid contained kale, spinach, cucumber, doodhi, celery, amla, green apple, lemon and ginger. I was definitely not expecting the gag reflex that it induced, but once I had downed it, I felt like I could charge through the day like the Road Runner being chased by Wile. E. Coyote. The rest of the day went by quite smoothly and, in fact, I felt more productive than I usually do on a weekend. Also, I had the best shuteye at night! The last juice of the day — with almonds, honey, cinnamon, sea salt and pure H2O — is heaven in a bottle.
The second day was actually much harder, not because I was craving meat or chocolate or junk, but because I began to miss chewing! My mouth felt weird and I just had to chomp on a salad in the afternoon. Also, fair warning — the beetroot, apple and carrot juice is called ‘Flush’ and it isn’t a joke. All brands have this particular juice as part of the juice cleanse too. If you plan to get out of the house, stay close to a washroom and don’t panic if the pot turns purple. [I did. A lot.] Also, avoid watching any food channels on television and maybe avoid Instagram.
As challenging as it was for me, the cleanse really helped to wipe the slate clean in a way. We don’t realise that our intake sometimes contains too many overly-processed ingredients, and it’s nice to spend time flushing out the bad and pumping in the good. There are great benefits that a juice cleanse brings — glowing skin, more energy, better digestion, blood purification…. If you follow it all the way through, there’s a beautiful feeling of accomplishment. Some people say it empowered them to break unhealthy habits or resist cravings. But if you’re going to try a juice cleanse, make it short. I wouldn’t recommend doing it for more than 2-3 days. Fernando adds, “In the last 40 years or so, people have become able enough to afford more nutrition and hence, today, we eat in abundance — which is why I do endorse doing a juice cleanse, but ideally a day or two is enough for one cycle which will cleanse the system. Post 3 days, you will be losing out on essential macronutrients, which includes carbohydrates.”
Furthermore, do not do this for weight loss. While I did get rid of some water retention and thus ended up feeling lighter, the restrictive nature of a cleanse is not appropriate for lasting weight loss. The best way to lose weight (and keep it off) is to make healthy lifestyle changes that you can maintain. As celebrity nutritionist Shonali Sabherwal says, “Cleanses will help you achieve a good pH, in that they make your body more alkaline. However, to use them as a weight loss tool is pointless — your whole diet needs to be addressed for this.”
Lastly, if you have any health concerns like diabetes, kidney disease, nutritional deficiencies, if you’re pregnant or undergoing chemotherapy, you should avoid detoxing or at least consult your doctor first.