October 22 2011
It seems the US purge of choice has crossed the Pond and is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. It already has celebrity endorsements from the likes of Salma Hayek, who has set up a juice cleanse company, and Gwyneth Paltrow, who preaches the glowing-skin, sparkly-eyes gospel on her Goop website. Juice companies, like cupcake-makers and blow-dry bars, are sprouting up in the UK faster than you can wilt a bag of spinach. In fact, the juice cleanse has become so popular I think it should have its own BBM acronym: CCOJF – Can’t Come Out, Juice Fasting.
I am not new to the, uh, movement. I made a pathetic attempt a few years ago while living in LA (where else?) to master the draconian Master Cleanse juice detox created by Stanley Burroughs. The Master Cleanse, for those unfamiliar with Beyoncé’s cocktail of choice, consists largely of lemon juice, organic maple syrup and cayenne pepper… I am quite certain that
in 100 years people will look back at this dogma with bemused curiosity and go, “Really?”
Needless to say, two starving days and a so-called “spiritual awakening” later, I decided to risk Californian social exclusion and stick to solid foods – resigned to the fact that I am an eater, not a juicer; a lover, not a fighter; a chewer, not a slurper.
However, on my never-ending quest chasing the nutritional dragon, coupled with the glowing (literally) celebrity testimonials, I have concluded it’s time to surrender to fashion and give it another go.
A box with three days of juices and supplements has just arrived from new juice cleanse company Radiance. When choosing a cleanse I always check where they source the fruit and how they extract the juice. “We use two organic suppliers and both source as much produce as possible from the UK, then Europe,” says Claire Neil, the owner.
“Doesn’t juice start losing potency within 12 minutes of juicing?” I ask. I’m not so convinced about stockpiling.
“Juices made on a conventional, centrifugal juicer should be drunk as soon as they’re made because the nutrient content degrades rapidly. They oxidise more quickly [than ones made in a masticating juicer] as the juicer sucks in more air. It also spins much faster, at about 3,000rpm, which can heat the ingredients, destroying potency. Our juices are cold-pressed in a masticating juicer, which extracts the juice at a much slower rate – about 80rpm, so there is little heat – and as the funnel is smaller, very little air is sucked in so it oxidises much more slowly, preserving the nutrient content for longer,” explains Claire. “In addition, we use a citrus fruit in each formula, which acts as a natural preservative and makes our juices last longer.”
I’m satisfied… Ish.
The pre-juice cleanse warns that one should clean out the fridge to make space for the juice. I feel a pang of resentment and bittersweet sorrow as I discard the seared Wagyu beef carpaccio; quinoa, beet, avocado and chicken salad; and the cheese platter. The bottles of perfectly chilled buttery Montrachet and Bollinger are guiltily stashed into the pantry with a silent promise to return, perhaps on the victory lap once this trauma is over.
My fridge is a sea of green in various shades, from light to olive and with names such as Power Green Plus, Lean & Green and Squeaky Green Plus. Thank God the Italian is away; this is a red-card-guaranteed sending-off.
I turn to the supplements for some consolation; after all, they’ll be the only solids I’ll be consuming for the next three days. Little bags for each day are stapled together in three sweet parcels: Purity, Cleanse and Milk Thistle. They do very little to cheer me up.
I am sitting at the breakfast table with seven pills on a plate: three fish-oil capsules; two Cleanse capsules, containing ginger, raspberry cascara, fennel and cayenne pepper; and two milk-thistle capsules – also known as silymarin, it has been used for centuries to support the liver. The schedule is pretty simple: you get five juices a day, one at 9am, 11.30am, 1.30pm, 4.30pm and 7.30pm. These are punctuated with supplement-taking so you constantly feel you’re ingesting something.
The juices are made up of a variety of green fruit and vegetables such as cucumber, pear, apples, spinach, broccoli and lemon. Radiance varies the quantities of each as the day goes on.
“In formulating our juices there were various factors we considered,” says Claire. “The ingredients had to be organic, so we needed them to be readily available. We wanted a good balance between fruit and vegetables as we didn’t want them to be overly sweet. We wanted a mixture of different fruit and veg to give a good mix of vitamins and nutrients. In addition to this, we tried to create juices that tasted nice.”
Simplified: in the morning your Power Green Plus is largely made up of sugar-heavy pear juice, with celery and cucumber in there too, and by the time you get to your evening dose of Squeaky Clean Plus juice, it’s the low-calorie cucumber that’s the main ingredient.
I take four Purify tablets made up of bentonite clay, psyllium husk and organic linseed. If you can imagine the psyllium husk is like a broom sweeping through the colon, the clay comes along and works like a magnet to pick up all the toxins, and the flax oil facilitates safe and swift passage as the accumulated effect of the “good life” makes its way through the 2m of your colon.
I am starving. I am going to crack open the Lean and Green a little early. I don’t think it’s a deal breaker.
The Lean & Green Plus and a couple of Cleanse tabs have done nothing to curb my appetite. To be honest, it’s my fault: I did not prepare mentally or physically for the cleanse. They recommend cutting down on protein, coffee and alcohol for a week prior. The transition from holiday straight into this is probably not the smartest. I strongly recommend the pre-cleanse phase if you are serious about a juice fast; it makes all the difference.
Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, treatments and accommodation.