Week Nine: Why I Decided NOT to do a Juice Cleanse
Have you ever had your heart set on doing something only to realize you were doing it for the wrong reasons?
For the last week of Feel Good February the plan was to do a juice cleanse.
But I decided it wasn’t for me.
The idea of doing a juice cleanse has been sitting in the back of my mind for a couple years. It all started a few years ago when I tried to do a DIY juice cleanse (i.e. making all the juice ourselves). Considering you’re already exhausted since you’re STARVING, juicing everything yourself is less than ideal. Also, Matt only wanted to drink veggie juices with a little apple which wasn’t really my jam (although I’m sure they were healthier than the all fruit juices I had really wanted to drink). On top of all that it’s super messy, with lots of clean up. Again, the last thing you want to do when the hunger demon is present. If you haven’t already guessed, I didn’t really finish it.
The draw to doing a juice cleanse continued as it gained popularity. Between trendy juice bars popping up, pinterest, and a constant flow of people sipping on colourful plant filled beverages, it was hard not to get excited about the idea of a food free couple of days.
Since juicing is all about health, it seemed like a PERFECT fit for Feel Good February, and so I started to research. Which company should I use? How long should I do it? How much does it cost? How will I feel? What are some ways I should prepare?
And what did I find?
Not the best info.
I already knew there was a ton of recent research talking about the fact that doing a cleanse doesn’t really “CLEANSE/ DETOX” you. I was fine with that. The curiosity about it still continued.
The first red flag I came across was talking to my lovely friend Carlene who’s a holistic nutritionist (check out her site Inside Insight Nutrition). We talked about people she’s seen coming into the clinic post juice cleanse, wondering why they aren’t feeling great. This is thanks to the massive insulin crash you experience after consuming so much sugar. A similar feeling to when you were a little one and would go to a birthday party. Remember the feeling after eating too much candy? That’s what post juice cleanse can feel like. The fact that she didn’t necessarily agree with a juice cleanse made me curious and sparked more research.
I hadn’t thought about exactly how much sugar there would be in the juices. Many of them have as much or more as a can of Coke! Note: Yes I know that drinking a juice that’s made of wholesome fruits and veggies is way better than drinking a can of coke which has no nutritional value. Still, that’s a lot of sugar, especially when I was in the middle of eating minimal carbohydrates and almost no sugar. I knew if I did a juice cleanse, on top of feeling hungry, my body would go “WTF is up with all this sugar!” (Check out this article for more info about the sugar in juice )
Since I’d be consuming only fruits and veggies, I had previously thought “what a perfect fit with my Primal challenge.” Again, the sugar consumption that would go along with doing the juice cleanse is far from primal (there is more sugar in one of some of the juices than I was trying to have in an entire day). I also hadn’t thought about how un-primal a juice cleanse was just in principle. Juicing causes a lot of waste unless you’re using the pulp for something else. Yes, it makes amazing compost and some very creative individuals can create tasty treats with the pulp, but for the most part, you’re not eating all that beautiful, nutrient rich food. A caveman would NEVER waste that much. Think about how much food goes into a juice. Most juices have an entire day’s worth of veggies/ fruits in them, sometimes more!
This brings me to my next point: it’s an ultimate, privileged luxury. A day of juice cleansing costs around $60. That alone shows you how much goes into juices and who they’re catered too. Honestly, the price for me was a little extreme and more than I could afford. Over $200 for three days of “food” is pricy. It’s understandable considering how much goes into a juice but think about how much of that food isn’t being consumed. Think about how many people this waste could feed. The only people that can actually afford to juice/ do a juice cleanse are the privileged. This is something I had never thought about and left me with a bit of a bad feeling. (This article and this article have some very interesting opinions of this)
All these findings made me really consider WHY I wanted to do the cleanse in the first place. I realized it was purely for the wrong reasons. Juicing is trendy and everywhere. In my face like a young child begging for attention. Beautiful juice bars are popping up all over town. I was seeing celebrities and yogis and friends and co-workers juicing. Gorgeous ads, beautiful photos, and the idea of healthy bliss were all idealism drawing me in. I was being marketed to and I realized it was about looking good not being healthy.
With all that in mind, I am not saying you shouldn’t do a juice cleanse if you’re wanting to do one. My recommendation is that you just do your research and make sure it’s right for you. For me, obviously it wasn’t. I’ll still drink juices here and there for a treat but that’s exactly what it will be: a treat. No more fooling myself into thinking it’s the healthiest option. Something else to think about: smoothies are a great choice if you want to avoid the waste. Far less ingredients go into a smoothie, they’re equally as delicious and more filling.
Really, what this process has shown me is the importance of researching before making a decision. Make sure the choices you make are right for you and you have all the facts. This way you can stand wholeheartedly behind all the choices you make.
And so here’s to solid food, primal eating, and letting go of goals that don’t align with who you want to be.
P.S. Even though I decided not to do a juice cleanse, I still love Jusu’s products. They are a gorgeous juice bar located in Victoria BC and I believe they are even expanding off the island. The smoothie in my pic above is called Strawberry Avalanche and it tastes like a (vegan) strawberry milkshake with “chocolate chips.” I highly recommend it! They even create some tasty looking treats with the leftover pulp from juicing! YA to less waste!