“Just make sure you don’t die, okay?”
This was the advice I got from my mother the night before I embarked on a three-day test of will, also known as a juice cleanse. Juice cleansing, which involves replacing all solid foods with juice for a set amount of time, has become an overnight sensation amongst the yoga-doing and organic cotton-wearing locavores that populate our fine city. Technically, a juice cleanse is supposed to rid the blood and body of toxins and give the digestive system a break, but I think it’s really just an excuse for already pin-thin celebutantes to shed pounds in the days leading up to red carpet events.
Someone on a juice cleanse will typically drink four to six juices a day (depending on the program) for anywhere from three to seven days. While not designed for weight loss, a juice cleanse does frequently result in the loss of a few pounds, because that’s kind of what happens when you don’t eat for a few days.
This seems like an opportune moment to disclose, dear reader, that I hate juice. Really, I never drink it. I think juice pretty much always tastes inferior to the solid versions of the fruits and vegetables it contains. Why, you might ask, would I agree to do a juice cleanse? I honestly don’t know.
But after reading about all the positive effects of juice cleansing (Radiant skin! Mental clarity! Toxin-free blood!) in a pamphlet I got at the Los Angeles Times’ Taste food festival, I decided to give it a shot. I went online and ordered Pressed Juicery’s three-day basic cleanse, which costs basically as much as anyone can charge you for squished fruit without it being illegal ($270 for three days of juice, what?!).
All of my juices arrived in a cooler the day I started my cleanse, and I realized with horror that I was supposed to drink six juices every day plus one bottle of “Chlorophyll Water,” (poison green in color and plant-y in taste) and another of “Aloe Vera Water” to “snack on” throughout the day. That was already way more liquid than I had bargained for. As I said earlier, I don’t like juice. Starvation I can handle—I was basically planning to fast for three days—but consuming eight bottles of liquid every day? I knew I was in too deep.
I also learned that I had to drink the juice in a highly specific order (to maximize cleansing benefit). This means every morning I would wake up and try not to vomit while drinking my greens (kale-spinach water), then my roots (beet-ginger water), and then envy my real-food eating classmates during lunch while I had another greens and a citrus (lemon-cayenne pepper water). After School, I’d have another roots for dinner and then “indulge” in a “dessert” (coconut-almond water).
Juice cleansing is hard. I thought it wouldn’t be, since I eat pretty healthily in general, but I have to be real with y’all: I was counting the minutes until it was over. Day one wasn’t too bad because I was still in the honeymoon phase and truly believed that I was experiencing mental clarity, but it all went downhill from there. Day two I started to get really, really lightheaded, and evidently looked “faint and pale,” “emaciated,” and “like hell.” My friends and parents were really careful around me while I was cleansing, as if I would pass out at any given moment. I am pleased to report that I did not, in fact, faint. Other things I didn’t exactly do while cleansing include: my homework, drive the speed limit or stop at stop signs, and generally just be nice to people. Being on a juice cleanse is like getting a free pass to be a psycho biznitch, because girls typically understand that you can’t possibly be nice if you LITERALLY HAVEN’T EATEN SOLID FOOD IN THREE DAYS.
Overall, the cleanse is an experience I would never repeat or recommend to anyone I don’t hate. Beverly Hills physician Robert Huizenga, who is known as “Dr. H” on The Biggest Loser, also warns against misinformation about cleansing.
“Juice, with little to no fiber, is not a health food. A glass of juice is essentially identical to a regular can of cola in its proclivity to cause obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver,” Huizinga said, adding, “There is not one scintilla of scientific evidence that the digestive tract needs a break from digesting solid foods.”
So next time you’re considering cleansing, allow me to offer some preferable options: pulling out your eyelashes one by one, sliding down a banister of razor blades into a pool of lemon juice or eating your siblings.