I’ve probably done around 10 juice cleanses, ranging from 1-3 days. And I pretty much regret doing each one of them. Growing up in Los Angeles and living in New York for three years, I lived in the epi-center of trends. Food trends, fashion trends, workout trends, you name it. Following trends has become a trend in itself, as exposure via social media has made it easy for anyone to be a part of a trend, and expose him or herself in the public eye.
I remember when I first heard about juice cleanses. It was right when I started working at CBS News, I had crazy hours, and little time to eat. I was always known as the health nut at work, because I never gave into the pastries, breads or lunches that were provided for us a lot of the time. I always had my healthy foods with me. Living close by to still one of my favorite juice bars in New York, Juice Generation, I drank my kale or beet juice on a daily basis. I was obsessed. Juices were either my breakfast, lunch, or pick me up (which is still healthier than coffee), and I never went a day without one. I learned about a three day juice cleanse one day, and got one of my friends to purchase one as well so we could do it together. As usual, like everyone says, the first day you’re starving, cold, have a headache and want to simply chew on anything in site. The second day it gets better, you’re still a bit hungry, but you know you’ll survive (maybe?), and by the third day, you have the glow, and you could go on for a few more days if you really wanted to. Not.
I had headaches, my skin didn’t improve, and I never glowed. I was simply hungry, couldn’t wait to eat real food, and questioned myself why I chose to do this. But being so naïve, I did it again, and again. I’ll go back a bit and state that one of the reasons I drink so many juices, and smoothies too, is because of my severe digestive problems. Eating bothers me, no matter what it is I eat. Even though I don’t eat gluten, dairy or sugar, I am still constantly in pain and feel bloated minutes after I eat a meal. Having more liquefied meals, including soups, really helps eliminate that pain as my digestive system has less to do. That said, I didn’t realize that drinking so much juice really has some negative aspects to it. I felt better when I drank smoothies and juices more than not, so I continued.
After tons of research and speaking with doctors and nutritionists, I realized that juices, especially when they are made from a base of fruits could make your blood sugar levels fly through the roof. I had no idea. They don’t write that on the bottles, nor did I truly ever believe that cold pressed juices weren’t always the healthiest option. I learned that drinking juices in moderation, and those that are composed of less fruits and more vegetables are fine and won’t give you that sugary high. I now try to stick with juices that are made mostly of vegetables, such as carrots, celery, spinach, beets, ginger…you get the picture.
Think of how much sugar you are consuming when you drink 18 juices in three days? They usually all have a base made out of apples, because yes it does taste better. People like to drink sweet things. Maybe you felt like you glowed after you finished a three-day juice cleanse, and that’s great! But there is no scientific evidence that proves that juice cleanses pose any benefits to your body. I actually noticed thinning hair. Yes, maybe you will lose 1-3 pounds, but the second you go back to your normal eating habits, you will gain it right back. Juice cleanses are not a solution for weight loss, nor a solution for eliminating acne, and they’re not a solution for my digestive issues either.
I still enjoy smoothies or juices almost every day, but I am very conscientious as to what they are made out of. Yes they do contain a lot of nutrients and vitamins, but the most important thing you can do for your body is eat real foods: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, and protein – from whatever source works best for you.