Going on a juice cleanse is a new health fad that’s taking over town. Does it live up to the hype? We tried it ourselves to find out. Let’s get one thing out of the way: going on a juice cleanse is not a walk in the park. Three members of the CLEO team embarked on a mission to see what this health craze was all about, and trust us when we say that at the end of it, we couldn’t wait to get back to solid food. But was it worth it? We tried different three-day cleanses from different companies, and here’s the (brutally honest) lowdown.
The Tester: Alicia Tan, Editor
The Juices: Immunity Detox Programme from JOOB (six juices a day).
Preconceptions – I’ve gone on a juice cleanse before for detox purposes, so I was pretty psyched to go on an immunity cleanse as I fall sick often. Since I survived my first cleanse, I was prepared for what was to come – veggies are good for you, right?
The Experience – This turned out to be harder than expected. Since I’ve done it before, I didn’t bother reading the juice prep guide that JOOB sent me. The hunger pangs were OK, but I started to get the runs by the first afternoon. It was awful, but on the bright side, it meant my body was getting rid of toxins. By the second day, I was feeling run down from all the bathroom trips – working through the day was hellish. On the third day, I felt weak and a consultation with the doctor revealed my blood pressure level was really low. I had to abort the cleanse two and a half days in. I was disappointed, but I reckon it has to do with not prepping correctly, which I regret.
The Verdict – JOOB later informed me that I was on an advanced version of the cleanse. This totally explained why it was so challenging, as I consider myself a noob. Good news is, I haven’t fallen sick since, so it’s a “no pain, no gain” situation – and I would definitely recommend a beginner version of the cleanse for anyone who wants to boost their immune system. And please, read the guide – it’s there for a good reason!
What JOOB Said – “We sought to strengthen Alicia’s immune system through the following: beta-carotene and vitamin A (from carrot, spinach, kale, beetroot and celery), and vitamin E (from kiwi, spinach, kale and carrot). These three elements are key in fighting free radicals, which in turn strengthen your immune cells. Additionally, our ingredients also contain other important nutrients like zinc and vitamins C, B and K, which are also known to support our body system.”
The Tester: Kit Chua, Features Writer
The Juices: Beautiful Skin Cleanse from FP Juice with Beauty Candy Apothecary (six juices a day, plus peppermint tea and alkaline water).
Preconceptions – I do believe that you are what you eat, and your skin knows it too. But would three days of nothing but juice really give me a radiant complexion? I don’t know, but I’m willing to find out.
The Experience – After the third juice, I thought: “I’m going to get tired of this very quickly.” But my daily menu of juices was pretty well-balanced. I like that they added alkaline water to each juice, which helped to stabilise my energy levels, so my blood sugar levels didn’t spike and crash. I’ve heard of people feeling sluggish while on a cleanse, but on the whole, my body didn’t feel energy-deprived. I did feel deprived of the comforting weight of food in my belly, but I still managed to be productive.
The Verdict – FP Juice also supplied me with an exfoliating mitt for daily dry brushing, so my skin did feel smoother. But apart from that, I didn’t notice a major difference in my skin. So, unsurprisingly, there’s no three-day shortcut to fabulous skin. I have a relatively delicate digestive system, and intermittently have to deal with gastric pain and constipation. With the cleanse, I did feel like my system was given a chance to rest, which is a nice change from the bloatedness I usually feel. But the most important lesson I learnt was how dehydrated I normally am, and that my body actually needs a lot more liquids.
What FP Juice Said – “This cleanse will leave you looking radiant with visibly firmer skin. To prolong these effects post-cleanse, eat lots of raw vegetables and fish – particularly salmon and mackerel. Generally speaking, a beauty-focused diet is very much aligned with an alkaline-focused diet. Foods that have beauty-enhancing properties include red berries, pumpkin seeds, artichokes and broccoli.”
The Tester: Clara How, Editorial Assistant
The Juices: Signature Cleanse from The Syndicate Juice Co. (six juices a day).
Preconception – Frankly, I don’t like juice (oops). But I’ve heard great things from people who have tried cleanses, so I was fairly optimistic.
The Experience – Funnily enough, I wasn’t as hungry as I thought I would be. Perhaps it was all the liquid I was drinking, and the fact that most of the juices actually tasted quite yummy, which was a pleasant surprise. Predictably, I became weaker, and had less energy to concentrate. I started each day feeling fairly perky, but by 3pm, I was battling headaches and listlessness. And of course, I missed food!
The Verdict – It’s hard to tell if I’ve really been “detoxed”, but I definitely do feel healthier and lighter. I’ve also discovered a new love for vegetables and clean flavours. This cleanse has made me so much more aware of all the MSG and fat I had previously been consuming. I can’t look at fried chicken the same way again.
What The Syndicate Juice Co. Said – “We designed this juice cleanse to reboot, recharge, and allow the body to remove the toxins built up over time. [To detox], we added lemon and cayenne pepper, which work as stimulants to the circulatory system and aid the efficiency of our digestive and lymphatic systems. We also heavily feature kale, as this superfood is packed with vitamins.”
Our final thoughts
After three days of battling hunger pangs, here’s what we discovered. First off, everyone responds differently to juice cleanses, as evident from our varying experiences. If you have a weak immune system, you might want to check with your doctor before starting on a cleanse, instead of merely relying on your friends’ feedback. Everyone’s body is different!
More importantly, we found out that for a juice cleanse to really impact your life in the long run, you need to first embrace an attitude of healthy eating. A juice cleanse isn’t a shortcut to good health, and it definitely isn’t a sustainable way to lose weight. What it does do, among other things, is re-adjust your perspective on your diet. After ingesting all those fruit and vegetable juices, do you really want to immediately reverse the effects by chowing down on processed food and oil? We certainly didn’t.
By Clara How, CLEO, January 2015