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Juice Cleanses Are a Band-Aid Solution to a Bigger Dietary Problem

Juice Cleanses Are a Band-Aid Solution to a Bigger Dietary Problem

Written by Katherine Martinko

I’ve never done a juice cleanse before, so I can’t say I’ve ever experienced the euphoria, weight loss, clarity of thinking and release of toxins that supposedly occurs when one adheres to a diet of liquefied produce for an extended period of time. I can say, however, that I probably never will. The reality is that I have very little patience for diets that have less to do with eating the right foods and more with deprivation. In that regard, juice cleanses seem eerily similar to anorexia.

In her article “Stop Juicing: It’s not healthy, it’s not virtuous, and it makes you seem like a jerk,” author Katy Waldman points out how juice has become supremely trendy and has even attained verb status (!). Juice cleanses involve dedicating oneself to days or weeks of drinking expensive liquid produce that’s advertised and sold by companies called “Total Cleanse,” “Renovation,” “Life Juice,” “Ritual,” and “Reset.”

“The payoff is supposedly great. Juice, say the websites, and your skin will shimmer with vitality, you’ll have tons of energy and a clear mind, your immune and digestive systems will recover and approach an indestructibility heretofore associated with Norse gods.”

Juice, I say, and you’ll waste large quantities of fiber-rich vegetables and fruit; subject yourself to a masochistic form of nourishment (imagine the number of bathroom trips while drinking juice every 2-3 hours, plus water and herbal tea); deprive yourself of the joys of chewing; and spend exorbitant dollars on an airy (er, juicy?) quest for inner Zen.

Out of curiosity, I checked out the BluePrint Cleanse website to get a better idea of what’s actually supposed to happen on an all-liquid diet, which, for the record, costs a whopping $75 a day:

“Cleansing is about nourishment, NOT deprivation… [It] removes toxins and promotes healing simply by supplying the blood with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that one is able to easily assimilate… Take away the work of digesting food, and one allows the system to rid itself of old toxins while facilitating healing.”

It stands to reason that our bodies will struggle to digest the wrong foods that comprise the Western diet, but how about learning to eat the right foods for our bodies? Dr. Elizabeth Applegate, a nutrition lecturer from the University of California, shares my skepticism: “The whole cleansing concept is silly. The body doesn’t need any help getting rid of compounds it doesn’t want. That’s what your liver and kidneys are for.” What about the psychological benefits of cleansing? “Placebo effect.”

Similarly, Dr. David Heber, an endocrinologist from UC, says, “There’s no way a three-day liquid detox diet is going to remove toxins that you may or may not have in your body… The basic problem is this is an unbalanced diet approach.” Dr. Roshini Raj, from NYU Medical Center, explains that cleanses really limit people by “not getting enough protein, potentially not enough fiber and even healthy fats.” The doctors’ advice? Stick to a balanced diet and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables over the long-term.

That’s what I thought. If you eat the right foods, there should be nothing to cleanse! The problem is, that’s a whole lot harder to do than buying fancy juice packs.

This post was originally published in TreeHugger

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Photo Credit: Lydia Fizz

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54 comments

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10:02PM PST on Dec 9, 2013

Completely one-sided, biased, and uniformed opinion. If you're gonna write public articles, at least do some thorough research to offer an informed opinion. Your article is childish. I juice fresh, A LOT, as a supplement a to an already healthy vegan diet. I don't even know about the products you refer to above. And it's anything but a sacrifice - it's DAMN delicious. You just need to learn a few good recipes to start that suit your tastes - but don't expect steak or pizza. I also drink a lot of structured water as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. I don't need a doctor or anyone else to confirm what it does for me on many levels. I challenge people to go on a FRESH juice fast for 10-15 days and judge for themselves if it's right for them. There's no way, even on a healthy vegan diet, to consume the degree of micro-nutrients you get from juicing. Btw, I also recommend getting your blood tested before and after - and see the difference it makes.
Juicing is a great compliment to an already healthy diet. If you're not on a particularly healthy diet it could really be the kick start you need to make a change.

(I don't know about everyone else, but I prefer to rely on informed opinions to base my decisions. The above is not. For further info on juicing watch Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead as previously mentioned below.

To everyone's good health.

9:39AM PST on Dec 9, 2013

Thanks for sharing.

6:58PM PST on Dec 8, 2013

thanks for sharing

11:08AM PST on Dec 8, 2013

Thank You for sharing..

8:38AM PST on Dec 8, 2013

Thanks

11:02AM PST on Dec 6, 2013

Noted

7:23AM PST on Dec 6, 2013

Okay, and another thing... Liver Failure, Kidney Disease! These are from toxins & not taking care of oneself & a juice *feast* can help make those changes by giving a restart to a poor diet making salt taste salty again, & getting one off crappy carbs that just fuel hunger without giving much or anything in nutrients (same with most animal products; especially difficult on kidneys). The liver & kidneys are not fool-proof by any means. Currently they are overtaxed by BPA, pesticides, arsenic, PCBs, dioxins, flame retardents, antibiotics, hormones, & a number of others found in our food including Monsanto's Round-Up (glyphosate) which is being used more & more; all of which on their own cause health issues but now mix them up in a toxin soup that has never been studied...

Also, no one has to spend $75 a day for juice (but how expensive is dialysis or heart by-pass?). It's simple enough to get a good juicer for $200-300 with a 10 year-warranty and make one's own juice, and be in control of the diet.

Want another movie to view? Try, "May I Be Frank" which is available in the US for free on Hulu.

http://mayibefrankmovie.com/

~~

Thanks Nimue P. :)

1:36AM PST on Dec 6, 2013

I agree, Syd :)

7:08PM PST on Dec 5, 2013

One of my favorite juicing communities is the following:

http://fitlife.tv/

The reason being that it doesn't promote juicing as a panacea to all of your problems but as a significant part of a healthy routine to help you get to the place you want to be. In fact my favorite installments are Mindset Mondays because that is really where health begins...in a person's mind. Lots of fun and informative content and I hounded the beautiful blue eyed health guru for weeks on end and was awarded a juicer that I myself could never afford. Perhaps this may be the health step someone needs to help unlock other positive things in their life to help realize their goals.

6:55PM PST on Dec 5, 2013

Juicing and juice cleansing is part of a healthy routine and lifestyle. Unfortunately like going gluten free the media makes it into a fad and simplistic "cure all" to all of a person's ills when achieving a significant positive impact on one's health is really a series of health commitments over time.

I've done a 3 day cleanse and I will tell you it was only because I was hitting a health plateau and was experiencing unhealthy food craving, constipation, and decrease in a healthy appetite despite eating well. Cleansing helped me to develop healthy food cravings again through drinking bitter greens and gave my digestive system a rest in order to "reset" itself. For people with serious bowel (IBS etc.) or hormonal issues (low thyroid, PCOS) this is an important addition to a regular and possibly permanent health routine. The problem comes in the form of the average joe who is looking for "cure alls" in the form of pills or a new routine when the human condition is a complex and ever changing state of being.

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