Are All Juice Cleanses Created Equal?
Recently, I embarked on a 7-day journey to discover whether juicing can really make a difference in your life, and whether the fad lives up to the hype. Not being afraid to admit that I am "basic", I chose to do the ever-popular week long juice cleanse to detoxify my body in the hopes that this self experiment would show that juicing is a practice we should all be integrating into our everyday diet.
I was also curious as to whether juicing would help eliminate cravings for processed sugars and fats that many of us find ourselves drawn to, like Starbucks beverages. Which, by the way, I don’t drink anymore after discovering how much palm oil the company uses. I like my artisanal coffee with a splash of milk, hold the palm.
Like any independent woman, I prefer to think I run the world and am capable of surviving 7 days of drinking nothing but liquid produce. I began with an open mind and an eager optimism that was really cute, for about a day. After that, things sort of began going downhill. If you read any number of articles, blogs or funny magazine pieces about juice cleanses, you’ll be surprised to discover that they are not as glamorous as Gwyneth Paltrow or Blake Lively make them out to be. In fact, I’d say that juice cleanses are more so a form of self-torture which happen to result in nice skin, shiny hair and the shedding of some excess water weight.
I also wanted to see whether juicing is cost-effective for the average individual. Not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on produce or a juicer; so I decided to break down my costs based on two produce shopping trips, and the cost of my juicer. You’ll likely shop for produce more than once during your juice cleanse, and it won’t be cheap, especially if you’re using 100% organic produce.
Step 1: Figuring Out Cost
I bought $50 worth of produce on a Sunday. I started the cleanse the Monday immediately following. By Thursday, I had to shop for more produce and spent another $55.
Produce expenditure: $105
I then had to factor in the cost of my juicer. I already owned a juicer, which I bought a few months prior to the cleanse. My juicer (a Jack LaLanne) cost $120. When I price-checked the juicer a few days before starting my cleanse, the price had remained the same for those juicers still on the market.
Total cost: $225
Step 2: Time Management
According to my research, juices are most beneficial and effective when consumed immediately after being juiced. I found myself making 4 individual juices per day. Each juice took me about 10-15 minutes to make. In the morning, it would take me a little extra time because, well, weekdays. Altogether, each day I spent an average of 1 hour making juices. If we think of that hour as one hour spent away from work each day, then I technically “lost” about $115 in wages.
Hot tip: Cut up your produce the night before each cleansing day. This will cut back on the time it takes to actually make each juice.
Step 3: To Benefit, or Not to Benefit. That, is the Question
Before starting my cleanse, I visited my old nutritionist to see how healthy I was overall. According to her, I was in good shape health-wise but could do with shedding a few pounds of water weight. Other than that conundrum (what girl likes being told she needs to lose ‘water weight’?), I was otherwise fine and did not technically need the detox.
But what about after all was said and done?
7 days later, I visited my nutritionist again. We ran a few fancy tests, talked about my experience and went over what sort of produce I was using in my juices. After looking over everything, it turns out nothing had changed, except for some minor weight loss. Literally nothing about my body or health changed. Was I surprised? Somewhat. But I also wasn’t. I had read an awesome article about the truth behind juice cleanses half-way through my own and decided I wasn’t as open minded nor hopeful about the cleanse as I was at the beginning. The cleanse didn’t really do anything in preventing my cravings for sugar, though it helped me realize just how much sugar one can actually put into their body and has helped me lower my intake.
I confess that I stopped the juice cleanse two days early, because I was simply too hangry and hungry to feel even remotely functional. I found myself getting annoyed by things quite easily and chose to use the last two days to munch on salads and raw produce. I still drank about two fresh juices each day, but a part of me was happy to have given up the cleanse two days in advance of the end.
Based on my own experience, the infamous juice cleanse was neither beneficial nor fun. I would say that, health and cost wise, the juice cleanse was ineffective and may have only resulted in my consuming far more produce — liquid or no — than normal. Do I regret doing it? Yes, and no. I wish it had been more effective and yet I was also happy to find that I was not in need of a cleanse of any sort. There’s something very relieving about learning that.
Overall, I’m glad I did the cleanse and am happy that I stuck by it even just for 5 days. I can’t say it was a walk in the park, but it wasn’t as bad as some make it out to be.
Is a Juice Cleanse Cost-Effective?
Personally, I would say no. This is especially true for anyone on a budget; A juice cleanse may not be budget friendly for students, and if you’re a broke writer like myself, you may find a lengthy juice cleanse difficult to budget. If a 7-day juice cleanse is too expensive, try a 3-day one instead. You can also purchase a juice cleanse in a one-time payment through popular juice companies. This will cut down on the cost of a juicer.
Recipes & Guides for Juicing & Juice Cleanses
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FAQs From a Popular Juice Company