To Juice or not to Juice?
Over the past couple of months, I have been telling myself that it’s my last week of indulgence before the summer, but then another food blogger’s event or restaurant review came up and I negotiated with myself again thinking, this one is important, I can’t miss out on it. Thus, as the weeks have flown by, the indulgence has continued, and summer is already here.
I used to be completely against the idea of doing a juice cleanse – I said I would never torture myself like that – food is too important to me! Also, with a bit of time and dedication, I’ve never had a problem losing weight when I needed to. I certainly have the dedication – I mean, I ran a half marathon earlier this year after 4 months of training hard. But what I don’t have at this point, is time!
So I reconsidered the juice cleanse – I decided I shouldn’t throw out an idea without researching it further. Besides, it seemed like the only way to give myself a bit of a jumpstart towards getting back on track for the summer! After speaking to a few friends about their experiences with a 3-day cleanse, I heard varied opinions. “Nope, I’m never doing it again. It was torture – my husband and I did it together, and both of had to cheat on the last day.” Another said, “It wasn’t that bad at all, you just need to keep yourself busy to distract yourself from the hunger.” Finally, a friend that did it recently said that she definitely felt a little lighter and had surprising levels of energy, but “oh that headache…”
I then resorted to Google, where I found a lot of articles floating around along the lines of, “the truth about juicing,” “Myths about juice cleanses,” “Juice Cleanses can get your health back on track” and of course, lots of positive information on the websites of the juice companies themselves. Not to mention all the celebrity endorsements – as much as I love Blake Lively and Beyoncé, that fact that they cleanse from time to time isn’t reason enough for me to jump on the bandwagon. The problem is, a lot of what’s out there can be quite extreme one way or the other, either marketing the juice cleanse or completely trashing it.
Now I’m no doctor or nutritionist, but I understand that there has been no scientific research to prove that a juice cleanse is actually beneficial for your body. So when proponents of the cleanse talk about giving the digestive system a break or flushing out toxins, I get weary of this.
What about weight loss?
I recently had a conversation with John Katsoudas, one of the founders of Essentially, a Dubai based juice cleanse brand, who explained that he does not market his brand as a means for weight loss or calorie control. Of course, weight loss is a natural consequence of a low calorie diet, but he would rather promote his products on the basis that most people who lead a busy lifestyle don’t have a lot of time to focus on healthy eating all the time, and thus do not necessarily get sufficient doses of fruits and vegetables in their regular diet. And even if they do, the chances are they are not organic and probably have lots of toxins from chemical fertilizers, etc. While he does acknowledge that it’s better to eat whole fruits and veggies, it’s difficult to follow this practice regularly. Juices might make that easier to do. Further, the cold press, a method used by Essentially and many other juice brands, is a much better way of preserving beneficial nutrients in the juice than through the use of traditional juicers.
Unlike many others, John doesn’t like to promote juice cleanses for long periods of time, rather he prefers to focus on short term cleanses (maximum 10 days), or simply supplementing a regular diet with juices.
So I made the decision to give the 3-day cleanse a shot, which still seemed like a challenge, but at least it was a reasonable one.
For me it was about the discipline it would encourage – 3 days of juices would hopefully give me a head start towards achieving my bikini body this summer. And while I understood that the small amount of weight loss would not be permanent if I didn’t continue to eat healthy afterwards, I figured it would be a good mental boost towards changing my eating habits. I generally do feel better on days that I eat less gluten and dairy, so a few days without it definitely seemed like a good idea, and it would get me used to being satisfied with less food. And of course, the lack of caffeine for a few days would definitely eliminate my daily dependence on tea and coffee.
Overall, I figured it would result in a positive transformation and encourage me to avoid going back on the path of indulgence. If nothing else, at least it would provide a temporary increase in my vitamin intake.Sumati Menda
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