Tried and tested: The juice cleanse
Is it possible to survive on nothing but raw vegetables? Karin Mochan, editor of benhealth magazine, goes on a three-day juice fast.
Feeling a tad sluggish after my holiday– and too much rich food – I decided to try a juice fast. I'm by no means convinced by the “science” behind detoxing but nonetheless fancied eating a bit less for a few days, hydrating properly and making sure I was getting plenty of nutritious veggies. I decided to try the three-day Raw Juice Cleanse from My Detox Diet, as it was based on organic vegetables, and seemed a great way to start. Everything I needed was delivered to me at the crack of dawn (5.45am!) on the Monday, so all I had to do was refrigerate the juices. With no shopping, chopping, peeling or juicing required, this was the lazy way to detox.
I had six juices to see me through the day, as well as unlimited herbal teas and firm instructions to drink at least a litre of water. The celery, carrot and pear booster was my favourite, closely followed by the beetroot, carrot and orange breeze – dubbed “dinner”. I was provided with a kelp and nettle tablet, which the My Detox people say is a natural source of iodine and antioxidants, and is supposed to be good for the blood.
Sipping throughout the day – on juice, tea and water – left me feeling nicely full and kept hunger pangs at bay. By the afternoon, I'd developed a slight headache. This is unusual for me and I put it down to caffeine withdrawal.
Another kelp and nettle tablet first thing, followed by a super greens blend of spinach, kale, celery and cucumber, with apple added for sweetness. It also contains “power dophilus”, a pro-biotic to help maintain friendly bacteria in your stomach. I also had two “raw superfood” juices of spinach, kale, celery, cucumber, carrot, beetroot and apple. My mid-afternoon “snack” was a deliciously refreshing coconut water. The headache continued until about mid-afternoon, then faded out: I'd survived my second day!
I'm bored of juice. Surprisingly, though, I'm yet to feel hungry and my energy levels feel normal. I'm just frustrated at not doing any cooking – or actual chewing! Today's super greens drink, I notice, has added acai berry. This is touted as a good source of omegas 3, 6 and 9.
Other juices for the day include a vegetable virgin mary and a beetroot and apple cleanser. These drinks feel more substantial somehow, as they pack a real punch flavour-wise. This just about keeps my food cravings manageable but doesn't stop me dreaming of bacon sandwiches that night! You definitely need to find three days in a row with very few social commitments (unless your social life revolves around juice bars).
My stomach seems flatter, I'm feeling less sluggish and bloated, and I've tightened my belt a notch. At least three people tell me my skin looks fresh and glowing, so that's an added bonus. Energy levels are surprisingly good, considering that I was consuming only 600 to 700 calories a day.
The My Detox Diet juice cleanse is not a cheap option – you certainly pay for the convenience factor. If I decide to do another juice fast, I'd be tempted to buy a juicer and experiment with making my own tasty concoctions.
Find out why some fad diets and extreme calorie control can do you more harm than good please see our article Diets: the good, the bad and the ugly. The NHS Choices website also has some useful information about weight-loss myths to help you avoid some of the pitfalls that slimmers may face.
Our healthy eating hub is also full of resources to help you eat well.