The general consensus is that these cleanses and detoxes help give your body a rest and a chance to clear out all the toxins and impurities that you’ve gathered through the year. Of course, this is especially popular during the beginning of the year, since that’s when new years resolutions start kicking in.
As I researched these different cleanses, a lot of the popular cleanses didn’t really resonate well with me. It didn’t seem to fit in with my lifestyle and didn’t feel like it was a good fit for what I was hoping for after a cleanse. Let’s take a closer look at these cleanses.
The Master Cleanse
The Formula: A liquid only cleanse consisting of only spicy lemonade for 7 days
The Master Cleanse once upon a time known as the ‘Beyonce diet’, the bulk of the cleanse involves an all liquid diet of a homemade “spicy lemonade” concoction which includes water, grade b maple syrup, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. You do this for 7 days, or as long as you can handle it. The cleanse should help eliminate daily toxins from your body. The cayenne pepper boosts metabolism while the maple syrup should supply you with enough calories to help you sustain with energy for your day to day (and probably makes this thing taste more bearable).
No doubt, if you do an all liquid diet, the stress on your digestive system will be relieved and for sure you will see weight lost. I’ve seen numerous YouTube videos of people who have gone through even 40 days of this. But what happens after that? After you starve yourself for that time period, I feel like you’re stripping out even the good nutrients of your body as you are not supplying yourself with the daily vitamins that you get regularly from a well balanced meal.
Pros: Ingredients are easily accessible, super easy to make with little prep
Cons: Lack of nutrition in the cleanse, lemonade is pretty hard to stomach (or so I’ve read)
BluePrint Juice Cleanse
The Formula: 6 different types of green juices and fruit juices per day for 3 days
To address my concerns with the lack of nutrients in the Master Cleanse, comes the BluePrint Juice Cleanse. This popular juice cleanse will run you at about $60 a day, so ~$180 for the recommended 3 day cleanse. The BluePrint cleanse people delivers 6 juices to you daily. Each is made with different ingredients to provide you with the nutrients you need in your day to day. And don’t completely dismiss the Master Cleanse formula, because it seems like the people at BluePrint decided to make a spicy lemonade concoction as a part of their juices as well – except they use agave instead of maple syrup.
I’ve had a few friends try this cleanse and vouch for it. One told me that she felt like the inflammation in her body reduce greatly, and her digestive system was clearly better. Another told me that he quit on the 3rd day and scarfed down some Reese’s peanut butter cup for breakfast, only to see it come out of him again within the hour. However, by the second day, a lot of people tell me that they’re more moody just cause they’re hungry. It seems like the BluePrint cleanse is a great way to jump start health in your life, but seems more like putting a small bandaid on a bigger problem.
Pros: Super easy to follow, juices are all pre-made and delivered to you, get nutrients
Cons: $$$ – $185 for a 3 day cleanse
UPDATE: Since I’ve written this post a year ago, I’ve finally tried the BluePrint Cleanse myself. Read about it here in Part 1: My Semi-DIY BluePrint Juice Cleanse and Part 2: Being on the Juice Cleanse – July 14, 2013
The Clean Program
The Formula: vitamins/supplements + a liquid breakfast & dinner and foods from the elimination diet for lunch for 21 days
First to note, Gwyneth Paltrow (and her lifestyle company, Goop) uses this cleanse. Did you see her at the 2012 oscars? She looked fabulous, and while some people might say she’s a dud or whatever, you can’t argue that she looks great at age 39. Her skin was glowing, she looked healthy, and not covered in plastic surgery.
The Clean Program revolves around the elimination food list, a specified list of foods that is meant to eliminate all the foods that are hard for you body to digest or is a common cause of allergens. By removing these potential irritants from your body, your digestive system will become stronger and in effect relieving your body of the excess energy that it usually uses for digesting. Also the decrease in inflammation in your body will help you “depuff”.
With a liquid breakfast and dinner, your body can still absorb the nutrients from the fruits and veges you’re blending, but it’s easier to break down, yet the fiber helps keep you fuller. You can have a solid lunch, as long as you’re eating from the elimination diet food list. A sample menu for lunch may look like roasted salmon and stir fry veges, or quinoa and rotisserie chicken. (Doesn’t sound too bad right?)
Clean Kit vs DIY Clean program
On the Clean website, you’ll find that they sell a Clean Kit which retails for about $350 which is a bit confusing because as it turns out, you can do this cleanse on your own without buying anything from them. The supplement kit that’s sold on their website consists of protein powders for shakes as well as other dietary supplements that are supposed to help improve your liver and digestive functions.
You can actually go without these supplements altogether, however, I did purchase the CLEAN book, written by Dr. Alejandro Junger. Reading this book, I was able to gain a deeper appreciation for what I’m about to do for the next 21 days and the reasons behind it.
Ultimately between all these different cleanses, I ended up choosing the Clean program for my cleanse because I found so many benefits.
- Maintain your workout schedule. Can you imagine working out on an empty stomach? I’ve tried and it sucks. With a purely juice cleanse, it’d be hard to find the energy to work out. So with something like the Master Cleanse, I feel like I just wouldn’t want to ever work out. Have you tried going back to the gym after 1-2 weeks of not working out? It sucks and hard to get back into the habit.
- It takes more than a week to get into a routine. Speaking of habits, we all know how easy it is to pick up a bad habit but how long it takes to develop a good one. This cleanse for me isn’t just a 1 time thing that I want for me every year, I’m looking to improve my overall health and state of being. That said, I like the idea that this cleanse is 21 days long because I believe that it’d give my body and mind the time that it’d take to really LIVE the cleanse lifestyle and understand what it feels like to have a cleaner body.
- Eat a solid lunch. Much to my previous point, I want to develop a healthier lifestyle, and I know that there will be no way that my lifestyle would revolve a liquid only day. I like that I can still eat solid foods so that I don’t feel like I’m missing out too much. I also mentioned how cranky my friends said they were on the juice cleanses right? Cranky Shelly = Not Productive Shelly.
- I Love Food. Cleanse or no cleanse, the bottom line is, I really love food. I like thinking about the possibilities of things I can prepare and cook. This is fun for me, so I really like that as long as I follow along the guidelines of the Elimination food list, I can have some flexibility to create new dishes to eat.
Cons: 3 weeks could be a long time, no alcohol, might have to do some prep work for lunch
UPDATE: Since I’ve written this post, I’ve done the Clean Program twice and have loved it. Check out my DIY Clean Cleanse guide to learn more about how to get started with the cleanse yourself!