With the end of Mardi Gras ushering in the beginning of Lent, we find ourselves dehydrated, bloated, with king cake practically spilling out of our ears. Even those of us who skipped town and caught a flight for snowing skies, we are no less exhausted and parched.
Lent is a resurrection of those forlorn New Year’s Resolutions – a chance to dust off good intentions in the name of a higher cause. Why not clear the nutritional slate with a juice cleanse?
I know, I know. Juice cleanses… fasts… are the current fad. I first became privy to them when my mother announced hers on Facebook, along with multiple pictures of fruit from various angles. My first assumption was that her yoga studio was a cult and that I’d soon be hearing of a guru. But after spending several nights studying for exams and pumping cheap coffee through my veins, the array of fruit did look, well, juicy.
I skeptically decided to give Dr. Oz’s 3-Day Detox Cleanse a go.
The cleanse is comprised of three (non-dairy) smoothies, to be consumed four times daily, along with supplements, green tea, and an evening lavender salt bath. Dr. Oz even provides a grocery list on his handy cheat-sheet. Each of the juices includes leafy greens (spinach, kale), berries (raspberries, blueberries) or fruits (mango, green apple), and a protein/fat source (avocado, almond butter, coconut oil). Price-wise, you’re looking at around $20-$30 a day, depending on where you shop. You can also save a few bucks if you buy wholesale bags of kale and frozen fruit. And no need for a pricy juicer! My trusty Ninja food processor was up to the task.
What took me aback was the enormity of the juice portions. I could not finish “dinner” and never bothered with the “snack”. They were quite filling, fresh, delicious, and hydrating enough to flush away my Tulane all-nighter toxins. I felt energized and glow-y, like a reconstituted raisin, gulping away at these odd concoctions. While never hungry, I did crave solid food by day 2.5, and on subsequent cleanses, cheated with a replacement salad or roasted veggies. I also didn’t love the “lunch” recipe and prefer this winter green juice option I found in British Vogue.
Some tout juice fasting as a weight loss solution. I wouldn’t go that far. Water pushes water, so you may lose four pounds in those three days; return to a normal diet, and you will revert to normal water retention levels. However, after that first Dr. Oz plunge, I did find myself craving fresh juices and voluntarily substituting them for meals. They’re just so simple – the ultimate quick, lazy food. No chewing, no dirty pans, and a great on-the-go/busy mama forgot to eat option. I also became aware of my intake of fibrous veggies and greens, translating into fewer bread-based carbs and more juicy salads.
While not a magic bullet for weight loss or a long-term meal plan, juice fasts offer a vitamin boost, rehydration on par with an IV drip, and an increased awareness of what we put into our bodies. And they’re a tasty way to resurrect our bodies after Mardi Gras. That’s enough to keep me coming back to my Ninja. Now drink up!
Here are some go-to juice bars around the city:
The Green Fork: juices, smoothies, vegan things, salads, and open as early as 7 AM! They offer a 3-day juice cleanse for $45-$55 per day, delivered to your doorstep.
Superfood Bar: juices, food, delightful coconut concoctions.
Raw Republic: haven’t tried this one yet, but eager to. They also offer a 1, 3, and 5 day cleanse.
d’Juice: fresh juices for an energy boost or your post-workout and whole fruit smoothies – a great way to get those veggies in after school!