Detoxes and extreme diets like the Master Cleanse can be controversial, but advocates say juice cleanses made from raw fruits and veggies are safe as long as you check in with your doctor first and keep it to three days at a time.
“Many people turn to cleanses because they feel offthey’re bloated and sluggish, dependent on caffeine and junk food cravings, breaking out,” says Stephanie Middleberg, a New York City-based registered dietitian. “When you eliminate toxins from your system, your entire body feels better and reacts both internally and externally.”
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What skeptics say
Glenn Braunstein, MD, professor and chairman, department of medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and other experts say our bodies have built-in detoxifiers and don’t require “cleansing.” Most also warn that no one should expect lasting weight loss.
But detoxes may shift you away from bad habits (like too much coffee, alcohol, and fatty foods) and help foster healthier habits after you're done, says Cathy Wong, naturopathic doctor and an American College of Nutrition–certified nutrition specialist.
Your move: Try your own home-grown cleanse using juices and smoothies. Or spend more for the convenience of some of the country’s most popular brands.
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BluePrint bottles 100% USDA certified organic juices using a high-pressure, heatless procedure that extends freshness for up to 13 days in a fridge.
Plans: Three, five or 10 days, six juices per day. ($65 to $80 per day)
“When juicing, you lose out on some of the fiber content found in whole fruits and vegetables,” Middleberg says. “But a benefit of juicing is that it gives your digestion system a break from working so hard to process a large meal.”
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Locally-sourced, when available in New York, Cooler Cleanse juices are bottled using a hydraulic press, a machine that squashes an entire fruit or vegetable into a pulp.
Plans: One, three and five days, six juices per day. (Cost $58 to $72 per day)
The Raw Cooler food plan combines fresh juices with a snack, such as chia seed tapioca, and entree, like maki rolls.“I like how you have the option to do a cleanse without completely eliminating food,” Middleberg says. “Restriction and being miserable isn’t the point, so many people may be more successful with the Raw Cooler food plan.”
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Life Juice Cleanse
These cold-pressed juices, made in the Midwest, are frozen to preserve raw nutritients and antioxidants. Life Juice stays fresh for up to three days after being defrosted.
Plans: Three days, six juices per day, including a Citrus Sole (bottle #1) that’s whipped up with purified water, lemon juice and Himalayan sea salt, which is said to promote body absorption of nutrients. ($60 to $180 per day)
Celeb sippers: Justin Long
“Himalayan sea salt may help the body digest, in theory, but its hard to determine how food individually affects the entire body,” Middleberg says. “You could make the argument that a lot of ‘cleansing’ agents promote body absorption of nutrients.”
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Thanks to a cold-press process called the Norwalk method (it kills fewer nutrients than traditional, heat-based ways to extract juice), Liquiteria drinks made in New York City may contain three to five times more vitamins, minerals and enzymes than other brands using a different procedure. Shelf-life is the same, lasting up to three days when refrigerated.
Plans: One, three, five and seven days, four to eight juices per day. “Cleansing coaches” can help you choose the plan best for your lifestyle and goals. ($33 to $65 per day)
Celeb sippers: Alec Baldwin, Daniel Craig, Ryan Gosling, Rachel Weiss, Collin Farrell, Chloe Sevigny, Jake Gyllenhaal
“I’ve heard of the Norwalk method, but I honestly don’t know if it does actually produce a better quality juice,” Middleberg says. “It just sounds like they’re using an extra fancy juicer.”
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Organic Avenue juices are made with organic and OU Kosher ingredients and packaged in distinctly bulbous reusable glass or biodegradable bottles.
Plans: One, three and five days, six juices per day, including an additional shot-sized Chlorophyll elixir (the hard-to-swallow green stuff stains teeth at first but washes out easy). ($70 for bio bottles, $90 for glass bottles per day)
Celeb sippers: Jennifer Aniston, Katie Holmes, Meg Ryan, Owen Wilson, Jessica Chastain, Michelle Williams, Alicia Silverstone, Liev Schrieber
“Chlorophyll supposedly oxygenates the body, improves circulation and decreases inflammation,” Middleberg says. “But you can get your fill of it eating green foods, like asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, celery, green beans and kale. You don’t need to take it as a shot.”
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Every day, 20 pounds of 100% certified organic produce gets cold-pressed into biodegradable bottles at the Ritual Cleanse facilities in Irvine, CA using the Norwalk method.
Plans: Three, five and 10 days, six bottles per day. ($80 per day) For an extra $15 per day, add two “Shred” juicesa pre- and post-workout drink.
Celeb Sippers: Kim Kardashian, Sofia Vergara, Camila Alves, Kris Jenner
“I love drinking smoothies before or after hitting the gym. These Shred drinks should be OK, too, as long as they have an adequate amount of protein and carbs to replenish and repair muscles afterward,” Middleberg says.