Drinking four lots of juice a day instead of eating actual food isn’t my idea of a laugh, but I agreed to take part in the World’s Biggest Juice Detox for a number of reasons, the main one being (as it so often is) curiosity. I had the insatiable urge to know what kale, spinach, courgette and avocado would taste like pulverised into a bright green liquid. I could not rest at night until I had tasted the mingled juices of pear and parsnip. I had to know, for certain, that I could drink something containing liquified broccoli stem and not throw up.
In all seriousness, I have been curious about this “juicing” thing for quite some time. Whilst I’m sceptical about most diets (sceptical at best; mostly they irritate me and some I find to be downright irresponsible, but more on that another time), I do like to have a dabble with some of the more appealing ones for research purposes. Some of the shorter detoxes and health “kickstarts” are actually very good for learning good habits (finding recipes without lots of refined carbs, for example) and getting rid of bad ones. If you’re the kind of person who has toast for breakfast, a baguette for lunch and pasta for dinner, some of these short detox plans can be great for giving you the confidence to try alternative meals and types of cuisine. At the very least, they make you really think about what you’ve been feeding yourself on and give you the chance to re-evaluate your lifestyle.
Anyway, my interest in juicing was piqued. You see these bizarre juice and smoothie combinations all over the place now – kale and turnip with blueberry, banana, lime and brussel sprouts – and many people swear by them for getting a healthy energy fix or for “cleansing the system”. (I suspect that lots of people drink them out of guilt – eight pints and a few tequila shots the night before and then a “green juice” to absolve them of their sins! I once worked with a hair stylist who harped on non-stop about juicing but used to go on the most terrible benders every weekend. Complete madness.) The World’s Biggest Juice Detox follows a five-day juicing plan* devised by the “Juicemaster” Jason Vale. Every day you make yourself four big juice smoothies from (literally) a mountain of fresh produce and by the end of the five days you are supposed to be thoroughly ship-shape and cleansed.
Comments so far:
1) Most of the juices (including the one with broccoli stem) have been entirely tasty, if not delicious. The ginger “espresso” shot first thing in the morning (half an apple juiced with a chunk of ginger) is the biggest shock to the system you could probably get from something that isn’t a chemical. It makes you go quite, quite zingy.
2) The Philips Viva HR1863 juicer is brilliant. I haven’t owned any other juicer before (being a juice virgin) but having grilled a number of friends about theirs, it is apparent that the Viva is incredibly easy to clean and that it’s juicing powers are impressive. I’ve had to stop myself from testing out various non-edible things to see if it would juice them…this machine would get blood out of a stone, I think. There’s something really satisfying, too, about popping whole apples and pears and sticks of celery into the top of the machine and watching them get eaten up. Mr AMR has become quite obsessive. “What juice is next? Shall we make a batch in advance?”
3) I’m still not 100% clear on why it is so beneficial to drink all of this fruit and veg rather than eat it, but it seems that the main purpose is that it gives the digestive system a bit of a rest. I definitely feel as though the juices are quite soothing on my stomach and there’s been no bloating or unpleasant side effects. After two full days I certainly feel cleaner inside and (according to Mr AMR) have a healthy spring in my step. I’m impressed.
4) In all honesty though, I don’t know whether I have the willpower to do the full five days. I’m starting to dream about SALAD of all things. Whatever happens, though, I’m confident that I’ll be incorporating a bit of juicing into my life on a regular basis. One of the breakfast smoothies, in particular, was absolutely delicious (banana, live yoghurt, strawberries, apple juice) and the “ginger espresso shot” is a great way to start the day. I can also see myself making the odd veggie juice when I’m feeling particularly jaded… The juices just make you feel instantly good. Yes, in a smarmy, smug, annoying-to-others kind of way. Sorry!
So, in conclusion: this cynic is pleasantly surprised by the whole juicing business. The five day programme is pretty straightforward to follow, if you fancy having a go – you can get the book on Amazon. Does anyone out there “juice”? Any tips, recipes, horror stories? Do share. My one beef (ha!) with the whole thing is that the veg juices smell very…er…sulfurous when you pour them into the glass. I kept thinking that it was the dog…
*NB: this juice detox is called 5lbs in 5 days. I would like to make it clear that I didn’t follow the plan to lose weight (I am at a healthy weight already) but for the cleansing or “detoxing” benefits.