Juicing: Good, Bad & The Ugly

Part I of our adventures in juicing for January.

Juicing: Good, Bad & The Ugly

Anonymous TC Cleanser #1: BluePrint Cleanse Day 1 & 2

“My first day, I actually felt great—which I was not expecting at all! I was obviously a bit hungry, but the juices actually lasted longer into the day than I expected. I had my last one just before 9 P.M. I was actually super jazzed by the whole thing, and didn’t even eat any of my boyfriend’s fries that he cruelly had with his dinner right in front of me!

My first juice of the day was straight up green juice—and I LOVE me some green juice. Any day. Any time. And luckily, BluePrint’s is one of my favourites. They just get it.

Up next is the P.A.M.—pineapple, apple, mint. Normally I’m not a fan of fruity juices, so I was a bit hesitant on this one but I was very pleasantly surprised. It was super refreshing and not overly sweet at all. In fact, if I closed my eyes while I drank it I felt like I was on vacation in a tropical destination. Kind of. I looked forward to it the second day.

Juice #3 is a green juice again. YAY! Then I drink the Spicy Lemonade. I know the Spicy Lemonade gets a bad rep (mostly in part to the Master Cleanse in my opinion) but this one was not too scary at all! It didn't have an overwhelmingly spicy flavour that makes it hard to swallow or burns your tongue. Granted I sipped it more than chugged it down, but it was definitely not something to dread.

Juice #5 was the C.A.B.—Carrot, Apple, Beet, with lemon and ginger. I love to chew beets. I HATE to drink beets. I was dreading this juice the most out of all of them. While it wasn’t my favourite one, it didn't have an overwhelming beet-y taste like other juices, and it also didn't turn my teeth red. It also did provide me with a much-needed pick-me-up in the late afternoon as I was starting to feel really sluggish. My last juice of the day is my Cashew Milk. I had really high hopes for this one as I have heard people who do this cleanse look forward to it as their ‘dessert’ at the end of the day. While it was very sweet and yummy, it did not have the thick consistency of other Cashew Milks I have had. I was hoping to end the day with something a bit thicker and that would make me feel a bit more full.”

The good? “I loved all of the flavors! I really look forward to Juice #2. That said, I’ve also been out of the office all day, and have been carrying my little insulated juice lunch box around all day with me! I even took it to Soho House like a pre-schooler. Is that bad?”

The bad? “I do wish that the almond milk drink that I had at the end of my day had more of a thicker, smoothie consistency like the one Anonymous #3 had from Greenhouse Juice Co. On Day 2 (well… kind of), I woke up at 2 A.M. feeling a bit sick. I made some hot water with lemon and then fell right back to bed. So far, I feel a bit lightheaded at times but when I stand up, but generally, I’m good. I’m not feeling tired at all, and there are no hungry noises coming from my stomach! I have also begun to, ahem, cleanse…”

wellness shots

TC Cleanser #2: Greenhouse Juice Co. Day 1 & 2

“I’m generally not a healthy person. I’m the kind of person who enjoys every meal with a side of fries… in fact, a meal made up of poutine and a burger would be ideal for me. Healthy food in general has always been an issue—I gag a little every time the rest of the office is chugging green juices at their desks, which is pretty much every day. It’s a rough life!

I did a cleanse by Greenhouse Co. Hana came by our office first thing in the morning and dropped off the juices in the cutest cardboard boxes, each in these huge glass bottles. My juices were bigger than pretty much everyone else’s. I got chia seeds in one, which is the closest thing to a solid anyone would be consuming over the next few days, so I had to gloat a little, right? The first morning was the most difficult. I’m used to a big breakfast. My first juice of the day is the Clean-Zing—it has maple syrup, cayenne pepper and lemon. Then I get to drink the East of Eden, which is a green juice—and I have to admit I like it a lot more than my lunchtime green juice, because it has apples, which means its a little bit sweeter and not just leaves.

Just before noon, I quickly down the E3 Live Booster, which is the same size as a shot glass… and (in all honestly) wish had tequila inside. Kidding! It tastes like chlorophyll—it’s not super pleasant, but I did feel healthier after, and I don’t think it was just a placebo.

For lunch, I have The Good, which is pure vegetables, save for a dash of Himalayan Salt. Fancy, right? Then, around mid-afternoon, I have my almond milk, which for me, is the best. I feel like a normal person afterwards. It also has dates and coconut milk, which again, lead me to gloat a little bit—dates are delicious."

The good? “The best part of the cleanse so far is the variety—every single drink is different. Plus, the almond milk is honestly so effing good I could drink it every day. Plus, the bottles are so big by the time I make it through one, it’s on to the next one!”

The bad? “After my almond milk, I went to try and down my Raw Aloe Booster, but I truthfully just couldn’t do it—it was like pure aloe gel! I also truthfully didn’t make it through all eight juices—I went home, tried to make it through my Deep Roots (beet, carrot, apple, celery, lemon), but passed out with that and my Chia Seed Hydrator to go because I was so exhausted!”

TC Cleanser #3: Pressed Juicery Day 1

"Lesson #1: Don't start a juice cleanse when you're hungover. Lesson #2: Don't start a juice cleanse while you're travelling in a city that has an In-N-Out Burger.

We're no strangers to Pressed Juicery - in fact, we shot co-founder Hedi Gores way back when and got well acquainted with their cult-favorite selection of instant feel-good fluids. There's something about being in L.A. that makes you want to eat better, feel better and look better... nip/tuck-free, of course. From Melrose to 3rd, there seems to be a new juice place popping up on every block and another mom running with a stroller while sipping a green juice. It's this sort of inescapable phenomenon of juicers with everyone jumping on the juice cleanse wagon. While we've sipped our fair share of PJ's juices, we'd never taken the cleanse challenge; we choose burgers over beets any day. But, like, a New Year's Resolution is a New Year's Resolution and there's something kind of enticing about limiting yourself to a liquid diet of fruits, vegetables and things for 3-days straight. No? Just us? Whatever. We're totally suckers for a (sometimes) over-hyped trend.

Granted Pressed's cleanse is seriously all the rage and none of the over hype. For some strange reason I decided to start on a Saturday... hungover, slightly nauseous and potentially still drunk. A bell man rang my door and delivered the cardboard box wrapped in PJ tape to my door. I stumbled back to my bed and dreaded cutting into the box. I was thinking more along the lines of a bacon and eggs kind of hangover cure, but... yeah. The first drink of the day? The chocolate almond. I once heard chocolate helps cure that what-happened-last-night feeling and even though the last thing I wanted was some sort of grown-from-ground version of a chocolate milkshake, I must say that it quickly took me from a FML to a I-think-can-do-this pretty fast.

I tried to stick to PJ's recommended guidelines by hydrating with lots of water in between and sipping the chlorophyll h2o (not my favorite, but when in LA, right?) and aloe vera h2o concoctions (don't make an "ick face" - it was half decent!) Every two hours I cracked open another bottle - each one surprisingly better than the next. I'm a green juice freak -- one of those in the office that's always making the 2 p.m. mad dash -- so I was kind of obsessed with the Greens 2, which is sweetened with a just the right amount of citrus and apple. I grabbed bottle #3 -- I requested to swap Roots 2 for Roots 2 because I'm admittedly not the biggest fan of parsley -- and headed off to our first and only closet shoot of the day. (Yes, we work on Saturdays.) Two hours later (and, like, 10 washroom breaks later), I was onto the Citrus 2, which is the fruitiest, candy-like one of the bunch. Think: Apple, pineapple, lemon and mint; perfect combo, no? I never thought I'd be saying that about cold pressed juices, but, seriously -- it's really good!

I have to admit. By Juice #5 -- another Greens 2 -- I was feeling pretty good about myself. Hangover? (Almost) gone. Energy? Still trucking. Hunger? A little rumble, but nothing dramatic. I was all Thomas The Train saying "I think I can! I think I can!" until I got a text from a friend asking to grab dinner and drinks... at my favorite sushi restaurant, F.Y.I. I stared down that spicy salmon, miso soup and Udon like it was my prey and somehow I miraculously made it through, clutching my green juice like my child and inhaling it like there was a drought.

My bedtime snack was the Vanilla Almond and it was the perfect little dessert-like treat (I use the word "dessert" lightly when it comes to juice cleanses, but this is as good as it gets). The dates, vanilla bean and little hint of sea salt left me with little bit of bliss* before bed.

*Note: I never thought I'd use the word "bliss" in describing a juice cleanse.

Anonymous TC Cleanser #4: Total Cleanse

“I’ll be frank—I’m admittedly kind of a skeptic on the whole juice cleanse thing.

My first (and only experience) with cleanses involved an ill-advised attempt at the Master Cleanse in high school. After fainting about five minutes into the morning after day one, it sort of clicked that chugging maple syrup and lemon juice probably does nothing for you health-wise. That said, I’m totally in agreeance with the merits of a good green juice or smoothie—if it involves downing a day’s worth of vegetables in a relatively gag-free way, I’m basically there. But I firmly belong to the school of thought that your liver and kidneys (and the occasional sauna) are there for a reason. That said, while office-wide juice cleanses sound vaguely weird and cult-ish in theory, in practice, they result in a whole lotta FOMO when you’re not taking part. And so? While everyone else was one day down, I jumped on the bandwagon and started a two-day cleanse (what can I say? I’m a wuss, okay?).

Total Cleanse, a Toronto-based juice delivery service set me up with their ‘Energize’ cleanse - A.K.A their ‘gateway’ cleanse, and the mildest, least hardcore of them all. They even dropped it off at my front door the night before. The set-up seemed pretty standard: two green juices a day, two lemon-cayenne-and-maple-syrup concoctions, one berry juice and one cashew milk. You know, the usual.

Starting a day after the rest of the office, I was anticipating a day full of dizziness and carb cravings (and a day-long internal chant of “bagels. Bagels. Bagels”). Wanting to be strategic as possible with my hunger, I thought it would be best to down a juice every two hours or so. That way, I could get through at least 12 hours without (hopefully) wanting to dive headfirst into a plate of French fries. Starting with my first green juice, I sipped from the time I got into the office until 11 A.M. or so—and it was, well, grassy. Next up? I cracked open my lemon drink and was taken aback by how spicy and um, almost… meal-y it was. Around lunchtime, I admittedly found myself not necessarily hungry but just craving… chewing. Actual solid food. Remember when that was a thing?

I trekked on, continuing with my second—and final—green juice of the day. More grass-y, green taste. Pleasant, but not, like, a burrito. I toughed it out for a whopping total of three hours before starting on Very Berry, which as you can probably guess, tasted like one giant strawberry. I am not a big sweets person, and so that forced me to sip on this super slowly, which actually turned out to be a good thing. I ended my day with the spicy lemonade and my cashew milk”

The good? “I had this burst of manic energy around 5 P.M. that lasted pretty much all through late afternoon—the same time where I’m typically fighting off naps. Plus, I wasn’t hungry—like, at all.”

The bad? “The monotony of liquid mini-meals and having to pee what felt like every 30 seconds. I mean, I know it’s juice, but I essentially mainline Diet Coke and water like, all day. What gives?”

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