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Test Drive: Food Cleanse

Last summer, First Lady Michelle Obama incited a media kerfluffle when she revealed that she occasionally goes on a ‘food cleanse’ to reboot her system, but we think Mrs. O has the right idea. We’ve dabbled with juice cleanses before, but found that they shocked our systems without giving us lasting benefits. Food cleanses, on the other hand, can be as simple as taking a week off from sugar, alcohol, or meat. Easy in theory, tough in real life — which is where healthy delivered-to-you plans come into play. BluePrintCleanse, the New York-based company that started the liquid diet craze, debuted their Juice ‘Til Dinner program in 2009 year and it’s been a huge success. Founders Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss say, “Consuming a few days of clean food and fresh-pressed juice is a much more moderate alternative to embarking on a liquid-only cleanse.” We gave it a try — here’s our takeaway.

Why Cleanse?

A food cleanse isn’t a crash diet or a get-thin-fast plan. Food cleanses are a way to reset your system and kickstart healthy habits. When done right, they can help you be more mindful about eating and inspire you to reevaluate your daily diet. The goal is to give your digestive system a break and pack your body with regenerating ingredients.

How it Works

Companies like Blue Print design their food cleanses to give you the optimal amount of nutrition, including live enzymes, alkaline balance, and vitamins. Typically, there will be a fair amount of fresh pressed juices and occasionally all raw food, but meals are always free of artificial ingredients, sugar, white flour, and other common culprits.

What we did

We signed up for BluePrint’s Juice ‘Til Dinner, which as you might infer, means juicing all day and having solid food for dinner. Meals are delivered in two-day increments to ensure that they are as fresh as possible and each day you get four fresh-pressed juices, a snack, a vegetarian dinner, and a petite dessert. The juices were delicious and surprisingly filling, though we found ourselves getting inappropriately excited about the four p.m. fruit-and-nut bar snack. The dinner was small, but tasty, and the tiny dark chocolate mousse took care of our sweet tooth.

We also tried a more food-centric cleanse from One Lucky Duck, Manhattan’s beloved takeaway raw food and juice bar (and sister to Pure Food and Wine restaurant). They recently launched their Not Just Juice Cleanse, a even-day plan of juice for breakfast and food for the rest of the day. It’s full of can’t-believe-it’s-healthy meals that keep you full and happy —Think a taco salad with guacamole, cashew sour cream, and fruit shakes. Plus, there’s even ice cream of the raw almond butter variety that we would happily eat every day.

Did it Work?

Yes and no. The best thing about the cleanse was that it made us think about how much we eat everyday, often mindlessly. The juices were satiating (and yummy), so we were rarely hungry, but we did miss the social aspects of eating – even with some food, a cleanse can be isolating. But these regimens make it extremely easy to hit the restart button — if only we could afford to do one every time we plunged down the gluttonous path.

Photo: Evan Sung

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