Fasting is integral to many faiths. It is a powerful discipline than can be spiritually transformational. Many people also employ fasts simply to lose weight or “detox (rid the body of toxic chemical elements). They’re also great for getting you back on track after an overindulgent holiday (i.e. Thanksgiving).
Once upon a time, juice fasts were nothing more than starvation diets—and just not healthy. Some of today’s detoxes are energizing and slimming, and can actually be rather filling.
They’re also totally fashionable thanks to a famous following. Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway, and Beyoncé have all slurped down green juices galore in the name of slenderizing. “Detox or cleanse diets are meant to purify your body of the toxins that constantly confront it,” explains Keri Glassman, RD, author of The New and Improved You Diet. “They’re popular now because they’re often quick, straightforward, simple, convenient, and extreme. People like extreme.”
But extreme isn’t always good for your body. “[It] is meant to be detoxing naturally all the time, ” explains Glassman. “Organs like the liver, kidney and GI tract all help with that process. However, a cleanse like the Blue Print can be used as a jump start—just don’t abuse it and be sure to have a plan of attack post cleanse.”
Glassman also suggests following these guidelines: Make sure to do a detox that allows you to ingest at least 1,100 to 1,200 calories daily, and limit its duration to only a few days.
To help you separate ridiculous fads from fortifying programs, we’ve chosen a few detoxes that truly will do your body good:
Organic Avenue: Raw foods reign supreme in this cleanse that puts you on a vegan, plant-based liquid diet. Most of their LOVE (aka Live, Organic Vegan, Experience) juices are a combination of fresh-pressed juice and raw food. However, Organic does offer programs that include smoothies and soups. Expect to feast on creative sips like Green Mylk, Goji Berry Smoothie, and Cucumber-Basil Soup. “Juice cleanses are good because they give the body time to rest by eliminating processed and highly intolerant foods, while super saturating it with critical nutrients,” explains Paula Simpson, RD, a celebrity nutritionist and beauty expert. “This helps support a healthy body.”
Calories: 1,000 to 1,200 per day
Cost: $250 for three days
Blue Print Cleanse (BPC): Beloved by those who believe in the power of liquid fortification, this customized detox is all about drinking 6 yummy juices a day. You choose the duration of the cleanse and level of intensity. Most people opt for three days and start with the beginner Renovation program, which requires you to drink filling concoctions like pineapple mint juice, lime ginger agave, and cashew milk cinnamon agave. The more intense your cleanse, the more green juices and fewer fruit juices you’ll get. Bonus: BPC delivers the goodies in a chic cooler pack to your doorstep—a nice touch.
Calories: 900 to 1,300 per day
Price: $85 for each daily delivery
Clean Program: Demi and Gwyneth are fans of this 21-day detox created by Alejandro Junger, MD. The good news is you get to chew on real food—yay!! One option allows you to have two solid meals (from an approved list of lean foods), two liquid meals (shakes made with provided protein and fiber supplements), and three diet supplement pills. The goal is to break bad habits and inspire healthy dietary choices.
Calories: 1,100 to 1,500 per day
Price: $250-$425 (shakes and supplement, plus cost of food)
Jill Pettijohn Nutritional Cleanses: This former chef utilized her culinary savvy to create this organic juice detox program that features delicious healthy elixirs. Unexpected combos like spinach with watercress and fennel with pear are loaded with antioxidants and other good-for-you additives. You get six drinks a day and are advised to drink one every two hours. The best thing about this cleanse is you will feel full, thanks to the rich consistency of the smoothies and soups.
Calories: 1,200 per day
Price: $410 for a 5-day cleanse
Rawpothecary Cleanses: It’s easy being green on this detox. Your body will be infused with antioxidant- and vitamin-enriched leafy drinks. Parsley, kale, spinach, watercress are some of the star ingredients. You also get to indulge in tasty shake-like tonics featuring exotic fruit and nut combos. Monkey Business (a banana, walnut, and coco blend) is one of our faves.
Founded by nutrition guru Stephanie Walczak, Rawpothecary blends foods in their purest form (so pulp and skin get mixed in, too) to seal in all nutrients. Many people start off by doing a one-day cleanse. Detox devotees can probably handle the two- or three-day (the longest duration offered) program.
Calories: 800 to 1,100 per day
Price: $180 for a 3-day cleanse