Though Master Cleanse and its ilk have been generally bashed by the health community, self-cleanse proponents have turned instead to juicing as a healthful alternative. Health claims aside, we were intrigued by claims from many repeat juicers that the process helps them develop a closer connection with their bodies, while shedding light on how their eating habits have become conditioned. We decided to try it with the position that other, bolder claims – such as improved mental clarity, a sense of well-being, weight-loss, and better digestion – would simply be perks, if they manifested at all.
We opted for the Classic Reset Cleanse by Ritual Wellness – a fully prepared, easy to follow three-day juice regimen. We also added Ritual Cleanse's unique "Shred" option, which includes two additional juices to be consumed before and after a workout (meaning one doesn't have to interrupt a training routine). According to Ritual Cleanse, nearly 20 pounds of organic produce are pressed into each day's allotment of six 16-ounce bottles.
After ordering online, the juices arrive in an insulated box (you'll need to schedule delivery, as the juices need to be refrigerated immediately). The next three days revolve around imbibing one juice every two hours – including the pre and post-workout juices – for a total of eight juices per day. For juiced kale concoctions and cayenne pepper lemonades, they tasted surprisingly good.
By the evening of our first day, we were hungry, and the next morning was saturated with a bone-heavy fatigue. The middle of the second day, however, we turned a corner and our hunger faded into a light euphoria. For the next 24 hours we oscillated between calm perceptual clarity and slight fatigue. By the middle of the third day, we were hungry again, but at the same time, a realization dawned: Our normal eating habits are woefully habitual. The title of Ritual Cleanse's Classic Reset suggests this insight, but the experiential recognition was far more powerful than the intellectual knowledge.
Following the cleanse, we've experienced a fresh mindfulness of the substances we're putting into our bodies at mealtime. We don't know if we'll go through the process again any time soon, but the opportunity to re-contextualize our nutrition choices, and the ease with which Ritual Cleanse made it possible, was absolutely worth it. [From $216 for a 3-day supply, shipping not included; ritualcleanse.com]