Someone has bottled Gwyneth Paltrow's magical glow, and now we're all drinking the Kool-Aid. And yes, we're literally drinking it.
Juice cleanses have become so ubiquitous that, despite their exorbitant price tag, consumption has extended beyond celebrities to us regular folk. Though the health benefits of a detox cleanse have been debated, everybody's trying it anyway. Sure, there's the promise of feeling better, looking brighter and younger, and functioning like a well-oiled machine, but let's be real. You're really doing a cleanse because you want to drop a few pounds.
Here's what we really want to know: Do any of these cleanses taste good enough and satisfy us enough to be worth some major dough and food deprivation? Is anything worth food deprivation? Because I've got a homemade blueberry pie on my counter, and you're going to have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands.
Health claims aside, we're here to see how drinkable these cleanses are. If the juice doesn't taste good, chances are you'll end up throwing money down the drain, along with that putrid cabbage-kale juice.
First of all, a quick education on how cleanses work. Most juice cleanses consist of six juices a day, which are delivered fresh to your door. These aren't your typical Mott's apple juices -- they're pressed, raw, unpasteurized juices made from fruits and vegetables, with no sugar added. Start the cleanse immediately, because the juices' nutrients allegedly begin to deteriorate after three days (with the exception of BluePrint, which lasts six days). Drink a bottle of the juice every two hours, with a glass of water in between, and eat absolutely no food -- herbal tea is your only other allowance (not even gum!). The typical cleanse lasts three days, but you can tinker with the length of the duration. The cost, on average, is $75 a day. Yep, you read that correctly.
We conducted a taste test of the five major brands that will ship their juices directly to your home, no matter where you live (as long as it's in the United States, that is). Despite our worst fears, we found we actually enjoyed the flavors across the board, making the prospect of a cleanse seem almost realistic. A juice with red cabbage in it actually tastes like a popsicle. Would we want to drink these juices all day long? Sure we would. But there are some differences from brand to brand, so we've put together a tasting guide in the slideshow below. Check it out to see which cleanse best suits your taste buds.
The consensus: Even if you've never considered naming your child Apple, we think a juice cleanse is doable. All five brands are drinkable, even if you want to chug them down with a cheeseburger and some fries.
As always, this taste test was in no way influenced or sponsored by the brands included.
Cost per day: $60 Lasts: 3 days lifejuiceshop.com Comments: "Happy Belly has red cabbage in it, which scared me, but it actually tastes like a popsicle. Amazing." "The carrot in the Energizer Bunny is outstanding. So fresh and smooth." "Good juices. All bright and tasty." "Beautiful colors! Each one was very distinct. Happy Belly was amazing. Only the Alkaline Blend wasn't delicious."
Cost per day: $58 Lasts: 3 days Celeb fan: Salma Hayek coolercleanse.com Comments: "Steer clear of the Essential Greens, but everything else is good." "The almond nut milk is like a vanilla milkshake!" "I would die for this almond nut milk -- the best nut milk of all the cleanses." "Strong flavors! I would drink some of these every day."
Cost per day: $60 Lasts: 6 days in refrigerator Celeb fans: Olivia Wilde, Bethenny Frankel, Julia Stiles blueprintcleanse.com Comments: "The white cashew juice tastes like a milkshake." "The red is intensely delicious." "The green juice is a little more bitter than other brands." "The green juice is a little muddy, almost swampy." "The gold pineapple mint is outstanding -- but I'd rather have it in a cocktail." "I just wish the taste of the cashew milk were a little sweeter."
Cost per day: $80, plus $20 shipping Lasts: 4 days Celeb fans: Kim Kardashian ritualcleanse.com Comments: "The almond mylk reminds me of horchata." "There's hardly any difference between the sweet greens and the green lemon, but they're both delicious and fresh." "The nut drinks are both way too gritty." "Very austere. I definitely couldn't maintain this." "The vegetable-based drinks are a little depressing, but the fruit drinks are delicious."
Cost per day: $70 for bio bottles, $90 for glass bottles Lasts: 3 days Celeb fans: Gwyneth Paltrow, Liv Tyler, Mary-Louise Parker organicavenue.com Comments: "The pear juice is outstanding and very sweet, but thin." "Nothing exciting, but drinkable." "Thumbs down on the almond milk." "The cucumber juice tastes just like ... cucumber juice." "The juices are a little bland, but not unpalatable." "Both green juices are pretty foul."