For those wanting to start 2013 off healthier, a juice cleanse may seem like a quick fix for detoxifying your body. While juicing is incredibly popular, some people say it's a scam. There are lots of options and most cost hundreds of dollars. So is it really worth the money?
With documentaries like "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" or "Forks Over Knives" highlighting the benefits of juicing, it seems to be gaining in popularity. And if a juice cleanse sounds like something you'd like to try, you have two options: make your juices at home or buy ready-made juices. If you make your own you'll have to invest in a juicer, which can be a pretty pricey kitchen gadget. But if you go for the ready-made option, a juice cleanse can cost hundreds of dollars.
The Value of Your Time
Plenty of people invest in a juicer, only to have it retired to the back of the cabinet to collect dust. Michelle Schenker of earthfriends.com says it's important to buy a juicer that's easy to clean since that can take a lot of time. "Money never seemed the issue so much as all the time tied up in cleaning the produce and then cleaning up the juicer after - making the juice is the easy part," she says. But she suggests planning ahead and creating two or three juices at once to make the most of your time. The process will take between 30-40 minutes. "That seemed like nothing when I thought of the time to prepare three (or even one, really) proper meals a day," says Michelle. "So, yes, at the time it seems very time-intensive and messy but when you think of it in relation to the alternative, it is really quite comparable and manageable."
The Convenience Factor
Spending hundreds of dollars for a ready-made juice cleanse that will only last a few days may seem absurd, but Jeff Pandolfino, owner of Green & Tonic says it may be worth the convenience. He says the best juicer on the market is the Norwalk Press, which retails for $2,500. On top of that, he says there are over three pounds of raw vegetables that go into a standard 16 ounce juice. So doing it at home for three days would require you to bring nearly 100 pounds of produce home from the grocery store. "Another challenge to "home juicing" is that it is messy and busy people simply do not have the time to shop, juice, clean up everyday during a multi-day cleanse," says Pandolfino. "Home juicing is great but when you want to do a cleanse, with a bunch of variety - leave it up to the pros!"
Certified Detoxification Specialist, raw food chef and all around health nut Alina Zhukovskaya says she approaches juice cleanses for the body like she does dry cleaning for her clothes. "You may not need to deep-clean you skirt every day, but once you see a few spots accumulate, you need to take it to a dry-cleaner before it is ruined and you have to get a new one," she says. "Juice cleanses get rid of stored toxins from the body before they can cause damage to the organs and then cause illness, which will cost more money in a long-run." But a juice cleanse needs to be done correctly for it to be worth the money, she says. Benefits include taming your sweet tooth, cutting cravings and giving your digestive system a much-needed break. "Through a holistic approach, we use the foods we eat as medicine to cure and prevent even the toughest health concerns," she says. "By giving your digestive system a much-needed rest from the processed, acidic foods you consume on a daily basis, people feel the amazing benefits of a regulated and nourished colon. They experience increased energy, stamina, and mental clarity." She recommends the On Juice cleanse, which runs $75 a day for the Signature Cleanse.
The Best Affordable Juicers
Experts recommend a variety of home juicers if you decide to DIY. Prices can range from $50 to several hundred. Zhukovsky recommends the Omega J8006, $290 on Amazon.com. She says it's a good, solid piece of equipment with a great guarantee. Pandolfino suggests the Breville juicer because it's easy to clean and versatile enough to handle soft herbs as well as heartier fruits and vegetables. Fitness professional Justin Rundle is an avid juicer and says the Juiceman Juicer, $69 at Walmart.com, has served him well for over a year. He says it works great on everything except wheat grass. Whichever route you decide to take, juicing is an investment, but taking care of your health is money well spent.