Good Food

Friday, August 13, 2010

Are you doing a cleanse for the right reasons?

Cleanses, the idea of giving your digestive track a break for a few days while just consuming prescribed juices and foods, are all the rage in NYC. It’s hard to go to a cocktail party without noticing someone sipping a kale concoction from Cooler or BluePrint Cleanse instead of Sancerre.

But as cleanses become fashionable, are people embarking on them for the right reasons? And is cleansing to drop a few pounds one of them?

In an attempt to know more about when and why to cleanse, we canvassed the city’s cleanse-ascenti for their advice.

Kickstart, a vegan cleansing program with juice and food.

“A cleanse should really be treated as a lifestyle tool, or a re-set button, as we like to call it. But not as a crash diet,” say BluePrint Cleanse founders Erica Huss and Zoe Sakoutis. Others like Yvette Rose, the founder of the KickStart Food Cleanse, agree.  Cleanses backfire as a weight loss plan because you’re losing water weight, not fat. “As soon you resume your regular diet with its sodium and sugar, the weight will come right back on.” Huss and Sakoutis emphasize that a cleanse will won’t give you results unless you adjust your diet  “to maintain the results and benefits of a few days of juicing.”

So what are the right reasons for doing a cleanse? Our panel proposes the following three pretty pure reasons:

1. Spiritual/Investigative
Rose suggests that spirituality plays a role in a successful cleanse. “Cleanses allow you to take a moment to breathe. Yogis cleanse during the change of season and during times of intense mediation and practice.” The reasons can also be practical too—“people often feel they’re eating foods that aren’t sitting well with their digestive system and a cleanse can help the identify the culprit.”

2. Start healthier, conscious eating habits and renewed vitality
Eric Helms, the Cooler Cleanse founder along with Salma Hayek,  says that a “short juice cleanse can be a great way to kick-start healthier eating habits.” Once you’ve spent three days carefully considering every drop of liquid that passes your lips, you’re a lot less likely to scarf down a cookie at 4:00. And because cleanses reduce your sugar and salt cravings, energy levels often skyrocket after a cleanse, says Helms.

3. Inner beauty/outer beauty
And our final good reason—vanity. “The nutrients from fresh juices are great for your skin, nails and hair,” says Helms —Alexia Brue

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