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A Cleanse Convert: My Three Days on Juice to You's Juices

Juice to You will be selling samples at Outside Lands this weekend. 

I’m a huge believer in milkshakes. I also love burritos. And hamburgers. Oh, and pizza. So I am far from a likely candidate to tackle a three-day cleanse, composed entirely of raw, living juice made by Juice To You, but what the hell. You only live once.

I trained all summer for an Ironman, and Charlie Gulick (one of the founders of Juice To You, who I met at the dog park) kept telling me that a great way to celebrate the completion of the event would be with a cleanse. I had so carefully maintained my external, muscular health, and now it was time to take care of my insides.

Charlie’s entrance into juices was as unlikely as my own. He was your typical college kid, until he contracted a rare liver disease after a trip to Central America, and suffered through two frustrating years of traditional medical procedures. His ultimate prognosis doomed him to a liver transplant and monthly invasive procedures for the rest of his life. He had to imagine a future that would be dominated by hospitals.

Desperate for a more optimistic option, Charlie and his family looked for alternative routes, and hit upon the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida, which emphasizes a holistic, diet-based recovery. Charlie ultimately spent six weeks at Hippocrates on a strict diet of almost exclusively of green juice, made of celery, cucumber, sunflower sprouts, stuff like that.

He came home feeling better, and continued his healthy diet. The only problem is, making juice like that takes a lot of time, upwards of two hours a day. His family helped out, but it was still very demanding work. 

Which made Charlie realize that for most people, the thing holding them back from eating healthily is time. We are too busy to spend two hours each morning making healthy juices, let alone the time to get fresh, local produce each day.  And so he created Juice To You, in order to provide the healthy eating lifestyle to those who want it, but don’t have the time.

He runs the company with his wife Lina and his brother Ben. They work at odd hours of the day to press the juice, which they deliver to their customer’s front doors in glass bottles emblazoned with their logo.

When I finally decided to do the cleanse, Charlie came by my house with two coolers, each one full of six pints of juice and two elixirs. You drink a pint every two hours, and while the calorie count is only around 1500, there are no empty, wasted calorie counts with a juice cleanse, and the nutritional levels are through the roof.

I started the morning with a 2oz blue-green algae elixir, one of the most intense super foods known to man. Right after that, it was time for a pint of Green Goddess. The next juice, two hours later, was Lemon-aid, a tasty, spicy lemonade with ginger, agave, and cayenne. Third up for the day, around lunch-time, was Wellness Wonder, the most green-heavy of all the juices, and the one that took me the longest time to muster my way through. In the afternoon it was Coconut Water, and then Blood Builder, which is probably the tastiest and prettiest of their juices. And finally, two hours before bed, it was time for a pint of Almond Drink, followed by a aloe elixir.

And that was it. For three days..

I was surprised that I didn’t feel hungry until around dinner time on the first day. And it wasn’t so much authentic hunger, more just a desire to enjoy the sensation of eating. But after a good night’s sleep the hunger was gone, and I felt fresh and alert. And my allergies were feeling better, too.

Day 2 found me hungry again in the afternoon, so Charlie supplemented me with some more Almond Drink. He explained that they soak their almonds in water for a full day before grinding them, to stimulate the nuts into sprouting. When a seed sprouts, it is buzzing with  nutrients and enzymes, so sprouting almonds are even healthier than regular almonds.

The Almond Drink definitely helped me over the hunger hurdle of the second day, and at the halfway point, I was fully enjoying the tastes of the juices. They are made from entirely local and organic produce, and each flavor is rich and potent. No cookies and cream, but still very tasty and savory. By Day 3, I was even enjoying the green behemoth of the Wellness Wonder.

On the last night, Charlie came by again with some sprouts and a suggestion on how to make a smoothie the next morning, to break the cleanse. You don’t want to jump right back into “regular eating,” which launched us into a huge conversation about what “regular eating” is in the first place.

People do juice cleanses for different reasons. For me, the biggest appeal was to begin to think about my eating in long-term and abstract terms. Juicing is not immediately filling, like a pepperoni pizza, nor does it satiate your sweet tooth. You know it’s good for you, but there is little in terms of immediate, tangible benefits. You need to look more broadly to fully enjoy a cleanse.

In that light, I have pretty much eaten however I’ve wanted for 29 years. I’ve always justified my diet by my active lifestyle. Food was fuel, and the quicker I could get it, and the tastier it seemed on the way down, the better.

But my Juice To You cleanse has me thinking in different terms. I feel like I’ve hit the restart button in my approach to eating. Food isn’t exclusively about fuel, but about keeping myself alive and healthy. And that means seeking the most nutritious options. That won’t always mean green juice, but it will definitely mean more greens. And I’ll probably still make milkshakes from time to time, but I won’t be surprised if my blender starts chopping up sprouts and carrots just as regularly as cookies and cream ice cream.

Juice To You delivers juice to your front door. Check out their website to learn about their products and delivery options. And if you’re attending Outside Lands this weekend, they will be at the Eco Land, selling samplings of their juices.