Now that December's barrage of Christmas pies, Kwanzaa cheesecakes, stuffings, roasts, and sweets (by god, is it still the year of the cupcake?) have cycled through, I'm starting to feel the Christmas spirit in a not-so-cheerful way right around my mid-section. The next few weeks provide some down time to make that necessary shift from cleaning your plate to cleaning your liver. Enter: the increasingly popular juice cleanse.
The ones I hear mentioned most around town are the New York-based BluePrint Cleanse, San Francisco's year-old Can Can Cleanse, and Urban Remedy, run out of Evo Spa in Marin. All of them ask potato chip and/or sugar-addicted beginners like me to commit to three days of a strict juice diet for maximum benefit. "The first time you do a cleanse, it can be a little tough," says Urban Remedy founder Neka Pasquale. "But it does get easier." After a three day cleanse you can expect to lose—at the most—a few pounds of water weight. Juice junkies are more interested in a "rest" for the digestive track, a human restart button of sorts, and a good way to nip nagging cravings. Here's a look at the most popular cleanses around town—all of them offering roughly 1000 calories of post-holiday-binge juice per day.
Who It's For: Corporate types or those with busy jobs who need something conveniently packaged and easy to stomach to weave into office life.
What You'll Drink: The same six juices every day, some of them sweetened with agave nectar, green juice, cashew milk, spicy lemonade, and two fruit-herb juices delivered in recyclable PET plastic bottles. Here's the caloric breakdown.
Price: The beginners' Renovation cleanse is $65/day. Order here.
Delivery/Start Dates: Your only option in San Francisco is shipping via FedEx Priority Overnight, adding $10 to the total bill. You can start any day of the week.
Who It's For: San Francisco cleansers who want to support a local business offering 100% organic, seasonal juices. Can Can offers an online support group of others going through the same stomach pangs (and possible mood swings) you are, There's also a detailed time line of when to consume what.
What You'll Drink: A liquid diet of warm soups, teas, juices and milks. Last year's winter menu included winter orange soup, spiced apple juice and mixed nut milk.
Price: A three-day cleanse costs $185.00. Purchase here.
Delivery/Start Dates: Can Can is on hiatus until January, when Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday start dates resume. You can pay $15 to have founder Teresa Piro deliver your three-day nutrition supply in Mason jars to your doorstep, or pick up the cleanse on the night before you start at 1890 Bryan St. in Potrero Hill. Details here.
Who It's For: Anyone who wants a sugar-free cleanse, as Urban Renewal's drinks are sweetened with Stevia. This program is also best for those who worry about hunger pangs, as founder Neka Pasquale puts a higher ratio of filling proteins and fibers into her juices.
What You'll Drink: The same six seasonal, local juices every day, packaged in numbered Mason jars. The Signature Cleanse progresses from lighter green juices in the morning to more smoothie-like concoctions with strawberries, chia seeds and "filling" vanilla cinnamon nut milk at night. Urban Renewal also offrers a customized cleanse option for those with specific health concerns.
Price: $195.00 for three days not including a $15 delivery fee.
Delivery/Start Dates: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday start dates are available. Cleanses must be ordered two days in advance. You can pick up the cleanse in a cooler at Evo Spa to save yourself the $15 delivery charge. Details here.