The Truth About the Cleanse Craze

Even with bathing suit season behind us, juice cleanses are on the rise and have continued to grow more popular in the last decade. But why? Is it because cleansing allows people to shed pounds fast, or is it something more?

Meghan Nosal, a student here at Marist College, participated in her first juice cleanse this past summer. She was getting ready for vacation and decided to try out a juice cleanse promoted by nutritionist, J.J. Smith. “I did it with two friends of mine because we wanted to look great on the beach” Nosal states. The plan created by J.J. Smith is included in her book, “The 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse.” Participants are instructed to prepare a different green smoothie each morning and its contents are divided throughout the day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One apple a day is also allowed, as well as an unlimited number of vegetables. 

Nosal and her friends took before and after photographs of themselves to see the effects of this 10 day smoothie cleanse. The biggest positive effect for Nosal and her friends was the rapid weight-loss. “I felt really confident after those 10 days,” Nosal declares, “I felt a huge sense of accomplishment knowing that I had the mental strength to say, ‘No I don’t need that extra slice of bread, or that extra piece of chocolate.’”

Nutritionist Ondrea Lynn, from “Body and Soul by Ondrea” in Poughkeepsie fears that this scenario happens all too often. “It’s becoming a fad,” she states. “People just want to lose weight and lose weight fast. But within weeks they’re back to the SAD. Sorry, S-A-D, the Standard American Diet of fast food and greasy pizza.”

Marist College student, Laura Acciarino, also spoke about her experience with juice cleanses. She explains that these cleanses are meant to flush out all of the toxins stored in our bodies. Acciarino occasionally participates in juice cleanses that last about a week. Her cleanses primarily consist of fruit and vegetable smoothies made three or four times throughout the day depending on her hunger. Acciarino claims that these cleanses release the toxins in our bodies that come from a variety of different sources. Just being in a polluted environment can cause toxins to develop in your body. “Your body works for you day and night, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” Acciarino exclaims, “we don’t realize how much our body is doing to keep us alive.”

Ondrea Lynn supports the method of cleansing that Acciarino supports. Lynn suggests that participating in a week-long cleanse can be beneficial once a month or so. “If you are participating in a cleanse to detox, recharge and reset your body, then yes, I believe this is an effective way of doing so,” Lynn states.  She also explains that these juice cleanses are beneficial because the nutrients in the fruits and vegetables travel throughout your system faster than normal. There is no need for digestion, therefore your body can receive these valuable nutrients quickly. Lynn also stresses the importance of listening to your body and knowing when to cleanse. “If you don’t feel the urge, then don’t force yourself to cleanse. Each body is unique and it’s important to pay attention to our body’s needs.”

According to the health guide, “Total Cleansing” by Jerry Lee Hutchens, “Americans are exposed to an incredible amount of pollutants, pesticides, herbicides and synthetic chemicals.” The synthetic chemicals Jerry speaks of buildup in your body and can lead to some very serious ailments such as cancer, immune system depression, contaminated breast milk, disruption in the nervous system and even reduced sperm count. Yet, participating in regular cleanses can help to keep our bodies healthy. Jerry states, “cleansing boosts our health by cleaning out the digestive tract, clearing tissues of toxic substances, increasing circulation and creating a healthful life.”

Michelle Morill and Frank Fasano over at All Shook Up in Poughkeepsie speak highly of Jerry’s “Total Cleansing” Guide and the usage of juices to cleanse your body. All Shook Up is a café and juice bar that offers organic food choices as well as individual or group cleanses. They offer support and guidance along with first-hand experience about the many possible juice cleanses available, and help find which cleanse is right for you. 

Morill explained that some people do come into their shop hoping to lose a few pounds, but many are interested in the long term health benefits of juice cleansing. When a cleanse plan is set up, Morill and Fasano help their customer to eliminate all meat, dairy, sugar, caffeine and alcohol from their diet for the week leading up to the cleanse. The purpose of this is to avoid shocking your body too much when switching from solid food to juice. Many people at All Shook Up participate in a Weekend Cleanse, which is only 48 hours of cleansing instead of a full 7 to 10 days. “More people can wrap their heads around a weekend cleanse and still receive the health benefits they need,” Morill states. She participated in her first cleanse four years ago and remembers feeling very foggy at first, but also found that the cleanse gave her more mental clarity. It increased her energy and attention level. Fasano at All Shook Up spoke of the harmful effects of processed foods. “Even some fruits and vegetables bought at the grocery store lack the essential nutrients for your bodies because they were picked too early, before their critical ripening age.”

Morill and Fasano, along with Lynn and Accarino, discussed the importance of paying attention to our bodies and to take care of our health.  Yes, juice cleanses can help with weight loss, but it’s much more than that to many people. It’s about healthy living and becoming your best self. At the end of my discussion with the owners of All Shook Up, Morill pronounced, “Give the body the right stuff, and it can fix anything.”