As someone who did a fairly long stint living in LA, I clung on to my European penchant for unhealthy living quite heavily, I loved smoking on patios self-righteously, as people sipping Matcha tea and green juices looked on disapprovingly. I never quite got the juice thing. Who the fuck would want to pass on truffle and parmesan fires and sip on Spirulina instead ?
Recently after one hangover too many, I decided to give health a go, quit smoking (vaping doesn’t count right?), in favour of natural highs and get my body to a point where it just felt good all by itself. (A year ago I would’ve laughed at myself too.)
“Juice fasts promise increased productivity by day one, a euphoric spiritual high by day two, and increased libido by day three”
After being handed alkalising my diet (eating no acid inducing food like meat and dairy) I wanted to push myself to the next level and try one of these elusive ‘three day juice cleanses’. The kind that’s in Grazia mag, that you’d cringe over if you heard someone say they were actually doing. But what really pushed me was when I’d read about the spiritual benefits of a juice fast, how they promise increased productivity by day one, a euphoric spiritual high by day two, and increased libido by day three.
The world of juice cleansing is saturated and opaque. From cold pressed and raw, to your straight up pressed orange juice: juice cleanses vary heavily. Some London companies like The Juice Well, offer a more friendly and approachable option: their ‘Rainbow cleanse’ is full of multi-coloured fruit juices. Then there’s Imbibery and Raw & Juicy—proudly London’s first cold press brand—who send three day’s worth of juices straight to your door, packed with little daytime pick me ups like lemon concentrate and turmeric water. These are like little friends holding your hand between meals. Then there’s the straight up, no bullshit ‘Green Level Three’ cleanse by Radiance Cleanse. It consists of six juices per day, varying in intensities, from one to six, and no friendly little pick-you-ups – it’s just you and the green juice.
The beginning of a cleanse is the most exciting part, but also the most psychologically warped. My mind started playing tricks on me – I literally could not stop thinking about solid food. Constantly. I fetishized it. It took on a whole new identity. I would obsess about food I never even eat, like shortbread and carrot batons.
Then came moments of hysteria on day one, like when I jumped off the bus halfway home and ran into a corner shop and literally broke a banana in half and devoured it whole, handing over the limp skin to the discerning cashier and ran out ashamed.
“The beginning of a cleanse is the most exciting part, but also the most psychologically warped”
On day two there was an element of euphoria. Without having to occupy most of my day thinking about food, I actually felt super productive, my moods increased and overall I felt great. Dietary ecstasy? Actually kind of, I was buzzing–not gurning-worthy buzzing but nonetheless, I felt high. I wanted this new, light, productive me to last forever, but not at the cost of peeing six times an hour, every hour, including when I should be sleeping. That got boring real quick.
They say fasting lets the body take a vacation. The amount of energy it takes to digest complex food means our bodies can’t concentrate on crucial things like detoxing its vital organs and giving our digestive system—also known as the body’s second brain—a rest. From my experience, undergoing a juice cleanse is a good catalyst for psychological change – towards your eating habits more than anything.
However, fasting once a week is far from sustainable for prolonged periods of time; most people end up binging after a cleanse and eating more than they did in the first place. During a cleanse, an inner conflict presents itself; you find yourself demonising solid food to a point of feeling guilty, then fetishizing it to a point of total adoration; the taboo becomes the ultimate temptation.
“I wanted this new, light, productive me to last forever, but not at the cost of peeing six times an hour”
When in actual fact you can achieve this sense of nutritional nirvana without going to such extremes. Simply by avoiding highly acidic foods (basically anything beige is bad and anything colourful like fruit and vegetables is good) and integrating supplements in to your diet – like Moringa Oleifera, (green powder made from the leaves of an African ‘miracle’ tree). It’s the most nutrient dense plant on the planet. And it’s become a bit of an obsession of mine lately: not only does it fight off over twenty different potential diseases in the body, it’s cheaper than doing a juice cleanse.
I’ve been passing Moringa Oleifera on to friends like a jumped up health conscious Jim Jones. One of the more notable side effects is the elusive increased libido and mood-enhancing high; proven. As I scroll through PornHub, I’ve got my Moringa, Spinach, and beetroot juice sat proudly on my bedside table.