The concept of a cleanse isnt difficult to understand: Stop putting crap into your body and youll feel better. Its the same principlebehind healthy diets. Cleanses and fasts are just the most extreme version of dieting, a way to rid your body of toxins and give your digestive tract a rest. But cleanses take finesse. Most of them have a juice component, which is difficult to negotiate. Also, going from eating to eating nearly nothing to eating again is tricky. (A cheesesteak after three days of only lemon water? Bad idea.) We picked three of the most popular cleanses and juiced them for all theyre worth.
1. Cleanse: Blueprint Excavation Cleanse (BlueprintCleanse.com)
Founders: Former nightclub hostess Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss Jones, a former restaurant publicist
Ingredients: Each day of the cleanse gets its own lunch bag, with an icepack and six juices (i.e., green juice, spicy lemonade), which are numbered and meant to be drunk every two hours in order.
Gimmick: We Think. You Drink. Cleansers receive supportive e-mails with their juices.
Length: One to six days
The least mentally taxing of the three cleanses. It turns out youre paying not only for the juice but for the daily missives, which are encouraging. Unfortunately, four bottles of green juice a day is enough to make anyone crave a pizza.
2. Cleanse: L.O.V.E.fast, from the L.O.V.E. (Live Organic Vegan Experience) service (OrganicAvenue.com)
Founder: Denise Mari, owner of Organic Avenue, a raw food and fashion store in New York City
Ingredients: L.O.V.E. stresses variety, offering seven ingredients each day that change continually. (i.e., cacao smoothie, English pea soup, I L.O.V.E. salad kale dulse)
Gimmick: All You Need is L.O.V.E. Fasters receive L.O.V.E. notes with inspirational messages (i.e., from Abraham Lincoln: Without the assistance of the Divine BeingI cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail.
Length: Five days
Verdict: Highly recommended.
True to its name, the L.O.V.E.fast goes by quickly. You can eat, so its much easier. (The English pea soup is especially delicious.)
3. Cleanse: Master Cleanse (TheRawFoodSite.com)
Founder: Stanley Burroughs (1903-1991), pioneering holistic doctor
Ingredients: Cleansers combine pure water, organic grade B maple syrup, organic cayenne pepper, organic lemons, and sea salts to create a refreshing beverage. Every time they are hungry, they take a swig.
Gimmick: The drinks are cheap and easy to make.
Length: Ten days
Cost: About $50
Verdict: Only for the hard-core.The Master Cleanse is an exercise in ascetic rigor. Cleansers have neither variety nor support, and 10 days seems insane. After the second day, the liquid infiltrated my dreams. By the fifth day, I couldnt stomach it anymore. By day six, I quit.