Many of you will have heard about "juicing" by now, in Dublin alone we have seen several juice bars pop up over the last couple of years and "cleanses" are now widely available to purchase. I recently tried and tested Urban Health's 3 day soup and juice cleanse and thought I would let you in on how I got on.
I'll start by saying that Urban Health in Ranelagh is a fantastic shop for anyone into their health food and nutrition. I was so impressed by the range of products they stock there, from paleo granolas to superfood powders, they have it all. What interested me in trying their cleanse was that this one was a little different to the others in the fact that you get soups along with your juices. When trying juice cleanses before, eating was always the part I missed so the idea that a hot "meal" was included was a bonus for me. In the three day cleanse you receive; 3 fresh juices and 2 soups per day. The juices are as follows;
- Morning Glory: Cucumber, Kiwi, Spinach, Lime, Mint, Apple.
- The Zinger: Orange, Carrot, Grapefruit, Ginger, Lemon.
- Green Envy: Celery, Cucumber, Spinach, Lime, Avocado, Apple.
- Pret A Protein: Cucumber, Pineapple, Apple, Avocado, Spirulina.
- The Glow: Apple, Broccoli, Carrot, Beetroot & Avocado.
The soups you receive are all freshly made and come in easy to carry 475 ml containers perfect for taking to work and stacking in your fridge. In addition they are all 100% gluten free. Although the soups vary depending on what's in season here is an example of some:
- Fresh Black Bean and Vegetable.
- Garden Vegetable.
- Winter Minestrone.
- Fresh Mushroom.
- Pea and Mint.
- Chilli Tomato with Basil.
The idea is you have your juices in the morning and in between meals, the soups can be eaten for lunch and dinner. My favourite juice is their Morning Glory which I looked forward to having each day, I loved all of the soups, each had a good flavour to it and nothing was watery. My favourite soup was the Minestrone pictured above, it was jammed full of various beans which we all know I love! It kept me feeling full for ages. The benefit of having soups as part of a cleanse comes from the fact that you are getting additional nutrients and antioxidants from the ingredients in the soups that you wouldn't get from juices alone. The beans, pulses, onions and peppers are an added hit that will keep you from experiencing the negative feelings such as extreme hunger, tiredness and lack of concentration that some people experience while on a normal juice cleanse. While I am all for adding fresh juices into existing healthy diets, as a nutritionist, typically I am not a huge supporter of drastic 7+ day juice cleanses as in my opinion anything over 3 days will start to have an adverse effect on the body.
The theory behind detox cleanses is that, by eliminating solid foods, you are eliminating toxins, which will supposedly give your digestive system a break, allowing it to heal and better absorb nutrients in the future. In reality, there is no conclusive medical evidence that your digestive tract will heal from removing solid foods from the diet for any period of time (unless you have a digestive disorder such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease). Solid foods are actually vital to our digestive health. Fibre, found in plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, slows digestion, helps with nutrient absorption and removes toxins via stool. It is generally found in the skins of fruit and vegetables which is why I support the inclusion of soups in this cleanse, much of the fibre is retained compared to in juices where the "pulp" is discarded.
There are however many benefits of juicing that should be appreciated. While on a juice cleanse you’ll benefit from an increased intake of vitamins and minerals naturally from the juiced fruits and veg that are packed full of antioxidants. In addition it can be a great way to tune into your body and help you identify food sensitivities by eliminating certain foods for several days, then gradually reintroducing potential trigger foods. The fact that you can drink a juice packed full of fruit and veg in one go also means it's a quicker and easier way to try and get your daily intake.
Just remember that these diets are low in calories, carbohydrates and protein, which will leave you with little energy to exercise and may disrupt your metabolic rate and blood glucose levels so should not be done for long periods of time and certainly not often. You may also experience gastrointestinal upset and frequent bowel movements so bear that in mind and plan well when you're going to do one! Cleanses are not effective for long-term weight loss. The weight you lose from a cleanse is a result of losing water, carbohydrate stores and stool, which all return after you resume a regular diet. They are however a great platform to launch you into a healthy eating plan, avoid the Big Macs on day 4!
All in all I enjoyed doing this soup and juice cleanse and think it's a great addition to the market, hopefully other juice companies will follow Urban Health's lead and begin offering soups too. The cleanse is priced at 70euro and is available to order 7days a week.
Urban Health: 9 Fields Terrace, The Triangle, Ranelagh, Dublin 6.