As women, we are fortunate to live in a society that constructively points out our numerous physical flaws, then helpfully suggests products, treatments, and solutions to help correct these various inadequacies (if there is any hope for you at all, that is.) It takes a lot of time and money to rehabilitate your stubby thighs, your lifeless hair, and your poxy skin, but it’s all part of the job of ladyhood. And hey, at least you have your health, right?
WRONG. Turns out your silly, dumdum liver is falling asleep on the job, and your only hope of ridding your body of all the dangerous toxins you expose it to every. single. day (seriously, do you even read the labels on all those products you use?? They’re loaded with chemicals!!) is to reboot your system with a multi-day juice cleanse. No, it will not be pleasant, and NO, it certainly won’t be cheap, but YES, you will definitely tell all of your friends how amazing you feel and how much healthier you are at the end of it! Because the only way to convince yourself of the bullshit you’re buying into is to make others feel inferior for not already being on the bandwagon, DUH.
Friends, let me shoot straight for a minute. I have never actually participated in a juice cleanse, and it’s pretty out of character for me to knock something I haven’t tried. And the thing is, I actually like juice. It’s refreshing! But early on in the juice-cleansing trend, a few things started rubbing me right where it hurts:
1. They are expensive. Years ago, a promotional ad for a three-day juice cleanse found its way into my inbox. It turns out the going rate for a 3-day cleanse is about $200. Let me put that another way: that’s $200 to NOT eat actual, solid food for three days. Doesn’t that strike you as odd??
Of course, many things that are good for you are also expensive—yoga being among them. And the price of gourmet juice is just one exhibit of a much larger body of evidence of the pricing disparity and accessibility of high-quality foods versus less optimal choices. It’s no secret that a large contributor to the obesity epidemic in the US is the fact that healthy, organic fruits and veggies are much more expensive than low-quality, mass-produced foods. But still, there is something striking about paying such a high premium for something that you don’t even get to chew.
Recently, a food diary written for Elle magazine by the founder of Moon Juice, the ironically named Amanda Chantal Bacon, went viral for its Paltrowistic content, and was later mocked for the outrageous daily cost of ingredients. When I read this food diary, I couldn’t help but notice that there is more emphasis on the inclusion of supplements, vitamins, and herbs than actual, whole foods. And the whole thing probably adds up to a grand total of about 650 calories.
2. They are wasteful. Think about it. How many pounds of fruits and veggies does it take to make one 12oz serving of juice? When you extract juice from a whole veggie, you are leaving behind a lot of mass. Yes, some home juicers keep the pulp left behind and repurpose it for other food products or for compost, but don’t you think that by-product could be put to better use to, you know, feed people? It’s inefficient and leads to food scarcity and higher food costs.
3. At worst, it is institutionalized anorexia. I can’t imagine many scenarios in which going for days on end without ingesting solid food would be classified as anything other than disordered eating behavior. But these days, it’s a commonly accepted “wellness” practice for which women are willing to pay hundreds of dollars at a time.
While weight loss is certainly one motivator for embarking on a juice cleanse, the marketing for cleanses and detox diet programs goes beyond skin deep. It implies that your body’s systems are not working up to code; your kidneys and liver—your organs of detoxification—are not doing their job right. You need a massive, internal overhaul. It’s a new culture of body shaming that sort of sounds like it might be based on actual science.
But is it? Where is the science? What, exactly, am I supposed to be detoxing from? Is my liver really lazy and worthless after all? Is expensive, organic juice the only thing that can save me from myself?
Sure, I’m full of opinions, and I have definitely been known to push my own anti-kale agenda. But I believe in asking people who are smarter than I am to show me the actual facts. Because if a healthy, sustainable diet can’t include the occasional doughnut, then I’m working in the wrong industry.
My next blog entry will feature a Q&A with a super smart doctor who introduced me to a lot of unpronounceable medical terms. What does she have to say about juicing, detoxing, and cleansing? Find out on September 1!!
Still better than this guy, though....am I right?
I like careers that involve wearing comfy pants. If I weren't a yoga teacher, I'd try to write full time for a living. Join me here to see what's on my mind, and share your thoughts with me!