Why Juice Is Not My Religion

JuiceEvery time I see a Groupon for a juice cleanse, I pause. “Hmm…” I think to myself, “Seems like a good deal. Should I do it? Maybe just the three-day one?”

I never commit.

Because there’s something about juicing that I just can’t get behind.

A recent New York Magazine article Juice Heads: How the Newest Liquid-Nutrition Cultists Are Mastering Their Intestines unfolds many of the layers in these beet-ginger-carrot-lemon-parsley elixirs. Mostly, author Vanessa Grigoriadis describes juicing as a religion, right down to part where you deny yourself indulgences that could derail you from your spiritual path:

Juice is a treat and replaces the a-­nutritious yet equally fetishized cupcake, a reward for tolerating urban ­difficulty. Juice announces that America is still a bountiful land of plenty despite our abuse of the Earth. Juice announces that you are hip to the trends, part of the scene that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, and other toned-and-together Celebrity Juice Fans featured in Star magazine. Juice says you don’t do manual labor: You make money with your fingers in the new economy, nails painted a cheery neon or pastel gel as you text. Juice gets attention on social media, which seems made for such announcements as “Loving my juice cleanse to help me get ready for a very important photo shoot!” And for a certain, uniquely American urban tribe, juice is a sacrament—or at least part of the sacrament.

I’m the perfect target for a juice cleanse. I live surrounded by everyone’s blurred lines of “healthy” and “skinny.” I’ll admit I feel more energized and my pants fit better when I eat cleanly. Though I’m not vegetarian, I often get confused for one since I eat a lot of vegetables. And let’s not forget I’m female. Do you know any dudes who do juice cleanses? Me neither.

And yet I still resist this juice cleanse thing. I just can’t get on board. Why?

Well to start with, I just love food too much. Food is super tasty. I look forward to every single meal. Oftentimes when I eat lunch, I’ll be thinking about what’s for dinner. I joke that the reason I work out so much is so I can eat more burgers and cheese, but it’s not really a joke since this is actually true.

So there’s that — the fact that I don’t want to give up food.

But also, I don’t see the reason to make myself miserable for a few days. I already do stuff that pushes me to the limit (like running marathons for example — not for the faint of heart)! I don’t feel like doing more of that. I already challenge my willpower quite enough. I don’t want to be hangry all day, too.

In general, I eat pretty well. I start most mornings with a protein shake, eat a lotta veggies throughout the day, and drink what seems like buckets of water. Well, that’s most of the time. I also love red wine and the occasional McDonald’s chicken nugget (not necessarily paired together, but I’d try it). Still, I don’t really see the need to cleanse my system of garbage when there’s not that much garbage in there to begin with.

All those reasons are keeping me from pulling the juice cleanse trigger, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been close. Because when that deal for 54% off raw, nutrient-rich, cold-pressed juices pops up, I do ask myself: Would this thing really make me feel better? Would I lose five pounds in just a few days? Would I truly find deep meaning in my life and come out a changed person?

And every time I decide against it because I don’t want the quick fix. If I want to feel better every day, lose five pounds, or find my life’s true meaning, that’s something I need to work on a little bit each day for those things to really stick long-term.

Plus, I know myself well enough to know that if I drank juice instead of tasty food for even just a few days, I would just purge on everything that is terrible for me at the end. Ultimately, the whole cleanse would be pointless. And whatever meaning I had found in my life would be crushed by the resulting stomachache.

So even though Groupon will probably catch me again sometime soon and I will consider its promises of detoxifying my intestines and bolstering my immune system, I already know what I’ll do. I’ll pass on the juice. And instead I’ll grab some wine.


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Betsy Mikel | betsymikel.com