After the excess of Christmas, January is the perfect time to reset. The first month after a season of revelery has given rise to Dry January and Veganuary as well as the time old, classic resolutions that tend to be centered around health and wellness.
Even though Christmas 2021 may not have been filled with all the festivities that we would have liked, one way to commence 2022 on the right foot is through a complete overhaul - and a juice cleanse is a great way to detox and start your ‘New Year, New You’ lifestyle from scratch.
Celebrities like Meghan Markle and Gwyneth Paltrow have waxed lyrical on their benefits but juice cleanses remain controversial. They have been given a bad rap over the years - but a new dawn is here with brands who have curated these one-to-two week dietary switch-ups alongside nutritionists, health experts and dietitians.
Banish notions of strangely coloured liquids for every meal out of your mind. The cold-pressed concoctions are offered alongside substantial shakes and even delicious hot soups in some cases. As long as you are smart and only do them for the days specified, it can be a great way to flush out toxins and lose a bit of weight in a healthy way.
Far more than just your five-a-day, they are packed with vitamins, minerals and extra nutrients that will get you well on your way to creating healthy habits. Doing a juice cleanse for a couple of days can improve digestion, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, boost immunity, improve mental clarity and mood, reduce sugar cravings, give you better sleep quality, reduce inflammation, improve gut health and reduce bloating, all while leaving you with clearer, glowing skin.
However, a word to the wise: they’re not for everyone. It takes extreme willpower, particularly if you are planning on socialising during a cleanse. One ES editor said just a few juices in and she was drawn to a giant chocolate cake almost immediately. But if you commit, you can reap the rewards.
Over the last few weeks, the ES Best team has been putting the juice cleanses through their paces. Here are some tips and tricks we picked up along the way:
Go easy in the lead up to the cleanse. Some may think to eat as much as possible but this is only going to make your life more difficult.
Exercise may be a struggle so swap HIIT workouts with gentle walks.
Use the opportunity for some me-time and relax with hot baths. Energy levels may be depleted so don’t overexert yourself.
At the end of the cleanse, you may find that you’re less hungry. We found we had barely any appetite at all.
See what we thought of the best juice cleanses below.
Exalt marked my first initiation into the world of juice cleanses and is a great place to start. The brand’s juice cleanse is much freer than some of the other brands on this list in that it doesn’t give you a specific juice for each time of the day. You are actually not given much literature at all. There are also lots of flavours, both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in the sense that everyday and meal time was different, and a curse as it felt quite overwhelming when the bundle first arrived.
Exalt has a combination of cold-pressed juices and high protein smoothies - and the latter were far more filling and made a nice break from that fruit/vegetable flavour that we found to be repetitive with some of the other brands in this list.
Backed by science, each has been developed with a team of dietitians, nutritionists, and fitness experts with a combination of natural and quality ingredients. The protein is Exalt’s own triple-release blend and each component - be it the cacao or the berries - is added for its nutritional advantages and to pack antioxidants, immune-boosting or cardiorespiratory benefits into each and every one.
While we were concerned about the quantity of waste that the accumulation of the plastic bottles produced by the end, 50 per cent of it is made from recycled plastic and the brand donates to ocean plastic charities with each bottle sold. They also emphasise sustainability through the supply chain.
There are different bundle packs depending on your needs. The Beautiful, Awake and Calm has seven juices targeting energy and skin, the Trial Box lets you try one of every flavour and The Reset is a two-week plan designed by a nutritionist to help you lose weight in a safe way.
I tried the five-day The Exalt Life cleanse that comprised of 30 juices in total. Each day, you should have four of the diet protein smoothies and two of the cold-pressed juices that act as a supplement with the likes of collagen, adaptogens and CBD included in the formulations. Choose your cleanse from three days to two weeks.
I found the quantity to be quite a lot to consume in one day and only really got round to having three of the shakes and one of the juices a day. The protein smoothies are very filling and yet, unlike most others, don’t feel heavy or stodgy. Particular highlights included the Lean Machine which was great after a workout and the Anything But Vanilla, which both had a subtle vanilla taste, overnight oats, almond butter and banana. The Health Nut tasted like a chocolate Nesquik and the Berry Berry Good (my personal favourite) was a fresh fruity hit, while feeling substantial at the same time.
On the juice front, each was delicious. The Chilled AF (that contained the CBD mentioned earlier) was like a citrusy virgin cocktail with its combination of pineapple, orange, mango and lime. The Cherry Bomb gave a welcomed energy boost with the inclusion of 150mg of natural caffeine that will be particularly appreciated by those forgoing their traditional cup of Jo during the cleanse. The Nip & Tuck and Glow - both green juices - were super refreshing and are designed to give skin a boost from the inside out with collagen, antioxidants and more.
The bottles are sent on ice, have a shelf life for up to 14 days and are handmade fresh in Hackney each week.
From £89 for three days.
Buy now £89.00, Exalt
Purearth offers a far more structured, easy-to-follow juice cleanse. When the juices arrive, they come alongside a guide clearly detailing the time of the day to consume each one - and there are quite a few elements.
The brand specialises in certified organic cleanses that are designed to clear out toxins and encourage your body to repair at a cellular level. There are a few different options on offer that have a differing quantity of juices and steps. These include the Alkaline + Detox, Medicinal, Rainbow, Spring or Immunity Reboot Cleanse.
I tried the Winter Warmer Juice Cleanse that is designed to flood the body with minerals, vitamin and probiotics for a health reboot from head to toe. It comprised three juices, each labelled with the time of day in which they are designed to be enjoyed. The cold-pressed Sunrise Green Juice and Late Night Green Juice remain the same each day but the Midday Juice rotates between Beet, Glow or Green. The green juices are really fresh tasting with a combination of apple, cucumber, spinach, lemon, kale, fennel and more offering a great way to start the day and something I could carry on doing after the cleanse - although it did feel quite repetitive to have two to three a day by the last day.
There’s also the Afternoon Nut Mylk between Cacao, Golden and Almond. This is a creamy shake that has a chai spice flavour and is great to replace a lost caffeine hit.
The elevenses craving was soothed with a Wellness Shot - either turmeric and ginger or lemon and ginger that get you fired up internally. These are a fun, energising addition to the cleanse. You can also have one of the Sparkling Water Kefir drinks. These are raw, unpasteurised, fermented sparkling drinks that are targeted for the gut. Kefir means ‘feel good’ in Turkish and the live cultures of friendly bacteria are designed to boost your digestive system for a seemingly endless array of brain, heart, skin and bone-related benefits.
Alongside the morning, midday, afternoon and evening juices, Purearth also provided supplements for additional full body support. The morning begins with a teaspoon of activated black charcoal powder known for its deep cleansing properties. Add it to water alongside lemon juice and drink an hour before the first juice. There’s also the Green Superfood Blend created in-house and combining chlorella, wheatgrass and spirulina. You are supposed to add a teaspoon to one litre of spring water and drink throughout the day but I found this to be very difficult. The sheer quantity of other liquids consumed meant I wasn’t able to drink much of the water. There’s also herbal teas that were lovely before bed to unwind, magnesium bath salts to add to your soak in order to reduce inflammation, pain and to relieve stress as well as my personal favourite, the Berry Antioxidant Boost. These are also meant to be added to water but I found they didn’t mix particularly well and it was easy to just swallow a spoonful of the tasty combo of chia, acai, blueberry, maqui, baobab and acerola cherry.
As you can gauge by the quantity, this is a lot of juice to consume and I, famous in my circles for being a slow drinker, found that my morning juice seemed to stretch into lunch and I just wasn’t able to get through them all. This also meant I was drinking all day. While this was great for the mental challenge of juicing as I never felt hungry, I quickly tired of the taste.
This is a three day cleanse, but I only really started to feel the positive effects after it had finished on day four. The first couple of days I struggled with a massive headache at the back of my head that felt all consuming. As the last day hit, I was ready to take on chewing again but I did feel lighter with a surprising surge of energy arriving on the morning of the fourth day. My body did look leaner and paired with over nine hours of sleep each night (I was so tired and sunk into bed unable to move till morning), I felt clear minded and well-rested.
The products are all offered in reusable or recyclable glass bottles with beautifully designed packaging.
Buy now £74.99, Purearth
Nosh Detox Juice Cleanse
I have previously tried Nosh’s vegan keto diet and while this was notoriously difficult as the two terms seem to be polar opposites of each other, I was pleased with both the options and the results - and so I had high hopes for the cleanse and it didn’t disappoint.
When the juices arrived, it came with paperwork that not only gave a detailed structure to every other hour of the day throughout the cleanse, but also included helpful day-by-day words of encouragement and justification for how I was feeling. That was a nice touch.
Each day consisted of four ‘Principles’; the Hydrator, Eliminator, Healer, and Rejuvenator. All the ingredients are fresh, naturally blended and unprocessed. The juices themselves were very tasty - there wasn’t a single one I didn’t like or wouldn’t drink again even outside of the cleanse - and surprisingly filling. These are interspersed with herbal tea and a Lemon & Ginger Tonic per day to speed up digestion and aid in weight loss.
During my three-day cleanse, I found it easy to follow along and didn’t feel hungry throughout, but I was extremely tired by the third and final day and slightly out of sorts. It was a bumpy ride with peaks and troughs in terms of mood and energy levels and I couldn’t have carried it on much longer. Not to go into too much graphic detail but it certainly felt like I was purging myself of the toxins in the toilet department. I didn’t have frequent visits for number twos but when i did, let’s just say, it wasn’t pleasant.
You can do it for one to six days, have the juices delivered across the UK and it allows for you to detail any allergies or dietary requirements to avoid.
The quantity of single-use plastic is not ideal.
Buy now £55.00, Nosh Detox
B.fresh Gut Health Heroes bundle
We all know we should be eating at least five-a-day but for me, I'm lucky if I can manage one or two - it turns out the tomato slice in Pret's folded croissant doesn't count. My mother is always trying to force veggie juices and smoothies on me during visits home, but let's just say she hasn't got the recipe down pat yet; most of it get poured down the sink at the earliest opportunity (sorry mum).
So when I was asked to try B.fresh's selection of juices, smoothies and shots, I viewed them with thinly veiled suspicion. It needs a certain kind of sorcery to make kale - worse yet, liquified kale - taste palatable in my book. Freshly made and bottled in Shropshire, these drinks will last a good few weeks in the fridge, so you can have them when you fancy.
I tried the Gut Health Heroes bundle, a selection of juices, smoothies (both 250ml) and tumeric and ginger shots (70ml each) designed to give your immune system a boost (much needed in the current climate) and filled with friendly cultures to support digestive health. Though the bottles are plastic, they’re all widely recyclable.
This bundle isn't a replacement for food but a way to add more good stuff to your diet. I took the plunge on a Happy Greens juice with breakfast, a blitzed concoction of apple, spinach, kale and lemon, and found it actually tasted.. delicious. With vitamins now flooding my system, I added a Ginger+ shot, bursting with anti-inflammatory properties, the sharpness of the root softened with a slug of honey. Not as tasty, but over in a gulp.
The Gut Health Heroes package also includes Get Up & Glow, another juice, Green Guru and Berry Boss (both smoothies) and Turmeric Immunity, another shot bursting with Vitamin D3. The juices went down better than the smoothies but in fact, none were hard work. They came into their own when I'd had a particularly bad eating day and wanted to recalibrate with a hit of fruit and veg without faffing for hours in the kitchen trying to put together a nutritious meal.
I certainly felt healthier (and virtuous) including B.fresh in my diet, and I’m pretty regular in the toilet department, so I didn’t notice a change there. With WFH back on the table and my culinary skills still a work in progress, these little juices and shots are the perfect way to include healthy ingredients into my daily diet without any fuss - Abha Shah.
Buy now £64.00, B.fresh
The Garden Eatery Signature Intermediate Cold Pressed Juice
The day The Garden Eatery’s Signature Juice Cleanse entered my home in a cardboard box was the day I lost my juice cleanse virginity. Previous failed attempts at detox-ing told me the journey would be tough, but I knew it would be worth it. My goal was to come out the other side free from toxins and feeling sexy. I was ready for the challenge. I’d enjoyed one too many double cheeseburgers that week and my body was screaming for vitamins. I opened the box with trepidation and excitement, my fingers tingling with anticipation - or maybe just scurvy.
Today’s menu was inside seven glass bottles, bottled up in cold-pressed liquid form. The colours of nature’s rainbow glistened under the condensation. Just looking at them was enough to feel healthier. The Garden Eatery included a card with all the information needed for a day of pretending to be Gwyneth Paltrow and I couldn’t wait to crack open the first order of the day.
Caffeine isn’t recommended when detoxing so the Apple and Ginger shot took the place of a morning coffee. The fiery little devil coursed through my oesophagus in a true baptism of fire and left me feeling awake and energised. Next came the Alkalise, a cucumber and celery concoction that tasted mainly of celery. It was slightly difficult to stomach but I willed the spirit of Paltrow as I forced the last sip. The rest of the cleanse went by in a haze of unscrewing bottles and glugging away at intermittent times. I informed every WhatApp group I was a member of about the important news: “I’m juice cleansing today”, was the answer to the question no one asked.
The Garden Eatery recommends that you drink as much water as possible during the cleanse. This proved to be the biggest challenge of the experience for the simple reason that drinking all that liquid health had me running for the loo every two minutes. But the remaining juices were delicious. Particularly the ‘I Am Well Tonic’, a tiny bottle of ginger, lemon, chaga mushroom and black pepper that I was told to drink in between juices by mixing a small amount with warm water. As well as being the perfect beverage for cold and wintery afternoons, it tricked me out of feeling any uncomfortable hunger pangs. ‘I am well’ I agreed - smugness and health swelling bigger inside me with every bottle completed.
Throughout the day I alternated between feeling energised and urgently desperate to pee. The toilet breaks were so frequent it became slightly uncomfortable, but at least I was at home and within safe running distance of a place to relieve myself. By the end of the cleanse I did feel slightly weak, but the emptiness felt good - I felt holy, I mean healthy.
I imagined waking up in the morning, skipping out of bed and effortlessly landing into a downward dog. As I fell asleep, accomplishment warmed my belly like a steaming bowl of ramen. But the most interesting takeaway of the experience became clear the next day. After waking up I immediately pictured baked beans, hash browns and thickly buttered white toast followed by an Egg McMuffin. Images of white, processed breakfast options flitted through my brain like mirages of oases in the desert. But strangely - when the time came to eat solid food for the first time in 36 hours - all I wanted was a banana.
The Garden Eatery suggests cleansing as a way to kickstart healthy eating plans. A cleanse clears out the toxins in your body, giving your system a break and a blank slate to start afresh with new habits. I wasn’t planning on kickstarting a healthier diet, but it sort of happened. Was I free from the convenient shackles of fast food? Was my MSG addled brain cured of an addiction I didn’t know I had?
I spent the rest of the day feeling supremely virtuous. So yes, a juice cleanse can change your life. At the very least, it encouraged me to make healthier choices for a day or two after. The Garden Eatery have also created a cleanse that ticks all the boxes of what a cleanse should be, while successfully making a punishing experience genuinely quite pleasant with their curated selection of delicious cold-pressed brews. A one day cleanse also costs less than £40, so achieving Gwyneth Paltrow status is cheaper than what Goop.com might have had you believing. I highly recommend taking the journey, it made me feel detoxed and cleansed and it’s surprisingly easy too. - Katie Bell
Buy now £35.00, The Garden Eatery
Press 3 Day Virgin Juice Cleanse
This three-day juice cleanse was a true test in stamina and endurance. I’d dipped my toe into the juicing world previously with The Green Eatery’s one-day iteration so I felt ready to take things up a notch and move away from the amateur arena of 24-hour detox-ing.
The Virgin Cleanse from Press is designed for beginners, and includes two cashew milk shakes in banana and berry flavours to keep the starvation at bay. A day of Virgin Cleansing begins with water and activated charcoal which tastes like lemon and does a good job of waking up your system with a healthy dose of hydration. The recommended intake is a juice every two hours and is actually surprisingly filling. During the first day I found it difficult to even finish all the juices, and so on day two and three I left the nut milks where they were. I’m no virgin to the cleanse you see.
The best thing about this cleanse is the variety in juice consistency. It gives you a sense of having more than just liquids sloshing around in your system and so you don’t feel too hungry or starved of solid food. Truthfully, it was hard to stick to this three day mission and my resolve crumbled with a glass of wine and a slice of toast on the eve of day two. The sense of failure at my own weakness derailed the motivation to closely follow the regimen any longer - rebellion tasted too good.
On the third day I drank the juices between covert snacks here and there, before nearly killing my sister when I handed her a cashew milk to drink. Anaphylactic catastrophe was luckily avoided in the nick of time but it just proves that juice cleanses are no laughing matter. The lesson being don’t cheat on your juice cleanse: an empty stomach can have disastrous effects on clear thinking. If you’re good at restraint, then this juice cleanse is perfect. With these truly great tasting juices, you won’t notice your hunger and I can only imagine how fantastic you might feel at the end. - Katie Bell
Buy now £108.00, Press
Plenish Juice Cleanse
Say what you will, there’s nothing like all your meals for the entire day covered without a single bit of thought required. Plenish has simplified even the simplicity of a juice cleanse by numbering each of juices so you know exactly what you should be drinking and when.
Designed to adapt to your schedule, there are six to consume in a day, beginning at 8am and for every other hour until your last at 8pm. There is a gap at 6pm to leave an allotted time for some exercise should you feel up to it. The brand stresses the importance of this and while you aren’t supposed to step out and run 26.2 miles, the wonders of fresh air can add to the mindfulness aspect of the cleanse.
The combination of cold-pressed (to preserve all the goodness) juices and shakes are crafted from natural and organic ingredients and all serve a different purpose. They were devised by nutrition experts to inject nutrients into your detox. The day begins with Lift - a super fresh green juice that’s a hearty combination of kale, spinach, cucumber, ginger and lime for immunity support and to counteract fatigue. It’s followed by Fuel at number two and five. This offers a hit of vitamins and minerals and provides energy. Shield supports the efforts of Lift, while Kick puts the fire into your belly for that much-needed afternoon pick-me-up. It’s spicy but oddly delicious. Last but certainly not least Savour is a chocolate cashew milk that’s a lovely switch-up to the overwhelming quantity of juice and satisfies our sugar cravings, while also providing a heavy hit of superfoods and antioxidants. The juices are 500ml each and are extremely easy to drink. Far more so than others on this list. That being said, completing all six was quite the feat and I managed five at best on day two.
You are supposed to drink a glass of water between juices but I found this to be near impossible unless I moved my work from home set-up to the bathroom. When hunger strikes, opt for herbal tea or hot water and lemon that can boost your immune system, kickstart your digestive system and leave you with clearer skin.
Post-cleanse, I certainly had a swing in my step. I felt lighter and clearer but without much of an appetite for any meals. While throughout the three days, every single meal that I scrolled passed on Instagram looked appealing - even someone eating a whole carrot on a TV show - when it was time to recommence by usual diet, I didn’t fancy any of it.
In the handy booklet that comes alongside the juices, Plenish even suggest meals for your post-juicing meal as a way to gradually introduce solid foods and this mainly consisted of porridges which worked a treat.
The bottles are made entirely from recyclable PET plastic.
Buy now £59.00, Plenish