Press To Perfection
Is juice cleansing a faux fad or a movement that shouldstay? Oasis Living asks the experts
Like many food trends, drinking
juice to detox is a heavily debated
topic in the health community
with equal amounts of people toting and
bashing its effects. You will hear that it’s a
scam, a quick fix – and you will also hear
of its numerous health benefits.
SO WHAT IS THE ACTUAL STORY?
For starters, this detox diet is better
known as juice cleansing, and essentially
you swap solid foods for organic juices.
Interestingly, it’s a practice stretching
back millennia with recorded instances in
early cultures of Greek, Egypt, China, and
The aim of this cleanse is to pump your
body full of nutrient-rich liquids, while
reducing your intake of toxins found
largely in processed foods.
Not that long ago as the fad took off
in popular culture, cleanses asked
partakers to go on a ten-day ride of
drinking nothing but a concoction of
lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple
syrup (can’t you just feel your taste buds
shrivelling in apprehension?)
And as celebrities like Beyoncé, Jared
Leto, and Ashton Kutcher gave it their
thumbs up, the diet quickly gained
popularity for its energising and weight loss effects, the latter not being all that
surprising due to the diet’s symptoms
which include vomiting and hot bowel
movements, all signs of the detox
The last few years have seen studies
showing cleanses evolve from those which
ask you to starve yourself by consuming
empty calories, to ones which hit all
the major food groups you need. Newer
cleanses now contain about 1,000 to 1,200
calories a day; there is generally a nut-milk
component for fat and a little protein, and
vegetable juices for vitamins, minerals, and
FLUSHING THE SYSTEM
“If you’ve ever felt sluggish, drowsy,
bloated, had digestive issues, or sugar and
junk cravings, then your body is clearly not
accommodating the lifestyle you’re feeding
it,” said Chris Vahanian, cofounder of
Dubai-based juice shop Organic Press.
“These are some key signs of you needing
to give your system a break and flush it with
the essential micronutrients that it really
“Also, if you personally do not lead a healthy
lifestyle or your diet lacks vegetables and
fruits – the daily recommendation is five
to seven servings – then incorporating juices to your diet or embarking on a juice
cleanse would be beneficial,” he added.
The juices ingested need to consist
primarily of greens though, low on fruit to
avoid spikes in blood sugar levels. They
also need to be organic as nonorganic ones
can be laced with a plethora of pesticides.
The body also needs fibre though, so it’s
recommended to toss in some chia or
flaxseeds if you’re making your own or
purchase ones with such ingredients.
Juice cleanses aren’t recommended for
more than three days, and for anyone
looking to embark on the journey, Vahanian
advises that they mentally prepare for
the cleanse and understand that you’ll be
abstaining from solid foods for one to three
“However, if you lead a lifestyle of
unhealthy habits, it would be best to
gradually move into a cleanse by slowly
incorporating vegetables, salads and clean
food throughout the first few days leading
into it,” he said.
A DETOXING DELIGHT
There are numerous benefits to this diet;
not only does it aid in weight loss but also
boosts your immune system, increases
your energy, supports brain health,
improves digestion, aids in gut health, decreases heart risk and failure, reduces cell
damage, and improves overall wellbeing.
“When used properly and tailored for
performance, juicing has the potential to
greatly improve an athlete’s health and
performance,” said David Labouchere, a
world-class triathlete and an ambassador for
PURE, an all-natural sports nutrition brand
under the Principals MENA company.
“It can create an alkalised environment in
your body and generate reliable, slow-release
sources of energy,”
But like anything, juicing has its own
drawbacks as well but there are no specific
dangers to detoxing, says Vahanian, if you
keep yourself accountable.
“Unless you’re allergic to a certain
ingredient, those setting off on a one to
three-day cleanse won’t feel the effects as
much as a person embarking on a five-day
cleanse or more,” he said.
“Here, there are times when headaches
arise, cravings start to begin. This is
completely normal, and we inform
everyone to stay hydrated and chew your
juice to trick your brain that it is eating.
This is just the phase when the body is
realising that no food is being ingested and
is taking necessary measures to react.”
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
What if a person cannot cope with the liquid
“Mix your juices with food,” advised Dr
Haifa Mirghani, a nutritionist at the Diet
Nutrition Centre in Al Ain.
“If you feel dizzy, add a couple of dates into
your diet and if you are truly having a tough
time then some vegetables with nuts and
protein is a good go-to meal.
“Avoid reaching for obvious ‘energy
boosters’ like caffeine or chocolate.”
Dr Mirghani also advises against exercising
too hard during the period of a juice
cleanse, especially during your first time.
One of the added benefits to cleansing
is also flushing out oedemas (abnormal
accumulations of fluid in the body) that the
body may be housing, added the doctor,
who has herself experienced this benefit.
“It’s important to get an expert’s opinion
before cleansing though,” she said. “Only
after discussing and understanding your
fitness and nutrition goals can a health
professional advise you to go on a juice
For those who’d simply prefer to stick to
solids, Labouchere suggests living more
“Be more disciplined in how you lead your
life,” he said. “Over-processed or refined
foods, chemical additives, antibiotics and
pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides,
chlorinated water, artificial sweeteners
or anything else that might remotely
be considered unnatural, need to be
WHAT’S THE VERDICT?
And as for whether this is a fad diet,
Vahanian said: “It shouldn't be considered
a fad diet. As a matter of fact, the entire
population needs to be educated on
the benefits of juicing and its long term
“The UAE population boasts one of the
highest obesity and diabetic rates in the
world with 46 per cent considered either
one or the other. If everyone opted for juices
and incorporated juice into their lifestyle
this number will drastically decrease.
“The UAE needs to investigate this matter
and should begin to implement healthier
options as opposed to capitalising on all the
fast food chains and restaurants around.”
WANT TO TRY IT?
Check out organicpress.com for a
full list of Vahanian’s juice cleanse
programmes and wellness packages.
Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to
them via email for any questions you
have, they’re happy to help.
Subscribing to a juicing package
can be expensive though so if you’re
looking to make your own juices,
consult a professional to tailor-make
a programme for yourself and make
sure to use a juicer and not a blender
to avoid chunky messes.