THE JUICE CLEANSE: Is it for you?

If you want to shake a bad health habit and help your skin clear up, a juice cleanse may be the way to go.

Amber Wilson puts it to the test, with a food-free three-day juice detox.


I’ve developed a few, well, interesting health habits over the past few months, including a talent for inhaling an entire block of chocolate in mere hours. My plan is to undergo a massive shake-up of bad health habits and get back on track to a fitter, healthier me.


Wednesday – day one

AM: I woke up this morning and almost forgot I was starting my cleanse today. I reach for the porridge packet absentmindedly before putting it firmly back in the pantry.

I’m doing a cleanse with Urban Remedy, an at-home detox system. They’ve delivered three days worth of fresh, nutritionally-balanced juices to my doorstep, so I don’t have to lift a finger during my cleanse.

Each of the juices are numbered and I can’t wait for 9am to roll around so I can crack open the first one. I arrive at work, turn on my computer, make my usual cup of herbal tea (apparently I need to drink at least one cup of herbal tea or filtered water per juice), then open the lid of juice #1 – apple, lemon, cos lettuce, celery, silverbeet, parsley, cucumber. It’s green and murky. I hope it doesn’t taste too yucky. So far, so good. The juice is delicious and I’m not too hungry.

It’s about 10.30am and I walk past some office ladies munching on cupcakes. Oh, goodness, they look tempting. Be strong, Amber. Only half an hour to go until juice #2.

PM: I’m oscillating between incredibly hungry at times and nonchalant at others. At the moment, I’m starving. I’m not craving any foods in particular; I’ve just got a knot of painful hunger in my stomach. By early afternoon I’m thinking about the chocolate peanuts stashed in my desk draw, but that’s really not an unusual thing for me to ponder over. I’d say that overall, my hunger pains have eased off to a 2 out of 10.

Thursday – day two

AM: After a rather lethargic evening, I wake in a good mood this morning. I’m not very hungry and have no detox symptoms – no headaches or irritability, plus I’ve plenty of energy. Juice #1 and #2 are delicious and fruity and go down a treat.

Work is busy and exciting this morning so my mind is stimulated and my detoxing body and brain seem to be keeping up well.

PM: It’s time for my 1pm juice – juice #3, a combination of orange, acai berry, cucumber, pineapple, carrot and broccoli. It’s a lot less sweet than this morning’s juices, but that’s okay with me. I understand that during a detox, it’s important to bring the body back to an alkaline state, which is optimum for healing and repair. To do that, you need to consume more vegetables, which are alkaline, and less fruits, which are mostly acidic. I haven’t had a chocolate-related thought all morning (well, not until I wrote that sentence, anyway). I notice a very slight headache in my lunchbreak, but nothing serious.

Juice #4 at 3pm also goes down well. It’s made mainly from beetroot and is deep, deep red in colour. It’s delicious, and I’m sure these antioxidants must be doing my system a world of good.

I’m amazingly energetic considering I haven’t eaten in nearly two days. I’m not hungry at all and my brain is working as well as it always does. I can’t wait for the weekend to see if I’ve lost any weight, to measure my energy levels and to check out my skin. After several days of consuming no preservatives, no colours, no additives and nothing unnatural, my insides must surely be doing a happy dance!

Friday – day three

AM: Okay, there is one thing I’ve been finding really challenging during my cleanse. It’s almost impossible to get to sleep at night. I toss and turn, my mind alert and awake, not drowsy and content after my usual comforting hot dinners. Nevertheless, I wake up bright and bubbly this morning – I’ve had sweet, pleasant dreams all night.

I’m a little less bloated today than I’ve been in a few weeks, which is good news. I’m feeling motivated, and I’m really starting to feel optimistic about a healthier, happier future.

PM: My third juice of the day, which is very vegetable-dense, doesn’t go down so easily today. After buzzing around this morning, I’m now feeling quite flat – in fact, I’d say I’m feeling poorly. I spent my entire lunch break feeling grumpy and trying to think of things to feel grumpy about. It wasn’t much fun.

Back in the office, I continue with my grumpy theme. But then I have a cup of chamomile tea – today’s choice of herbal beverage – and it seems to settle me down plenty.


Some people swear by juice fasts, while others are quite anti.

Melbourne Natural Wellness Centre naturopath Chantelle Bazerghi (visit her at says juice cleanses are fine for people who are generally healthy and well.

Although, “people with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypoglycaemia and metabolic disorders are not advised to undertake a juice cleanse,” she warns. “Also, children, teenagers and the elderly should avoid detox regimes that involve fasting.”

Chantelle says cleansing can be fantastic for returning health to an otherwise flagging lifestyle.

“Cleansing in general is very good for the body as it helps to clear toxins from the body, improve healing and increase vitality. However, not everyone may be suited to fasting or consuming a large amount of carbohydrates, in which case an alternative detox or cleanse may be more beneficial.”

So how should we go about cleansing? “The first step to initiating a juice cleanse or any detox is to consult your naturopath to make sure this detox is for you and how it can be modified if not,” Chantelle says.

“Changing the diet leading into and out of a juice cleanse is vital, as this will prepare the body for fasting and limit the possibility of detox symptoms arising, such as headaches, fatigue and skin breakouts.

“Lots of rest is very important, as the body will be using its own stores for energy. Also, a mix of vegetable juice is needed to maintain adequate nutrition through a juice cleanse. Additional supplementation may be required for those who need more protein and oils.”

So what shouldn’t we do while cleansing? Chantelle says we should never go without water for too long, as our kidneys require it to do their important detoxification work. She also says we shouldn’t embark on a cleanse or fast for too long – chat with your naturopath to decide how long is best for you. Lastly, make sure you don’t over do it. Don’t go crazy on the treadmill or let loose in Body Combat while you’re on a cleanse – take it easy with a nice walk or some yoga.


If you’ve decided to try an at-home detox, it’s incredibly important you follow the advice of an expert. Visit a naturopath, or try the detoxes by the following authors:

  • The three-day alkalising cleanse: Find it in Karen Fischer’s book The Healthy Skin Diet
  • The two-week deep cleansing diet: The Ultimate Detox by Dr Sandra Cabot promises to have ‘your aura shining’.
  • The 24-hour detox: Dr Gillian McKeith has a well-known detox that’s safe and fast acting.
  • The Urban Remedy Cleanse: This is an easy, fuss-free way to detox if you live in one of the 15 areas that they deliver to. Visit


I wake on Saturday, impressed to see I’ve lost half a kilo. I’m feeling vibrant, healthy and positive. My mood is great, my energy levels are impressive and I’ve lost all signs of bloating and water retention. My skin looks bright and I feel like I’ve done something really good for my health.

Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat. In fact, I think I’d like to go for an even stronger detox next time.

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