In the new year, our resolutions run the gamut from breaking a bad habit to fitting into last year's jeans. We all want to feel that punctuation, though, a sense of renewal. I know I want that. You might be familiar with my affinity for juicing. So, I decided to embark on a juice cleanse to kick off the new year. Mine isn't very drastic, but it did pique my interest to see what other cleanses are out there. 


I had a few reasons to give this juice cleanse a whirl: One was that I happen to have a few days off of work in a row, so I won't be inflicting myself on a lot of strangers (just in case the lack of solid food makes me irritable); another was that my boyfriend is out of town, so he won't have to put up with me much either; and third, I ate... um, a lot over Christmas with my family. There was more wine and calories than I've had in a long time, but they were mighty delicious. So, the idea of the cleanse for me isn't to lose weight. I'm happy with my weight and I also run fairly frequently. I don't intend to starve myself. But I do feel sort of listless and out of my routine, so I figured I'd just take three days to reboot by drinking only fresh, raw juice. So far, everything smells like food, juicing cilantro makes me crave phô and watching Epic Meal Time was a colossal error. But at 5-foot-8 and 110 pounds, I'm a small person. If my vision starts going wobbly or I can't think straight, I'll probably cave.

However, there are some much more challenging cleanses out there. I have a friend who did the Master Cleanse which I'm sure you've heard about in one way or another (I think Kat Von D attempted it briefly on her show a few years back), and she did it lock, stock and barrel. She had the pamphlet detailing the benefits and how-to (pictured above), drank the salt water every morning and loaded up on nothing but the detoxifying lemonade/cayenne/maple syrup mixture all day for 10 days. She was a wreck, but she said she enjoyed it overall. I've seen some terrifying pictures on Google (search the term "master cleanse poop" at your own risk -- you've been warned), but I've heard of people doing it more than once, so it has to at least feel like it's worth it. I feel like it's a little over my head.


Enzymatic cleanses have been popping up at my supermarket and health food store lately, so I read up. Apparently they are designed to be "gentle" in that they use a combination of fiber for your stomach, milk thistle for your liver and bile, and a natural laxative to get rid of everything. It takes two weeks, and best I can tell it's recommended that this accompany a whole food diet, so it's not a fast. I don't know anyone who's tried it, but if you have, leave a comment below and tell us how it went. I'd like to know if it really is as gentle as it says. My experience with herbal stimulants like Senna tea were, um, uncomfortable. Effective but uncomfortable. So do tell!


And since it appears the pricey holistic services of the upper classes in Hollywood and elsewhere have trickled down to us simple (read: hippy) folk in Austin, I can't mention a cleanse around friends or clients without hearing the word "colonic." It's a process where a hose stimulates your colon with warm water to make you pass all your waste all at once. It sounds like I'd leave feeling empty, naturally, but like someone took something from me. Perhaps that's the point. I can't speak from experience, but a client of mine attended a "life mastery" seminar for a week a few years back and subsisted on a liquid diet and as many colonics as she wanted. She said she did five while she was there and left feeling like she was 18 again. She was 38. So, I can't speak for its daintiness or comfort; it's definitely not a pedicure. But it does seem to have the appeal of a true cleanse, whether we need that or not I don't know.

There are tons of spins on these out there, too. Some people go juice and broth, some people really go for the weight-loss angle and that's a whole other conversation. But I can say, a day into my cleanse I'm already designing my meals for when I get done. It's mind over matter, and it's a healthy exercise. But I think three days will be just enough, if for no other reason than it's boring.

Have you done any type of cleanse, light or intense? Are you for or against the idea?