As of course, losing weight is one of the most popular resolutions, let's discuss juice cleanses. Now juice cleanses aren't that new, but it seems the concept really exploded in Calgary over the past year. There are a lot of options available to us, though I will discuss only the ones that I have personally tried.
My first foray into juice was through Well Juicery. I tried Well's 3 day cleanse. They delivered the juice to me first thing in the morning, and I started right away. It's a fairly typical cleanse, where you drink six juices per day: 2 green, 3 other fruit/vegetable based, and a nut milk at the end of the day. I found I had a hard time finishing all six juices, especially the more sweet/fruity ones, Be Well (carrot / apple / beet) and "C" Well (orange/carrot/turmeric). I must say though, Well's almond milk is ridiculously good. It tasted like melted vanilla ice cream, and the texture was fantastic. Overall, Well was a good experience that taught me that (1) turns out I like green juice (though Well's has a touch too much ginger for my palate), and (2) I need to be very picky in terms of juice ingredients - e.g. lots of juiceries will add cilantro or fennel to their juices, and if you don't find the juice at least somewhat tasty, you are going to have a really hard time staying on the cleanse. Honestly, you need to have a sense of competitiveness to finish it at times. I am far too stubborn to stop once I've committed, so I ultimately had very little issues staying on the juice only protocol - a light headache on the first day due to lack of caffeine and an odd craving for potatoes (yeah, I know) around lunch time, and past that I was fine. Plus, I had the almond milk to look forward to! Well has been expanding steadily, and you can even find it at the downtown co-op grocery now, which is fantastic. Great local success story so far.
Most recently, I have moved onto the Cru Juice bandwagon though, largely due to variety (so many juices! And I have tried most of them) and convenience - you can find Cru in many places, and I buy it at the Sweat Lab or Holt Renfrew locations. I've been largely buying one off juices from Cru, such as Pumped Up Kicks (tasty pineapple /apple / aloe vera concoction), Blue My Mind (blueberry / basil / apple, you mostly taste the basil), Dirty Lemonade (lemon water with bentonite clay, zeoline and activated charcoal which tastes fine, but I haven't been able to find any definitely proof of healing properties.. more on that later), Ménage à Trois (Cru's almond/cashew milk, not as good as Well's) and many others. I also did a 3 day cleanse on Cru, though not one of their actual ones, as I've learned that in reality I just want the green juice and the nut milk at the end to cap off the day, so I drank 3 of Cru's #greenjuice (good, neutral green juice, while the other green option is 50 Shades of Green, and that one has cilantro and fennel, blergh), 1 Pumped Up Kicks and 1 of their most glorious creation, Bad Boy Brown, per day. Frankly, Bad Boy Brown deserves its own post, but basically it’s a chocolate nut milk. It's delicious, amazing and everything you ever dreamed a chocolate nut milk would taste like and more.
A few US / elsewhere in Canada based juice companies will indeed ship to Calgary. I checked out BluePrint as I was hunting around for more neutral tasting green juices after concluding that Well green juice was too gingery. I chose BluePrint's Excavation Cleanse, which is 4 green juices, 1 spicy lemonade and a nut milk per day. The juices shipped via FedEx on Monday, and I had them fairly early on Tuesday morning. BluePrint does by far have the most neutral tasting green juice I've tried, extremely easy to drink. Spicy Lemonade was fine, though I'm not a fan of the taste of agave nectar I think, but the bigger issue for me is it reminds me of the Master Cleanse, which I've never tried, but have heard horror stories about, so I didn't feel very comfortable drinking. Lastly, the nut milk BluePrint does is cashew sweetened again with agave nectar, and it wasn't as good was the ones from Well or Cru. BluePrint is a good option but we have some great ones locally so might as well stick with them!
I also tried the DIY route once this summer, and I must say, it was tough. I don't have a juicer, so what I did was blend the ingredients (various greens, cucumber, celery, green apple and lemon) and push them through a sieve. The result was a touch thicker than a regular juice, which was fine, the bigger issue was the fact that you were making juices every night, and surrounded by that smell, and then you had to drink them. I had a tough time with that (though I finished). I capped off the evening with a homemade almond milk, and I wasn't able to get the same silky texture that the juiceries get (I was using a nut milk bag to strain it which gives you a result that's closer to thinness of commercially produced almond milk) so it was not nearly as satisfying. Ultimately, DIY (for me) was a bust - but I do know people who've tried it successfully (owning a juicer helps).
So what is my final verdict on juices? If you're going to do it, go with the local juiceries - they are tastier, fresher, and you don't have to clean up green slop of your counter/clothing (spoiler: green slop does not come off clothes very easily). As for benefits of juice cleanses, I am in no way qualified to comment on the cleansing aspect (and I am frankly quite skeptical) but what I can say is that they are a good way to reset your standard of eating. After drinking nothing but juices for 3 days, lean meat and vegetables taste amazing - for me, it's a good way to snap myself back into hear and kickstart healthy eating. Another thing to remember is that the fruitier juices can have the same (or more) sugar in them as a can of Coke. So while they're natural, so are poisonous mushrooms, so buyer beware.