After trying a $192 juice cleanse for 3 days, I get why people pay so much for juice

jmai juice press

Jessica Mai / Business Insider

The store-bought juices were especially great in the morning. I didn't have to cook breakfast, and I could take it on the go.

Juice cleanses get a bad rap.

They can be expensive and there isn't much science to prove that we need to "cleanse" at all.As reported by Erin Brodwin of Business Insider, our liver and kidneys work together to detoxify the body naturally, and we technically don't need to cleanse unless we've been poisoned.
Juicing also removes some of the healthiest parts of fresh produce, such as protein and fiber, and you're left with a drink that's high in sugar.

Lack of protein and high-sugar levels can leave you on a roller coaster of high and low energy. The prolonged effects can cause you to lose muscle rather than fat, because protein is what your muscles feed on for energy, Business Insider reports.

But ... I still wanted to try one. I'm big on new diets and food trends, and I wasn't trying to lose weight. I wanted to give my body a break from all the processed foods, alcohol, and sweets I consume regularly. Ideally, I thought, I'd try some expensive, fancy cleanse and then use it as a base to recreate my own version at home for a second round, getting a similar experience for way less cost.

It didn't quite work out that way. Three days and $192 of juice later, I finally understand why people are willing to pay for the privilege.

My first step was reaching out to Juice Press, a popular juice company in New York City, to get their expertise. With the help of Leah Landon, their vice president of branding, I was able to experience my very first juice cleanse. The company was generous enough to let me try it for free, but I never forgot that each day's worth of juice cost about $64 - a price I could barely afford.
jmai jp bottles

Jessica Mai / Business Insider

There were so many options to choose from. I was also able to sample most of the juices to find the ones I wanted in my cleanse.


For the cleanse, I had to drink six juices a day, for three days. I had two smoothies, three juices, and one "specialty shake." They were to be consumed every two hours along with water in between. I was not allowed to eat anything that required chewing or that would require my body to work hard to digest. Landon said I didn't have to cut out caffeine if I didn't want to even if it was suggested - and I didn't.

The cleanse itself wasn't all that hard. Most of the juices from Juice Press were quite delicious, including the "medicine" ones that were based on vegetables instead of fruits. Between all the liquids I didn't really feel hungry. The biggest challenge was that I just wanted to chew something. The lack of hot, solid foods in my system also heightened my sense of smell, and found I could smell everyone's lunch at the office much more than usual.

To make sure I wasn't getting delusional from lack of food, I had my peers try the juices, and they didn't think the taste was terrible, either - hard to believe considering they were a mix of ginger, lemon, kale, spinach, and a bunch of other vegetables I don't usually eat.

But that's kind of the point, right? To pump myself full of nutrients I wouldn't choose to eat otherwise.

Knowing I wanted to use these juices as a template to recreate them at home, I kept a close eye on the ingredients. That was my first challenge: a lot of ingredients in the juices were either hard to find or hard to prepare, such as dandelion, algae, and raw coconut. Plus, since the company is 100% USDA certified, finding ingredients of the same caliber costs a lot more than if I were to get them at discount grocery stores.

Strike one against my homemade recreations.
jmai jp

Jessica Mai / Business Insider

The juices I picked for my cleanse, which included juices, smoothies, and "specialty shakes."

Plus, every evening, I picked the juices I wanted for the next day through Juice Press's website, which I would pick up the next morning at the location near my Manhattan office. It was easy to customize and essentially hassle-free. I didn't have to buy the ingredients, didn't have to prep them, juice them, nor did I have to clean the machine, which would have been the case if I tried to replicate the cleanse. It would have also been a process would went on for three days, since the juices needed to be as fresh as possible if I were to mimic the ones at the store.

Strike two. Frankly, the amount of work involved in prepping the juices myself was the main reason I was unsuccessful with my DIY-juice cleanse. Even more so than the cost.

And that's when I realized why people pay so much for juice: because they're paying for convenience. The people who are buying juice already have decided on a cleanse (or on a snack, or on a drink) and don't need to be convinced of whether a cleanse has any actual benefits. They're going to drink juice. The question is, how? By grabbing one on their way to work, or by hunting down, paying for, and painstakingly combining ingredients of their own?

I imagine there must be easier ways to make your own juice, and one day, I hope to try them. But after a week of dragging my feet, meaning to buy ingredients but never quite getting around to it, I understand: The price for convenience is steep ... but for many people, it's worth it.

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