Chances are, you’ve heard the term “juice cleanse.” And you thought to yourself:
A. This sounds like some awful, ascetic, weight-loss diet;
B. If the Hollywood stars are all lit up about this, it must be awesome/nuts/worthy of careful consideration; or
C. What in the heck is a juice cleanse?
Whatever the case, Jon Arroyo, beverage director at Founding Farmers, wants to make the idea palatable for Washington workhorses in need of a reboot.
Arroyo’s Farm Health Juice Cleanse launched with the restaurant’s Tysons branch in February. A former personal trainer, Arroyo spent two years researching and crafting his blends.
“The juices make me feel energized,” Arroyo says. “I could drink beets all day and feel like a million bucks.”
Typically, a juice cleanse involves one to seven days of replacing meals with drinks made of fruits, veggies and spices to “detox” the body. Advocates claim that cold-pressed juice, the kind that Arroyo sells, better preserves plant nutrients that may be destroyed by heat. (The cold-press process avoids grinding or blending with a motor, which heats up the food.)
Others question those assertions.
“First off, you don’t need a system to detox,” says Joy Dubost, a local dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “You have an inherent, built-in system in your body for that,” aka the liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract.
While cleanses may promote initial weight loss by restricting calories, extended use could reduce muscle mass, she says. And when it comes to processing plants, heat isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Cooking releases vitamin A-rich beta-carotene in sweet potatoes, for instance. Still, Dubost says she’s seen clients who say juice cleanses help put them in the mindset for healthier eating.
Arroyo backs away from any grandiose claims.
“We’re not making statements that we’re going to change the way your life goes or, all of a sudden, you’re going to start losing thousands of pounds,” he says. “We just took those ingredients and blended them so they taste great, and with that, you know, good luck, and enjoy.”
Founding Farmers may well be the first full-service restaurant in the country to offer a juicing regimen. That’s what it claims, and the National Restaurant Association knew of no other program, according to spokeswoman Christin Fernandez.
The Farm Health cleanse comes in one-, two- and three-day sets of six daily juices at 200 to 300 calories apiece. Example: “Green Day,” a blend of apple, cucumber, romaine, celery, kale and chard, a wake-up drink Founding Farmers calls “a great ‘mouthwash’ for the organs.”
You can try Arroyo’s popular “Beets By J” and other blends at Founding Farmers Tysons, which offers the cleanses for $65 per day and individual juices for $10.
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