Creating the newspaper you are holding in your hands is often very stressful, but has its perks, very often in the shape of cupcakes and sweets sent to our offices by well-meaning PRs.
The combination of long hours, stress and lots of cake makes our team prime candidates for a detox — those week-long cut-back-on-everything sessions where you are supposed to lose weight, feel lighter and give your body a much-needed break from bad habits.
For someone like me, who actually likes their bad habits, the prospect of having only juice to eat for five days is rather terrifying, but after watching reporter Kelly Crane do a successful at-home juice detox earlier this year, I decided to give it a try — Dubai-style, with a home-delivery service. Yes, you really can get everything delivered in this city, including a few days’ worth of freshly made juices that can give your body a new lease of life.
Detox Delight, a German company, landed in the UAE earlier this year, offering 5- and 12-day juice detoxes that are delivered to your home twice a week; there is an option to include a soup that is basically a warmer version of the juice.
The juice is freshly made in Dubai, and my first box arrived as promised, at 7.30am on a Monday morning (the second batch came on Wednesday). In the ice-filled polystyrene cooler is a colourful assortment of bottles ranging from pale pink to bright orange to a healthy-looking green.
Also in my box was a glass jar of soup, a pot of nut butter, a small cashew nut milk and a bag full of straws, menus and a guide to detoxing (which I had already been e-mailed). Everything feels fresh and high quality, and is beautifully presented, which is reassuring when you are handing over control of your digestive system for a week.
Detoxing can be for anyone who wants to kickstart weight loss or simply feel healthier, Detox Delight’s Nicole Junghanel told me. “Detox stands for detoxification, or removal of toxic substances. It is seen as supporting the body’s natural powers of purification — with the right kind of diet, appropriate exercise and complementary treatments.”
Those complementary treatments include daily body brushing, going to the spa, and colon hydrotherapy, which is exactly what you think it is, and no, I skipped that part of the detox.
Detoxers are encouraged to take things easy — do light yoga and pilates, visit the spa a lot and take rest — and I wasn’t going to argue with that. (I paired my detox with a special detox massage from SensAsia.) It’s recommended you detox during “a quiet period in your business life”; during the week I chose, one staffer was on leave, another went on emergency leave and another fell ill; possibly the worst possible work week, but I never felt tired.
I was in this for a few kilos’ weight loss, and was ready to put up with feeling terrible — I’d heard of headaches and mood swings being par for the course while your body flushes toxins from your tissues into the blood stream.
The reality was, I felt better than I ever really have — full of energy and able to bound out of bed every morning, something that is usually a trial. I didn’t lose the weight I had expected (I’ve heard people drop 5kgs in a week; I lost closer to 2.5kg) but I felt lighter, my stomach was flatter and I felt a lot less self-hating. In fact, I felt empowered as I passed on the cupcakes and even sat down to dinner with others while I sipped my juice, my own stubborn willpower egging me on.
“A treatment of pure juice is one of the best experiences you can have,” says Junghanel. “By not taking in any solid food, which normally uses 60-70 per cent of our body’s energy, our digestive system and metabolism have a significant amount of less strain put on them. This enhances greatly the purification process and gives you an energy boost and a healthy slim, less bloated feeling.”
It doesn’t come cheap though. The five-day delivery option in Dubai costs a whopping Dh2,650 (you can collect it yourself for Dh200 less). Consider that if you bought the vegetables yourself it would cost around Dh400 for two; a juicer comes in around Dh900.
“Our pricing is on par with international prices,” says Junghanel. “One has to consider the fact that the juices are delivered to your door and special care is taken into the research of the juice recipes, in addition to the preparation and presentation of the juices. We are on call at any given time to offer advice on nutrition or any health concerns the individual may have. You don’t just get the juice delivered in a bottle; you get an information pack e-mailed to you prior to the detox to assist you in the preparation leading up to it. We also add certain ‘super food’ ingredients to some of the juices, which are very pricey to buy in the market.”
Using juice cafes in malls isn’t the same as they mainly use fruit; Detox Delight includes lots of vegetables, meaning less sugar, she adds, and creates balanced daily juice menus.
“Each juice on any given day never has the same ingredient so to do this at home can actually become quite expensive with a lot of food wastage. And everyone knows how painful it is to clean a juicer. Detoxing is also about not stressing, so to do this at home requires a lot of added stress, time and effort. To this end, it is not only about the detox effect, you are actually saving time and indirectly money too.”
The juices, for the most part, were very good — there was only one green bottle containing a brocolli-pineapple combo that I struggled with — and I truly never felt hungry. Everything has a kick — a little chilli in the morning grapefruit, ginger in the beetroot, or a smooth carrot and orange.
The soups I would eat outside detox, especially the lovely fennel — they are purees rather than broths, so quite filling, and the cinnamon-nutmeg cashew milk should be sold in the supermarket — it’s delicious. As someone who writes about food for a living (read my blog UAEats, at gulfnews.com/uaeats) this surprised me, but there were days when I couldn’t finish all five juices. Detoxing during a work week, when I didn’t have time to dream about what was being served at Shake Shack, probably helped a lot.
Would I do it again? I’d love to — in fact, I miss the juice. Everything was so easy — no washing up or food shopping, and taking a week off from dining out and all my unhealthy habits and paying attention to getting sleep, exercise and caring for my skin was very positive. But the price is, for me at least, prohibitive.
“In today’s busy lifestyles, from all the environmental pollutants, from the unhealthy food and preservatives we consume on almost a daily basis, I guess there is always a need to detoxify your body. Usually we recommend doing a detox every 4-6 months,” says Junghanel, who adds that you can then do a one-day detox every couple of weeks. “That way your body is constantly switching to the detox mode and your body stays healthy.”
How to detox
Check with your doctor if you have any health concerns.
Drink lots and lots of water every day — I was permanently thirsty.
Take care of yourself — get rest, treat yourself to a spa treatment, and take lots of warm baths with detoxing salts.
Use the time to detox your life too, since you can’t really party — I spent an evening reorganising my closet and giving clothes to charity.