Earlier this week, I was visiting my esthetician (google it if you need to) who was on day #2 of a juice cleanse. It wasn’t one of those “master cleanses” you do at home with a little lemonade and cayenne pepper. She was on bottle #3 of Starbucks’ Evolution Fresh, a high-end juice she picked up from the Bellevue location of Starbucks’ recently acquired juice chain.
These juices can also be found in most Starbucks stores, but the Evolution Fresh locations have them in bulk packs, and also serve fresh food – most of which is either vegetarian or vegan. The stores are really a health-food junkie’s haven.
I had a lot to celebrate this week (more on that another time), so I spent most of the week binging – unlike my typical routine, which usually is limited to fresh salads or other foods centered around vegetables, and sometimes fish, capped at around 1300 calories. By Thursday, after several trips through the McDonald’s drivethru and definitely surpassing my daily calorie limit, I felt like total shit, so I decided after lunch to start this juice cleanse using Evolution Fresh’s juices. They call this their “ritual.”
After doing some research online, I picked up a few bottles from my nearby Starbucks – 4 bottles were $25 dollars. This got me through Friday, where I visited the store in University Village, and picked up pre-made six packs of the juices. Evolution Fresh was kind enough to send me a coupon for 20% off, so 12 juices ended up costing around $50.
I know. Yikes.
I got through Friday until around 7pm, when I was craving solid food. After a small salad during happy hour with a friend, I found myself really sick.
This is, apparently, what the detox looks like.
I ended up going to bed fairly early, starting to feel hunger pains, and slept really late today – waking up incredibly hungry with a terrible headache. I tried my hardest to push through the afternoon, but caved and ate a Larabar, along with a few Advil. At 5pm, I got a raw, dressing-free salad.
It was the best salad I have ever had.
The reality is, a juice cleanse isn’t necessary. It’s a quick way to consume a ton of vegetables and ensure you’re drinking a lot of water – which most people find difficult to do. This isn’t different than my typical lifestyle. Cleanses also make it incredibly difficult to function during the cleanse – the simultaneous symptoms of headaches, nausea, being cold, etc are not normal for the human body. But it’s that time of year where everyone is setting goals to get healthy, eat clean, and start fresh…so of course businesses in the health industry are going to take full advantage of these resolutions and motivations. Especially as the “juice cleanse” fad is kicking into high gear.
So what better company than one already making juices for a specific demographic ? (Read: wealthy soccer moms.)
The Evolution Fresh “Juice Ritual” is nothing more than a marketing ploy – and an expensive one at that. But it’s genius, because it’s backed by a brand (Starbucks) that consumers trust. The products look beautiful – just walking into an Evolution Fresh store is a refreshing experience. And their spiel (the juice is still live since it’s cold pressed under high pressure, not pasteurized, etc. ) sounds legitimate – and better than the competition. And I’ll be honest – the juice does taste great.
But does it work? After two days, I was more bloated than normal, hadn’t lost any weight, and my mental state wasn’t desirable. I was completely unable to sit down and do any work (such as write) until I finally ate a big salad a few hours ago.
But Starbucks – and Evolution Fresh – will undoubtedly continue to capitalize on this fad with this marketing ploy. They’ve cornered their niche, defined their demographic, and have branded their own cleanse as a “ritual” – which is admittedly less scary than doing a “cleanse” per se. It actually looks and sounds fun to do, which is key in any marketing campaign. It’s downright enticing – even if you have no need for it.
Unfortunately, the reality is that no matter how you market a cleanse, you’re still starving yourself. As for me, I’ll stick with my paleo-ish lifestyle, and keep eating my veggies. And stay away from the fast food…of course.