Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot about juice cleanses and raw food diets as a way to replenish and retain some semblance of a healthy lifestyle. So I did a lot of Internet research, talked to a nutritionist and decided to get in touch with the folks at The Cooler Cleanse.
I chose this cleanse because unlike some others which are all Kale juice, all the time*; the Cooler Cleanse is a variety of juices and raw food products designed to replenish your system not deplete it. I also chose it because there was an optional solid food component. And did I mention that it was co-founded by Salma Hayek?
I’m a little ashamed to be such a sucker for starpower, but it definitely pushed this company over the top. I mean, have you seen Salma Hayek?
Cooler Cleanse looked promising, so I contacted the company to inquire about DC delivery (at the time they were NYC only, and just recently went national). During our conversations, the company was kind enough to send me some sample juices (not a full cleanse, just some flavors to try) if I agreed to review the product on CHS. This post contains my interview with Cooler Cleanse Founder Eric Helms and my review of the product.
Lastly, I would be remised if I didn’t encourage you to talk to your doctor or nutritionist before you begin any diet plan including a cleanse like this one. Every person is different, and I am deeply unqualified to be giving medical advice. So talk to someone with real training before you dive head first into cleansing.
1) Over the past few years, I’ve been hearing a lot about juice cleanses. And frankly, they just sound so trendy–like a Grapefruit Diet for the 21st Century. What makes Cooler Cleanse different from the other fad diet/nutrition programs out there?
Cooler Cleanse is a nutritional cleanse, not a starvation fast. It has been expertly designed to feed your cells with delicious, low-calorie juices so that the best conditions for inner cleansing are created. This nutritional cleanse is a functional, supportive detox program that can be undertaken on your normal schedule. A Cooler Cleanse is more moderate than faddish lemon-and-water fasts. Such extreme fasting programs, are at best, uncomfortable, and at worst, dangerous.
2)Most Hill staffers work 60+ hours per week in a hectic environment, and they’re on call on the weekends. Will this regimen fit into a professional lifestyle or is it best done over a vacation like Congress’ August Recess?
Cooler Cleanse is a short functional cleanse that you can do while living your everyday life. Following the program is simple. You replace your three regular meals with our six delicious, fresh-pressed juices delivered to your door in an easy-to-carry cooler. You cut out the snacks and stimulants like alcohol and caffeine, and drink plenty of water. You take care of yourself and get plenty of rest. You can add in optimal activities like moderate exercise to help the process.
3) I see on your site that you also offer a cleanse augmented by the raw food diet called, Raw Cooler. I’ve heard a lot about raw food lately, especially since this seems to be Demi Moore’s diet of choice. What exactly is it, and what are the benefits?
Raw Foods are unprocessed and uncooked plant foods. Heating food above 104 degrees F is believed to destroy enzymes that can assist in the digestion and absorption of food. A raw food diet has numerous health benefits, including increased energy, better digestion, improved skin appearance and weight loss.
Typically, a raw food detox is similar in effect, but lower in intensity than a juice cleanse. Several days of eating “living food” meals will let your body rest and regenerate. The irritants from your everyday diet are eliminated; the energy used for digestion and fighting these irritants is recouped; and the body’s detox mechanisms are boosted with a flood of vital enzymes, vitamins and minerals.
4) Unlike some other cleanse companies, you offer a wide variety of juices. Can you talk about some of the different types and the benefits of their ingredients
We offer a “Custom Cooler” that allows you to select juices a la carte from our menu. These super-potent, hydraulically pressed juices can be ordered in any combination as supplements to your daily diet or as part of a cleansing program that fits specific goals or needs – such as a 100% green juice detox. Our Essential Green juice contains over 2 lbs of greens in every 16 oz bottle (made with cucumber, celery, parsley, spinach, kale, dandelion greens, watercress, pear, lemon & ginger). Dark green vegetables contain a rainbow of essential vitamins and minerals essential for the cleansing functions of the kidneys and liver. Dark, leafy greens also give the system loads of water-soluble fiber to sweep toxins out. These greens are highly alkalinizing to your cells—this counters the damage done by the corrosive acidic waste products from meat, sugar, dairy and other common foods.
Many people order Custom Coolers for their families as an alternative to soda and sugary beverages. We offer watermelon and lime (watermelon contains the antioxidant glutathione, one of many nutrients the liver requires to process toxins successfully), grapefruit and mint (grapefruit contains fat-burning enzymes and naringin, a natural plant chemical that delivers antioxidant, anti-cancer molecules to your cells) and pineapple ginger (pineapple not only helps digestion, it contains bromelain, an anti-inflammatory agent that helps fight heart disease and arthritis).
5) It’s no secret that Capitol Hill staffers (and budding politicos in general) don’t usually have time to eat right (hello, vending machine), sleep enough (they’re called 10pm votes) or avoid alcohol (two words: open bar). How can Cooler Cleanse help? And can it actually undo some of the damage
The modern routine of restaurant dining, take-out food, late-night meals and drinks, and just being too busy to eat in a healthy way stresses our natural cleansing systems. To all those factors, add our consumption of caffeine, alcohol and medications in an environment with dirty air, impure water and invisible chemicals galore. We’re making more demands of our bodies’ detoxification and healing systems than they can handle. Over time, toxins build up in the body and the results can be small imbalances like aches, allergies, poor digestion and weight gain, or even an ongoing sense of fatigue.
6) I know that many of my female readers will be interested in the weight loss benefits. Is Cooler Cleanse a diet program, or can it be used to jump start a diet program?
Yes! During a Cooler Cleanse, your body gently and safely begins to shed excess, clear out imbalances and discover new energy. After a brief time on this simpler, cleaner diet, you feel lighter and more energized. Senses become sharper as behaviors around eating and drinking are more balanced. You help build the inner conditions necessary to stay resilient and healthy. When you feel better on the inside, you look better on the outside. Glowing skin, bright eyes and the disappearance of hard-to-lose pounds are all common results of a Cooler Cleanse.
7) Lastly, Hill staffers are usually not millionaires. So I have to ask…why is Cooler Cleanse so expensive?
Our juices are prepared with a hydraulic press – a unique and labor-intensive method of extraction that produces juices with 3-5 times more vitamins and minerals. You are consuming about 18 lbs of fresh pressed organic fruits and vegetables every day!
To give me some perspective on what these juices tasted like, the company sent me six samples to try. Some of them were awesome, and one of them made me want to gag.
I started my day with the Grapefruit and Mint juice. Not being a mint fan, I was concerned that the juice might taste a little like drinking OJ after you’ve brushed your teeth, but the hint of mint takes the edge of the sour punch of grapefruit creating a pleasant citrusy-flavor that is perfect for breakfast.
Next, I decided to conquer the dreaded Essential Green juice containing more vegetables than my body has seen in years and looking vaguely like bog water. Easily the worst of the juices, the cucumber/parsley flavor was a bit overwhelming. But since it was the only bad one, you could easily do a custom cleanse and work around it.
After that juice, I decided to cleanse my palate with the Watermelon and Lime. And let me tell you, when they said that this beverage was perfect for a hot summer day, they were not kidding. It was delicious and refreshing, and I may be ordering a supply to get me through the August heat.
In addition to the green juice, the company also offers an Essential Red vegetable juice which is far more pleasing to the tastebuds. The beet, carrot and apple flavors create a vegetable taste, but unlike the green juice, the flavor is more subtle and fruitier. I really enjoyed this juice, and as a result, have been craving beets for days.
Until I tried these juices, I’d never tried a non-cow’s milk dairy drink so I was a little hesitant about the Almond Nut Milk. I ended up liking the rich texture and slightly nutty flavor (it was a little like drinking International Delights creamer straight), and my only complaint was the slight film that it left on my teeth. Next time, I’ll definitely keep a toothbrush handy.
Lastly, I dove into a bottle of Young Coconut Water. I was really looking forward to this juice because I love VitaCoco Coconut Water, but I was surprised by how different the two products taste. While coconut water from CVS tastes like slightly sweet water, the YCW tasted very nutty. I suppose this is probably because the Cooler Cleanse is more concentrated and hydraulic-pressed, but the difference was night and day.
On the whole, I really liked the juices I tried. Even though they weren’t designed as a cleanse, I decided to try to drink them in one day without eating solid foods, and I was surprised at how full and satisfied I felt just drinking the juices. I didn’t feel hungry, but my 3pm crash was a little more pronounced, so I think next time, I would add the Raw Cooler to my order and augment with a bit of food.
If you are looking to kick start a healthier regimen or drop a few pounds for a special occasion, I would highly recommend the Cooler Cleanse. I found the people I spoke with to be extremely knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. So if you’re thinking about trying a cleanse, I would highly recommend The Cooler Cleanse.
Yes, the prices are a bit steep for most Hill budgets, but if you wanted to kick start a new August Recess health regimen or prepare for a wedding, I think it would be a great investment. I’m definitely planning on doing the Raw Cooler after the Election. Because after a month of pizza, beer and insomnia, I’m going to need something to get me moving again.
*Full Disclosure: I tried the Blueprint Cleanse years ago, and I hated it. The day after the cleanse, I fainted during a public hearing and had to take a trip to urgent care. I’d become dehydrated and depleted, and my system needed 12 bananas and a gallon of milk. Seriously, that was the prescription the doctor gave me. This is why I consulted a nutritionist before I tried/recommended the Cooler Cleanse, I highly recommend that you do the same.