The people behind Organic Pharmer in Rye Brook are determined to show you that you do not need to be hungry to be healthy. Their food and beverages have been carefully designed by Darlene and Lee Gross, chefs with years of experience preparing macrobiotic, vegan, vegetarian food, and juices, under the guidance of Dr. Susan Blum, of the Blum Center for Health. When the trio discussed their cleanse program, it was very important that they not “starve people,” Darlene Gross said. “We include fats and ingredients that are more sustaining like protein in our protein shakes." They were also careful to regulate the amount of sugar in their cleanses as sugar often creeps into cleanses when fruit is used to offset the bitterness of leafy greens in juices.
Each food and juice cleanse provides about 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day and is gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, and vegan. They also offer juice-only cleanses.
I had the pleasure of trying the three-day food and juice cleanse January 18 to 20 and chronicling my experience. The type of cleanse I chose included two juices, one protein shake, two vegan meals, and an infused coconut milk daily. All the juices are cold pressed and include an herb infusion. The protein power used in the shakes is all natural, made from a mix of ingredients like sprouted brown rice, lucuma (a subtropical fruit), Jerusalem artichoke, sacha inchi (aka the Inca peanut), and stevia (a sugar substitute extracted from the stevia plant).
“When you are detoxifying yourself, the toxins have to come out. You can feel run down but it is not from what you are taking, it is from what is coming out of you,” Gross explained. The Ayurvedic saying on the back of every bottle reflects Gross’ advice: “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”
After the cleanse, Gross recommends to eat simply and slowly return to eating animal products. Here is my experience on the cleanse:
Liver Love Juice and Food Cleanse
1,294 calories, 59.5 fat, 148g carb, 52.4g protein, 62g sugar, 675 mg sodium, 30g fiber
This cleanse is focused on flushing out unwanted toxins and aiding your liver’s ability to detox, so it is filled with greens, antioxidants, protein and healthy fat.
11 am: Juice 1, Alpha Green, 12 oz., 54 calories
The first juice of the cleanse did not disappoint. Even though the juice has no fruit in it other than lemon, and was packed with leafy greens that can make a juice bitter, it was sweet, smooth, and satisfying. The hint of fennel and mint gave the beverage a fresh robust flavor. An inspiring way to start a three-day cleanse.
1 pm: Protein Shake, Marathon, 12 oz., 260 calories
The mid-morning shake is packed with protein and antioxidants, made with a mix of fruits, vegetables, ginger, and Epic Protein Green Kingdom powder. As I brought the bottle up to my lips I noticed a protein powder type of smell, which isn’t really appealing, but I was hungry and not about to be skipping any meals. The drink was thick and filling, but a little too sweet for me. However, after a few sips I got used to the unique flavor. This was the only product that I did not love during the cleanse.
3 pm: Marinated Kale Salad, 150 calories
“Yes! I get to eat food,” I thought as I removed the small container of kale from my Organic Pharmer lunch box. At first I was a little disheartened at how small the salad looked in its packaging, but I was surprised how long it took me to finish eating, and at how filling it was. The salad was drenched with lemon-flaxseed dressing, which is mildly tart but complemented the salad well. The dressing along with the shaved fennel, radish and herbs made for a flavorful meal.
5:30 pm: Green Light Juice, 12 oz., 170 calories
Around 4 pm I started to feel a slight headache coming on, which I attributed to caffeine deprivation, but after taking a vinyasa yoga class the headache was gone. I was feeling pretty hungry however. Thankfully, I planned ahead and had my fourth meal of the day with me. On my ride home I devoured the Green Light juice, which tasted good but caused a bit of heartburn, most likely from the ginger. I made a mental note to swap out Green Light for something else next time.
8 pm: French Lentil Salad, 450 calories
I took this salad out of its packaging and, to my great excitement, it was huge! I poured it into a large bowl and mixed it up with the provided herbed balsamic vinaigrette. The salad included lentils and a few slices of roasted beets, mixed with roasted walnuts, crumbled Pharmer’s cheese, and shaved fennel. I can’t choose which salad I liked better so far.
9 pm: Coconut Chai, 8 oz., 200 calories
This infused coconut milk hit the spot at the end of the night. I think that even without being on a cleanse, the drink would taste like dessert. It is infused with cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla bean, fresh ginger, and black peppercorn.
On the second morning of my cleanse, I woke up after a very deep night’s sleep feeling no different or hungrier than most mornings. The thought of coffee teased me a bit, but I felt well rested and like I would be okay without my usual morning cup.
Immune Juice And Food Cleanse
1,078 calories, 44 fat, 129g carb, 39.8 protein, 62g sugar, 905mg sodium, 16g fiber
This cleanse is low fat and designed to strengthen your immune system.
I was really excited for the food in today’s immune-boosting cleanse—quinoa and black rice sushi and mung bean pasta. In fact, I really only chose the Immune cleanse because I really wanted to try the mung bean pasta. It turned out that every item included on this second day was a homerun (even though I cheated at the end of the day).
9 am: Alpha Green Juice, 12 oz., 54 calories
This is my favorite juice so far, very smooth, with no heartburn—only 54 calories but feel pretty satisfied. I woke up after a very deep night’s sleep feeling no different than most mornings. The thought of coffee is teasing me but I feel pretty well rested so maybe I don’t actually need it. Looking forward to today’s protein shake in two hours.
11 am: Defense Protein Shake, 12 oz., 200 calories
I was very ready for my next drink by the time 11 am came around. Defense is my favorite protein shake so far. It is so thick and has the same slight protein flavor as yesterday’s shake but no smell and I love the flavor. A nice blend of berry, banana, and all-natural protein powder to give it the thickness that helped curb off the feeling of hunger.
2 pm: Quinoa and Black Rice Sushi, 8 pieces, 250 calories
This sushi is amazing and I’m actually feeling full after eating it a little too fast. The roll has the same texture and weight of real sushi, but it is completely vegan and packed with the healthiest ingredients. Quinoa and black rice are substituted for Japanese white rice, and the roll is stuffed with azuki bean tempeh, fresh cucumber, avocado, and a spicy sweet potato filling. The soy-free ginger dipping sauce and pickled ginger and carrot are the perfect condiments to go with the roll.
4 pm: Omega Red Juice, 12 oz. 150 calories
This delightful afternoon snack is packed with antioxidants and delicious sweet ingredients like strawberries, pomegranate, red beet, rose hips, and pink peppercorn. Somehow, that combination created a flavor that tastes just like my mother’s rhubarb pie, and just as good but without the sugar and buttery crust. I feel satisfied and have the energy I need for spin class in an hour. This cleanse is giving me one favorite new food after another.
7 pm: MungMung Bean Fettuccini with Kale Pesto, 280 calories
These protein-packed green mung bean noodles taste just like the real thing and the pesto, made with fresh basil, green kale, extra virgin olive oil and garlic, is very fresh and flavorful. The mock-cheese is good too, made of almond-flaxseed “Pharmesan.”
9 pm: Coconut Chai, 8 oz. 200 calories
Again, a delicious and comforting dessert at the end of a surprisingly, not very difficult or hangry day.
10 pm: Peanut Butter
This is not part of the cleanse. I cheated and decided I had to fess up. Eating the delicious thick spoonful of peanut butter was more of a mental act of defiance against the cleanse than a need to eat more. I should have just gone to sleep. :(
Beauty Juice And Food Cleanse
1,034 calories, 30g fat, 135g carb, 45g protein, 82g sugar, 265 mg sodium, 22g fiber
The Beauty cleanse is nut-free and includes a lot of antioxidants. It is designed to “shield from environmental free radical damage and protect cells from the stress of daily life.
I woke up on day three feeling good, but also very aware that I dreamed of food, specifically a Thanksgiving dinner feast. Despite the mouth-watering REM meal, I felt good as I opened my last Alpha Green breakfast of the cleanse. The Beauty cleanse consisted of two of the same drinks as day one, Alpha Green and Defense+, and ended with the same coconut Chai, so here I only review the items that were new to me.
8:30 am: Alpha Green and 10:30 am Defense+
I was hungry when I woke up (thanks to the dreamy feast), but not ravished. I waited until I got in my car to drink the Alpha Green, which did just enough to tide me over until I could have the Defense+ protein drink, which completely satisfied my hunger for the morning.
1 pm: Third meal of the day, Sunflower Wrap, 290 calories
I ate this delicious sunflower ‘tuna’ spread kelp wrap during a meeting in front of coworkers who were all very intrigued by how fresh and healthy it looked. I wanted to let them have a taste, but I was hungry at this point and wanted every last delicious bite to myself. The sunflower spread had a thick, grainy texture, which went well with the crispy cucumber and romaine lettuce wrapped around it and covered by a kelp leaf. It was served with a wedge of lemon and affilla cress (tiny greens), which I was happy to try for the first time.
3 pm: Immunition Juice, 12. oz., 90 calories
The last juice of the cleanse had a very strong flavor and felt a little decadent thanks to use of cinnamon and clove. Aptly named Immunition juice, this beverage is packed with immune-boosting ingredients: carrot, tart cherry, blueberry, ginger, cinnamon, clove, and an infusion of elderberry and elderflower. The ginger in this drink did not bother me like it did in the juice from day one, and the flavors all mixed well together.
7 pm: Harvest Salad, 350 calories
When I opened the salad I was a little disappointed that the package of toasted seeds that came with it seemed to be the only ingredients other than greens. But, then I discovered the whole sorghum, dried chickpeas, and sun-dried cherries and tasted the apple cider vinaigrette, and was no longer worried. This salad was also very large, just like the one from day one and it filled me up.
Overall, I felt that this was a delicious and well structured cleanse. I got more and better quality sleep, I lost two pounds and I felt good knowing I was treating my body to the most natural, healthy fuel available. I did feel a little hungry and had urges to eat full hot meals of food, but that is to be expected with any dietary change that reduces calories and cuts out food groups. Most importantly, unlike purely juice cleanses I have done in the past, the Organic Pharmer’s juice and food cleanse did not disrupt my daily life or energy levels.
While I always try to eat plenty of vegetables, fruit and whole grains, the cleanse helped me realize my portions are usually larger than they need to be and it reminded me of the usefulness of spices and herbs to add flavor to meals without adding sugar and fat. I am a believer in the values of a vegan diet, who loves meat and dairy too much to fully commit to one, but this cleanse has helped me set myself back on clean eating path. Thank you to Organic Pharmer for the satisfying and tasty cleanse!