I love to eat. Whether it’s a healthy breakfast, filling lunch, or an indulgent three-course dinner, digging into a meal is one of my favourite things. I’m thinking about food while I’m writing this.
The idea of replacing meals with anything other than food has always made me shudder, so I’ve never been one to give into a fad or a cleanse.
There’s also loads of research to suggest a detox or a cleanse isn’t good for you.
Earlier this year, Business Insider’s Erin Brodwin wrote about how your liver and your kidneys act as a super efficient system for filtering out the vast majority of the harmful substances we eat and drink, meaning you never need to detox, because your body already does it for you.
Clinical nutritionist and dietician Filip Koidis, of W1 Nutritionist, told me: “If you have any kind of toxicity from a substance, that’s a medical emergency.”
He added that most detox products don’t specify which toxins they help you eliminate from your body. “The only reason you feel better is you’re eating fruit and vegetables and you’re more organised,” he said. “The weight loss is just down to extreme calorific deficit.”
Despite all of this, many people — including celebrities — swear by companies that deliver a cleanse or detox in an organised, easy to follow manner.
Nosh Detox is one of them. Claiming to be the UK’s first ever home detoxification and weight loss delivery service, it was founded by registered food chef and health practitioner Geeta Sidhu-Robb in 2008.
It offers a number of programs, including juice diets and detoxes, nutrition plans, and vitamin drips. It also recently opened a Nosh Infusion Clinic in Chelsea, offering IV therapy.
It counts the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Georgia May Jagger, and Poppy Delevingne as clients, and claims it will turn over more than £2 million this year.
So, when the company offered me a trial of its original three-day juice fast (which costs a whopping £165.81), I put aside my love of eating — and scepticism around the fad — in order to find out what the fuss was all about.
Along with helping your body “go back to its natural balance by detoxifying and cleansing from the inside out,” the company makes some other big claims about the benefits of the fast.
It promises to “kill cravings,” help you “maintain high energy levels,” increase your metabolic rate, help you “digest food quickly and eliminate waste material deeply,” and “retrain your body and improve your overall dietary patterns.”
Perhaps most striking of its claims is that most people lose five to six pounds within days on the detox.
After signing up, I received a welcome email containing information on the cleanse and on my delivery, followed by a number of other emails leading up to the start of the cleanse with tips on making it successful.
Three black bags were delivered to my flat the night before the cleanse, each containing five juices. I was instructed to refrigerate them. Luckily our fridge was relatively empty, otherwise they definitely wouldn’t have fit.
The juices looked like this. Pretty colourful, right?
On my first day, I was instructed by a printed “daily schedule” to make a hot water with lemon, finely chopped fresh ginger and honey at 7.30 a.m.
I had no ginger, but I sipped on some hot water with lemon while I got ready for work. I was also instructed to “body brush” before showering. I had no idea what this was, so I didn’t do it. My shower was freezing cold, however, so that was one way to wake up.
On the train at 8.23 a.m., my hunger pangs set in, so I tucked into my first drink: The Healer. It’s a spicy Lemon & Ginger Tonic which claims to “kick-start your digestion in the morning and release toxins to start weight loss.”
It went down well, and had a nice flavour — I could definitely see the benefit of starting your day this way.
At 9.30 a.m., the schedule suggested making a herbal tea “to sip throughout the day, adding hot water.” That didn’t seem very appealing, so I didn’t do it.
However, I was really quite hungry by around 10.30 a.m., and fully counted down the minutes to 11 a.m. when I was allowed to have my first real juice: The Rehydrator.
The idea of the juice is that sometimes you’re just thirsty when you think you’re hungry.
The bottle said it contained passion fruit, orange, apple, mango, and flax seed, even claiming: “This smoothie tastes like drinking a Caribbean island and it hydrates your every cell.” I don’t think I’d go that far, but it did taste very nice.
The scheduled suggested drinking three litres of water throughout the day, so I kept pretty hydrated. My mind was surprisingly clear. I was quite productive at work.
At 12 p.m., the schedule suggested having another hot drink, but I found that I didn’t need it. However, at 1.20 p.m. I gave in 10 minutes early and started on The Eliminator juice. This was made with acai powder, mango, pear, grapes, and lemon.
“This stunning army of antioxidants and Beta Flavonoids will give your system just the boost it needs,” the bottle read. Again, it tasted pretty good and was quite filling.
Halfway through the first day, I had received an email asking how I was feeling. I was instructed to “snack on raw carrots or celery sticks with a bit of salt” if I was feeling “light-headed or lacking energy.” I didn’t, as I didn’t want to cheat.
I headed to a “coffee meeting” where I had a green tea. When I returned to the office at 4.45 p.m., it was past the time for my third juice: The Healer. This was made with banana, peach, pineapple, apple, and “the best green superfood in the world,” though it didn’t specify what that was.
Although I was still quite focused, a headache had started to set in. Before the end of the day, I also received a delivery from Fortnum & Mason — a hamper full of cheese, salmon, and jam — which didn’t help.
Nosh had said that there were “adequate levels of fibre” in the juices to “take light exercise, such as a walk, yoga, pilates or gentle jogging.” While I had my gym gear with me set for a little jaunt on the bike or the cross trainer and maybe some light weights after work, all I had energy for was to make it to the end of the day and get the train home.
My schedule suggested praying, meditating, or going for a walk if I was tired and wanting a drink after work. Instead, I met my boyfriend and a friend at the pub by my flat after work.
I sat with them enjoying some soda water for a while, and even tucked into my final juice of the day in the middle of the pub. However, the fun didn’t last long for me, and I left them to it.
The schedule suggested hot water with a teaspoon of lemon juice before bed, but instead, I just went to sleep, after a day of a tonic and four juices.
On the second day, I woke up surprisingly energetic and less hungry than I expected. I sipped The Healer tonic on the train, and had such as busy morning of news that I forgot about food until 10 a.m.
However, when 11 a.m. rolled around, the juice didn’t taste as nice as the day before — I was already getting bored of the taste. Again, I drank lots of water throughout the day.
I was extremely excited by the time I got to 1.30 p.m. — my juice was made with oat milk, strawberry, and banana, and looked more filling than the others — but it was weirdly thick and tasted a bit odd. The idea of “tasty juice” was clearly wearing off.
By the time I got home from a meeting at the end of the day, I was absolutely starving. I downed my 8 p.m. juice in no time, had some tea, then went to sleep simply to avoid eating anything.
When I woke up on the final day, I was starving and absolutely exhausted, but excited at the prospect I was 24 hours away from being done (see picture below for evidence).
I was counting down the minutes until my first juice, but it tasted a little bitter. What I really wanted was coffee, some oatmeal, and some actual fruit.
However, I wasn’t craving bad foods — I wanted something that would be filling and good for me — so perhaps that aspect of the detox was working.
I drank lots of water throughout the day, and somehow I made it to the end. Again, I went to bed early so that the morning — and breakfast — would arrive as quickly as possible.
The day after the cleanse, I woke up not entirely starving. I really enjoyed my breakfast — a classic healthy mix of greek yoghurt with a banana, strawberries, and honey — but my portion was small and I filled up quickly. Not my usual style.
Nosh had recommended sticking with fruits, raw foods, and smoothies until noon, then moving on to solids afterwards. I stuck to the advice for the most part, and didn’t crave — or eat — anything bad.
Was it all worth it?
So, how did the detox measure up to the claims that it would “kill cravings,” “maintain high energy levels,” and potentially help me lose five to six pounds?
I did feel like I was craving healthier food, and less of it, during and immediately after the cleanse. However, writing this a week later, my eating habits are completely back to normal, and I don’t feel any different.
As far as any weight loss is concerned, while I didn’t feel bloated — which I often do — I definitely didn’t feel like I had dropped pounds.
In fact, the main feeling I was left with was sluggish — I hadn’t had the energy to work out in three days, so instead of feeling rejuvenated, I felt lazy. Which, for me, also answers the claim about maintaining “high energy levels.”
Perhaps someone who is less obsessed with food and cooking would have had a different reaction to the cleanse, but ultimately, I think I’d be pretty frustrated if I had paid £165.81 for the three-day program.
As Brodwin said earlier this year: “You can’t simply drink your way to health — even with hundreds of dollars’ worth of freshly liquefied produce.” And after giving it a go, I agree.
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