It’s a brand-new year. Which, among other things, means a brand-new selection of health books that are meant to help you kick start (or keep) whatever wellness promises you made to yourself on or around the stroke of midnight on December 31.
One genre we couldn’t help but notice taking up a whole bookstore aisle? Detoxing, cleansing, and juicing.
To take the stress out of choosing which one to read (which causes acidity and thus defeats the purpose of juicing and detoxing!), here’s a review of the newest and most notable of the category.
Whether you want your detox advice from an expert in Ayurveda or Western medicine—or just need an inspiring new juice-recipe bible with stunning photos to put your green-juice-a-day habit into motion, these are the five healthy tomes you’ll want on your bookshelf and bedside table now. —Jamie McKillop
By Lori Kenyon Farley and Marra St. Clair
It’s for you if you love: juice cleansing or have wanted more intel or guidance about doing one
Written by the founders of Ritual Wellness, a Southern California cleanse and juice company, this new title is a cleansing guidebook, which promises increased energy, glowing skin, and a slimmer waistline—in a mere seven days.
How do they plan to get you there on their wellness bullet train? Expect a minimum two day pre-cleanse (a menu of clean meals like kale salad for lunch and baked fish for dinner progressively eases you into the cleanse phase), a cleanse phase (three days of six different juice, nut milk, and smoothie recipes like kale-basil and ginger-pear), and a post-cleanse phase (two days of gentle eating guiding you back into a normal diet) outlined in detail.
While this is a prescriptive how-to book intended for overhauling your habits and taste buds, it’s probably only for those with substantial motivation and dedication (after all, you’ll be making every juice from scratch). That said, the juice, smoothie, nut milk, and food recipes are delish enough to make and eat at any time, whether you’re diligently cleansing or just eating clean(er).
By Katrine van Wyk
It’s for you if you love: A forward-thinking health coach’s take on juice recipes and nutrition, and chapters organized by your juice objectives, such as Detox, Energy, and Digestion
Van Wyk is a juice evangelist, a juice consultant (having created smoothie recipes for the Equinox locations in London and Toronto), and a holistic health coach at Eleven Eleven alongside functional medicine pioneer Frank Lipman, MD.
The graduate of the progressive Institute for Integrative Nutrition developed a taste for juicing and a healthy lifestyle after modeling and allergies deprived her of one.
Making her own health a priority, she eventually compiled a database of almost 100 green drink recipes and turned it into her very own love letter to green juice. The result is Best Green Drinks Ever, a book that’s bright and pretty (with pictures for every recipe) and informational.
You’ll find a guide to juicers and tools (nut milk bags, explained!), and a nutritional profile of everything from Swiss chard to chia seeds, which clarifies why it’s important to drink your greens and sip your superfoods in the first place.
The recipes are divided into sections, like Detox, Energy, and Digestion, so you can choose your recipe based on the result (and taste!) desired. And green juice neophytes need not shy away. There are yummy recipes like PB and J to a Mint Chocolate Chip Shake. Dare we say even kale-refusers will happily sip them up? Our greens are on “yes.”
By Robin Westen
It’s for you if you love: Ayurveda, food cleanses, yoga, and the role your mindset plays in renewal and health
Author Robin Westen is an Emmy Award winner (for her work on the health show FYI) and the current medical director at Thirdage.com, a health site for baby-boomers.
While she’s penned many books, from Ten Days to Detox to V is for Vagina, this is her first one focused on the connection between yoga (which she’s practiced, in addition to meditation, for over 15 years), Ayurveda (the ancient Indian holistic medicine philosophy), and detoxifying. They all come together in this easy-to-digest, handbag-friendly workbook.
Starting with a quiz to find out how toxic your life is (sorry, Starbucks-lovers might not fare well)—followed by an explanation of Ayurveda and a quiz to determine your dosha (or your constitution)—it helps you delve into what’s plaguing you in your life and your diet, and how they might be related.
Expect instruction on what to eat and recipes, as well as yoga poses, DIY beauty routines, and meditations that can be used toward a seven-day, food-based detox.
And its sweet, not preachy, self-help format taps just enough Ayurvedic philosophy to help clear and calm your mind as well as your body and digestion without an Ayurvedic spa trip. (Though that sounds good, too.)
By Eric Helms with Amely Greevan
It’s for you if you love: Celebrities alongside your juice recipes, and gorgeous food photography
What separates The Juice Generation from the rest of the juice recipe books is its star power. Not only will you find a forward by actor-beauty Salma Hayek, you’re also made privy to the at-home juice recipes of big time actresses like Michelle Williams and Blake Lively.
The food photography alone is like porn for juice lovers. And with more than 100 recipes, there’s no shortage of interesting combinations, making it appealing to juice sophisticates stuck in a kale-apple rut.
And newbies will appreciate a crash course in the juicing terms often taken for granted by wellness fanatics (phytochemicals! masticating!) which, if left unexplained, leave juicing neophytes in the dark.
By Woodson Merrell, MD, with Mary Beth Augustine, MS, RDN, and Hillari Dowdle
It’s for you if you love: Understanding detoxing via a Western medical doctor’s lens
“Detox” has historically been a bugaboo term for physicians, who often call the pursuit of purging toxins silly at best and specious at worst. But not Woodson Merrell, MD, who’s both pro-detoxing and uber credentialed, as the chair of the Department of Integrative Medicine and the founder of the Continuum Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.
Dr. Merrell believes that the body’s own detox processes are “extraordinary,” but that increasing exposure to chemicals in food, in household goods, and the environment have lead to health concerns like allergies, infertility, obesity, and heart disease. When you remove exposure to these elements and add clean foods, your body can reset to a healthy place, he writes.
Detox skeptics and savants might like how his medical background informs the cleanse process and options: There are three-day (juice, smoothie, and nut milk recipes), seven-day (juice and food recipes), and 21-day (juice and food recipes, and mind exercise) regimens.
The recipes are surprisingly culinary and sophisticated—yet involved (polenta with apple compote for breakfast? Delicious, but time-consuming). And even reading the book itself is a commitment. It’s black and white, there are no photos, and it’s as dense as an almond butter smoothie (337 pages of healthy goodness!).
The cleanses are presented as life-changing, or at least lifestyle changing, and with science on their side, who can really argue with that?