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Salma Hayek has teamed up with Eric Helms of Juice Generation to create the Cooler Cleanse. Preparing for a cleanse, Helms explains, is often harder than the cleanse itself.

Cleanses have reached a tipping point. New Yorkers casually refer to the BluePrint Cleanse by its acronym, BPC. On “30 Rock” last night Jenna Maroney complained of “juice fast delirium.” And Whole Foods practically has an aisle devoted to cleanse-related books and paraphernalia.

Several 3- and 6-day juice fast companies have rallied to make it easy on you since not many New York apartments can accommodate  a Norwalk juicer. Major players include BluePrint Cleanse, Organic Avenue, and now the Cooler Cleanse, a co-production of Salma Hayek and Eric Helms, owner of Juice Generation.

No matter which liquid ashram you choose, you need to prepare your body by weaning yourself off of some of the reasons for the cleanse in the first place—red meat, caffeine, fried foods, sugar, happy hour—explains Eric Helms, of the Cooler Cleanse, the newest juice on the block. “The manmade toxins we inhale and consume build up faster than they’re released from our bodies,” says Helms.

Eric Helms, creator of the Cooler Cleanse

Because most people are anxious about the actual cleanse, they tend to skip doing things that can make the juice fast easier. We asked Helms to walk us through a proper pre-cleanse period. Here’s what he said:

What’s the point of a pre-cleanse?
You need to modify your diet for before doing a cleanse because you’ll likely feel awful if you don’t. Seriously, you’ll experience flu-like symptoms, headaches, and digestive problems because you’ve basically just hit the brakes on your digestive system.

How long are we talking?
Ideally three days before you start on the juices. If your diet includes red meat, dairy, caffeine, processed or fast food, you should spend at least three to five days weaning yourself. If you’ve done a cleanse before or you have a pretty clean diet, two to three days of preparation is usually enough.

How restrictive should the pre-cleanse diet be?
A good rule-of-thumb is to eat vegetarian or vegan. A little bit of lean, organic chicken, turkey, or wild fish is fine. But sushi is not a good idea—you might potentially be ingesting trace chemicals or parasites. I don’t recommend peanut butter, because peanuts are known to have fungi. Again, no preservatives or prepared foods, caffeinated drinks, sugar, or sodas. You can have a bit of green tea to help eliminate headaches that might happen with cutting out caffeine.

Does green tea really work?
Ha, ha. For some.

So you cut out all these foods cold turkey?
Maybe you cut out dairy, sugar, and alcohol the first day. On the second day, bread and meat. That kind of thing.

During the pre-cleanse should we take it easy on the exercise?
I tell people to exercise, but moderately. No lifting weights or ten-mile runs. Slow down at yoga. You’re going to be tired and wind down a little bit earlier.

Anything else?
You should basically observe the same simple diet after the juice cleanse. We call that “breaking the cleanse.” If you have a slice of pizza or a cheeseburger immediately after your cleanse, you’re going to feel extremely ill.

3-day, 5-day Cooler Cleanses, customized juices, and the Raw Cooler Diet available at www.coolercleanse.com. Prices start at $58 per day.

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