You can probably name at least one of the big-name juice cleanse brands. (Unless you’re a New Yorker, in which case you can probably name three or four.) But this long-standing company based in California may have escaped even the master cleanser’s notice.
Called the Izo Cleanse, it debuted in 2006 and has the stamp of approval from forward-thinking docs like Alexander Junger, MD, who was involved in its protocol, as well as healthy celebs like Gwyneth, Patricia Heaton, and in-the-know wellness aficionados who enjoy sipping its low-sugar, high-quality, high-frequency blends. Izo doesn’t focus just on the juice. It wants to be a part of your spiritual transformation rather than simply your palette’s.
Like anyone with a strong interest in Spiritual Wellness (capital letters intended), Tim Martin, now 40, moved to Los Angeles. The former New Yorker and son of an NYPD officer had worked at a record label and virtual reality site, and heard the call to do something more meaningful. He juiced every day and when his roommates loved his beet, apple, carrot blend so much they offered to buy it, he realized that juicing was his business (instead of ecstatic dancing, his original business plan. Good call.)
Rather than creating an LLC, Martin attempted to set up his nascent juice company as a religion. “The Church of Izo,” recalls Martin, “was conceived of as a spiritual research foundation.” For the record, Izo stands for Interdependent Zeitgeist Ontology. Google away on those three words. “I went California kooky,” laughs Martin, or as we call him, The Minister of Juice. “Under ‘form of worship’ on the IRS paperwork, we wrote ‘juicing, yoga, and meditation.'”
Izo eventually opened as a more mundane company, though never lost sight of its spiritual trappings. In the beginning it was a juice delivery service dropping off cold-pressed goodies in the Hollywood Hills. Martin soon discovered the joys and benefits of cleansing, and turned Izo into a cleanse company by the end of 2006.
The Izo signature experience isn’t your typical six-juice-a-day cleanse. Before BluePrint, Cooler Cleanse, Organic Avenue were shipping cleanses across the country, Martin teamed up with Dr. Alexander Junger to create what he calls the ultimate nourishing cleanse. “You could literally live on it,” says Martin, who has lived on his “Juice Feast” for 100 days. The goal: “To make it as complete and thorough as possible from a detox standpoint and also from a comprehensive nourishment standpoint.”
To that end, you’ll drink cold-pressed veggie-forward juices and herbal detoxing teas all day long—there are 13—along with popping herbal laxatives and liver detox tablets. “I don’t understand how the major juice companies get away without giving you a herbal laxative,” says Martin, who believes the toxins you’re flushing can get reabsorbed if you don’t expel them quickly.
Another point of difference: Izo comes with uber-mineralized water that you sip first thing in the morning, protein midday via a souped-up Almond Milk that “combines the complete protein blend of Black Rice, Black Bean, and Black Sesame” plus bee pollen. And the juices and teas that you sip all day are light on fruit and therefore sugar and loaded with superfoods, ground seeds, and other ingredients you don’t often see except in the supplements aisle.
Each one was refreshing, pleasant, and sometimes even delicious, with not unpleasant hints of its potent constituents, like Reishi mushrooms, rhubarb, whole aloe leaf, and thyme. I braced myself for the blends that looked like the swampy teas from an acupuncturist and instead enjoyed every flavor.
I kept expecting to feel hungry or to crave the act of chewing something. But the desire to lunge at my co-workers’ lunches never came. With 13 bottles to sip on and roughly 1,400 calories a day, I felt energetic throughout and even managed to spin and do yoga. By the end of the third day, I felt a cleanse euphoria—that total clarity, shining eyes, and the desire to scale mountains. And the certainty that I would never eat a burger or drink a glass of wine ever again.
And then the cleanse ended and social life resumed, and, yes, maybe I would consider having that glass of wine.
Because cleansed though my body might be, I haven’t cleansed all the no-so-healthy cravings across my life that might come from who-knows-where. Martin wants to broaden the focus of his product so that Izo can also cleanse the emotional and spiritual blockages we might have. “I want to help people identify limiting behaviors and habits and ultimately bring self-forgiveness.” —Alexia Brue
For more information, visit www.izocleanse.com