Cleanses are usually meant to give your body a break from less-than-ideal eating habits. A few days and you’re done. But Urban Detox Club, a new cleanse company based in New York City, doesn’t want you to just flush those bad substances and habits out of your system over a weekend—it wants you to cut them out for good.
Kind of like a lifestyle clean-up program, Urban Detox Club is based on dietary restrictions (buh-bye dairy and gluten), supplements, and coaching. It fits into the growing market of cleanses that go beyond juice, adding food, yoga, and other holistic elements.
“At the end of a cleanse, we want you to feel better—and to stick with it,” says Jen Morris, who founded the company with fellow health coach and IIN grad Rebecca Sadek. In other words, it’s not a break from bad habits, it’s a change to good ones.
To that end, Urban Detox Club has three cleanses: a starter 14-day program, a 30-day program for weight loss, and a “desk dwellers” version for people who really, truly don’t have time to cook.
To start, you sit down with a nutrition coach who gets into the nitty gritty of your habits and goals. The conversation starts with why you want to do a cleanse, then quickly goes to what you eat for breakfast, how often you go to the bathroom, and what you do there. (Just giving you a head’s up.)
Your coach then arms you with a box of nutritional supplements, meal suggestions, recipes, and a grocery list of allowed and forbidden foods.
Then, it’s up to you to follow the supplement schedule and eliminate the items deemed disastrous to a healthy diet—meat, dairy, sugar, caffeine, gluten, and alcohol.
To keep you on track, you get daily emails with subject lines like “Going cold turkey is hot” that convincingly explain the reasoning behind cutting out food groups, plus tips and recipes that make you feel like you have a grip. If you don’t, standing by for any panicked text messages is your sympathetic coach, who will try to help keep you from heading into Starbucks if you let her.
At the end of the cleanse, you gradually add food groups back in, unless you find you feel like a rock star without dairy, in which case, you can choose to bury it for good.
I’m already a healthy eater, but my starter cleanse forced me to plan ahead for all meals. Pret A Manger sandwiches were not on the Allowed list. And I had two eye-opening realizations: I can live without cheese! And I don’t need coffee for energy. (I just really like it.)
Still, the Urban Detox Club is way more work than picking up juice. But, that’s kind of the point, says Morris. “For long-term health, you have to be willing to do some work at home.” Did you think it was going to be a piece of cake? —Lisa Elaine Held
Urban Detox Club cleanses start at $279 (a spring promotion gets you $20 off through April 14), www.urbandetoxclub.com