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amNewYork editors attempt to tackle one of their biggest fears... the juice cleanse

Juice cleanses are all the rage, but we had never done one. So in the interest of journalism (as well as our curiosity and unexplained need to subject ourselves to pain), we decided to try it.

Our friend Ross Franklin, founder of Pure Green, a smoothie and cold pressed juice brand with three locations in the city (and more in the works), set us up with his "juice 'til dinner" cleanse. We could eat a healthy, sensible dinner -- like a salad or avocado toast -- as well as drink four juices and plenty of water throughout the day.

As Ross put it, "Our mission is to transition the mainstream population into healthy lifestyles." And yes, we admit to being pretty "mainstream," but we were ready to go all in.

It. Was. Not. Easy. But at the end we did feel healthier, and maybe even look better... and then we celebrated with a cookie!

Meet Kayla

Kayla is the manager of the new 8th
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

Kayla is the manager of the new 8th Street location. She is also a saint who answers constant e-mails from cleansers asking questions such as, "Can I eat a sandwich?"

No names mentioned.

Kayla, like every Pure Green employee, went through Pure Green University, an intensive program to learn all about the benefits of cold pressed juice and super foods, and is a certified "Pure Coach." That means she will assess your end goal (whether it's to lose weight, boost energy, add some shine to your hair and nails, etc.) and plan your cleanse accordingly. She also checks in with you daily, because, as alluded to above, she has a lot of patience.

How to cleanse

1. Drink 1 juice every 2.5 to 3
Photo Credit: Alison Fox

1. Drink 1 juice every 2.5 to 3 hours

2. Drink your body weight in ounces for every day you are cleansing -- it is water which flushes all the toxins out of the body.

3. While cleansing, avoid coffee, alcohol and cigarettes.

4. If you get hunger pains from cleansing, have a few slices of green apple (less fructose than red) and a few raw almonds as needed -- this will not interfere with the cleanse.)

Your coach picks the juices that will work best based on your lifestyle and end goal, and puts them in order. Juices higher in natural sugars are for the end of the day, to avoid an early or mid-day spike in blood sugar. Sweating toxins out helps too, so bonus points if you work out or even take a hot bath.

Day One

Ross met us in the morning as we
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

Ross met us in the morning as we picked up our first juices. We were nervous. He was all smiles. (Probably dreaming about his breakfast plans, or something. Must be nice.)


10:45 a.m.: Drinking my first juice -- pure greens with apple -- uncertain about what the future holds but feeling good! Walked past about 50 restaurants and didn't feel tempted, but then again I'm not a breakfast person anyway. Hoping I feel the same by lunchtime...

1:30 p.m.: Downed my second juice in a cab on the way to a TV shoot. I was afraid I'd feel like fainting on camera or something, but for running around in the heat all day, I didn't think about it much. (Except when I got dropped off right in front of a row of food carts. Rude.) My big mistake was that I didn't bring water, and I didn't have time to stop for any. Still, I felt OK.

5:30 p.m.: Headache started to kick in... wasn't sure if it was the cleanse or the traffic. Got back to the office and downed half of my last juice (the beet one, which might be my favorite, maybe because it's not green) and some water before I got pulled away. The thought of dinner kept me going strong.

7:30 p.m.: Headache is out in full force. Had to go to a bridal shower at Sugar & Plumm, which is known for dessert. I am generally a healthy eater, but I have a horrible sweet tooth. I walked in to bowls of my favorite candy everywhere. I resisted! This was a personal victory for sure. While my friends ordered cocktails, I drank everyone's water. I definitely got a few judgmental stares. If rumors start flying, I wouldn't be surprised.

8:30 p.m.: Meet hangry Nina. I ordered a Mediterranean salad (lettuce wedge, olives, tomatoes, chickpeas) and I am pretty sure I was the last person at the party to get my dinner. My friend even called for the waiter to make sure mine was coming. She must have seen my face. In the meantime, I ate a piece of pita bread. I don't think that was allowed.

8:45 p.m.: My salad came and I dug in with all of my might. But after three bites, my friend's mom came over to ask if I would start creating her bridal shower hat. You know, that thing you make out of ribbon? After a moment of panic, I downed the rest of the salad and calmly went about my bridesmaid duties.

10 p.m.: Passed up coffee and cake. Feeling like a rockstar. I didn't feel hungry anymore, but I definitely still had a headache. I slept extremely well.


11:20: Drinking my pure greens with apple morning juice and browsing a food blog... I realize this may actually count as torture. I've been a very strict vegetarian for most of my life, so I've developed a lot of self control over the years. But I can't lie, passing by the coffee shop this morning and not going in for a two or three shot latte was as close to a miracle as I may ever get.

5 p.m.: I didn't realize how bad my headache would be after just one day of not drinking coffee. I would sell my left kidney right about now for a latte. The juice (pure greens with apple, lemon, and ginger) is tasty, but I am so hungry that I'm starting to wonder if this was a good idea.

6:30 p.m.: I am a little behind on my juices for the day because of a hectic day at work. I had to stand out in the heat for a press conference and another reporter decided to taunt me with his almond milk latte, literally waving it in front of my face. Finally back in the office (and the AC), I'm drinking my fourth juice right now and dreaming of a (non-dairy, hummus and hard boiled egg) sandwich for dinner... I realize bread isn't exactly what you're supposed to eat on a cleanse, but I'm hungry. And besides, it's better than Taco Bell.

Day 2

Nina 8 a.m.: The headache was gone when
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero


8 a.m.: The headache was gone when I woke up. I definitely wanted some coffee, but I got ready and made my way to Pure Green for our second round of juices, instead. It's recommended to get fresh juice each day for the best taste and optimum nutrients. It seemed like every single person I passed was waving a latte in front of my face. Kayla was very encouraging and told me that she and the rest of her staff were on a cleanse, too, except they couldn't eat dinner. So, after pausing a little too long to watch an employee make an almond butter and jelly sandwich, I went on my way feeling lucky that I could at least look forward to a salad in 9 hours or so. I drank my first juice on the subway, while juggling four Pure Green bags. Even I was rolling my eyes at me.

1 p.m.: I've been trying to remember to drink more water today. I'm drinking fancy French sparkling water (Badoit) to make myself feel better. It comes in a big, green, glass bottle that kind of look like a Champagne bottle. I really did not feel like drinking another juice. The "skin glow" (carrot, cucumber, zucchini) tasted more vegetable-y than it did yesterday. But once I drank it, I actually felt the most awake I had felt all day! And though I hadn't looked in the mirror, I was pretty sure my skin was glowing.

3 p.m.: I opened my drawer to get my phone charger and saw a bag of Reese's peanut butter cups. I cursed this cruel, cruel universe we live in. I wasn't craving candy, really, but I would have loved some solid food. Alison very generously offered me some egg, but I could not do that to her and still sleep at night.

6 p.m.: I decided I would eat dinner early this time. Alison told me about a new, healthy Mediterranean place down the block, Nanoosh, so I got a "power bowl." It included kale, hummus, grilled chicken, cucumbers... and feta. Oops on the feta, but come on, I'm improving.

8:30 p.m.: After eating, I was able to get some more work done. But now, for the true test. I was getting on a train and going back home to visit my parents for the next 24 hours. My parents are Italian. Do I even need to say more? When I came home and told my mom I wasn't hungry, I think she almost fainted. I basically ran to my room in shame. I'm 25.


11:30 a.m.: I was already hungry when I woke up this morning, but my headache from yesterday (which felt like a million tiny jackhammers trying to actually carve the toxins out of my body), has subsided a bit. My favorite juice so far is the coconut hydrate with lemon, pineapple, chia seeds and coconut water, because it's tart and refreshing, and if you chew the little seeds, it's almost like eating. Almost.

2 p.m.: I broke down and ate a hard boiled egg. I know that's cheating, but I think I'll do a modified cleanse for now on. Between the juices and the egg, I feel so much better and more alert (and I am nicer to my co-workers and mother). For your first ever juice cleanse, this may be the way to go.

4:20 p.m.: I am on my third juice today and getting a little juiced out. My headache is definitely manageable today, and I'm feeling more energized. But then my friend Keira, forgetting I was on this cleanse, bought a chocolate peanut butter cookie from Levain Bakery for us to share and then told me all about how she just downed an espresso and ordered sushi. If this was yesterday, I would have told her to leave and not speak to me again. But my new, healthier attitude just laughed and asked her to save me a piece for my Friday morning breakfast (when this cleanse is over).

4:40 p.m.: Nina and I are now taunting each other with emojis of our favorite foods and drinks... I guess it's good to laugh about it.

8 p.m.: Just getting home from work and ready to eat DINNER. I had a questionable avocado but made the most of it and smashed it on top of a piece of toast. Topped that with a fried egg (mmm) and some vegetarian bacon. This is the meal I typically make for myself after spinning class, so I was very happy to have this again. I longingly eyed the ice cream in my freezer, but then I went to bed.

Day Three

Nina 10:00 a.m.: I took off today for
Photo Credit: Alison Fox


10:00 a.m.: I took off today for my mom's birthday celebration. I decided to sleep late-- less hours of (consciously) not eating that way. My mother didn't raise a fool.

11:00 a.m.: Now ready for my first juice, I remembered the perils of being back home. There were bagels... or breakfast paninis or something delicious. I didn't let myself stay in the kitchen long enough to look.

1 p.m.: It was cloudy, so our beach day plans were ruined. We decided to take my mom to a winery on the North Fork of Long Island instead. Yes, a winery. I packed my beet juice and headed for the car.

3 p.m.: This has been my easiest day so far... but I love wine. While my mom and sisters clinked glasses of rose, I offered up my plastic bottle of beet juice. At least it was red, right? All in all, I had fun anyway. Who knew you could have fun at a winery without drinking wine? Valuable lesson learned, and painful hangover avoided. Win-win.

7 p.m.: I was excited for dinner as I believe one should be on a cleanse, but I really wasn't overly hungry. Mission accomplished! I avoided alcohol in another social situation and had some light seafood. I am glad I can eat three meals tomorrow, but I don't feel like I NEED to give up the juicing. I really think I'll keep the healthy thing going. I may even do this again sometime.


11:20 a.m.: Pure greens with apple again (that's six different green veggies, for the record). I am getting a little green juiced out. Woke up hungry this morning and really missed my normal breakfast of an egg with soy bacon and crackers. And COFFEE. Can't wait to have coffee tomorrow morning...

2:50 p.m.: After a hard boiled egg and a chia seed, coconut and lemon juice, I am no longer as hungry. I think the biggest lesson I've learned is that I don't need as much food as I think I do to feel satisfied. I'm not willing to give up my coffee or my breakfast, but for lunch I can opt for something small, more of a healthy snack, rather than a sandwich the size of my head. Bring on the Skin Glow juice (carrot, cucumber, and zucchini).

6:30 p.m.: Had my final juice before dinner. I started getting hungry again at about 4 p.m. so I drank the Pure Greens with apple, lemon, and ginger to tide me over. I like the lemon in that one. It makes you (almost) forget you're drinking your billionth juice this week. Now, about to dig into my final dinner (a baked falafel and hummus power bowl), I'm realizing it's not hard to eat healthy and have it still be delicious. I think I'm starting to feel a little nostalgic for my juice cleanse. I wonder if my stomach shrunk. I don't think I can even finish this salad...

Final Thoughts

Nina I like healthy food. I enjoy salads
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero


I like healthy food. I enjoy salads and vegetables, and white bread makes me cringe. But before this, I watched my roommates go on cleanses and I was horrified at the thought of such inhumane torture.

In reality, although it's not for everyone, a "juice 'til dinner" cleanse seemed to me like a reasonable way to detox and kickstart a healthy lifestyle. The toughest of my three days was the one I was stuck in the office, thinking about not eating, which just made me realize how much we mindlessly snack on junk at work. Since it ended, I pick my meals more carefully. (I also think I enjoy them more.) I make an effort to drink more water, which is a big deal.

I don't think I would do a full cleanse, without one meal, because for me, making an effort to live a healthier lifestyle is enough for now. I would do a juice 'til dinner cleanse again... but not anytime soon. I'm going to try to enjoy my summer. I will drink rose and eat a lobster roll here and there. But I will also continue to make small, positive changes to my everyday choices.


I think what surprised me the most was how little food I really need to feel not hungry. The first day was basically hell on earth for me: I found myself crouched in our office kitchen for the third time that day with hiccups that wouldn't stop and a pounding headache that felt like it would never go away. I came so close to quitting right then, but my mother told me I should see it through. The headache subsided a little the second and third days and became manageable (I bet another week off coffee would make it go away entirely, but alas... I am a reporter and we can't really function without it).

Ultimately, I don't know if I will do another full-on cleanse. But I will try and substitute a few of my lunches with small snacks and a juice (like the chia one). I did lose two pounds, which I'm sure will come back as soon as I start eating real food again, but I think I can make a commitment to be healthier in general, and after this it definitely won't be as hard!

If you cleanse

Where: Pure Green locations are now open at
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero


Pure Green locations are now open at 33 E. 33rd St., 60 E. 8th St. and 123 William St. in Manhattan


Juice 'Til Dinner: 1 day, $31; 3 days, $93

Pure Basic: 1 day, $46.56; 3 days, $139.50

Pure Hardcore: 1 day, $46.56; 3 days, $139.50

More info:


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