Most people who are familiar with Instagram, the popular Iphone app, would probably agree it is a great way to feel connected with celebrities who post pictures of their personal lives. For instance, I follow Jef Holm’s posts. He was the winner of the ABC hit show, The Bachelorette. His latest post was a photo of 7 bottles of Suja juice. Jef explains in the caption that after trying a 3 day juice cleanse, he is eager to continue with another 5 day Suja juice cleanse. Many of his followers commented that they were also ready to give Suja juice a try (it’s obtainable at Whole Foods, when it’s not out of stock). Eric Ethans and Annie Lawless, passionate creators of Suja juice, claim that this juice is cold-pressed and packed full of nutrients. To dispel juicing myths, they assert that “a juice cleanse is not a quick fix for weeks or months of poor eating” and “it is a way to help your body detox and reset” (sujajuice.com). It is interesting how celebrities can strongly impact everyone’s choices, especially through their endorsements. Will I try Suja now that Jef has influenced me as well as so many other fans?
Film is another medium through which society can share their opinions about health. I watched the movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead recently. The documentary is about an Australian, Joe Cross, who realizes that his obesity is causing physical, mental, social, and emotional stresses on his well-being. Essentially, he was on his way to involuntarily committing suicide by food. However, Joe was able to change his lifestyle. He went on a juice fast for 60 days, eating only juice smoothies made of vegetables and fruits for every meal. He lost 80 pounds and kept it off, inspiring others. Joe claims to feel better and think clearer than when he was heavy. He has also learned a lot about nutrition. Most importantly, Joe is taking lower doses of his medication, Prednisone. He has improved his health and no longer gets sores and does not suffer severely from the autoimmune disease, urticaria. This story of triumph is a warning to others, as well as motivation. It clearly illustrates the dangers of obesity, and a lot of other people like Joe make themselves ill. Now, whether I am sick from poor eating habits or for some other reason, what we have in common is that I would also like to improve my health. Juice fasts appear intimidating and I’m hesitant to try it because I know I will get hungry, but that sort of challenge will build my willpower and smart habits. After all, I’ve got to start somewhere.
Interestingly, Joe Cross’s latest tweets include the link to an article in the online magazine publication Well+Good NYC. The piece evaluates the controversy of using the new process of High Pressure Processing (HPP) that extends the shelf life of juice products. This technology is seen as a kind of “selling out” to some. This is exactly the method that Suja Juice employs. But others believe in HPP because it makes few changes to nutrient quality and allows products to be sold in chains such as Whole Foods (WellandGood). In the end, there will always be a new company bringing raw products to consumers in a neat and enticing package with or without provocative technology, ready for the masses.
It appears as if more students than I thought are getting an opportunity to try the juice trend. When I was walking through the campus cafeteria, a flyer posted on the board caught my eye (see picture). It was advertising a Shamanic Juice Fast for three days, described as “A Gateway to the Journey of Transformation”. I actually saw this before I had watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, so it did not have the same implications because juicing seemed like just another fad diet. This promotional poster emphasized the benefits of a juice fast including “cleanse, purify, detoxify” and “explore and heal your relationship to food and hunger”. Divine Service Center of San Jose hosts the program and listed different pricing options (it was cheaper for members of Modern Shamanism) and meeting dates. This advertisement seems to have genuine interests in promoting a healthy juice fast, but marketing to college students is indicative of the self-serving undercurrent. Bill Duran, self proclaimed Master Guide of Modern Shamanism, runs the Shamanic Juice Fast tour across the U.S. His company, like others struggling to survive in this economy, needs to make money. Whether he truly believe in juice fasts or not, college students such as myself are desperate to be healthy and thus easy targets. Young adults already often have self-esteem and body issues due to the pressures of society about how women should look and dress or the expected athletic abilities of a “real man”, all of which are enforced by stereotypes. Thus, students are eager to try crazy diets and take risks.
I was further delighted to see another advertisement for the university’s Wellness Center Program right next to the juice fast ad. The ad encouraged students to join the Health and Wellness Group run by the Cowell Health Center. Fortunately, Santa Clara offers many resources for students looking to improve their health. For example, I could join Peer Health Educators and be able to teach and educate other students on wellbeing. In outdoorsy Northern California, health and fitness is a priority for many. If I am not on top of my game in the health department, someone else will be a constant reminder that I need to improve my ways when they jog by in bright athletic gear or enthusiastically mention that their simple juice fast is absolutely “replenishing”. Everyone seems to have some sort of opinion about the right foods. Whether the source is an experienced field expert such as Gillian McKeith, an inspirational story like Joe Cross’s transformation, an entrepreneur like Bill Duran, or a generic health center, they will all share their knowledge without hesitation. Some of those sources truly care about its clients, but some have hidden motivations. I will be cautious of which information I accept. The most important thing is that I make my own decisions because I am taking control of my own body.
I enjoy hearing about other people’s inspiring transformations. As I walked to a Santa Clara student event across campus last week, a friend of a friend started sharing his recent experience along the way. He had been on a juice cleanse for 5 days so far, and he indicated that he felt decent from the detox. Juice cleansing seems to be pretty ubiquitous for the crowd of young people. Odwalla is the most prominent maker of superfood smoothies available at all grocery stores. Their green-friendly packaging and marketing style draws customers to its peculiar taste. My photo shows the multitude of super-smoothies of different brands available in the Safeway across the street: Odwalla, Evolution Fresh (Starbucks), Naked, Bolthouse Farms, Kevita, Pom, Zola, Zico, and GTS Kombacha to name a few. In a few of these bottles in the refrigerated section, I noticed cloudy bits swirling around in the bottom of the smoothies. The bottles were labeled with a warning that live cultures might cause pulp to condense in the bottle. This disgusted me, but I guess others can deal with it. Anyway, I purchased an Odwalla superfood smoothie (there are many flavors available) from Benson cafeteria. Supposedly, there is half a peach, two strawberries, one-tenth of a banana, one-fifth of a mango, spirulina, and apple juice in this concoction. Ever since 5th grade when I had a bad experience with Jamba Juice smoothies (stomach flu memories really stay with you), I have avoided all juice purees. My best friend worked at Emerald City Smoothies last summer, so she was frustrated when I never came to visit her at work and try her samples. Even so, Odwalla smoothies are made more from vegetables than fruits, so that does not help me get over my aversion (who likes carrot beet ginger anyways?). Yet, I attempted to drink all of the Odwalla juice. However, over the course of a day, I could not force myself to drink any more, but I finished more than half of it. It did not taste as bad as I thought it would, but the consistency was not appealing to me. I did not feel energized or full because I simply did not enjoy the Odwalla juice. Is there any hope for a juice cleanse for me? I don’t think so. I will have to search for some other outlet to continue my health craze. I’d love some advice from you all about how to enjoy the ever-popular smoothie.
"Still Fresh? A Shelf-life-extending Technology Creates a Rift in the Juice World."Well+Good NYC. Well+Good LLC, 26 Feb. 2013. Web. 08 Mar. 2013
"Suja's Organic Juices Will Keep You Balanced and Hydrated to Thrive." Suja Juice. Suja Juice, n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2013.