Will An Ayurvedic Juice Cleanse Help You Feel Better?

Dr Ratheesh looks at me with clear, unblinking eyes. He fields all my incessant questions without hesitation, and with ease. After nearly 90 minutes of chatting with him (I'm told that an hour of his time usually costs $100), I conclude that he knows what he's talking about, and that I am in safe hands. I agree to start my juice cleanse the following day.

Juice cleanses aren't new; they've been around for years, and at some point, critics have pointed out its fad-like status, and even its potential dangers. So what makes EGA Juice Clinic's juices any different?

That's where Dr Ratheesh comes in. As a certified doctor and an Ayurveda practitioner for nearly 10 years, Dr Ratheesh ensures that all of EGA Juice Clinic's juices and products meet the Ayurvedic principle of re-balancing one's doshas (a mental and physical constitution governing the body, of which Ayurveda believes there to be three - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), and of maintaining the health of clients, rather than prescribing a cure per se. In fact, it was in his role as an Ayurvedic practitioner that Dr Ratheesh met Sumit, the founder of EGA Juice Clinic.

SALT Tries To Juice Cleanse
Pictured: Sumit (left) and Dr Ratheesh (right), the founders behind EGA Juice Clinic

At only 35 years old, Sumit was already plagued with recurring migraines, high blood pressure, and poor sleep quality. After a host of cocktails of prescribed drugs and antibiotics - most of which were only short-term solutions - Sumit decided to look for a natural remedy for his health ailments. He found Dr Ratheesh, who prescribed him an Ayurvedic-backed 30-day detoxification programme revolving around herbal supplements such as turmeric, guduchi and amla suited to rebalance his doshas. Since then, Sumit has not had to take any off-the-counter medication for his ailments, and has no problems sleeping at night. Sumit's personal experience of the benefits of an Ayurvedic medical system was what led him to start EGA Juice Clinic with Dr Ratheesh.

"Ayurveda believes in the body's self-healing mechanism, and the best way to activate this mechanism is through fasting", Dr Ratheesh tells me. "We're eating five, six times a day every day, and this puts a strain on our digestive system since it always has to work. If we pause to give our body a break from channeling all our energy towards digesting food, our body can naturally focus on other things, such as repairing our cells, detoxifying, and cleansing any toxins built up in our system over time."

Juice cleanses are hence one of the best ways to give your body that break it needs to focus on other repairing processes. The relative lack of fibre in juices - especially in cold-pressed ones like EGA's - makes the juices easy to digest, and allows nutrients to be absorbed straight into the blood stream. According to Ayurveda, an energetic digestive system is at the centre of optimum health, which is why a liquid fast is perfect for feeding your body all the nutrients it craves for, and in a way that lubricates the digestive system.

 EGA Juice
Medium cleanse package - full of delicious fruit-based juices for the day! Each package contains six 500ml bottles of juice.

Juice Cleanse Experience

I did some research prior to my cleanse for a gist of what to expect. The results were depressing: having to adopt a lighter diet a few days before starting the cleanse so my body wouldn't receive too much of a shock (hard to do in my line of work as a food writer), caffeine withdrawals resulting in severe headaches (as a habitual coffee drinker, this was very bad news indeed), light-headedness, and an eternal sense of hunger gnawing away at your stomach. It was hard to believe that these terrible sensations were supposed to help me feel better in a few days' time.

Based on my lifestyle, body type, and the fact that I was a juice cleanse virgin, Dr Ratheesh suggested that I start with the medium cleanse package, which mostly contained sweet fruit-based juices, and would end my day with a more filling beverage of their house-made turmeric almond milk (take a quiz over at EGA's website to find out which cleanse package is best for you!).

I could either collect my juices at any of EGA's three stores or choose the home delivery option, with juices delivered before 6pm each day at a flat rate of $10 per delivery. Do take note that you'll have to call the store one day before your cleanse to let them know that you're ordering a cleanse package. EGA makes its juices fresh daily, and care is taken to ensure that each cleanse package customer receives their juices as fresh as possible. I had some trouble trying to get my juices during the cleanse because I was always calling way too late in the day to let them know I wanted a package, and none of the staff would ever agree to giving me juice that was even just a little over a day old!

EGA juice
EGA's newest store at Marina One, with a little room at the back for consultations with Dr Ratheesh

Real talk: I had planned to do a three day juice cleanse, but gave up halfway on the second day, and then successfully completed the third day. The only reason why the second day hit a roadblock was because I opted for the Hard cleanse that day. Most of the juices in that cleanse are vegetable-based juices, which might be hard to stomach for a juice cleanse beginner. Mixing a few green juices into a Medium cleanse (as I did on day three) might be a good way for beginners to really experience that cleansing effect (the green juices are great for activating bowel movements) without the juices being too hard to handle.

Interestingly, I never really felt an intense hunger while on EGA's juice cleanse. The juices are spaced two hours apart, so before I had time to start feeling hungry after one of the juices, it was time to have another. What was more interesting was my lack of headaches from abstaining from coffee - in fact, I felt fresher and more awake than I had been in a long time. On hindsight, this might have been due to the first juice of the day - Cleanse - whose piquant mix of cayenne pepper, lemon, honey, ginger and turmeric certainly helped provide a fiery kickstart to the day.

EGA juice
A delicious carrot + coconut water juice from EGA - making that juice cleanse experience much easier

The fruit juices were absolutely delicious, with some favourites being Nirvana, a simple carrot + coconut water juice that was superbly refreshing as a mid-day juice; Miracle, a hearty mix of beetroot, apple, carrot, lemon, ginger and turmeric; and of course the Golden Milk, a turmeric-infused almond milk that's made fresh daily at EGA's stores that's best served warm for easy digestion.

Did it work?

It's been a few days since the cleanse ended, and I feel great. Not because I feel lighter, or because my skin is glowing even more than usual, but more so because I feel aware. Juice cleansing - like any other forms of detox such as a digital detox - is a good way to slow down and check in with your body's needs. Not what you think you need, but rather paying attention to what you really need. Do I always really need to eat that much, and suffer that afternoon slump? Do I really always need to listen to my cravings? I find myself now consciously making better eating decisions by keeping the Ayurvedic principle of digestive health at the back of my mind. A juice cleanse is thus just one of the many ways to give yourself that little kickstart to cultivate a greater awareness of your body's needs; it's just that with a juice cleanse, there's the added benefit of channeling extra nutrients into your body in a delicious way.

Delicious alternatives

That being said, it's no secret that juice cleanses are expensive (EGA's start at $90 per day). Dr Ratheesh suggests doing a cleanse every week, but let's be honest - it's hard to shell out that amount of money each week. That's why EGA Juice Clinic carries a wide range of products perfect for everyday use to keep your body nourished and in optimum health. All of EGA's products are made without any preservatives, with ingredients grown organically in EGA's very own farm in Kerala.

We chose a few of our favourite EGA products to make a delicious immunity boosting coffee.

SALT Tries Juice Cleansing With EGA Juice Clinic

This ghee turmeric coffee is perfect for those who aren't big on breakfast, but would like to feel satiated all the way to lunch while getting that extra caffeine boost. Turmeric is known to have anti-inflammatory effects, and EGA's turmeric powder - by dint of being filtered to nano-sized particles - is easily digestible and able enter the bloodstream directly, which increases their turmeric's potency. Ghee is also a good source of healthy fats to add to your diet - choose desi cow ghee whenever possible as it is lower in saturated fats due to the cow's grass-fed diet. EGA's desi cow ghee is sourced from free-roaming desi cows and is hand-churned, an extremely labour-intensive process, but which produces an incredibly nutty and fragrant ghee.

Immunity-boosting Ghee Turmeric Coffee

  • 1 shot espresso (any office coffee machine should do the trick)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar*
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder*
  • Pinch of black pepper and/or cardomom
  • 1/2 teaspoon desi cow ghee*
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice, best if heated*

* Available at EGA.

Combine all ingredients (except milk) and whisk together till dry ingredients are incorporated into the coffee and drink is frothy (if you have the time, using a blender will make it even frothier). Add in milk and stir.

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EGA Juice Clinic is located at Cluny Court, Forum The Shopping Mall, and Marina One. Website here