I tried the Juice Plus Transform 30 Challenge
I wanted to wait until the end of thirty days before posting, because I didn’t want to taint my perspective with the honeymoon phase of the first week, sell a bunch of people on it, and then end up hating it. I am glad I waited. While I did not end up hating it, I definitely have a broader perspective on the challenge than I did during that first week. If you care about my opinion on this experience at all, please read this entire post, because it is neither all good nor all bad. There are some pretty big positives and negatives, and I am writing this with an unbiased and balanced position.
I have done a couple of different cleanses in the past. The most effective one I ever did, and it changed my life after cleansing my liver so much my food allergies went away (we are talking previously anaphylaxis-inducing allergies… gone!) was Metagenics Sustain. The full cleanse takes 28 days and is quite challenging, but it was definitely the most detoxifying cleanse I have tried and was incredibly effective. The Sustain drink is like drinking sand mixed with sawdust and flavored with vitamins, but it was so worth every sip! The diet part of it was very detailed, but it was certainly doable with planning and preparation.
Another cleanse I have used is Flora Flor-Essence. This one was probably the easiest. It takes seven days, and it does not require a lot of extra special diet kinds of things. The drink is similar to a tisane (or what some people refer to as “herbal tea”). The cleanse was very mild. I use this one when my pain level is less manageable than normal. (I have autoimmune issues that lead to other issues, and in a nutshell, I have fibromyalgia as my most prominent symptom.) This cleanse is not only the mildest and easiest, but it is also the least expensive.
Now for the Transform 30 cleanse by Juice Plus+. Where do I start?
I will start by talking about the shakes. I have two concerns about the shakes. 1: They have sugar in them. Yep! Sugar. While it does make them taste good, and it prevents the after-taste of the stevia that is in them (there is a stevia-sugar mix so as not to have too much of either?), but it is still sugar, intentionally added to a product used for cleansing. yikes! 2: While the protein source includes chickpeas, peas, and rice, the primary protein is from low processed soy. When we run out of product, we will not be replenishing our stock on the shake mix. I highly recommend Now Sports Pea Protein (provides more than twice the protein grams than the JP+ shake mix). It has no real flavor to it. I have never drank it all by itself, as I have a vitamix blender and throw it in smoothies. The double protein amount keeps me satisfied from breakfast until lunch. If you’d rather have a meal replacement and not have to commit to putting together an actual smoothie, Now Sports Tru-Food is okay. It is better than the JP+ as far as ingredients go, but the flavor is not my favorite. It comes in berry, and the stevia is a bit stevia-y. By taste, my favorite meal replacement shake is made by Nature’s Plus. It is called Spiru-tein. It contains rice, pea, and soy protein from both fermented and non-fermented soy and spirulina and other ingredients. It comes in unsweetened, so I don’t have to taste stevia. I can use local honey or maple syrup, dates or a frozen banana to sweeten it. However, it does have soy, and it only has 14 grams of protein. The Now Sports pea protein seems to be the most satisfying with the least complicated ingredients, but it takes some doctoring to taste good. (It doesn’t taste “bad,” but it does not taste good without being turned into a smoothie of some kind either.)
When we saw sugar on the ingredients list of the JP+ shakes, we contemplated not drinking them and just using the Now Sports Tru-Food for the cleanse instead, but we wanted to try the plan as is before changing it. The T30 plan involves drinking two shakes as meals, snacking on natural items like nuts or fruit for snack times, and eating one gluten-free, dairy-free, chemical food additive-free meal per day. This honestly was not a huge change for us, so it didn’t take much for us to commit to it. We were already having one smoothie per day and were used to avoiding gluten, dairy, and chemical food additives. This plan really only asked us to replace one more meal with a smoothie. Additionally, we were to take six of the JP+ capsules per day. It is my understanding the capsules are made from juicing fruits and veggies and then dehydrating the juices to be put into capsules. This is why the label on the containers are like food labels rather than nutritional supplement labels. The six pills every morning part was a bit of a hassle, but we stuck to the plan. We also bought the JP+ snack bars for snacks. These are not great, but they are not terrible, and they supposedly provide us with another 20+ servings of fruits and veggies each day.
The T30 plan also recommends 30 minutes of exercise per day, deep breathing, and rest. I must confess, the first two weeks did not involve much rest, as my husband’s C-PAP broke, and we were waiting for the new one to arrive. Also, I got the exercise around three days per week but not so much on the others. Another concession we made was one day per week, we allowed ourselves to cheat a little on one meal. My birthday and Mother’s Day both happened during our 30 days (poor planning on my part, but isn’t there always something?).
During the first week, I noticed three positive changes right away. 1: If I got woken up in the middle of the night, I could actually fall back to sleep. This is a luxury I have not enjoyed in years! It used to be if I got woken up at 2:00am, I was up at 2:00am that day, because there was nothing I could do to get back to sleep. If the capsules gave me nothing else, this alone is worth the $76 per month per person cost of the capsules. 2: I don’t know how to say this without treading into TMI territory, so I am just going to say it. I am regular again. I don’t know if it is because I am a 46-year-old woman or what, but I have had a difficult time in this area for about a year now, and the extra fiber in my diet seems to have fixed it without sending me to the opposite extreme. 3: The war within my body seemed to quiet. This part is hard to describe. With my autoimmune issues, my body has been at war with itself for almost a decade. There is a certain tension I feel as this is happening. It isn’t a symptom I can describe like muscle or joint aches, gastrointestinal issues, headaches, or anything like that. It is just a tension, like a stressful, loud, war is happening inside me, but during the first week of JP+, that war was quieted. My other aches and pains are still there. In fact, my shoulders are raging with the tendinitis pain after I stopped taking my Inflama-Care supplements to see if JP+ could do the job. (Inflama-Care is primarily turmeric and ginger, which have anti-inflammatory properties.) So while my body still hurts just as much as it ever did, it feels quieter, if that makes any sense.
During the first week, we each lost exactly 7 pounds. This is the same 7 pounds anybody will lose in a week of clean-eating. This is not fat loss. It is toxin loss. It is important, but it is not to be mistaken with the type of weight loss many people are hoping for. As far as real weight loss goes, I lost a pound per week after that (which is a proper speed for the patient person who cares about health). I am certain, though, the first pizza and ice cream we enjoy after this will lead us right back to our original weights, as no real weight loss has occurred. This plan is not meant for weight loss, but since I know many people might seek that, I found this worth mentioning, especially since the materials that come with the plan have people weighing and measuring themselves once per week.
All in all, this was actually the most difficult cleanse I have been on. While it did not require as much labor as the Sustain did in food preparation and pickiness of ingredients, it was harder in that I was consuming sugar, which made me crave more foods. I spent most of the cleanse craving bacon cheeseburgers. Let me tell you why this is so shocking. I hate ground beef. I hate most bread (especially the bread used in buns). I loathe sandwiches. Other than bacon and cheese, there is NOTHING I like about bacon cheeseburgers! Yet, I could not stop thinking about wanting one! I did notice that during the first two weeks when I was taking a lunch to work with me and replacing dinner with a shake, the cravings were easier to manage. The second two weeks, out of convenience, I took shakes to work for lunch and ate dinner instead. This led me to the afternoon hours at work spent thinking about food. It didn’t matter if I ate Clementines, the JP+ snack bars, or cashews. I was not satisfied, and I was dangerously bordering on binging the second I could find some yummy food. If I had to do it again, I would take my lunches and replace my dinners.
Another pro we experienced during the cleanse was almost immediately noticing that our grocery bill was cut almost in half! By replacing one more meal per day (we were already doing smoothies for breakfast), our grocery cost plummeted! That right there has us considering continuing to do two smoothies per day as meals. However, once our JP+ shakes are gone, we will be doing those smoothies with the Now Pea Protein. The pea protein costs less (because it is not MLM), and it has twice the protein and is twice as satisfying. Granted, we might spend a little more on fruit doctoring it up to something that tastes good, it will still at least not have soy or cane sugar in it.
Finally, there is something about “4 months” that is supposed to be remarkable about the JP+ capsules. There is some cell-changing thing (I forget the science, sorry) that is supposed to happen around the 4-month mark. I have a friend who does not sell JP+ but works studying blood samples, and she can always tell when she has a JP+ patient. The blood is “beautiful” and clean, etc. She was far too fascinated with it, but her testimony along with what I’ve read from several doctors has me willing to continue the capsules at least through the 4-month mark. If something noteworthy changes around that time, I will update this post to let you know. In the meantime, I am just going to enjoy my peaceful body that now sleeps and poops like a normal person! 🙂
Update: the longer I continued on the pills, the worse my shoulder pain and inflammation got. Toward the end, I was in and out of doctors’ offices several times trying to get things balanced again. The gal who sold me the product said that the products have been scientifically proven to reduce inflammation. However, they do not tell much about the people in the study. If those people were eating Big Macs and pizza before doing the cleanse, I am sure their inflammation was reduced. However, before the cleanse, I was eating an anti-inflammatory diet and had been doing so for years. The added sugar of the shakes was a problem for me, but there was a bigger problem in the pills, and I had to give them up. I do not know if there might have been an ingredient in them I was allergic to or not, but I do know that now that I’ve been off of them for awhile and taking my Inflammacare again, I am feeling much better.