Good Food

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The juice on two rivals: BluePrintCleanse vs. Cooler Cleanse

Juice cleanses have reached their tipping point. So widespread as to inspire pop culture jokes, the question around cleanses is not whether to do one, but which one to do. So Well + Good brings you the must-have juice-off scorecard, straight from the fridge of Alexia Brue.

The NYC cleansing scene has three main squeezes: BluePrintCleanse, Cooler Cleanse, and Organic Avenue. In my quest to reacquaint myself with portion control and conquer chocolate chip cookie cravings, I happily subjected myself to the three-day BluePrintCleanse (BPC) and Cooler Cleanse (CC). (Not back to back). I even tried the suggested colonics for good measure.

I stacked BPC against Cooler Cleanse, since they’re the cleanses of choice among the city cleansa-scenti. Organic Avenue’s cleanse starts at five days, making it hard to compare. And there are other aspects like glass bottles, which require deposit and delivery charges that rack up the cost and inconvenience. So we didn’t include that beloved indie brand here.

Here I submit my juice cleanse report card.

Background:

BPC co-founders Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss

BPC: Started by two former Hudson Hotel bartenders, Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss, who met while pouring cocktails. Their tonic of choice has obviously changed, but they still cater to a fashionista, martini-and-steak crowd looking to offset indulgence with a clean-living catharsis.

CC: Eric Helms started Juice Generation (4 locations in the city) and became Salma Hayaks’s go-to green juice guy. Helms and his celeb benefactor have gone into business together and will take the NYC program national at the end of June.

Packages:
BPC: Three levels of cleanse—beginner, intermediate, and advanced. So if you love cheeses, cocktails and red meat, go for the beginner (RENOVATION) cleanse; if you’re a vegan who’s just been overdoing it on Moby’s desserts, try the advanced (EXCAVATION) cleanse. The more intense cleanses have more greens and less fruit.

CC: The signature 3-day Cooler Cleanse lies somewhere in between BPC’s beginner and intermediate cleanses in terms of intensity. Beet juice and young coconut water are sweet treats and greater variety makes the cleanse pass with fewer cravings. If you want a green-juice heavy experience, you can create a “Custom Cooler” where you select the juices you want.

Logistics & Cost:
BPC: Delivery and pick-up options. Three days of juice are delivered at once. Because they use a hydraulic press, air is pressed out of the juices, giving them a 3-day shelf life. Totes and ice packs are provided so you can easily bring juices to the office. $65 per day for a multi-day cleanse, plus delivery if applicable.

CC: Ditto on all the logistics. $58 per day for a multi-day cleanse, plus delivery if applicable.

Taste test:
BPC: The intermediate (FOUNDATION) cleanse, includes three green drinks, spicy lemonade, pineapple and mint, and a cashew nut milk for a total calorie count of 1250. I flipped for the chewy cashew milk with vanilla and cinnamon, which is as satisfying as a milk shake at the end of a day of cleansing. The green juice, sweetened with apple, is way more delicious than any health-food store green drink, but there’s still a challenging grassy taste. The spicy lemonade is to die for. BPC should sell it all over town, and I seriously missed it post-cleanse.

CC: This cleanse offers more variety. Their standard cleanse includes 2 green juices, a beet and carrot juice, grapefruit and mint, coconut water (2 full coconuts go into each bottle), and an almond nut milk for a total calorie count of 1140. The green juice, which creator Eric Helms says went through 50 iterations and a dozen focus groups, is hands-down the most delicious green juice I’ve ever tasted. A mélange of typical greens like parsley, spinach, and kale, Helms tells me that pear is the secret ingredient that removes any lawn mower taste from this green juice. The almond nut milk, on the other hand, underwhelmed me. It just wasn’t as satisfying and delectable as BPC’s Cashew Nut Milk.

Organic?

Eric Helms, Cooler Cleanse creator along with Salma Hayak

BPC: They claim to be organic whenever possible. BPC publicist Sarah Mains wrote by e-mail, “Sometimes we are completely organic and sometimes we have a hard time getting hundreds of pounds of organic pineapples in the dead of winter. Whenever possible, we buy organic.”

CC: One hundred percent organic, with the exception of the coconut water. Eric Helms told me by phone, “Everything else is certified organic, except the coconuts which come from Thailand and are impossible to certify.”

Handholding:
BPC: Phone support available throughout. I called on the second day to ask about working out and whether it would make me want a burger. The counselor was helpful and supportive. E-mail support and advice comes both prior to and after the cleanse, but I would have liked more cheerleading during the cleanse.

CC: This was my second cleanse, so I didn’t need phone support though it is available. I would have appreciated more e-mail coaching before and during the cleanse. I received two e-mails at the end, giving post-cleanse advice, but there was radio-silence when I most needed advice and a pep talk.

Bottom line:
BPC and CC are very comparable experiences. Both are well-run, customer-friendly companies that have managed to make the laborious task of cleansing (2 pounds of greens goes into one green drink) a snap for New Yorkers. In terms of overall taste, CC’s juices will appeal to a broader spectrum of people. Their deliciously palatable green drink (Essential Green) is nothing short of a triumph. But, I’d do BPC again just for the cashew nut milk and spicy lemonade. If only there were a way to combine the best of both.

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