The skinny on detox diets: 2 popular diets put to the test

One, two, three: The morning tea is so yummy, reporter Benita made several cups with the same bag (Above) Guzzle: Lemon in juice #2 made Natalie's hunger pangs worse (Below).
PHOTO: The skinny on detox diets: 2 popular diets put to the test

SINGAPORE - Detoxes are all the rage. We sent intrepid staffers Benita Aw Yeong and Natalie Soh into the fray, testing out the detox diets and their verdicts:

Tea detox

Tea tox, which uses tea to cleanse your system has gained traction over the past months, with multiple companies sprouting their own blends.

Using two special mixes, the SkinnyMint Teatox programme aims to increase a person's energy, reduce appetite and burn fat.

The company, which is based out of Singapore, says more than 10,000 people have tried the teatox since the firm launched it in February.

Miss Clo Gallet, the firm's business development manager, says it intends to expand within South-east Asia.

For SkinnyMint, the programme comes in two versions: The 14-day starter teatox and a 28-day ultimate teatox.

Using natural and organic ingredients, the tea leaves are sourced from locations including Argentina and China, then blended in Germany by tea sommelier Kasia Vermaire.

The 14-day teatox, which costs $29.90, can be purchased from www.skinnymint.com, which offers free delivery worldwide. The 28-day version costs $54.90.

Review by Benita Aw Yeong:

The expectations

I'll admit it: Detoxing my system without fasting sounded too good to be true.

I have stayed far away from juice cleansing and other conventional treatments purely because I love my grub too much.

When I saw bloggers boasting about how flat their tummies were after trying out SkinnyMint's teatox, I was sold on trying it out.

I was keen to see if the 14-day process would flatten my midriff as touted and enhance my complexion.

Next   Next   The experience

Tea detox: The experience

The experience

The detox kit is a series of tea bags, broken into two categories: The morning boost and the night cleanse.

Users are meant to drink a cup of morning boost upon waking up, and before having anything to eat. The night cleanse is meant to be taken right before you go to bed, after your last meal, every other day.

The laxative effect of the tea is by far its most noticeable effect.

I found myself visiting the bathroom throughout the day more frequently, and the occasional constipation I experienced previously all but disappeared.

In that sense, I felt cleaner. I also slept better and felt more alert for the first couple of days after embarking on the cleanse.

I did not notice any significant change to my appetite. Unlike some Singaporean women, I usually finish my food.

Before the teatox, it was already my habit to drink cups of sugar-free, brewed green tea throughout my day at work. I simply enjoyed the taste.

The morning boost, which tastes light, floral, fruity and pleasant, left me wanting more.

Next   Next   Conclusion

Conclusion

I had no problems popping the bags into boiling water for repeated rounds of the beverage. It was that delicious, and I milked each bag for all it's worth.

But the same cannot be said about the night cleanse. Containing ginger root, licorice root and lemongrass among other ingredients, it sent tingles down my throat and was just too strong for my taste.

I struggled to finish the required cup and never went for seconds. Midway through the first week, I found myself dreading the night cleanse. I felt like giving up, but pressed on because of this assignment.

I weighed myself after the 14-day process and was surprised to find that I did not lose any weight at all.

My tummy also looked the same.

I was a little disappointed, since I was hoping it would help me drop at least 1kg.

My complexion, which could really use some improving (think sporadic acne), also remained more or less the same.

Conclusion

If you enjoy tea in general, the morning boost will certainly start your day on the right note.

If you've got more adventurous taste buds than me, the night cleanse might even be the thing you need to feel better after ingesting a sinful meal at the zhi char stall.

Just don't expect it to help you drop the pounds.

Next   Next   Juice detox

Juice detox 

Juice detox

He left brokering on Wall Street to juice fruits and vegetables. Mr Tan Choon Boon, 27, founder of Joob, confesses that he would hit the trendy juice bars in New York to get rid of hangovers.

"It was good money, but there were the drinking, the stress, the sleepless nights."

When he decided to up sticks and move back to Singapore in October last year, he thought of bringing the concept to our shores.

"The juice bars were really expanding across the city and I was thinking about how this could be something for the average Joe like me."

"I get lazy, I eat, I don't do yoga every day, but that juice can still help me."

So the purchase of a cold-press juicer, and many months of research and experimentation later, Joob started with a range of five organic juices.

Cold pressing refers to a way that the juices are extracted from the fruits and vegetables. It produces highly concentrated juices with very little pulp, taking about 30 to 40 minutes to make a single bottle from scratch.

The detox programme that Joob offers comes with a pre-detox plan, six bottles of raw, cold-pressed organic juices a day.

Mr Tan says it took a lot of experimentation and research to get the mix of juices just right. There are, today, 10 juices to choose from.

He's getting a fair share of repeat customers, he says. And orders are up by 25 per cent each month.

There are now customers who will even do detox days twice a week. Though most times people choose to do it either once a week or month, he says. Go to www.joob.sg for more information.

Review by Natalie Soh:

The expectations

A three-day detox programme with plenty of organic veggie and fruit juices. Benefits touted: Better skin, better sleep and gasp, the holy grail of my existence at the moment - weight loss.

Oh. The hitch: No food except for said juices. And no coffee, nicotine or alcohol.

It's recommended that for one to three days before the actual detox, one eats certain types of food (nuts, quinoa) and cut down the heavy duty stuff (alcohol, red meats) - I suppose it's to reduce the shock on the body.

I confess I let out a whimper as I munched on my "last" fried chicken dinner, wondering what in the world I had signed myself up for. My one day of nuts and water was fairly miserable, but there was excitement as well.

Next   Next   Juice detox: The experience

The experience

The regimen calls for the first juice 30 minutes after waking up, with a two- to three-hour break between each of the six bottles for the entire day.

Since I was eagerly anticipating the first juice, which had ingredients like spinach and kale (yummy), it went down like a dream and I was feeling pretty confident.

Three hours on and my regular lunch hour hit. Crisis. I was on my second juice which just wasn't doing it for me. The acid tang of the lemons just made me hungrier.

"I am officially sick of this!" I yelled out. Not that my colleagues paid me any mind, or bothered with any sympathy. Sniff.

Over the day, I learnt very humbling lessons: For one thing, hunger is extremely mental and the olfactory senses can be cruel and extra sharp. How my nose managed to detect the mouth watering scents of a colleague's lunch from half a newsroom away is a mystery.

Don't get me wrong. The juices were enough to keep me full and technically had enough nutrients too. I was in no way starving but I DID want a bite of that char siew. And that popiah. And a gulp of that awesome coffee I was smelling.

Only a sense of professionalism kept me going that day.

But by evening, the juices were also triggering a cleansing effect (ahem) and it became a question of willpower and momentum. Indeed, the detox supplier (see report on right) recommends using body scrubs and tongue scrapers as the body starts shedding toxins.

Day two and three were much simpler. I was getting used to the regimen, and by the third day, I was just focused on the great food to come at the end of it.

Next   Next   Juice detox: Results?

Results?

I wasn't sleeping any earlier, perhaps because I've been a perennial insomniac for the longest time; I'd also developed a massive ulcer on my gum (I like to think of that as my body getting rid of toxins); my skin was also less dry and flaky - but that could be because I was ultra obsessed with skin cleansing and buffing off all the toxins.

But I lost 3.5kg over the three days and the stomach was flatter than it's been in about two years.

I surprised even myself. Especially with the willpower I never thought I possessed.

Conclusion

I'll take the juices as meal replacements any day. (They taste really good, especially Green Machine) But a full-on detox takes energy and willpower.

I'd recommend it if you're pretty serious about the whole thing and will not falter at the slightest whiff of fried chicken.

Fried chicken, I'm afraid to report, remains a big weakness. And yes, I will be eating some of that tonight, and maybe tomorrow.

And erh, the day after too probably.

I might need another round of detox soon.


This article was first published on July 20, 2014.
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