I'LL TRY ANYTHING ONCE: 3-Day Sambazon Purifying Cleanse aka the Costco Cleanse

Living in Los Angeles is changing me.
Publish date:
August 2, 2013
juice cleanses, cleanses, i'll try anything once, costco, experiments, M

Living in Los Angeles is changing me. I was in Costco a few weeks ago, and whilst perusing the various juices, I stumbled upon the 3-Day Sambazon Purifying Cleanse. As a skeptical ladyperson born and raised by two scientists in the NYC metro area who taught me to question everything, I shocked myself by grabbing the package for further inspection.

As I read the "about this cleanse" blurb, I felt my cynical inner dialogue kick in: “Tas, what are you doing? Tas, staaaaaaahhhp! This is bullshiiiiit!”

Usually, at this point in my thought process about trying a new and maybe dubious physical heath thing, my faith in statistically-significant research will overwhelm my senses and I will walk away from whatever it is, feeling smug and with x amount of dollas still in my bank account.

But not this time. Maybe it was the cheerful, brightly-colored packaging plastered with words like sustainable and eco-friendly and energy. Maybe it was the influence of all this Southern California sunshine flooding my brain with delicious neurochemicals. Maybe it was the fact that it was only $15, making it wayyyy cheaper than any other cleanse I’d ever seen.

Whatever it was, I decided: Screw it. I live in California now. It’s happening. Just let it happen.

So! In honor of the one-year anniversary of my move to Los Angeles, I decided to try this cleanse. I call it the Costco cleanse because as far as I am able to discern (and according to the website), the cleanse is exclusive to Costco.

What it is:

The cleanse is composed of three juices:

Energize -- acerola cherry, lemon & cayenne,

Eliminate -- kale, cucumber & parsley with a hint of yacon, and

Recharge -- Brazil nuts, cashews & a hint of cocoa.

Energize is for the morning time, Eliminate is for lunching time, and Recharge is for mid-afternoon snacking time.

The juices come bundled with a meal plan that includes recipes, and the cleanse website is chock-full of additional information that is super helpful, such as meal alternatives, a shopping list, and frequently asked questions.

Sambazon is the company that makes the juices. Based on my research, I was unable to find out anything sketchy about them. The company, whose name stands for Sustainable Management of the Brazilian Amazon, is based out of Southern California and is (according to the “Meet Us” section of the website) a triple bottom line company dedicated to bringing next level nutrition to the world while supporting the environmental and social well-being of the Brazilian Amazon and its people.

The only thing that gives me pause is the potentially colonial implications of white dudes (Sambazon co-founders/brothers Ryan and Jeremy Black who, incidentally, are surfer-hot if you’re into that sort of thing) going into the Amazon and being like “Hey, let me play out a white savior wet dream with you all, OK cool?”

However, everything I read about these guys about and about the company seems to point to Sambazon and the co-founders being pretty cool and socially conscious and fighting the good fight.

How it works:

The juices are incorporated into a three-day meal plan that is loaded with fruits and vegetables and whole grains. The meal plan contains suggestions of when to have each meal and which juice. The cleanse literature is pretty clear about framing the cleanse as a way to jumpstart cleaner/healthier eating habits and not as way to lose weight, which I really liked and is more in line with how I approach my health and my diet.

The website has a chart of suggested substitutions for the components of the different meals, in case you need to switch out a recommended meal ingredient or if you want to design your own meals.

After reviewing all the information on the website and recruiting my awesome friend Nayla (who is one of leaders of R.A.I.D. alias Random Acts of Irreverent Dance a.k.a. my fab dance crew that performs at Bootie LA) to my cause, I decided to do the cleanse over a weekend where I didn’t have much planned. I figured it would be safer/more convenient in the event of gastric pyrotechnics or extreme ennui brought on by lack of animal proteins.

On the eve of Day 1:

A grocery shopping adventure was necessary to stock my fridge with loads of produce. Thankfully, I already had most of the other dry ingredients necessary for the meal plan recipes adjusted with my modifications. Also, since I have a Costco membership, I was able to buy huge quantities of produce at a relatively low price.

Including the cleanse itself, I probably spent about $35 total on the ingredients. However, if I didn’t already have the dry ingredients and lean proteins for my meal modifications, it could have easily cost way more. Upon my return, I prepped about half of my meals for the next three days. It took an hour or so.

Day 1:

I was slightly hungry in the morning, but drinking the ascribed amount of water (for me, it was approx 20 oz, five times a day) helped a lot. The Energize juice tasted like spicy lemonade. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t awful. I would drink it cold, though, as I imagine it would be far less palatable while lukewarm. The mid-morning snack (quinoa with berries and coconut oil) was super delicious and might become a morning staple for me.

Conversely, the lunchtime Energize juice was turrible. Like, it straight up tasted like someone made some iced tea out of parsley. I choked it down and enjoyed my salad, into which I threw a few ounces of salmon.

By the afternoon, I was super ready for the Recharge juice (which we affectionately nicknamed "nut milk” -– so creative, I know) in all its nutty cocoa goodness.

Survey says: it was delicious, but it was not quite what I expected. As Nayla pointed out on day two, it had a slightly minty but not altogether unpleasant aftertaste. I stayed full until dinner, which was a leafy salad with the rest of my salmon in burger form. I did not go to bed hungry, and that was a pleasant surprise, based on what I know about other people’s cleanse experiences.

Day 2:

Day two was pretty much a raw day. Between the morning fruit bowl and lunch salad and raw veggies for afternoon snacktime, I pretty much just noshed on fruits and vegetables all day. I wasn’t hungry at any point, but I did get slightly headachey and that never quite went away despite upping my water intake a bit. Also, the Recharge juice continued to be a highlight of the cleanse, as evidenced by the below conversation:

Dinner was a curry, and it was actually a pretty damn good recipe (and this is coming from a person of Indian Subcontinent descent).

Day 3:

Day three was also very veggie heavy. The morning snack of overnight oats was decent, but I liked the quinoa bowl better. Again, I didn’t feel hungry at pretty much any point, but I did remain slightly headachey.

I consumed much spinach on this day, given my choice to have a lunch and a dinner salad. I might have chatted with myself in a Popeye voice while doing my meal prep.

First meal consumed post-cleanse (at a party late Sunday night/early Monday morning):

A big glass of claret and a handful of Bagel Bites. It was glorious.

Post-cleanse reflections:

-I think cleanses are probably not for me.

-Even though cleanses are not for me, I respond very well to structure and I liked how this cleanse helped me to be proactive about planning to and then eating a crap ton of raw veggies. Also, I became very conscious of how much water I needed to consume throughout the day.

-Nayla and I both had intense red meat cravings in the 24-48 hours post-cleanse. At first, I thought it might be a sign of low iron, but that really didn’t make sense given the amount of leafy greens and citrus I’d consumed throughout the cleanse.

-Although this cleanse is not nearly as expensive as most, it’s not exactly inexpensive either, especially if you don’t already have the dry ingredients for the meal plan meals

-Only one out of the three juices was close to being tasty.

-The cleanse is only available at Costco, so if you don’t have a membership, you’ll need a Costco hookup.

Have you done a cleanse? Which one(s)? What have your experiences been? Let’s chat in the comments!