Even two weeks after the fact, the predictability of it makes me cringe. (A cleanse? In January? Groundbreaking.) In reality, the decision to put myself on a liquid diet for five days wasn’t the product of the New Year’s halo effect, at least not entirely. It actually wasn’t even my idea.
The email landed in my inbox on January 2, and despite my general inclination to breeze past any subject line containing the words "detox" or "cleanse," my gaze came to a screeching halt when I saw that this note was from the team at Erewhon, the cult-loved health food destination otherwise known as the crux of the Los Angeles wellness scene. I frequent the store, much to the chagrin of my bank account, for the delicious prepared foods and a particularly delicious matcha latte made with raw coconut. But this was an invitation to quit dabbling and dive in completely by way of the store's signature bone broth cleanse. As if temporarily possessed by some kind of crystal-slinging, celery juice–drinking wellness zombie, I found myself responding with an emphatic "I'm so down!"
That is how I, a vegetarian who has never participated in so much as a sip of the bone broth trend, committed to drinking the stuff for five days straight. Well, kind of. The less dramatic truth is that I opted for Erewhon's vegan "mineral broth," a mushroom- and seaweed-based concoction enriched with adaptogenic herbs.
The prescription was simple. I'd have three servings of broth—each paired with a specific kind of green juice—every single day for five days. Aside from however many servings of vegetables I needed to keep hunger at bay, I was advised to eliminate everything else from my diet. Although, in the interest of preserving some of my sanity, I did permit myself to have one cup of coffee every morning as well.
I mentally prepared myself for the worst. Of all the (generally ill-advised) cleanses I've tried in my life, I can count exactly one that was a success. So no one was more surprised than I was when, a few days in, I realized I was not dizzy or exhausted or even remotely hungry for that matter. On the contrary, I kind of felt amazing.
Was this merely the result of some kind of Erewhon-fueled placebo effect, or was I delirious from all the mineral-enriched fluids coursing through my body? It was time to take a closer look.