July 12, 2012

"Cleansing" — basically, juice-drinking — with co-workers is a big trend in NYC.

Or so the NYT says in this big article, which seems a bit like an ad for a product called "Cooler Cleanse":
Eric Helms, who founded the four-year-old Cooler Cleanse company with the actress Salma Hayek, says office cleansers now make up 30 percent of his business, and in the last year he has hired three customer-service employees just to handle the details of them.
Salma Hayek! She has something to do with you working in an office. Buy this juice.
Last year Oprah Winfrey’s entire production staff in Chicago completed a three-day cleanse...

Recent six-juice-a-day-dieters include employees at Merrill Lynch and the Carlyle Group, she said. In May, Citigroup began offering BluePrintCleanse in some of its Manhattan cafeterias, a spokeswoman said. Restaurant Associates, which runs the cafeteria, declined to explain the decision.

The popularity of cleanses continues to rise, even as health experts seem dubious about the efficacy of some of these diets. “Your liver and kidneys can handle toxins just fine,” said Joan Salge Blake, a Boston University associate professor of nutrition, who has studied fad diets. “There’s no science to back up cleansing.”
Seem dubious?!

The thing about the "corporate cleanse" is that it reaches men. Without this new approach to marketing the dubious product, the customers would be mostly women.
Jina Wye, director of sales and marketing for BluePrintCleanse...  said: “These Type-A men have an all-or-none perspective. If they’re going to commit, they do it whole hog.” Most popular among male en masse cleansers: the Excavation cleanse, described on the Web site as “the most intense.”
Now, I'm thinking about the corporate bathrooms, and I'm a little scared.
Office cleanses are rarely corporate sponsored, subsidized or sanctioned. Several companies declined to allow employees to speak publicly about them because cleansing is a sensitive issue.

In March, @VeraWanggang tweeted: “Have been inspired by @glamour to try @coolercleanse. We are doing it as a team so none of us flake.” But the spokeswoman Priya Shukla said in an e-mail that she decided recently that the company won’t comment on diet or nutrition, which she noted are “personal choices.”
Ha ha. You can see why it's "sensitive." Management bullying everyone to participate in a completely unscientific pseudo-medical treatment? We are doing it as a team so none of us flake. "Flake" is the perfectly ironic word choice. You may not flake, but you are flakes. I'd rather get stuck with a boss who insisted that the underlings join his prayer groups.
“I felt like I kept hearing about juice cleanses, and I thought, ‘I’ll try anything, let me see what this is all about,’ ” said [Peter Alfano, a Citigroup vice president, 37]. Cleansing with colleagues appealed to him because of the moral support. “We would all hang out together at lunchtime, and we’d take our bottles to the park,” he said. “You can’t wait for it to end, but the feeling of accomplishment is amazing.”
You drank a bottle of juice in the park. Something a toddler does. Yet you have an amazing feeling of accomplishment. And you needed a support group to do it. And you wanted to do it because you kept hearing about it. Not because you looked up the research on the subject. Just: People are talking about this, so I'll try it and see what it's all about. Could people please start talking about science and behaving like an adult so maybe this corporate VP might try it? He says he's try anything.
Those who choose to drink the kale at other offices reported enjoying creating rituals around the cleanse, if not always the juices (and the endless trips to the bathroom). 
See? People lapse into religion mode. Your childish take-my-bottle-to-the-park and going-poopie is now a cult. Congratulations, morons!
At the Madison Avenue office of the fashion Web site Moda Operandi, every empty bottle was slammed triumphantly on the Ping-Pong table. 
Ooh! Macho. What big (ping pong) balls you have!
At the Brooklyn outpost of a Big Four accounting firm, there was a first tentative sip in unison of that hour’s concoction, followed by tasting notes — while cleanse dropouts were referred to as “doing the walk of shame” to the refrigerator....
Shaming. In the office. And what are "tasting notes"? Like that crap people write about wine?
Co-workers don’t let co-workers drink alone, suggests the BluePrintCleanse Web site, noting that “happy side effects include increased energy, productivity, focus and clarity (which come in handy at the office.)” Cleansers may dispute the promise of alertness (“I felt like I was jet-lagged,” said Cynthia Rooney, who drank with 10 Ralph Lauren colleagues), but many agreed they were more productive.
Many agreed. Who's going to volunteer that they are less productive?

And who's going to puncture all that happiness with an explanation of the placebo effect? Not the New York Times.

45 comments:

David said...

Who do you suppose cleans Punch's bathroom?

EMD said...

Wow.

You just ripped these cleanse people a new a**hole.

Actually, they might like that.

cassandra lite said...

"Oprah" and "cleanse" should never appear in the same sentence.

Tom said...

Colonoscopy - faster, quicker, and your medical insurance covers the tab.

AllieOop said...

How ridiculous. Now instead of a group hug, it's a group poop.

Ipso Fatso said...

"Last year Oprah Winfrey’s entire production staff in Chicago completed a three-day cleanse..."

And in the end they produced...The Rosie Show!!!!!!

Bob_R said...

Yes, they were more productive - but we all know what they produced. Reminds me that I have a colonoscopy coming up this year.

Oso Negro said...

Ah, the joys of corporate life! Nothing like rounding the corner of a modern office building to see people involved in bizarre ritual.

AllieOop said...

Also, I wonder what they did to their insulin levels, dumping fruit juice into their system for days, with no protein to balance it.

Peter said...

"You receive six drinks per day with a combined caloric intake of approximately 1,200 daily calories ..."

Price: $58. per day

So, another (costly) diet fad. There's one every minute. What's new?

AprilApple said...

Ann said:
Your childish take-my-bottle-to-the-park and going-poopie is now a cult. Congratulations, morons!"

Heh and No doubt about it.

Tibore said...

"And who's going to puncture all that happiness with an explanation of the placebo effect? Not the New York Times."

Well, to their credit, they did include a voice of reason quote from that Boston University nutritionist. Who was right, by the way, in saying "There’s no science to back up cleansing."

That said, that article did indeed read as little more than a cheerleading piece. Yay! Let's all do this TOGETHER!! This is Good For Us! There are times when I wonder if the NYTimes functions less as a news source and more as a feedback-loop-enhancement institution for New York elitist liberalism. Even down to the fact that the business is owned by a Latina and used by Oprah, this has all the hallmarks of a "Stuff White People Like" entry. Right down to the comically clich├ęd caricature of urban white guys in the lead picture.

AprilApple said...

The smoothie craze is so silly. I hear all sorts of ads for "drink my smoothie and the pounds will roll off" type advertisements on the radio.
Why not get the blender out, put some fruit in there, maybe a scoop of your favorite protein power, add some whatever else that makes you happy (yogurt/ fiber/ soy milk / Kale!?/Whatevah) and you can avoid the silly fad mark up.

The diet business is still huge in America. Selma Heyek is cashing in. The idea that eating like a baby (liquid diet) is good for you is preposterous anyway. At some point will you eat solid food again, and then what? No poopie?

pst314 said...

"Management bullying everyone to participate in a completely unscientific pseudo-medical treatment?"

A lot of companies already require their employees to participate in brain cleansing programs, in which they are required to listen to Diversity Consultants tell them that they are racists and sexists and homophobes. The worst of these programs also expect "participants" to confess their sins to the group.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Man. What's next, office colonic irrigation parties? I think I'd prefer the fire-walking seminar, thanks.

There are times when I think reality out-Onions The Onion. Ye gods.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

AprilApple,

The smoothie craze is so silly. I hear all sorts of ads for "drink my smoothie and the pounds will roll off" type advertisements on the radio.
Why not get the blender out, put some fruit in there, maybe a scoop of your favorite protein power, add some whatever else that makes you happy (yogurt/ fiber/ soy milk / Kale!?/Whatevah) and you can avoid the silly fad mark up.


Exactly. I like smoothies, but I don't buy them. I do that weird thing where you take various frozen fruit (and maybe a fresh banana or so) and throw them in the blender with some yogurt (and, as you say, some protein powder).

And I think I would drink a kale smoothie only at gunpoint. Some things are just not meant to be pureed.

bagoh20 said...

I cleanse every day. I'm doing it right now. I consume coffee, unfounded optimism, and unrealistic planning to wash away the previous day's constipating disappointment and failure.

Maybe it's other way around.

Old RPM Daddy said...

In the old days, didn't everyone in the office just go out and get drunk together?

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I'd rather participate in a group hangover than group diarrhea.

YoungHegelian said...

The Mrs has gotten so tired of me yelling at the TV screen every time the LiverRite commercial comes on that she glares at me the instant it comes on to make sure I don't say anything. I've learned my lesson.

I also get bent out of shape by those products that claim you've got TEN POUNDS of waste hiding in various places in your digestive tract.

I seem to remember learning enough basic human anatomy by 6th grade to to debunk this stuff, but maybe that was just me. Well, that and the nuns beating it into us (sob, sob....).

John M Auston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EDH said...

Just skimmed the post.

But I'd be interested in Selma Hayek cleansing my "whole hog".

bagoh20 said...

It's profitable the way every celebrity trend involves an over-priced product in place of some identical low-priced version that has been around forever with no magical effect.

SteveR said...

The thing about the "corporate cleanse" is that it reaches men.

I bet they'll start tweeting about it next. Turn in your "man card".

bandmeeting said...

Allie said, I wonder what they did to their insulin levels, dumping fruit juice into their system for days, with no protein to balance it.

You are correct and the fact is that most of these people have no idea what insulin does and they are under the impression that as long as it is not meat, it's all healthy.

Tibore said...

"Why not get the blender out, put some fruit in there, maybe a scoop of your favorite protein power, add some whatever else that makes you happy (yogurt/ fiber/ soy milk / Kale!?/Whatevah) and you can avoid the silly fad mark up."

That's exactly what I did. Works just as well. Only drawback is having to clean the blender, but so what? Tiny price to pay for being able to control what goes into it.

Tibore said...

"And I think I would drink a kale smoothie only at gunpoint."

I think I'd rather take the bullet...

Palladian said...

I'd like a rare sirloin & martini smoothie, garnished with a cigarette.

Roger Sweeny said...

All too often, I find myself thinking of G. K. Chesterton's quote, "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing— they believe in anything."

Christopher in MA said...

[i]I'd like a rare sirloin and martini smoothie, garnished with a cigarette.[/i]

Unfiltered, of course, Palladian.

Shanna said...

Why not just do a real fast? cheaper and easier.

Titus said...

Sounds like a wonderful experience to me.

Don't you all be a bunch of Judge Judy's.

Life, experience, adventure, step out of your boundaries, and pinch a group loaf.

tits.

Brennan said...

Once they go back to solid food they are going to be in a world of hurt.

Juicing is just fancy advertising where easily persuaded people fall victim to it.

Although, I wouldn't overlook the "please the boss" mentality that is probably playing a role here.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

In the old days, didn't everyone in the office just go out and get drunk together?

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I'd rather participate in a group hangover than group diarrhea.


Yep.

We used to call them "Stress Management Meetings". Meet up at the local watering hole and get shitfaced.

Yay!!!

Titus said...

Some of the people in my office have these straps around their legs that shows them how many calories and miles they go through in a day.

Weirdos.

Titus said...

I never pinch a loaf in a public restroom.

And when I pee I have to do it in a stall because I am pee shy.

tits.

Old RPM Daddy said...

Said Titus:

"Sounds like a wonderful xperience to me.

Don't you all be a bunch of Judge Judy's."

It sounds like a bunch of New York rubes falling all over themselves to get in on the latest trend. Mark my words: Somebody's going to start a new smoking fad, featuring exclusive cigarettes using "pure" ingredients, and costing five times per pack what you'd pay for Marlboro Lights (already higher than a cat's back in Manhattan). And people stand in line for it, convinced the high price makes it good for them.

Patrick said...

Two of those clowns are wearing shorts.

ken in sc said...

The smoking thing has already started. The brand is American Spirit and has an American Indian on the label It promises all natural ingredients and no additives.

Carol said...

I used to smoke American Spirit 20 years ago. the habit didn't stick, but if I wanted to light up again that's what I would choose.

Anyway, I don't get the smoothie thing either. A vegetable drink shouldn't be as bad on your insulin as fruit juice, but still it's all digested in a matter of minutes. I'd be starving to death on that regimen.

MadisonMan said...

I would claim an allergy, I think. Unless the boss was doing it.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

YoungHegelian,

The Mrs has gotten so tired of me yelling at the TV screen every time the LiverRite commercial comes on that she glares at me the instant it comes on to make sure I don't say anything. I've learned my lesson.

I also get bent out of shape by those products that claim you've got TEN POUNDS of waste hiding in various places in your digestive tract.


What channels are you watching? Honestly, I've not seen anything like that.

AllieOop said...

Carol, I didn't look to see what the ingredients are, but I would bet they use a large percentage of fruit juice mixed into the blend, because kale juice would taste pretty awful.

wef said...

Speaking of cleansing, didn't Selma Hayek also say, “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

Maybe it was some other sexy celebrity.

YoungHegelian said...

@MDT

The LiverRite commercials are all over the place on Fox News when I watch O'Reilly at 11:00PM EDT. Here's their website with the animated talking liver that loves NYC

I'm not sure where I've seen the "10 lbs of hidden waste in your digestive tract" ads, but they're out there. I think that sort of nonsense is more print media based.

The Crack Emcee said...

Well, Ann, you finally knocked one out of the park:

Absolutely relentless - you even used the word "cult" - I LIKE IT!

I didn't know Salma Hayek was a cultist, having concentrated on Madonna and the travesty that is Gwenyth Paltrow's "Goop," so you even added to my knowledge base of who's in and who's out.

Good job - glad to see it.

I currently listening to a radio program featuring Robert Baty who says:

It seems to me that Mitt Romney may be the Tom Cruise of politics.

Joseph Smith may have been the L. Ron Hubbard of the 19th century,...

I just thought of something else.

I just recently learned that the Mormons have an organization know as “MormonVoices” (website: http://mormonvoices.org/ ) that makes it their business to send out their agents to try and counter bad press.

Sounds so very much like the stories you hear about what Scientologists do.


Businessmen doing bogus cleanses, cultists being elected president by the Republican Party, and most people knowing anything more but to continue taking down this road to idiocy.

As Louis Armstrong sang, "Oh, what a wonderful world!"