This is not a complicated concept - seven days following Jason's 'juicy' plan, drinking only freshly made juices, soups and smoothies, enough to drop half a stone (at least) and kick start a new, healthy attitude to dieting. The juicing itself is a little more complicated, requiring expensive kit, enough fresh fruit and veg to rival spitalfields market, 5 daily-made juices/smoothies/soups, and a series of increasingly complicated recipes.
Jason Vale comes across as more evangelical egomaniac than medical professional - the book is basically a soapbox for his ranting. The cover promises that you can 'lose weight without dieting', although I'm not sure what else you would call a week of juice-only fasting.
This is a long book, very long, and Jason is absolutely insistent that you must read and absorb Every. Single. Word. The problem for me seems to be that he says a lot of things that don't actually seem to make any sense when you think about them - just because he's written them, doesn't make them true. Here's some examples:
He makes lots of references to popular culture - celebrities, films and fad diets. He talks about diets only working the first time, 'Many people try to relight the inspirational fire using the same method that helped them to succeed before', he calls this 'The Sixth Sense Syndrome'.
"The first time that you see the film, the twist at the end is a complete revelation, but you can't possibly get the same revelation the second time round".But when you think about it, you can't compare the calorie and fat-controlled regime of weightwatchers, or the carb-free atkins - both of which continue to work scientifically regardless of whether you've seen some shit old film with a washed-up Bruce Willis once or ten times. Jason also doesn't like the BMI system - he calls it antiquated - and says that:
Why, exactly does he single out the not-very-muscular Brad Pitt. Rugby players I can understand, but what's he got against Brad? Maybe he fancies Angelina? And this one's my favourite. In his chapter 'The Juice Revolution', he says how people from all walks of life are seeing the results. 'Even Kate Moss has been at the wheatgrass shots'. Yeah, wheatgrass, I'm sure that's what Kate's been at...
Two common themes emerge with most of the diet books I've read - it seems to be necessary to slag off all other diets, and to either rubbish all the science, or highlight the science that supports your own case, even when it's the most tenuous possible. He says that:
'Over the past 10 years, there have been scientific studies carried out with regards to juices and smoothies'but then fails to mention any more about any of them. Where were they? What were the results? When he does reference them, it's in the vaguest terms - Apple juice has a powerful effect on memory and 'can help' prevent asthma. "Polyphenols might play an important role in delaying the onset of Alzheimers" Resarchers said that "it was probably due to disease-fighting polyphenols". Can? Might? Probably? That's not science, that's conjecture... Anyway, he then goes on to totally rubbish science, in the chapter "What is science anyway", basically rejecting any findings that don't conform to his thinking with a "well, we once thought that the world was flat" attitude.
The science part: Jason is obsessed with the dangers of trying to medicalise weightloss, what he terms 'Pharmageddon'. The dangers of Phen-Phen, Vioxx, Alli and the like. My favourite line from the book: 'If you're overweight, the cause is not a slimming pill deficiency'. No, it's also not a chips or pies deficiency either!
Jason Vale also relies heavily on the anecdotal evidence that he receives via letters from successful 7-day juicers. My favourite is this one:
This worries me on a number of levels. I have no idea what my hairs 'original' colour is, but I pay my lovely colourist a small fortune every few weeks so that I never have to find out. Secondly, a weeks worth of juices (even a years worth of juice) can't possibly make your hair change colour...
Apparently, during the first few days, I may feel a degree of excessive hunger. According to Jason, this is not genuine hunger, but 'feelings of withdrawl'. Yes, withdrawl from FOOD!! He goes on to say that "this withdrawl is a slight, empty feeling identical to normal hunger". Hmmm, no food, a feeling identical to hunger... He then goes on to further clarify "if I didn't know how much food I have had, how hungry would I really be?" Fucking starving, that's how hungry! Apparently, "the principle is the same for many aspects of life. For example, if you didn't know how much sleep you'd had, how tired would you really be?" Seriously?? I have a full time job, and two small children who often wake me in the night for the most random of reasons. I don't know how much sleep I have, but I know that I'm fucking exhausted all the time!!
Anyhow, I bought a £100 top of the range juicer yesterday in Argos (don't say I'm not serious about this...) and have ordered the necessary fruit and veg (Ocado £40, Tesco £15, £1-a-bowl man 5 bowls). Let's just hope this gadget doesn't join the growing pile of 'seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time, waiting-to-be-put-on-ebay' items in the cellar (Vax carpet washer, kenwood blender, roller blades - to name but a few).
Silver Lining: Having convinced me to buy the juicer, Simon's agreed to join me for the week...