So, I just finished a cold press juice cleanse and it literally changed my life. Literally. Okay, if you’ve been living under a rock (or in West Virginia) then you might not know that cold press juice – the stuff you get by pulverizing pounds of leafy greens, beats, hemp, ginger, and various exotic root extracts – is the newest health food phenomenon sweeping New York City, and that juice cleansing is when someone consumes only said cold press juice for an extended period of time, usually multiple hours or days.
Now, while juice cleanses have long been considered nutritionally positive, I’m here to declare them equally positive for the social good. After walking a day in the shoes of the hungry I’ve seen the future of inequality, and it’s 10 times your daily dose of Swiss chard all stuffed inside a 12 oz. bottle.
Right now, in a time of unparalleled economic and social inequality, where 400 people hold more wealth than half of the U.S. combined, the trend of bottled butter lettuce is uniting rich and poor in a shared sense of hunger. Specifically, this self-induced liquid diet is teaching New York City’s privileged few to empathize with the 1.7 million (21.2%) in poverty.
While you may not think that drinking various forms of vegetable pulp compares to the experience of a family of four with a shared income of $15,000 a year struggling to put food on the table, you’re wrong.
Trust me, there’s absolutely nothing pleasant about swallowing ungodly amounts of raw fruits/vegetables/organic oils/exotic roots on an empty stomach before your 8:00 AM personal training session at Equinox.
Recently, with one in five of New York City’s children living in homes without enough food on the table, there has been a growing discussion about how the richest nation on earth continues to suffer from the highest child poverty rate of any other developed country except for Romania. While the answer probably lies somewhere in between a shrinking middle class, a flawed tax code, and ever increasing globalization, right now, the bravest thing we can do is continue stoking the fires of this new populist grass roots cold press juicing campaign.
While it is one thing to read about poverty, donate to a food pantry, volunteer at a homeless shelter, and/or advocate for public support, it’s another thing to walk a day (or 3 if you’re really dedicated to deep cleansing and full rejuvenation) in the shoes of those less fortunate. Honestly, if you’ve ever forced down a combination of cucumber, celery, kale, dandelion extract, and ginger juice before a Beyonce concert, you can start to get an idea of the hardship facing our city’s hungry children.
I mean, sometimes silent solidarity is more powerful than ineffective action. Isn’t that what Gandhi really taught us with his hunger strikes?
Today, I’m proud to live in a city where the top 1% of the population are selfless enough to spend $100 per day to voluntarily starve themselves all to stand strong with the bottom 1% who are actually, in reality, starving.
Image – Megan Wolfe