Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss are the beautiful, energetic ladies behind Blueprint Cleanse, the juicing sensation that took off in New York a few years ago and is now popular around the country. I did the cleanse a couple of times, first last November and again this April when I realized that I was still craving their green juice! (It is much tastier than the stuff I try to make myself.) A three day, delicious menu of fresh bottled juices was everything I needed to shake off the lethargy that had developed and this time I even dared to work out while juicing on the Blueprint Mind Body Cleanse program, offered in conjunction with Exhale Spa. I was skeptical of exercising while juicing, but as it turns out, Exhale’s yoga and barre method classes were a perfect complement as they focused on toning and muscle definition (rather than cardio). Three days and 18 juices later, I was sore but energetic and happy.
“Detox” and “cleansing” can be confusing buzz words you may hear in beauty and health media and I took a moment to speak with the ladies to get the DL on their personal experiences, the Blueprint philosophy, and a sneak peek at what the dynamic duo is up to next.
The Daily Obsession: How did you first (personally) get into cleansing?
Zoe Sakoutis: I experienced a defining transformation in 2000, when I went from full-scale carnivore to hardcore raw foodist overnight and first began my experiment with cleansing. In order to combine that aesthetic with the best cutting-edge knowledge of nutrition, I studied at the Ann Wigmore Natural Health Institute in Puerto Rico and in 2001 became a Certified Nutritional Consultant (A.A.N.C.). I went on to create BPC for myself and the many like-minded people I knew, who lived at a demanding pace, but were searching for a practical, accessible system of cleansing to help them maintain their health and balance.
Erica Huss: I’m originally from a background in musical theater and the grueling lifestyle led me to nurture what was already a passionate interest in food and nutrition. I spent my time offstage reading cookbooks, testing my own recipes on friends and family, and meditating on the mantra that food should provide both fuel and pleasure at all times. After moving on to work in hospitality and with some of the top food personalities on TV, I joined forces with Zoe to bring BPC to the marketplace so that others could experience the benefits of cleansing that I had learned from my own experiences.
TDO: Tell me about the process of creating Blueprint Cleanse. How did you decide which ingredients to use, how you created the different levels, why do you order the drinks in the way they are etc.
BPC: We started BPC as a way to help our bodies detoxify from the things we were eating and drinking that were not meant to be ingested in the first place- namely processed foods. Depending on your lifestyle, we have three levels of cleansing because we want to give everyone the opportunity to experience it, despite their dietary differences. You don’t have to be a raw foodist to get the benefit of doing a juice cleanse. The juices range from fresh fruit combination to green juices with five types of vegetables, to creamy nut milks with cinnamon, offering complete nutrition in each day of the cleanse. The ingredients used in the juices and the order in which you drink the juices were designed for maximum benefit. The various vegetables and fruits used serve different purposes- some detoxify the blood while others work specifically on the liver. Cleansing is about nourishment, NOT deprivation. Our live juice cleanse promotes healing simply by supplying the blood with vitamins, minerals and enzymes that one is able to assimilate.
TDO: Blueprint juices say “unpasteurized for your protection.” What does that mean?
BPC: The process of pasteurization is essentially a way to preserve liquids, but when you pasteurize something, you are cooking it beyond the point where the live enzymes stay vibrant and intact. One of the main benefits of raw food and raw juice is that the live enzymes work together with your body’s natural digestive enzymes to aid in digestion and enhance the process. Consuming live juices helps to replenish your body’s natural store of enzymes, so you want to avoid pasteurized juices whenever possible.
TDO: What’s the biggest benefit you’ve personally experienced from cleansing/juicing?
BPC: Without a doubt, you feel better in your own skin- physically and mentally. Cleansing helps clear your mind because your body isn’t working so hard to digest and your cells are detoxifying, giving your brain room to function at its maximum capacity. It’s awesome because you’ll really think clearer and be more focused. Our experience cleansing led to the creation of BPC and the fulfillment of knowing its enhancing the lives of so many others- all from juice- which is awesome for us to know we’ve helped bring to the table (literally!). For many people, if they need to lose weight, they will do so from cleansing, which can also be a happy side-effect.
TDO: How did your partnership with Exhale come about?
BPC: Exhale was a spa that we both go to and loved. Their attention to the “mind body” connection was in line with BPC’s philosophy as well, so it was a natural fit for two like-minded businesses to partner. They offer the spa treatments and exercise classes that are so important to incorporate into your daily life, especially during cleansing, and we offer the nutrition and cleansing element.
TDO: Some people think 3 days of not eating is crazy- never mind adding 3 works outs during those 3 days! How do you see exercise fitting into a cleansing program?
BPC: Exercise is an important part of the BPC, as it provides the body with another avenue of eliminating toxins. We want to put to rest the myth that if you don’t eat a lot of solid foods, that you’ll lack energy. Unless someone is undergoing a water fast, which should only be done with supervision, your energy levels will actually increase! Cleansing allows your digestive tract to rest, which gives your energy a boost! With BPC, you are feeding your cells, not your belly, so you’ll feel lighter and more energized to go for a run or hit the gym. And don’t underestimate the power of yoga when you’re cleansing. The twists and stretches in yoga are designed to target specific organs, so the added benefit of the combined forces of juice and yoga is fantastic.
TDO: What are your favorite foods when you’re not cleansing?
Erica Huss: We both happen to really love fruits and veggies. Zoe doesn’t eat meat in general, and I don’t eat a lot of it , but I do appreciate a good steak now and then. The focus is on eating fresh, unprocessed foods as often as possible, and we both sort of naturally end up doing what we’d consider “raw til dinner” or “juice til dinner”. Eating raw foods like fresh fruit and salads throughout the day keeps your energy level constant, without all the peaks and valleys that come from heavy, denser foods. We both really enjoy the pleasures of good food and good wine. Oysters, champagne and good French cheeses are an absolute favorite indulgence!
TDO: Anything new and exciting you are working on for the future?
BPC: We are excited about a few programs that we will be launching specifically geared towards men and brides. We know that every bride wants to look and feel her very best on her wedding day and cleansing is the perfect adjunct to her beauty and health routine. And men sometimes feel a stigma with cleansing, so we want to make it known that you can still be a “manly man” and cleanse from time to time and really make the benefits known to them. We also look forward to expanding our pick-up city locations around the country. We just launched Boston, but stay tuned for more of those announcements as well!