My juicy secret: I’m curious about a juice cleanse. But I’m scared! What if I get hungry? No caffeine?
What am I supposed to do without my morning jolt? Suffer from the 10 a.m. dull headache that will no doubt snake up the back of my neck and seize my forehead and temples like a band of howling wild wolves choreographed to the sound of Middle Eastern drums?
But I have two good friends who juice regularly to either detox from a weekend of bad eating or to lose a few pounds. I decided that I was going to do it for my own reason: Just to see if I could.
I decided to go with a 3-day Blue Print Cleanse. Blue Print is the one I have heard the most about and the cleanse that my friends swear by. You drink six 16-ounce juices each day.
You order one of three levels of juice cleanses online (I chose Renovation) and receive the juices in a box full of ice packs. (Note: I bought this myself and am not affiliated with the company in any way).
The juices are numbered 1 to 6 (totally idiot proof). For three days, it was $195. While this is a bit pricey, I decided it was worth it because I’d probably have to spend the same amount on fruits and veggies to create enough juice to sustain me. Plus, I don’t own a juicer and don’t intend to buy one.
My first juice was preceded by two cups of caffeinated green tea. I'm an admitted caffeine addict and Blue Print says that the tea is allowed. But even if it weren’t, I would have still had it--I won't suffer blinding headaches for anything or anyone.
The green juice (Romaine, celery, cucumber, apple, spinach, kale, parsley, and lemon) tastes like that refreshing smell that hits you in the face when you walk into an organic food store or juice bar. You know, the one that smells like grass and ginger and makes you feel healthy just by breathing deeply?
It tastes good enough to drink, but not quite good enough to chug, so I take my time sipping it and make it last. Maybe I can play Jedi mind tricks on myself to feel like I’ve actually eaten. Nah, who am I kidding? It’s juice.
Throughout the day, I looked forward to my juices because each one was new and delicious. I felt some hunger, but the novelty of doing something new was propelling me forward. Cashew milk, my final juice, served as dinner. This thick, creamy drink with vanilla and cinnamon tasted amazing when blended with tons of ice. Essentially, I had a smoothie for dinner!
Day one down--can I do this? Yes.
Next page: Days 2 and 3 of my cleanse
I described day 1 as “not torturous.” And it wasn’t, at all. I love all the juices; they’re quite delicious. There is pineapple and mint, beet with apple and carrot, and my favorite, cashew milk.
Day 2 has started out really well. However, unlike yesterday, I worked out this morning--I did a Soul Cycle class. Typically, I’m ravenous after these 45-minute uber-spin classes. But I was quickly reminded that no oatmeal was in my future. Even though I felt slightly hungry, eating wasn't part of my reality, so I quelled my hunger with a cup of green tea (herbal caffeine relief).
I got to work and waited another 45 minutes before drinking my juice. I wanted to push as late as possible to set the time for all my future juices. I made it to 9:20 am and finally drank the green juice. And by the way, the green juice had gone from from ‘pretty good’ to ‘absolutely delicious’! Today it actually served a purpose beyond filling my stomach--it was satisfying hunger. I was disappointed when it was over. So I kept the bottle on my desk.
I felt hungry today. Perhaps the novelty has worn off. Perhaps it was because of my workout. Who knows? But I found myself hungry and a little disappointed that I wasn't able to eat.
Not only that, I couldn't chew any gum or have a coffee--all my tricks to stave off hunger were unusable. So I just had to deal. For any of you who have had a craving or wanted to eat and couldn't for some reason, you know that this can be a little uncomfortable.
Still, I made a commitment to myself and I was going to fulfill on it. I waited. No one ever died between lunch and dinner. In the meantime, co-workers occasionally asked how I was feeling (fine), if I was hungry (yes, but I'll be okay), whether the juices were good (delicious), what was in the juice (not much, but the good stuff)...all the same questions I had before I embarked on the juice journey.
Dinner, again, was a blended cashew milk and tonight, was a more welcome meal than I've ever experienced. I should mention that I cancelled plans to meet a friend for coffee because I was too hungry and didn't want to wait an additional two hours to drink my final juices.
Day 3, the final day of my cleanse is here. Again, I worked out (cardio kickboxing). Again, I felt hungry and dare I say, slightly more so in between juices. Maybe I was just losing patience because it was my final day.
What I’m finding more interesting though, is how tied my body is to the time of day and what it means relative to my meals and food. It’s no surprise that food is, well, an addiction on many levels for me and many people I know.
We are constantly obsessing about how much we ate, what we ate, and when we’ll eat again. Our days are planned around mealtimes. My eating rituals are sacred. I like my schedule and this cleanse has thrown my schedule out the window. So yes, the 12-to-1 p.m. hour hasn’t been as exciting because there’s nothing for me to ponder--lunch just isn’t an option.
But, again, this is the main reason I did this cleanse--just to see if I could do it. Yes, I feel physically good and yes, I likely dropped a couple pounds. But mostly, could I go three days without eating, chewing, and savoring solid food?
The answer? Yes-ish
I broke down on two permitted fronts (the Cleanse allows these):
1) I had green tea with caffeine
2) I had slices of cucumber (today only) at lunch
And one un-permitted front: I had almond milk in my tea (go ahead, judge).
However, I still feel like this has been very successful. I'm proud of myself for accomplishing the three days. I definitely have willpower and commitment to my health. Lord knows everyone thought I was crazy to continue to exercise while only taking in the 1,100 calories of the Cleanse. But I am also tied to my workouts. I love them; skipping them was not an option.
Would I do this again? Yes, definitely. It is doable. Yes, it's different and yes, it's an adjustment, but I felt good inside and out. I even made a pact with a co-worker to start another 3-day cleanse soon (she started a day after me). The cleanse was like most things that result in anxiety because you spend too much time thinking about it--not nearly as scary as it seems.