I did a juice cleanse this year. Crazy, right? I’d always been curious and I put on a bit of weight over the holidays, so I thought I’d give it a try. I figure some of you might be curios too, so I’ll share my experience.
There are a lot of different cleanses out there. There’s the Master Cleanse which is a concoction of maple syrup, lemon juice, water, and cayenne that is literally supposed to empty your GI tract, and from what I understand, in a not super pleasant way. I didn’t do that one.
There are other, more gentle, cleanses that have you drink juice for a certain number of days to rid your body of toxins, etc. There are a lot out there, and a lot of DIY ones also. I decided to go with a delivered one for ease and for taste. I have a juicer, but when I try to do really green juices, it doesn’t taste so great. I haven’t gotten the right amount of fruit down yet.
I chose Pressed Juicery because they’re based in L.A. so I got my juice bright and early in the morning and I liked their philosophy. It wasn’t so weight focused, more health focused. And I really liked that I got an almond milk a day for some protein. It seemed less restrictive to me.
Why cleanse at all? Do our bodies really need it? Is it even good for us?
I think the jury’s out on if it’s actually helpful. I don’t think it’s harmful. but there are lots of reasons to cleanse.
1. Give your GI tract a rest
This is the idea behind a juice cleanse. It’s to give your GI tract a rest from working at breaking down fiber, meat, grains. You give your body a few days of really easy to digest, very nutrient rich liquid. Your body doesn’t have to work to get any of the nutrition out of the food.
It’s a way to give your body some nutrients you may not be getting enough of. This goes for just juicing in general.
3. Weight Loss
Goes without saying, if you only drink liquid for a few days, your bound to lose some weight. Although, you’re bound to gain some back when you start eating again.
4. Detoxify your body
This is done both by stopping eating unhealthy foods, like sugar and fatty foods, as well as through the vegetables and fruits in the juices that have antioxidants and cancer fighting phytochemicals in them.
5. Jump start a healthy eating plan
After you’re done with the cleanse, it’s not uncommon to eat very healthy for a few weeks afterwards. Your body is used to it. Before you know it, it’s become a habit.
It varies with the type of cleanse you do, but generally it’s 3-5 days of juices drank every few hours with no solid food at all. The one I used recommended eating vegan for three days prior to starting, with no caffeine, alcohol, or sweets, so your body doesn’t get shocked by the sudden change. It also is supposed to make it easier to stick with. I did eat vegan for three days prior.
The plan I choose had 5 juices and one almond milk to be drank every 2 hours with the almond milk right before bed. They were labeled 1-6. There was also a bottle of chlorophyll water to drink throughout the day for extra detoxification. And a bottle of aloe vera to drink right before bed. It’s supposed to cleanse the GI tract. They also recommended a probiotic during the cleanse and either colonics (I wasn’t ready for that) or an herbal laxative to get things moving (I did do that).
During the cleanse, they recommend light exercise like yoga and short walks and to go to be early and just take it easy.
At the end of the three days of juices, you’re supposed to gradually start food again, beginning with fruit and leafy greens and working up to bean soup on day 3. Then continue to eat healthy after that.
Day 1 went very well. I found I was hungry every two hours, but the juice satisfied me. I had no discomfort and the almond milk at the end was sooo delicious! I loved it!
Day 2 I had a headache when I woke up. It went away after my first juice. I was hungry every 1 1/2 hours, so by the time I drank the juice, I was pretty hungry and the juice didn’t take it completely away. I cleaned the chicken coop this day, which entailed shoveling out some dirty litter and adding some fresh. It wasn’t a full clean and only took 10 minutes max. It was too much for me. I got shaky and nauseas. My GI tract also started “cleansing”, I guess, this day. Not unpleasantly, though. The almond milk at the end of the day did fill me up.
Day 3 I was starving this day. Really, really hungry all day. I did feel more energetic and lighter overall, however. Also, the part of the cleanse I was hoping to avoid happened, the unpleasant “cleansing” of the GI tract. Definitely not pleasant. By the end of the day, I was dreaming about the banana I was going to eat in the morning.
Day 4 I broke my fast with a banana and it was, I think, a banana from heaven. It was so good, God surely had a hand in it’s creation. The banana filled me up. But by lunch I was again starving (and still having unpleasant GI stuff going on), so I went off the plan and ate whole wheat toast with peanut butter. Not quite as good as the banana, but still really good.
Since then I have gradually started eating more normally. I’m still eating very healthy though and not having sweets or caffeine.
Over the first 6 days I lost 9 pounds, I gained one back after I started eating solid food again. That is all the weight I had gained over the holidays. Definitely nice to have it off in week instead of a couple of months.
I am not overeating like I was before the cleanse. I’m satisfied with smaller meals. I’m having a green salad with a small amount of goat cheese on it for lunch everyday and it fills me up. I’m also not craving sweets or caffeine anymore and I’ve stopped snacking after dinner. I’m full, I don’t need to.
Would I Do It Again
That’s the real question, right? I got results for sure and am eating more healthy. But honestly, I don’t think so. Day 3 and 4 were not pleasant at all and I was really hungry. I lost 3 pounds the first 3 days just by eating vegan. I think I’m more likely to do that again when I get into a bad eating rut.
I will probably start juicing more though. It really did taste good and I do think it’s a great way to get some extra nutrients. Also, vanilla almond milk, yum! Who knew?
I’ve also decided to start eating meat again a couple days a week. Mostly fish, but other things on occasion too. I feel like I need the protein.
If I did do it again, I would definitely stay away from juices with added cayenne. My third drink of the day had cayenne. I choose it from the options because it’s supposed to be good for your metabolism. The problem? It tastes bad. Really bad. The other juices took me less than 5 minutes to drink. That one took about 20, 30 one day, for me to choke it down. Yuck!
So there you go. My experience with a juice cleanse.
Have you done one? Do you think you will?