Why I Did a Juice Cleanse and What It Did For Me

On any average day — especially in the mornings — my Twitter timeline and Pinterest page are full of juice. Juice recipes, tweets about starting the day with a green juice or smoothie, photos of delicious looking, vibrantly colored juices. Juicing is huge right now. Huge to the point where, when I went to buy a juicer at Macy’s recently, the saleslady told me “you better buy it right now cause once these are gone, we ain’t getting no more in a hurry.” And I knew she was right because literally the Breville juicers disappeared off Macys.com the day before and there were just five left, hidden under a table in the basement of Macy’s on State.

What is the DEAL with the juicing? < /Seinfeld voice>

I was already intrigued by just the idea of drinking my quota of fruits and veggies for a day, but then I started seeing more and more of my friends go on juice cleanses. But wait.

What’s a juice cleanse?

Basically you only drink vegetable and fruit juice for as long as you’re willing to do it. Most cleanses are three days, five days, or a week. But Riana Lynn, owner of Peeled Chicago told me, she’s known some diehard juicers to go on juice cleanses of 30 days or more. I’m sorry, but 30 days with no solid food sounds crazy to me. And when Riana offered me the opportunity to try a three day Peeled Chicago juice cleanse, I didn’t know if I could make it. But I decided to try. Go brave.

Why did I decide to try a juice cleanse?

– it seemed like the thing to do/everyone is doing it/I’m a health lemming

– from the reading I’ve done it seemed like a healthy life decision

- I wanted to see if I could do it. I lack discipline to a shameful level

– I was offered the opportunity and I wanted to share the experience with you all!

I didn’t think my reasons were good enough, so I had to ask Riana, what are the benefits of doing a juice cleanse?

Peeled Chicago juice cleanse

“There are a range of benefits that come from juice cleansing. Of course, many people come to Peeled for a “quick fix,” as in repairing from a stretch of processed and junk foods high in fats or sugars. There are a lot of customers that want to lose a few lbs or clear their skin before a vacation or wedding. At Peeled, we want our customers to think long-term. Juicing can improve your immune system, clear skin, and more. It is just a great and tasty way to re-invigorate your system. Our juice can help improve digestion and remove toxins. These things can help with a range of health issues and help prevent the onset of diseases such as diabetes and cancer. It is not just the hip thing to do, it is about preparing your body for long-term success with good health,” she explained. Ah. Gotcha!

My juice cleanse was for three days. Each day included six juices, to be consumed in specific order. The kinds of juices were switched up a little during each day. Green juice made with kale, spinach, apple, celery and ginger. Maroon juice made with beets. A Haute Lemonade that was super tart, spicy and not very sweet — not like the lemonade we usually drink! Young coconut water which was so sweet and good, LOVED that. And the last drink of the day was cashew milk, which if you’ve ever done a juice cleanse, you know it’s heaven in a bottle. Creamy and sweet and nurturing and YUM. The day would always begin with green juice, then end with cashew milk.

If you don’t like green juices or vegetable based juices, then obviously this isn’t for you. I didn’t like green juices when I first tried them, but I know how good they are for me and I know that I need more veggies in my life. And now, I honestly love them. The quick veggie fix is part of why Riana says juicing is so popular these days. “…Unfortunately, Americans do not love vegetables. We are a foodie and fast-food nation. It is a great thing to have fast-food and superfoods all in one mix. It’s always good to focus on incorporating raw foods and juicing into a diet, as well.”


On day one of my juice cleanse, I felt proud of myself by juice three. By juice four on day one, I was HONGRY with an O. I didn’t think I was gonna make it. I was already thinking of all the leftovers in my fridge I was gonna smash and then I said to myself IT IS DAY ONE. Make it through at least one day! So I did. I went to bed really early, just because I needed to stop thinking about food and how delicious it is.

On day two of my juice cleanse I woke up feeling happy and lighthearted and I noticed the thing everyone says — juices make you energetic! I felt very positive and full of energy. I found myself doing tasks I’d put off around the house. I went to the post office. I felt good! I did feel hungry in the afternoon — any time between 3 and 6 pm, I felt those familiar hunger pangs coming back. But I made it through and I felt really good about that.

People kept telling me that if I made it to day three, it would be a breeze…and that wasn’t my experience. I was still hungry and was actively looking forward to day four, in which I could eat food again! Towards the end of day three, I was ready to end the cleanse but I definitely noticed the benefits of being on it. Let me tell y’all about THOSE.

Doing the juice cleanse made me aware again.

I had fallen into the habit of eating without thinking. I would serve myself huge portions and eat while watching TV or browsing the internet…I wasn’t conscious of the physical act of eating. The act of consuming nutrients. I didn’t THINK about the fact that is what food is. Nutrition. I was eating what tasted good and what my body was conditioned to crave, and many of those things are bad for me. Complex carbohydrates, white flour, white sugar, highly processed things, salty things, sweet things. Things with minimal nutritional value, at best. Doing the three day juice cleanse helped me realize I didn’t need any of it. You know how you wake up in the morning and say “oooh I need a hot cup of tea or coffee with all these sweetners in it?” Well, you don’t say THAT, but that’s basically what it is. And you don’t need it. You just think you do. You’re conditioned to think you do. Doing the juice cleanse helped me realize that I didn’t need to start my morning with a hot cup of sugar, which is something I had done my whole life without questioning it. When I finally ate I noticed how much food has to do with touch and feeling. I noticed how food felt while I consumed it, and how it made me feel after I consumed it. Awareness is beautiful.

Doing the juice cleanse made me realize I was stronger than I thought.

There were many times where I wanted to throw the towel in on the juice cleanse and just eat FOOD. I had these leftover scallops in the fridge…and they were calling my NAME. And at night my husband wanted dinner, obviously…and as he went about preparing himself something hot and highly scented, I thought I was gonna lose it and quit this thing. But I didn’t. I made it through three days and now I know I can do it again. And now I know I can do OTHER things I’ve talked myself out of, too.

Doing the juice cleanse reset my appetite and my cravings.

I didn’t come out of the three days thinking “I’m gonna smang this bag of potato chips!” I came out of it thinking, OK now what do I eat? Foods that were highly appealing to me before (like doughnuts) now seemed unappetizing. On the day after my juice cleanse I ate vegetarian foods as advised. Oatmeal for breakfast, kale salad for lunch, and for dinner my husband and I went to a Mexican restaurant and I was persuaded into having a margarita with my vegetarian tacos, but I didn’t crave it the way I used to, and I only had one. I ate my food slowly. I savored the sensations. I didn’t notice how food tickles the tongue, or feels going down my throat as much before. It was cool to notice and appreciate that.

I did this juice cleanse three weeks ago and in the days afterward, the scale showed a 7 pound loss for me, but of course that was water weight. I actually lost four pounds and gained an appreciation for food as nutrition that I didn’t have before.

What were the downsides of the cleanse?

I had to pee All. The. Time. So on afternoon two I decided to walk to the post office and back….and I tell y’all Jesus was with me because I was about to embarrass myself in downtown Chicago and that would not have been ok!

If you aren’t eating food, you don’t want to see pictures of yummy food. So avoid Pinterest because it will just piss you off.

Also, it’s not fun to go out and be social when you’re on a juice cleanse. Most social events involve cocktails or food, and it’s just temptation all around you. I don’t need that when I’m feeling weak!

What’s my advice for anyone who’s considering a juice cleanse for the first time?

Take the time beforehand to check your calendar. Do you have any special events or places to go to coming up that week? Can you make a lasagna or casserole on the weekend to tide your family over when you’re not going to be eating with them at dinnertime? Think about those life scheduling details. Don’t let them prevent you from trying it though! And don’t be afraid. You can do it! If I can do it, ANYONE CAN.

If you’re in Chicago, you must check out Peeled Chicago! and also follow them on Facebook and like them on Twitter. Thank you, Riana for this amazing opportunity!

Have any of you ever done a juice cleanse? What are your thoughts on the whole thing?

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Comments

  1. I love juicing and do have green smoothies just about everyday kudos to you.

  2. I haven’t done a juice cleanse, but I’ve done a fast before. Your advice is spot on for anyone doing anything outside the normal.

    I think it can be very benefical like you mentioned and always wanted to try it. I will probably try it on the weekend. I can only imagine the looks my co-workers would give as I try to make juice in our office breakroom.

    Thanks for your honesty and transparency – it makes things like this seems more accomplishable (is that a word?). Take care & keep up the awesome posts!!!!

  3. abolitionista says:

    Congrats on completing your juice fast Bella! Like Deborah I juice and make green smoothies daily. After a month of eating almost exclusively dairy, meat, gluten, and soy free I have immense mental clarity. It’s great to crave foods that taste great and are great for me. I eat a lot and I am loosing inches without trying.

    Kudos to you again. And yes those Breville juicers go quick! Macys.com restocks and they are gone within an hour.

  4. I have been wondering about Peeled for awhile. I should give them a go…

  5. Yay Bella. You can do hard things. I tell myself this all the time. This is hard, but that’s okay. I can do hard things!
    xoxo

  6. I love juice! great great review!

  7. I juice but I have never done a juice cleanse. I was gifted a juicer. I have no idea what brand it is, but there aren’t a lot of parts to clean & it works no problem. I just because after year of being a junk food eating vegetarian, I wanted to eat healthier. Juicing is how I get in veggies I don’t like and also how I get in nutrition on on the go days. If I have a bottle of a cool drink in the car, drive through has no hold on me. I don’t drink sodas and I have allergies like whoa. Knowing exactly what is in the juice I am drinking is a big deal for me.

    As for cleanses I tried the one where you drink unfiltered apple juice, then grapefruit juice and then a epson salt concoction. maybe it’s because I’m already meatless, but it really didn’t do much for me. I applaud those who do & have success with them.

  8. Glad you wrote this. I’ve been juicing since 2010. More BW need do to this since we are the ones cooking for our families. Overweight mothers have overweight kids, we can’t tiptoe over nor be in denial about Black obesity rates. Diabetes and high blood pressure are no jokes! When you juice with the kids it gives them appreciation for nutrition and they taste real juice, not that sugared mess sold in stores.

    Well written story. My skin is good ( I drink lots of cucumber juice), I wear size 8. Our fridge is full of veg and fruit at all times. I would still arm wrestle for a fried chicken wing and I stan for Popeyes but juice is now a part of my lifestyle and my friends, too. I juice all veg that I dont like to eat including beets and brocoli.

    Juice cures are no joke. YOu can cure an ulcer just by drinking a glass of cabbage juice daily.
    You can relieve stress with juice, you can up your mood with juice.

    My tool is a Breville juice foundtain, love it, would marry it if I could!

  9. Congrats to you for doing the cleanse. I’ve never done one but I’ve been juicing nearly every morning for about 2 months. And I love it. I definitely noticed a difference in my body, skin, and energy level. Also, I used to work near Peeled and tried a few of their juices. They were all delish. And I had a yummy fresh pressed sugarcane lime concoction from them at Dose market this past Sunday. I’d like to try one heir cleanses soon.

  10. I’ve never tried a juice cleanse (I may soon) but i had to give up most alcohol a few years ago: if trapped in a cocktail environment ask them about non-alcoholic cocktails and then make them take out the obligatory sugar syrup.

    Combinations of lemon, ginger, lime, pomegranate, all make good bases for “temperance” cocktails.

  11. Great job! I did a 1 day cleanse and was hard but decided to do a 3 day. I did 2 days and got so sick that I was throwing up and sick to my stomach. I didn’t do day three as I have two kids to take care of and couldn’t afford to be out of commission. I think I will give it another try in the summer :)

  12. A good post but I would like if you could have added a medical aspect to it – in that a doctor could advise who should not go on such a cleanse etc.

  13. I’ve tried fasting with smoothies but not juicing. You’re right in cleansing makes you think so much clearer and as a result I feel healthier.

  14. Good job! I am so glad you tried a juice cleanse and saw the benefits of doing so. It can be difficult but after you try it once you get addicted to the feeling of being clean and looking at food differently! You go girl!

  15. I have a juicer, but I learned right away about the downsides to juicing. It takes a lot of work to ensure you have the right ingredients and then, to clean the juicer. I felt like I was wasting a lot of time and money with what I ended up throwing out. I am a fan of health drink called Shakeology because it gives me all those great natural ingredients like spirulina and chlorela in something that tastes good (chocolate) and doesn’t take a lot of time to clean up. The company that makes Shakeology just came out with a 21 day cleanse. I like the thought of something that is simple but still provides the benefits of juicing.

  16. Congrats on finishing! As you know, I have a juicer, but I have yet to be disciplined enough to use it everyday. My first few times I used it I did notice more energy. So much so I scaled back on my coffee intake. I usually grab a large cup before I jump on the train. I found myself not being able to finish it. I downsized to getting a medium and even then I could not finish the cup.
    Great post! As soon as my UPS guy makes his delivery I will be walking to the fruit stand to stock up and get with the program!
    Cheers to health!

  17. I have been on a juice cleanse—and I feel your pain. It was hard the first day especially when you smell the aromas of foods being cooked around you. But I am here to say that I’m glad I did it. I had a better appreciation for the taste of food—it is like my taste buds woke up. It is hard to explain, but I felt the aliveness of the vegetables and fruits in comparison to a fast food hamburger which I found didn’t taste good and did nothing for my health. My skin had a wonderful radiance to it too.

    Now, I sometimes substitute a juice smoothy for breakfast or whenever I crave a sweet and it has done wonders for me. Juicing really does taste good.

  18. Hellooo! I bought a Jack Lalanne juicer at Costco this week after watching the much-discussed documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” The truck driver, Phil — his transformation had my mouth hanging open. You could actually see his skin and even his HAIR becoming brighter and more vibrant. He went from barely being able to walk for 15 minutes to running.

    Charles and I have been juicing now for two days. I don’t want to make this comment so huge, but we are really REALLY enjoying it. My fave juice so far is apple-pear-lemon-ginger-celery. Carrot-apple-ginger is also really good.

  19. AsiaDupree12345 says:

    Good Morning to All:

    I’ve been juicing all my life. I would like to remind people of the toxins that will build up if juicing is not done properly. Prior to juicing, please look into purchasing parasite cleanse and take it for 15 days prior to juicing. You also need to take organic coffee colonics everyday while detoxing! Note: Look into herbal teas to assist with your juice cleanse. The best ones are: Burdock, Red Clover, Dandelion. Also, google liver and gallbladder cleanse, this too is necessary if you’re doing a juice cleanse properly. Last of all, please, please make sure when juicing…never drink the juice without filling the glass with distilled (My Preference) or regular spring water about 75% water and 25% juice. You can detox and properly regain your health. I stay on my fast for 30 days only.

    Hope this helps! Asia

  20. Juicing is better than nothing, but blending the juices is the best way to retain high value nutrients. Vitamix, Healthmaster and Ninja are examples of high powered blenders which pulverize veggies and fruits down to a liquid pulp and do not extract the flesh from the juice. All nutrients are maintained. I save my juicing for when I want to make delicious, unusual fruit juices- canteloupe, guave, etc.

    I have been using a Vitamix for one year to make breakfast smoothies (mixed berries, almond milk, uncooked steelcut oats, vegan protein powder and a banana) and green drinks ( combination of various greens like kale spinach, dandelion greens, bok choy, pineapple, ginger, 1 kiwi, 1 apple, 1/2 a cucumber). I have had one of each drink every day, along with a healthy solid lunch and dinner for the past year. I feel great and this eating plan has increased my energy level and sports performance levels tremendously. I partake in a plant based diet (with very minimal to no dairy) 80% of the time and enjoy seafood on occasion.

  21. It is the awareness that comes from living this kind of life. Kudos for trying it.

  22. It’s not a cleanse, but we’ve incorporated juicing into everyday life. And WOW I feel so much better I cannot believe it. I think it’s detoxing and keeps you healthy!!

    Sam

  23. Hey BELLA! Sitting here with a full after-Thanksgiving belly with my wife (she’s tiny) and we started talking about my 5 month pre go belly! So she suggested a Juice diet and viola! BELLA’s experience shows up in the google search! Well we are starting right away. We will be back to you in 4 days! Love you Bella!

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  25. If you have never experienced a cleanse,or as i call it a juice fast,you are in for a
    great experience i have been making juices,for fasting for over 20 years,and i have seen God’s Miracles with my own eye’s.

  26. Im a teenager and interested in doing a short juice cleanse. However, my mom did one a few years back and got extreme stomach pain and had to stop it early. Does anyone know why this could have happened? And how I can prevent it from happening to me?

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  29. Hi! I know this is an old post and you probably won’t even read this comment but I just wanted to say your post made me laugh. I’m on day 1 of a 3 day Suja juice cleanse. It’s about 8:15 and I’m almost done with my last “juice” (Vanilla Cloud which is an almond milk). Anyway, thanks for posting. I didn’t think I would be able to make it this far but I’m actually feeling really great right now. Although I think I will be going to bed soon to avoid any possible slip ups that could occur after this last drink. Anyway…cheers! And thanks again for making me laugh.

    • YAY! Love that this old post is still getting comments. If I could make it through my juice cleanse, so can you!! Hadn’t heard about Suja, will check them out!

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