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