I’m going to admit something: I’m not the kind of person who I thought would EVER go on a juice cleanse. I mean, cronuts from Donut Den are my favorite food group, and do you remember when I made these for my “healthy and gluten-free” Lent?
There are three reasons that a 3 day juice cleanse entered my world:
1. My beautiful best friend Danielle just HAPPENED to have this amazing juicer laying around that she got from work. How could you not put it to great use?
2. School just started, and if I’m going to be honest my summer eating habits were not the best (KFC is a big thing in South Africa. A. Big. Thing.) I figured doing a reset would do my body good.
3. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. People who know me will acknowledge that my greatest motivator is proving someone wrong. A juice cleanse is hard? Then I’ve got to do it.
With these thoughts in mind and a cleanse plan from Caitlin at Dash of Darling in tow, we made our way to Trader Joe’s, loaded up carts with colorful fruits and veggies, and headed back to make JUICE FOR DAYS.
Here’s a few things about juice…
It takes a while to make. Peeling and dicing LOTS of fruits and vegetables was a time consuming process, and so was feeding them to the juicer, who we named Jeraldo. Thankfully we only had to do this twice (we did Day #2 and #3 together), because I could not imagine having to do this for two weeks or longer (!!!)
It’s not as bad as I thought. I fully expected juice with tomatoes, parsley, and cilantro in it to taste disgusting, but there are a few key vegetables and fruits that did a lot to mask the flavor. Apples, ginger, carrots, beets, and lemon all had a strong enough flavor that you didn’t really notice much else.
YOU CAN’T DRINK JUST JUICE. Okay, maybe other people can, but a big reason we chose this cleanse is because you have one meal of lean protein and vegetables a day. I find this crucial to preventing dangerous levels of hangriness and to be able to have enough energy to work out, go to school, etc.
And now, let’s introduce you to the juices…
Day 1: Liver and Kidney Detox (aka We Can Do It! Juice)
This juice had a few ingredients that made me wary (I hate tomatoes), but on our first day, sprits were high. Jeraldo juiced away and out came a smattering of colors that blended into a reddish purple concoction. When I sipped this over ice for breakfast, I was TOTALLY amped. It tasted great, it looked pretty…how bad could it be?
As I was sipping juice through the day, I still felt fine. Danielle and I went to Pinewood Social and I grabbed a mahi-mahi/shrimp/avocado/black bean salad for lunch/dinner. Although the cleanse suggested eating the meal at night, I had it at about 2ish.
In addition to the cleanse, you’re supposed to drink a LOT of water. This was really good! I wanted to be better about drinking water, and since it was one of the two things I could have during the day, it became my new best friend.
Day 2: The Green Detox Machine
I woke up the morning of Day 2 with a little bit of a headache. Probably because I didn’t have any nutrients to start my day, I guess. Day 2’s drink was extra-spicy because of the ginger, but other than that, it tasted pretty much like the green smoothies I’ll sometimes make for breakfast.
I’ll admit, this day was hard. There’s a difference between having enough nutrients to get through the day and actually having decent meals. The only thing I could think was “after this, I’ll be GRATEFUL for salads!”
Day 3: Super Colon Detox Cleanse Madness
And then…we found ourselves at Day 3.
I’ll admit, I woke up in the highest of hopes. I had survived the first two days, the juice was already in my fridge, and I had pretty much stuck to the cleanse as written. How bad could one more day be?
The answer: pretty dang bad. I’m not sure if it was just the fact that I had been drinking juice for the past three days or what, but Day 3’s juice was my least favorite. To boot, I had been trying to work out only powered by juice, and was feeling pretty exhausted.
It was a sad day for Little Miss Juice Lady. I caved at lunch and got chicken and veggies from my favorite Thai spot on Belmont Blvd., and in the afternoon when I had finished my juice and was about to work out, I declared the cleanse over. I had some chicken and veggies, as well as a (gasp!) rice cake with peanut butter and cinnamon. The madness had ended.
So, what do I have to say about juice cleanses? Well, for one, I’m still not exactly sure how they work. I’m happy that I got all of those nutrients from the fruits and veggies I was taking in, as well as all the water, but at the end of the day, I really believe that humans were meant to eat food.
I do feel quite a bit less sluggish since I’ve returned to normal (and healthy) eating, and as a curiosity weighed myself yesterday. I think I lost about a pound and a half, although I’m not sure whether to attribute it to the cleanse, and it wasn’t really my goal anyways.
I think the biggest benefit of the cleanse was learning to have self-discipline, and also getting a chance to really enjoy food—especially healthy kinds! Trust me, when all you’ve had for a day is some green concoction, salads literally taste as delicious as donuts.
Well, maybe not. Jury’s still out on that one.
If you’re interested in trying the cleanse, here’s a link to the recipes! I’ve also made a super easy shopping list below for everything you’ll need for the three days. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Here’s to health (and real food!!)
(Thanks to my juicing partner Danielle for being crazy enough to do this with me. You’re the real MVP.)