I recently completed a five-day juice cleanse and let me tell you, I am so proud of myself! I’ve wanted to do a cleanse for so long and I have tried many times in the past, but I have never made it past day one — until now.
Like everyone, I’ve been having a tough time over the past few months. Stressing about keeping safe in this pandemic, working from home, dealing with depressing events on the news and feeling powerless as stories of police brutality and racism pop up on my TL — it’s safe to say that I’ve been a bit of an emotional wreck.
I also gained about eight pounds during quarantine due to my boyfriend’s newfound talent for bread and pizza making (
not to mention the copious amounts of wine and spirits we consumed while stuck at home.) I head back to the office soon and wanted to feel better and let’s be honest, drop some el bees before I squeeze back into my work attire. Read on to learn about my experience and how I stuck with it.
Day 1- I woke up early to go to the grocery store for my supplies for the week. I got mostly organic produce (such as greens, apples, strawberries, carrots, grapes) but also a mix of non-organic fruits with a tough outer layer (cantaloupe, watermelon, etc. I’ve read that these fruits don’t have pesticides in the flesh because of their tough skin. But get as much organic produce as you can.) I made several batches of two types of juice in my Vitamix (apple/grape/kale/celery and orange/ginger/carrot) and sipped on those throughout the day. The apple juice was fine but I had to gag down the carrot concoction because I didn’t strain it after blending and it was too thick. I finished the day off with a small bowl of steamed broccoli and cauliflower (it honestly tasted like the best thing ever by that point!) and some tea and went to bed. I wasn’t that hungry which surprised me.
Day 2 – My juices tasted much better on Tuesday. I made a big batch of green juice with organic seedless grapes, apples, collard greens and celery in my Vitamix and another carrot/orange/ginger juice. I strained both mixes with a wire mesh strainer after blending which really improved the taste. I was feeling a bit tired on day 2 and *TMI alert* I was feeling backed up which is rare for me since I usually get a lot of fiber. I ended up having a smoothie with banana and flax seed to see if it would help, ahem, fix things.
Day 3 – This was the hardest day for me. Although I was less bloated and not really hungry, I just wanted to quit the cleanse. I felt a bit tired, which could be because my cycle was about to start in a few days but it was also from the lack of calories. (I realized later that I wasn’t drinking enough juice.) It didn’t help that my boyfriend brought Chinese food in the house, which is my favorite, and the smells were intoxicating. I went to the store to get more produce. I had more green juice but also switched things up with melon juice. For dinner, I had scrambled tofu with spinach and tomatoes cooked in a tiny amount of olive oil.
Day 4 – I felt much better this day. My backed up problem had been fixed and I was down about three pounds. (Seeing the scale go down each day, even if only marginally really motivated me to keep going.) I experimented with different juices like watermelon and kale and cantaloupe and mint, papaya, carrot and orange. Normally before my period, I have intense craving for carbs, fried food and chocolate and although I felt tired, I didn’t have any extreme cravings. I only drank juice and water that day.
Day 5 – This was the last day of my cleanse. I drank mainly juice and had a smoothie for lunch because I had a family event in the evening. I also snacked on raw cherry tomatoes with a bit of sea salt and a handful of raw cashews. My event ran late and by the time I got home it was after nine and I was starving. I ended day five with a small bit of tofu and spinach seasoned with nutritional yeast.
Verdict: When I weighed myself on morning six, I had lost five pounds, my stomach was less bloated and my digestion was back on track. Because I had been eating small amounts of cooked food most days for dinner while on the cleanse, I wasn’t scared about breaking my fast but decided to still drink some green and fruit juice with my meals. I started off with easy to digest foods and still ate clean. Looking back, on days one and two I should have had more juice, and that probably explains why I felt so icky on day three. It also was tough not chewing things. I think it’s fine to snack on raw veggies and fruits if you want to chew something during a cleanse. I wish I had done that earlier in the week. It’s better to be 80-90% than fail and relapse on something unhealthy because you feel deprived. I also let myself have a cup of organic black coffee every morning because me without caffeine is not a pretty site! I slept better while on this cleanse and also had the most vivid dreams. I also felt great, aside from my evening cravings of just wanting to chew something.
What this cleanse has taught me: The past few days have taught me that I have the willpower to get through things even when I want to throw in the towel and that I can fight my cravings. It’s helped to reset my palate and taught me to enjoy simple meals like steamed vegetables without a ton of sauce or vegan butter. It showed me I can be satisfied without mindlessly gorging on rice or pasta. Before this, I had been consuming too much refined sugar and carbs and not as much vegetables as I would have liked to.
Would I do a cleanse again? Yes, most definitely. First of all, I loved juicing so much that I plan to keep drinking green juice at least once a day for the foreseeable future. It made me feel energized and like I was doing something good for my body. I’ve also juiced fruits that I normally don’t eat or like, such as watermelon, papaya and grapefruit. Next month I’ll probably try a two or three day cleanse as I feel like five days was too long. But a couple of days is fine for a reset or refresh.
Cons: Juicing is expensive. I live in the Bahamas where food is generally pricey and imported, especially organic produce. Next time I’ll hit up a farmer’s market to try and find cheaper fruits and veg, but because of the pandemic I haven’t been to the market in months. It’s also a lot of prep work to clean your produce, chop it up, blend (or juice if you have a juicer), strain it in my case, and then wash your blender/juicer. Like I said, I was working from home, but when I get back to the office, I don’t know if I will have the time to make multiple juices every day.
If you are thinking about doing a cleanse, my advice is it start incorporating one or two green juices into your diet first to get used to the taste before going full throttle. Also experiment with different fruits and flavors so you don’t get bored. Add citrus to your juice and another flavor enhancer like a bit of ginger root, tumeric or mint leaves. And it’s perfectly fine to do a partial cleanse like I did, having juice in the day and a small meal of steamed or raw veggies at night if you desire. Do what feels best for you.
For those interested in a juice cleanse, please consult your doctor first.