On Monday I did a 1-day juice cleanse voluntarily with my sister and brother in law (strength in numbers, ya know?). We chose to purchase a pack from Nekter Juice Bar since they have one in Brea and I have one in Costa Mesa, and it worked out because when we purchased them on Sunday they were on sale for $40 (versus the regular $68)! They give you 6-juices in a reusable insulated bag, which is very convenient.
The purpose of the cleanse was to reset our systems while pumping it full of vitamins and nutrients. We all lead pretty healthy lives, and even drink fresh pressed juices regularly, but we’ve never fully cleansed our body for any extended period of time. While one day might not seem like enough to make any real difference, I’d like to think of it as a trial run for an extended cleanse someday. And by someday I mean a loooong loooong time from now, because even going one day was difficult.
Though I like to think I have a pretty firm grip on my body, boy was this cleanse a shocker. I am amazed at how fast my body started feeling the effects of no food. My brain felt hazy, my eyes found it hard to focus, and despite the fact that my body felt generally energized my motor skills seemed delayed. I wasn’t starving because I had 6 juices to drink throughout the day, but my brain continually took regular cues and reminded me it was time to eat (for instance, one of my co-workers arriving usually signals my breakfast time, coming back from my mid-day break means going straight to kitchen to prepare something for lunch, etc). At these times my body craved the feeling of food in my mouth, chewing, and swallowing….juice just didn’t satisfy that craving.
Planning for meals has become such a regular part of my life that I didn’t even realize how much brain time it takes up. Not having to plan and execute breakfast, lunch and dinner leaves some serious voids in my day. These mental plans are what lead to cravings (for me anyway), and I can imagine that thinking of food this regularly is a pre-cursor to overeating or eating the wrong things. I see this as a great lesson in the cleanse process: by replacing meals with a pre-planned juice regiment, you not only physically cleanse your body of unhealthy cravings, but also of the thoughts that lead to unhealthy cravings.
So what was I drinking anyway? Well, Nekter does a good job of mixing the juices up a bit, but that doesn’t mean they’re all delicious. Here’s what we drank:
Juice 1: 7:00 am - apple, parsley, kale, spinach, mint, lime, cucumber, celery
My thoughts: this is not great after brushing your teeth, it tastes like pickle juice. I had to chug it, but could only really do 3 big gulps at a time before I couldn’t take it any more and had to take a break. Blegh.
Juice 2: 10:00 am - cucumber, coconut water, pineapple
My thoughts: tastes much better than the last, but not great. A bit nutty from the coconut and sweet from the pineapple.
Juice 3: 12:20 – celery, parsley, kale, spinach, apple, cabbage, lemon
My thoughts: there was a time when I loved celery, this cleanse may have ruined it for me forever. I never realized how salty it is until I had it in juice form. It completely dominates every other flavor. It is taking away my hunger pangs, I’ll give it that.
Juice 4: 2:20 – filtered water, lemon, agave nectar, cayenne pepper
My thoughts: ummmm, yum. It seems I’m done with celery juices, so now it’s all looking good. This tastes like a delicious sweet lemonade with a little spice once it hits your throat hole. I seriously needed this sweet boost!
Juice 5: 5:00 – apple, cucumber, parsley, spinach, lemon, ginger
My thoughts: this is similar to a juice I get regularly, so it’s not too bad.
Juice 6: 7:00 – filtered water, raw cashews, agave nectar, vanilla bean
My thoughts: tastes so good. A nice, creamy respite from the acidity of the previous 5 drinks. I have a headache and feel like I need to go to sleep.
I don’t remember the last time I went to bed at 8:00, but I saw no benefit in staying up any longer and decided to retire early. I anticipated waking up extra early just to eat something on Tuesday morning, but surprisingly I had no desire to eat my normal breakfast options. Instead I was craving some refreshing fruit, so I had applesauce and a little later I had blackberries. I had some almonds and kale chips for a snack, and by lunch I was ready to eat like normal, but still only had a salad with homemade dressing and some steamed zucchini. I’m feeling very nourished, and I feel like I put in the work to detox my body for a day (which was not easy), so why mess it up with a crappy day of eating? Last night we had cashew chicken with cauliflower rice, and I think it was my first cooked meal in over 48 hours….
Final thoughts: In retrospect, I liked the cleanse, and I think it would get a little easier the longer you stick with it. While doing the cleanse, however, it was not pleasant….I really like food, and I missed it dearly.
Have you ever cleansed for the heck of it? What did you think?