So, let me preface this by saying that I have never been a fan of cleanses of any kind. I have always felt that they are unnecessary, unhealthy, and basically just fad diets. However, I have never actually done a juice cleanse myself and after awhile, curiosity got the better of me. A lot of people I have known who have done them have done them not so much to lose weight but to give their body’s a fresh start. The cleanse not only rejuvenated their body but also their mind. Living a healthy lifestyle is hard and sometimes you slip up. Sometimes a lot. So I can understand wanting to get back to a healthy way of eating. I started this year really strong eating really clean and healthy. But then I started a few projects which led to me being in the kitchen 24/7, making recipes, taste testing recipes, etc. I had no time for myself and working out and following my regular diet was suddenly not a priority anymore. Although my diet wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t where I wanted it to be. My body started to feel horrible and after awhile, I decided I needed a fresh start. From most of the reviews I have read from those who have done juice cleanses, many of the people stated they felt so rejuvenated and clearheaded afterward. I guess curiosity got the better of me because I was really curious if these people were on to something and if there really was something more to doing a cleanse or if it was really just people thinking they were on to something.
I’m not saying a juice cleanse (or any cleanse for that matter) is a quick fix or should be taken lightly. From a professional standpoint, I honestly wouldn’t even recommend doing a cleanse due to the low calories and lack of macronutrients. Plus, cleanses are promoted as cleansing and detoxing the body, however, the body already has a great cleansing/detoxing system in the place; the liver and the kidneys. Unless you have a medical problem that prevents your liver and/or kidneys from doing their job, they cleanse the body quite well on their own. This article (click me) explains in further details why cleanses are not quite what they are cracked up to be.
However, I am also glad I had this experience to actually try a cleanse so I could comment on what it’s like to actually do one and how I felt during and after. So, lets get into it.
On Juice was kind enough to offer me any 3 day cleanse of my choosing to review. Since I had never done one before, I decided to just stick to their basic signature cleanse. Prior to the cleanse, I was instructed to refrain from eating sugar, dairy, wheat, meat, alcohol, nicotine, and coffee 2 days before my first juice. I admit, it was pretty impossible to stay away from wheat since it is a staple food in my diet but I don’t consume nicotine, alcohol, coffee, or meat so I easily avoided those. Despite slipping up and having wheat and sugar prior to the cleanse, I still think the cleanse went well.
I received my juices promptly at 10:00 am Tuesday morning. I was also instructed to drink a 32 oz glass of water prior to starting my cleanse to basically “kick start” my body and help ease it into the cleanse. After consuming my water, I had to wait 45 minutes before drinking my first juice. I decided to use this time to read through the manual I was provided with. It gave not only more detailed instructions about the cleanse but also “tips for a successful cleanse” to help keep you on track so you don’t slip up.
I received 6 juices which I was supposed to drink every 2 hours.The juices I received were:
(1) sublime (deep cleansing) – consisted of spinach, ginger, cucumber, green apple, parsley, lime, and lemon. Given the ingredients and my dislike for cucumber, I was afraid I wouldn’t like it but surprisingly, I did like it. The ginger gave it a nice little kick and the other mix of flavors helped conceal the cucumber.
(2) pina kale-lotta (improves digestion) – consisted of pineapple, cucumber, kale, and purified water. I did also like this one. This juice was one of the main reasons I chose the signature cleanse. It sounded like something I would like and I did. The pineapple provided just enough sweetness to offset the flavors of the kale and cucumber.
(3) upskale (immunizing) – consisted of kale, celery, lemon, lime, cucumber, and parsley. I absolutely hated this juice. It tasted like I was eating a salad but in liquid form. It took everything I had to suck down this juice.
(4) lemon aid (tummy soothing) – consisted of lemon, cayenne pepper, agave nectar, ginger, and purified water.
(5) the roots (detoxifying) – consisted of carrots, beets, lemon, lime, and cucumber. This one had the most fiber (about 7g) and as such was the most filling. It had a real earthy flavor to it. I did pick up on the carrots so it kind of tasted like I was just drinking carrot juice.
Unfortunately, their almond milk juice (which was supposed to act as juice number #6) was being revamped so I was sent sublime in its place. So, in my lineup of juices, I drank sublime both first and last.
Nutritionally, as mentioned above, the juices combined only offered less than 600 calories. The roots juice was the only one I noticed that really contained any fiber (around 7g). Protein wise; sublime and pina kale-lotta contained 1 gram each, upskale contained 5g, lemon aid contained 0g, and the roots contained 4g. That’s only about 12g of protein total. For this reason, I decided to do the cleanse during the day but add in a meal at night.
Day 1: I started drinking my first juice around 10:45 and tried my hardest to make it last as long as I could. I made the juice last an hour but it was not very filling so I found myself wanting to supplement with food right away. I also found myself literally counting down until my next juice and feeling a little light headed. I made it to juice 3 or 4 before my stomach started to feel a little unsettled and I had to eat a handful of dried plums and figs just to get something into my stomach. I easily made it through the rest of the juices but then 10:30pm hit and I was hangry. I calculated in my head how many calories I had consumed and it was less than 600. In good conscience, I couldn’t let myself just survive off of 600 calories so I ended up making some homemade blueberry pancakes for Edward and I to share. In all honesty, I ended up eating only 1 small pancake and that was really all I needed to settle my stomach. Went to bed debating if I could do this for 2 more days.
Day 2: Woke up feeling hungry. Drank a glass of water then started my first juice. Once again, mid-afternoon I had to rely on a handful of dried plums and figs but then I made it through the rest of my juices. I actually wasn’t even very hungry by the end of the day but I still forced myself to eat some leftover pancakes from the day before.
Day 3: Woke up really hungry today. Drank some water which did not help. By now my hunger has turned into more of a dull ache. A constant dull ache. While I was prepping my meals for the next day, the smell of the food I was prepping just got to be too much and I ended up having to sneak in some taste tests; a spoonful of peanut butter here, a spoonful of greek yogurt there. And in addition to that, earlier in the day, I had already broken down and had a handful of dried plums and figs (my go-to snack) as well as a few bites of leftover blueberry pancakes. So, day 3 was by far the hardest day and I caved more than once but I really feel listening to my body is most important and it really wanted (and needed) food. Interestingly, the food I caved in to and wanted was all healthy food; the dried plums and figs were just natural fruits and really, fruit is one of the most healthy things you can eat; the blueberry pancakes were homemade with whole wheat flour and oat flour, unsweetened coconut milk, and fresh blueberries; the peanut butter was natural peanut butter made with only peanuts; and the greek yogurt was plain full fat greek yogurt. We had a cake sitting out the entire time I did this cleanse and not once did I even want it. When you eat healthy, your body craves healthy food.
Conclusions: It was an interesting experience and I admit it did make me really think about whether I was actually hungry or just bored. I found more often that not, I just wanted to eat because I had nothing else to do. Or because I wanted to do something with my hands. By day 3, however, I was really starting to feel the side effects. I can’t really say I felt more clear headed, quite the opposite actually. I admit my body did feel better after its little break from food but I would not do this again.
What I did like, however, was how the cleanse forces you to really make the most out of each juice. You are instructed to sip each juice slowly rather than just gulp it down. I am already a pretty slow eater so this really wasn’t too hard for me but for some people, this could really help them change the way they eat. Make them slow down a bit before getting to the point where they are stuffed. The body can only digest and absorb so much so any excess is stored as fat. When you take the time to actually eat slowly and evaluate how your body is feeling, you’re more in tune with how it’s feeling and better able to tell when you’re full before actually feeling full.
After doing the cleanse, I can say I won’t do one again. I’m glad I had the opportunity to try it but from now on, I will just fully rely on my body to do its thing and stick to eating as healthy and natural as possible.
* On Juice was kind enough to send me these juices free of charge in exchange for a review. Even though I received these juices for free, all thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.