Perspective On A First Time Juicing Cleanse
Well, 7 days, 126 carrots, 14+ apples, 21 beets, and numerous other goodies later, my first juice cleanse and liver detox is complete. Today I was FREEEEEEE! To eat what I wanted again, like the banana bread and finally taste the new pumpkin bar recipe I made (and didn’t cheat and eat!) during those 7 days. Was it difficult? Was it good? Was it bad? Was it ugly (you know what I mean, right)? Why did I do it, and why didn’t I do it, and would I do it again or recommend it? Here are my marks on a scale of 1(low) – 10 (high):
Was It Difficult?
Sticking with it (3): Originally toying with 3-5 days, once I’d set my intention on doing 7 days, I was pretty much all in. By the end of the 7th day I was itching for that upcoming ‘free’ day and getting pretty eager to chew stuff again, but overall, I honestly was full almost all the time, which I hadn’t anticipated at all and was glad for. Substituting tea when I wanted ‘something’ worked well. Although I didn’t fully break my snacking or coffee habit, I took a big dent
Eating all the food (5): SO much food! Only 2 of the 7 days did I actually succeed in eating all the food required! In fact, on day 6, I was so behind that after our normal (filling) dinner, I made 3 more juices and brought that and the carrot salad to the living room to eat next to the hubs while he watched TV. Instead he watched me, incredulous. He exclaimed “I can’t believe you’re still hungry!”. I groaned “I’m not……” while I tried somewhat successfully to plow through it. He thought I, and the cleanse, was a little ridiculous. What can I say, I’m not always a rule breaker :}. On the protocol I followed (Juicing For Life basic cleanse plus liver detox), between the cleanse and the liver detox, each day’s food included
8 juices (incorporating 3 beets daily for the detox in those – my green juices a gorgeous red-purple hue!)
2 cups of blended steamed vegetable soup
1 cup of shredded carrot salad
A regular dinner of fish, brown rice, salad, cooked veggie, and fruit dessert
Ease of prep and clean-up (3…. or 7, depending): One of the reasons I decided to do the cleanse was that if I were going to recommend it to anyone, I wanted to make sure it was do-able. I’d say 7 if you were able to have ready access to the foods and juicer and sink – as in, be near your kitchen all day for 7 days. If you work from home, it’s pretty workable. Or if you have and are willing to use a juice bar nearby when you’re not at home. I’d say 3 If you have to haul a juicer/foods to a kitchen at work to make this work. OR, if you are really sick (as in, when you need this protocol THE MOST!), you have someone available to make or bring you fresh juice several times per day. 8 juices daily is a lotta juicing! I did consolidate efforts the last few days and made 2 juices each time, so knocked the juicer down to 4 uses and cleanings per day. I’m REAL good at cleaning the thing now though!
Was It Good?
Taste (9): OMG, YES! From day one, I was sipping and savoring every juice (except when I had to cram them down at night because I didn’t get to them!). I had to learn a little on the green juices, as I sort of made my own up on those and they were not as yummy without some tweaking, but I’ve had good juices before but I really kind of dreaded what some of these would be like. Honestly, of the 12 recommended juice recipes for the protocol I followed, there was only 1I really did NOT like. Surprisingly, the melon and berry I’d been SO looking forward to =/. I did miss salt.
Habits (7): Would rate higher if I did it long enough for some real permanent change. I suspect, based on today where I snarfed on a little of all I missed for a week, that I will more easily slip back into habit than if I’d, say, done it for 21 days or something. As it is, today I find I am HUNGRY for veggies in a whole new way. I also have broken ‘some’ of my chocolate chip and snack habit, have discovered fulfillment and no sense of lack without including dairy, grain, meat (except fish), or caffeine in my day – that is a total win! This protocol also opened my mind to new ways of snacking when I have the munchies or am searching out a lunch idea – the juice, carrot salad (which was delicious), or a vegetable soup is so very do-able to me now, all would be serious contenders. Additionally, practicing no caffeine allowed me to really develop a taste for herb tea – a real bonus since I love a warm drink in hand in the winter, and that much cccccoffee might just kill me!
Energy, Focus, Clear Mindedness (10+): Serious OMG on this one. I was not expecting this AT ALL! But holy cow, I was really shocked. From day one, I was comfortably full and normal energy, not tired. As the day progressed, it only got better. NO afternoon, or even evening slump of any kind, it was crazy! Some of my friends will tell you I was a little energizer bunny. True. Even more, call it my imagination if you want, but by the 2nd day, it got to where I could actually FEEL that nutrition infuse itself into my cells and wake their little nuclei up – an honest to goodness RUSH of health feels really cool! I was even more flexible in yoga for some odd reason (do I have enough exclamation marks in this paragraph?)! I got so much done, and initiated little projects I’d been dragging out or thinking about for months, just because I thought of it and had this unusually ‘can-do’ attitude beyond any day-to-day dealio I normally have. Procrastination was even at a minimum. Hey, I might even do it again just for that! I miss this already – got a slump this afternoon, even after a healthy salad and soup. Or maybe it was those pumpkin bars I had when I finally got to them this afternoon =]. Still have some energy today, but not nearly as much. I think my eyesight even got better this week! I know, weird – or maybe not, with those 16-20 carrots per day!
Confidence (10): I’d always seen people cheerfully suggesting juicing as so healthy, it’s the way to go, blah blah blah. I could only imagine how HARD it would be to only drink juice! Hunger, abstaining from eating real food, diarrhea, feeling drained and low energy were all I could imagine. Like prepping for a colonoscopy ugly. It seemed pretty out of reach as a practical option and teaming with lack and suffering. Discovering I was dead wrong was completely freeing – I could DO this! I CAN do this! I challenged myself to do something that seemed so foreign, difficult, and uninspiring, and I succeeded. And it was actually a great experience in so many ways!
Weight (9): B.O.N.U.S.! I had sort of, in the back of my mind, hoped for a little weight loss. I did NOT do the cleanse/detox to lose weight, but to challenge myself, to experience for myself what every juice guru was rah rah-ing about, and to be able to know whether to recommend this as an option in health improvement for my clients and friends. I lost 5 pounds in 7 days. Without changing anything but what I ate. Now, would I recommend this as a DIET? No, ‘diets’, by their very nature, are not long term lifestyle sustainable so I don’t go there with myself or anybody else. But as a super healthy kick-start, for sure! As an occasional refreshing of the systems, definitely. And for those couple stuck vanity pounds, yeah, ok, go for it – at least you’re kicking your metabolism and nutrition into gear at the same time.
Clean? (8): Not sure about HOW clean or detoxed I am, as I didn’t take any tests before or after. I can only go by feel. I feel fresh, refreshed, and light (except for the crap I succumbed to today post ‘diet’ – that’s temporary). Yes, I definitely feel like it made a difference – my cells, my skin, my muscles, all feel like they are refreshed and energized.
The Bad. Ok, I might be griping a little here, but I want to make sure you know the caveats:
Time (3): Even though I work from home, I felt pretty tied to the kitchen and spent more focus than I would have liked on EATING. JUICING specifically. I really wanted this to be so easy even a really sick person could manage it – we all could benefit from eating this healthy, but especially the most ill among us. I began visualizing creating a fresh juice delivery service for chronically ill home delivery and for hospital patient delivery. Not a bad idea, actually, maybe I’ll come up with a program to offer with our local juice shop! =]
Missing chewing, caffeine, salt(6): This was a ‘suck it up’ issue for me, and felt like a diet. Not something I could do exclusively for a long time from the chewing aspect. I was really relieved to see there was a regular meal in the mix, and that was definitely a saving grace to look forward to – chewing is so satisfying, it would have been a lot harder if that dinner wasn’t in there. Because I added the liver detox, I also got a shredded carrot salad during the day, so it felt a lot less like a pure juicing I had imagined it to be, and much more do-able. I could get used to no caffeine or salt though, with more time. And frankly, now that I’ve had a day back to ‘normal’ foods, they aren’t nearly as enticing as I’d imagined after all – the pumpkin bars feel heavy in my stomach and the chocolate chips taste bitter (coffee still tasted good this morning though!). A juice sounds kind of good actually.
DISHPAN HANDS (3): Did not anticipate this one, but think about it – 8 fresh juices per day?I got real good at efficient cleaning, and finally got a clue and made (and pretty much drank) two juices at a time just to cut the dishwashing in half.
Shopping and Fridge space (8): Not so bad if you have a grocery store close by, and probably not bad at all now that I know what to expect. I really was kind of guessing with the first grocery trip, and ended up having to swing by the grocery store twice more to stock up on carrots (15# in a week just for me!), celery, apples, zucchini, and beets. It will be easier to plan for a next go at it, now that I know.
Waste (2): I am still not over the waste factor. After all, here I buy all this fresh produce, mostly organic, and I promptly grind and throw MOST of it in the compost?? That is one of the things that kept me far from juicing before this. There is a 6” layer of organic produce pulp on the top of my compost pile. All I can appreciate of that is next year when I put it in the garden to feed my veggie plants so I’ll get some of it back. Not quite over this one.
Thirst (6): SO thirsty! This came as a surprise, as I was consuming a stinkin’ eight glasses (8-16oz each) of juice each day, that I needed so much water! I am accustomed to drinking 80oz of water daily, but I think I drank even more than that this past week. PLUS the herbal tea. I imagine it’s because of the elimination factor in cleansing and removing the toxins and other gunk, but it still came as a surprise.
The Resting Room (7): With all that fluid, and a little extra because of the tea, while I didn’t feel tied to the bathroom, I did visit it about half again as much as normal. So it was important to not be too far from a restroom for more than 90 minutes or so. This is not mud of a bad though. Actually, Good. Bye bye, sludge!
The first day (8): Just a little discomfort and gas digestively speaking the first half of the first day. That leads to….
Diarrhea (9): Yes, it has to be mentioned, since it was about #1 on concerns when I first even considered doing a juice cleanse. I had imagined the worst, and in fact, made sure I did not even consider starting a juice cleanse until my group presentation last week was complete….just in case. Well, can I just say, no ugly? The first day there was obviously, without tmi, an, er, transition in digestion. Other than that, probably LESS gas than normal in the week, which was a surprise. And amazingly regular elimination even with very little solid food. In that respect, I can guess juicing would be a great first option for people suffering with irritable bowel or constipation issues.
Why, why not?
I was super inspired after watching a documentary and a movie that followed 6-8 chronically ill people as their health improved dramatically in one month. One guy dropped from 52 prescriptions to 2 after 2 months. This started me thinking. I happened to be in the library not long after, and thought I’d check out juicing books. There was only one on the shelf, “Juicing For Life”, by Cherie Calbom. I glanced through it, found it intriguing, and checked it out. I won’t say it’s the best out there, I have no idea – it’s the only one I’ve looked at. I’m sure there are plenty to scout out to find a good one. Maybe I got lucky, but I like this book so much I will probably buy it, and that’s saying a lot, believe me!
A few days and a short read later, I was really considering trying it – a big thing for me, it did not seem very do-able for someone like me who loves their food, loves to eat, and thinking about not eating all day is a certain form of serious punishment (although if I get busy I might actually do that by accident with no problem!). As I already shared, I wanted to know if I could do what seemed hard. I wanted to see if I could tell a difference in my health and wellbeing. I wanted to experience a technique toward better health that so many seemed excited about but which seemed mysterious to me. I wanted to know if it was something worthy of recommending to others. I did not do it as a diet. I did not do it for weight loss. I definitely did not do it because I had nothing better to do! I did do it as a health improvement experiment.
Would I Recommend It?
Based on my clearly VERY limited experience, I would recommend it for anyone who:
would love a boost in energy
is feeling sickly, foggy minded
has been exposed to high levels of toxins (this would include recent vaccinations in my book)
has been eating crap food (or drinking) on a regular basis, or after a binge
has any one of the 60 ailments listed in this book I followed – seriously, she has juice protocols for over 60 ailments, from the common cold to arthritis and cancer!
gets colds or flu all the time
wants to drop a couple ‘vanity’ pounds, flush serious nourishment into their cells, or kick-start a metabolism a bit.
Will I Juice Again?
Absolutely I WILL do it again. I’m thinking at least every few months toss a 5 day or so cleanse, and maybe a liver detox annually or something, maybe more often even. After all, my juicer and I have become fast friends now! And I found the juices as satisfying, if not more so, than smoothies. I might even get over the waste factor for the pulp – just for that rush of energy! In fact, I will probably be adding 1-2 juices daily on a regular basis when I’m at home base. I just might be getting a teensy bit addicted to clear mindedness and high energy.
I already miss my juice. <3