Last week, I cleansed. I went three and a half days without chewing, subsisting only on raw, organic pressed juices, water and herbal teas. And it was good.
Eat to live; don’t live to eat. Now there’s a concept I struggle with—but less so today than prior to The First Cleanse. Three days sans chewing, and my perspective on food is entirely refreshed. Intrigued? Here’s what you can expect.
The box from Love Grace Foods arrived, lined with insulating foil, on a Tuesday—loaded down with five days’ worth of juice—three days for me, and a day’s worth each for my two lovely-but-less-inclined accomplices.
A single day’s worth looked a lot like this, six juices for the day, accounting for a range in flavors from sweet to spicy to very, very green.
The idea is to consume only liquids, including your allotment of juices, water with lemon, and caffeine-free herbal teas throughout the experience, though if you feel the need to eat during the process, raw fruits and veggies are the best way to go.
In line with their tips, I began weening myself off of caffeine and processed foods in the days leading up to the cleanse. Or so I thought. The harsh reality set in about 24 hours in, and it sounded a lot like this: “You are addicted to caffeine.”
In the interest of full disclosure, this is heading to the hard truth that, yes, I cheated. I had a bit of black tea to kill my caffeine headache, then downgraded to a bit of green tea, and by day 3 I was clear of my caffeine habit.
After I cheated (a litte) and faced the reality of my (little) addiction, I was done with it. Who needs it? Reality is for people who get to chew. I practically floated from juice to juice for the next two days, feeling exceptionally well, despite my generally lacking in physical strength.
On that note, it’s important to account for the fact that you’re not consuming as many calories as you’re probably accustomed to. Love Grace Cleansing Tip #2 urges, “Stick to calm activities and mediation during your cleanse.”
Cut back on strenuous exercise for a few days? Well, sure, if its in the name of health, I’ll do my best.
But then, midday through my second day, we did a lot of this:
They weren’t kidding. After a brief workday interlude spent frolicking shamelessly, I was hungry—really hungry. Lesson learned. If you’re cleansing, do yourself a favor and frolic light. After that, I stuck to long, slow-paced walks for the remainder of the cleanse.
From there, I did experience the marked change in my perception that juice cleansers often report—I felt inspired, though decidedly less task-focused, and yes, incredibly perceptive (my roommate and I had more than a few laughs developing my juicing alter ego, Juice Girl—incredibly perceptive, not very strong).
I didn’t encounter any difficulty until the home stretch, which unfortunately fell on a Friday night/Saturday morning. I was determined to finish, and I did, but by then I really missed food. And I realized how much of my weekend routine revolves around food and drinks—another pesky wake-up call.
Post-cleanse, I genuinely feel more equipped to make more conscious decisions about the things I’m putting into my body, and I feel much more aware that I don’t need as much fuel or the type of fuel I’d grown accustomed to. In fact, I can get by just fine with copious amounts of fruit and veggies, if I have to—and I’ll like it. I can eat to live, and not live to eat, which believe me, is news to me.
Based on my experience, here’s the advice I’d offer to other first-time cleansers:
- If you plan to take the cleanse seriously, take the preparation just as seriously. Put the work in preparing your body by gradually cutting out caffeine and processed foods—and do a better job than I did.
- Do your research. Try the juices beforehand if you can. While I enjoyed the juices (with the exception of the Ginger Bomb—turns out I prefer my ginger pickled and piled next to a spicy tuna roll), my accomplices weren’t quite as lucky. They had a tough time making it through their one-day cleanse, due in large part to the fact that they didn’t particularly like the taste of all of the juices. If you don’t like the taste of the juice, it’s bound to be an uncomfortable experience, and you’re much less likely to finish.
- Plan your cleanse toward the beginning or middle of your work week. The TGIF mentality doesn’t exactly lend itself to cleansing.
- Remember that this kind of cleanse is not for everyone. Every body is different. If you’re apprehensive, start with a one-day cleanse and see how you feel.
In sum, my post-cleanse body felt really, really good, and mentally I felt like a rockstar for conquering a 3-day liquids-only diet. I can’t speak to the weight loss angle, because I wasn’t in it for weight loss—only detox—so I never stepped on a scale. I can reiterate that I physically felt fantastic after the cleanse, and my skin looked clear and healthy in the days following the cleanse (if I do say so myself), so I wasn’t eager to fall off the bandwagon.
Now, that’s not to say I didn’t indulge a little to celebrate my success. After transitioning back into a normal routine with whole, fresh fruits and a kale salad for dinner, I did brunch. In a big way—at Chef Sean Brock’s Husk Nashville, “A Celebration of Southern Ingredients.” And celebrate we did.
Yes, that’s a perfectly poached egg, swimming on top of grits with tomato gravy. I swoon, as I digress.
Though there are naysayers (they’re easy to recognize, what with all the eager naysaying), I’d do a juice cleanse again in a heartbeat. Well, maybe not a heartbeat. Maybe a post-holiday cleanse is in my future.
In the meantime, I’m eager to continue taking advantage of juicing as a supplement to my regular diet, which leads me to my next project—home juicing! I’m a sucker for a good DIY, and the kind folks at Breville were kind enough to provide me with a Juice Fountain Plus, one of the highest rated home juicers on the market.
Next time, we’ll be sharing our favorite home juicing recipes!
—By Alissa Harb, Contributor at SpryLiving.com
If you’re interested in receiving a juice shipment of your very own—whether for cleansing or just for day-to-day sipping, I’d urge you to visit Love Grace Foods to learn more about your delivery options!