*Editor’s note: I asked my friend Frannie to do a guest blog post about her recent experience doing a 3 day juice cleanse. I was very curious about it and figured some of you all might be as well. Thanks so much, Frannie for sharing your experience! Y’all, seriously, read this — the woman was so dedicated. I am inspired 🙂
I’m contributing a guest post to Courtney’s Project 30 blog to share with you all my experience doing a 3 day juice cleanse. While it is isn’t something that Courtney necessarily wanted to tackle this year as one of her Project 30 challenges, it was something that intrigued her and several of her readers so she asked me to share my experience. This is quite long but there are several issues to consider, so bear with me.
Why Did I Decide to “Go Green” for 3 days?
I am a fairly active person but like many people I have a hard time keeping my diet in check. I am always trying to eat healthy but don’t always succeed. Especially on days when I work out harder, I find myself eating more than I need to or should. I recently felt that I had fallen off the wagon on my mission to cook more and eat out less. I did this cleanse because I felt like I needed a change, something to jump start me back into a good, healthy routine and to get my body back to craving the good stuff and eliminate cravings for crap. You know: frozen yogurt, yummy tortilla chips, pizza at lunch. Not that I can’t ever have these things I just found myself having them waaaaay too often. I also wanted my body to crave less food overall. I often eat just as much as my 6′ 4″ boyfriend, which is NOT okay. I needed to get my body back to not wanting to consume SO.MUCH.FOOD. So I used this as a springboard to get me back into a healthier diet mode, not for weight loss, and I think it totally worked!
Let me give a shout out to my lovely friend Anh who 1) turned me out to this particular cleanse and 2) convinced me to do it and 3) did it with me. Without having that person to share and coordinate with I don’t think I would have necessarily followed up on the cleanse because it does take dedication and work to get through the 3 days. Hopefully by sharing my experience and tips, if you are inclined to try this you will be well prepared to forge ahead with what I’m calling “Going Green” for three days.
The cleanse we choose is from this program http://blueprintcleanse.com/choose-your-cleanse/foundationcleanse.html. It’s convenient in that you can order the cleanse directly from them but that seemed insanely expensive to us, so we decided to make the juices ourselves. A friend had the book and we copied the recipes and shared them with each other. http://www.amazon.com/3-Day-Cleanse-Drink-Fresh-Skinny/dp/0446545716/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1305619563&sr=8-1. The cleanse we chose (there are different levels) included 5 different juices, consumed 6x a day, with the green juice being consumed twice, sometimes 3x a day. This is where the planning, work, and scheduling come in. I had to do several things before I could even get to the juicing.
Prep, Prep and more Prep
1) I had to purchase a juicer. I got lucky and found a reasonably priced one at Homegoods for $70. Here is the model I purchased. http://www.amazon.com/Dash-JB001CM-Juicer/dp/B007UN2OJ0/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t/184-1504872-5929610 It worked well for my needs and I have no complaints. The reviews are decent on Amazon too. Of course it’s not a Breville (which runs about $150-$300) but it got the job done.
2) Make a shopping list for the entire three day of juicing and prepare yourself that you may have to make 2 or 3 trips to get all of the items. I was able to get 99% of the stuff from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but could not find mint. Lucky for me I happened to be driving past a farmer’s market and found a lady selling a mint plant for $5 which I promptly purchased. Overall cost for all of the items (not including the juicer) was about $100. I didn’t add up the receipt and I bought a pumpkin and some vitamins, so +/- $10 on this estimate.
3) I purchased mason jars. Got them at the local hardware store ($14.99 for 6 half gallon jars). This is where my experience will help you. I originally didn’t think I’d need these, and ran out after my first session of juicing all day on Sunday because I quickly realized what a chore it was to it was going to be a necessary item. I won’t go into too many details because you can do the research yourself, but generally speaking it is advised that you juice each “juice” fresh and drink it right then. Apparently with time the juices oxidize and you lose some of the effectiveness. With me starting on a Sunday, I was going to have 2 days at work where I need to have juice available and there was no way to juice at work. This modification worked fine.
4) Plan ahead. Think about what events you have coming up over the course of time you want to juice. Will you be able to avoid the food and alcohol you need to? Also, give yourself a solid weekend day to get yourself started in the process. Both to get started and to see how your body adjusts. The juicing takes time, mainly in the cleaning, chopping up of the stuff and then the clean up of the juicer after each round. You quickly realize you just can’t let the juicer sit there dirty. What I did to get around this challenge, was I made two of the juices the evening before for the next day and stored it in mason jars so that I had it ready to go. This isn’t necessarily the ideal thing to do, but with the mason jars I knew at least I was getting a pretty tight seal on it so I would keep it from getting less air. From my experience this worked out really well and I would use the same plan if I do a cleanse again. You may be asking why I only pre-made two of them and the short answer is that with the cleanse I chose, 1 of the “juices” is a cashew milk that can store for five days. I made that one first and made the entire batch of it and stored it in a mason jar. The other two juices were basically pureed fruit with mint. I knew that these would not keep well and so I opted to do those fresh when I needed them. I also chopped up the fruits/veggies I’d need over the next couple of days and stored them in ziploc bags. This planning ahead saved me loads of time and made the bulk of my prep and work take place on Day 1 Sunday— with Mon and Tues being relatively easy in terms of time and prep. Once I got into the routine and became familiar with all the parts of the juicer, it really wasn’t difficult.
Did you eat any solid food?
I think the goal is to stick mainly to juice. That said, I am pretty active and so for instance, after spin class, when I found myself feeling hungry, I did have an apple. At night, I also allowed myself to have some steamed veggies. I am all about health and not deprivation and so I listened to my body. I learned after the fact that there are certain foods you should stick to if you must have solid food (one of the drawbacks to “copying random pages out of a book–I didn’t have all the deets!). Apparently avocado and celery are high on the list and you should try to avoid foods that are acidic and fiber filled (translation: apples probably not best). So I wasn’t perfect, but again for me this was more about resetting my body’s desire for certain foods I wasn’t going to freak out if I didn’t get out every last bit of “toxin” out of my body or follow the program perfectly. I just listened to my body and ate something if I really needed it, which honestly only occurred about 2x and as I said, I stuck to veggies. I did not have any meat, dairy, bread/rice or anything for 3 days which was a huge accomplishment.
Effects (will I have a GI problem if I do this?—don’t read on if you are grossed out by bodily function!).
One of the main concerns I had, and this goes to point #4 above is wondering how my body would react. I had heard from my brother about juicing, that in the first few days, you can either 1) be constipated or 2) get diarrhea. I had neither happen to me and I felt totally fine. Stool was normal (never thought I’d put that in writing!) However, because this can happen again I suggest started on a weekend day (like Sunday) when you likely will be home and near the commode just in case. Other effects that I can share:
I did not feel starved or super hungry at all on the cleanse.
I had a great amount of energy.
I felt my body wanting the juice and felt more in tune with what I need versus what I want. This is huge because far too often I’m eating because I’m bored, or angry or whatever. Food is fuel and this reminded my body of that.
I did not crave sugar or sweets or carbs. This is so huge for me! This alone made it all worthwhile.
I don’t think I lost weight, but I felt leaner/healthier. I didn’t weigh myself because again to me this wasn’t about weight loss but about resetting my system/stomach, which it did.
I have felt since I did this that I want less food in terms of quantity, which means I ultimately accomplished my goal. I am eating less and eating healthier and for that I thankful.
All in all I’d definitely recommend giving a juice cleanse a shot, especially if you are feeling the need to get yourself back on track. It’s a great way to jump start yourself into a new mode of healthy eating.