Why I Decided to Cleanse:
(If you want to get right to it skip down to Here’s How it Went)
I’m the kinda girl that gets super interested in a topic, does tons of research and is still not convinced unless I experience things for myself. So last year I took all I learned from my manic research and did some diet experimenting.
What I wanted to know was if my food choices were at the root of my sluggishness, acne, belly bloat, constipation and recent joint stiffness.
So, I cut out all grain (whole and otherwise), dairy (something super hard for me to do as I have had a love affair with cheese all my life), sugar and excess salt (i.e. no chips!). I upped my veggie and fruit intake and started experimenting with flora friendly foods like Kombucha.
At first I didn’t notice any difference and was about to chalk all this diets stuff up to phooey…but after about 3 weeks something happened: one day I woke up before my alarm!
I didn’t hesitate to get out of bed, my stomach felt flatter and the stiffness in my left hand that I attributed to overuse (I’m a lefty) subsided. I just felt overall lighter and happier. I smiled at strangers (which is something us NYers just don’t do), I was more jovial at work and did my tasks with a bounce in my step! My acne had even begun to subside!
There was definitely something to this food and wellness connection and I had seen it for myself!
However, the holidays came and I was not about to let those delicious delectable pass me by so I threw everything I learned and was practicing out the window and indulged to my heart’s content. Of course you can imagine that after the holiday high wore off I was back to feeling like my old lethargic, lifeless self…back to square one.
But now that I was armed with truth – the truth that I could regain and hold on to my vitality by choosing what to put in my mouth, I was not going to waste anytime getting back to the vibrancy I had, had a taste of. But, since I had chosen to gorge on sugar and salt during the holidays my mind and body was not going to let go of those craving so easily…hence the 3 day juice cleanse.
Instead of researching recipes, choosing the appropriate balance of veggies to fruit, and oh yea, purchasing a juicer I opted to purchase bottled juice for my cleanse. I knew that whatever juice I choose had to mostly consist of dark leafy greens, be unpasteurized, cold pressed and 100% organic. I found all these things in a local healthy/raw food shop called Magic Mix Juicery located in the Financial District. Their juices are made fresh daily and have a shelf life of 3 days (exactly what I wanted), not to mention there was an after holiday cleanse sale going on, which is not to be underestimated after all the holiday shopping!
I decided to be fearless and chose the Green Goodness cleanse which consisted of mostly greens and only touches of fruit here and there (there are also less intense cleanses for the not quite fearless – check their site).
Here’s How it Went
Instructions: As suggested I prepped my body for the juice cleanse before beginning. Four days prior to the cleanse I stopped eating meat, dairy and grains and made green smoothies for breakfast with my blender (a cleanse in itself). The cleanse consisted of 6 juices that were numbered from 1 to 6 for appropriate drinking order. I was instructed by the owner to drink a juice once every 2 hours while also drinking water (the usual 8-10 servings), as well as, herbal tea (if I chose). I was told that if I really needed to eat something to nosh on celery or other veggies with high water content. As per the suggestion of many, I made sure to do my cleanse when I had no other obligations and could do what my body suggested whether that be exercise or take a nap.
I drank my 1st juice (Green Aphrodite) on the way back to Brooklyn at 9:30am as I lugged the additional 17 bottles of juice. Looking at the ingredient label (spinach, kale, cucumber and apple), I thought I would have to choke the first bottle down but it was surprisingly tasty and pleasant. It wasn’t nearly as grassy and vegetal as I imagined it would be. Starting with the greens gave a great kick start to my energy level and helped me carry the enormous amount of bottles.
Between my 1st and 2nd juice I drank 20oz (600ml) of water (hydrating with pure water is a very important factory of eliminating toxins). The juices will work to feed the bodies nutritional needs and the lack of solid foods will help the body to turn away from the focus of digestion and begin healing itself by releasing the toxins but you must eliminate or the toxins with simply be reabsorbed by the body. I won’t touch on the water again but over the 3 days I made sure to drink 10 glasses daily.
After my 2nd juice I am feeling very energetic. I thought that by this time I would be feeling hungry and depleted but it was actually quite the opposite. I blasting music and danced around the apartment like no one was watching – something I hadn’t done in a long time.
At about 1pm when it was time for my 3rd juice I started to feel nauseas. I contributed that the toxins being stirred about in my body and decided to take a tablespoon of bentonite clay to help absorb and move the toxins out. Because bentonite should be taken on an empty stomach I waited an additional hour before consuming my 3rd juice.
The nausea had subsided but I began to have ebbs and flows of energy. One minute I was up dancing about and the next I was curled up on the couch, under the covers feeling cold even as the heat blasted. I guess that meant the detox was doing its thing! I finished out the day of juices but as the day progressed my energy continued to diminish.
I drank bentonite again before bed (on an empty stomach as recommended). I woke up the next day and realized I had slept for 12 hours!
Although the juices were pretty tasty (as tasty as liquid greens can get) I didn’t wake up excited to continue this cleanse. I actually thought that I would feel hungry during these 3 days because I’m a girl that loves to eat but I actually found it difficult to drink all those juices and keep up with my water intake. I was actually full through most of the cleanse.
I did, however, realized that there is a difference between being full and being satisfied. I wasn’t hungry but I missed the experience of eating – I missed the various flavors and textures of solid food, I missed salt, I missed sweet. My cravings were beginning to rear its ugly head. Watching television totally made things worst. You never really notice the insane amount of commercial there are about food until you can’t eat any!
Today I learned that the worst think to do on a cleanse is nothing, yes you shouldn’t over extend yourself but you should definitely keep your mind active. If not, you’ll have too much time to think about how much you miss eating.
To distract myself from my cravings I decided to re-watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, an inspiring documentary about the tremendous health benefits of juicing to remind myself about why I was doing this in the first place. Watching this definitely helped the green juice taste sweeter. Feeling a little less sluggish I decided to get up off the couch and do some light exercise. I stretched, did some power moves (squats and such) and went for a walk.
I also noticed that I was starting to have mood swings. I cried at mushy things (something I usually don’t do), my feelings were easily hurt and I was easily angered. I understood it as part of the healing detox process and practiced deep breathing. Your body isn’t the only thing purging during a detox so is your mind and soul.
I had another restful sleep and moved into the final day of my cleanse experience.
I was so happy to be on the last day of this cleanse that I couldn’t wait to chug down the juice and get to eating already. I did notice that eventhough I had the craving to eat my cravings didn’t focus on the leftover holiday candy in the corner or the “food” saw on television. I just wanted to eat and my mind was focused on the bunch of bananas sitting on the counter that my boyfriend happily ate to his hearts content. I imagined how it would taste and the texture of it, I fantasized about it as I would have a juicy burger a few days ago. It was then that I new that I was winning the detox battle.
I finished out the day of juice by 6pm and contemplated whether I should eat or hold off until the next day. Would eating that banana mean I didn’t technically complete the cleanse – my competitive nature said don’t do it but after an hour of contemplation I decided to listen to my body have that banana…boy was it amazing! It was all I imagined an more.
Now it has been a few days since I’ve completed the juice cleanse and I really do feel like I effectively hit the restart button on my body. I don’t have the urge to eat what I now refer to as dead foods (i.e. junk food). Now, I can focus on healing my body and regaining my vitality without that little voice in my head telling me that one taste won’t hurt…YES IT WILL!