Last week, I went on a cleanse. For you. Well, for me, really, but I had you guys in mind. Promise.
The decision to do a three-day juice cleanse can’t really be chalked up to any one thing. I wasn’t trying to drop weight, exactly, though I’d been feeling a little sluggish after a holiday season spent mostly eating and drinking.
As someone who’s a little too quick to pull the mac and cheese down from the cupboard shelf when there’s “nothing else” to eat, I also wondered if I would have the willpower to commit to clean eating..even for just a few days.
And for as much as we talk on here about the link between looking good and feeling good, I thought a discussion about a more mindful diet might inspire some of you to share (or take up!) your own healthy living efforts.
At the end of the day, I wanted to get a jump on the new year feeling a little…Lighter. Fresher. Newer. Pressed Juicery, the California-based company that shipped 24 16-oz drinks straight to my door, promised not just health but mental benefits, with the nutrient-dense cleanse “shifting your mind and body to a more central place, and giving yourself a chance to detoxify your cluttered thoughts while enjoying less processed foods.” Sounded pretty good to me.
Here’s my three-day cleanse diary.
Sunday (3 DAYS TO CLEANSE)
A menacing calendar invite pops on my phone, reminding me to “stop drinking coffee/alcohol, eating bread/meat/dairy” beginning Monday.
That’s because I had (thankfully) had enough foresight to think, hmm, maybe I shouldn’t simply show up on Day 1 (Wednesday) without any pre-game conditioning. Looking online, Pressed Juicery suggests:
To get the most out of your cleanse, preparation is essential. You’ll want to start weaning yourself off of your usual indulgences and make a few adjustments a few days before you start — don’t worry, it’s going to be easier than you think… and your body will thank you for it!
We’ll see about that.
Monday (2 DAYS TO CLEANSE)
My head hurts. By now, usually I’ll have had one cup of coffee..maybe two. Today, I drank a smoothie for breakfast and drank some Sleepytime tea (the only decaf drink I had in the house). Caffeine is part of my morning ritual…or at least, I thought it was just a ritual, but apparently I am sufficiently addicted to the point that if I don’t have it for 4 hours after my body expects it, I want to punch a very large hole in my apartment’s very small kitchen wall. That’s…interesting.
I meet a friend for coffee…well, he has coffee, and I have nothing. As I chat him up about my impending cleanse, I realise I’ve become one of those people. You know, the kind with single-minded interests who’s oblivious to the fact that no one else cares quite as much as them about the topic — like race training, or a new puppy, or a baby. I hear myself talking, but I just can’t stop. I can’t stop talking about my cleanse, and it hasn’t even started yet.
Tuesday (1 DAY BEFORE CLEANSE)
My box o’ juice arrives! It’s huge. And heavy. All this is going into my body in only three days?
I spend the next 20 minutes arranging it all in my fridge, MTV Cribs style.
I had every intention of trying out this delicious and easy-looking homemade tomato soup recipe tonight…but then I went to a spin class and realised I would have to make a bathtub-size batch to be satisfied. Instead, I inhale a plate of nachos for dinner. It’s my last supper; I can’t resist.
Wednesday (DAY 1)
I wake up with a little bit of a sore throat, and now I’m nervous. The voodoo acupuncturist lady I go to always talks about the danger of “cold winds” and “dampness” in the body and that when you’re sick, your body wants hot things, not cold. I’m about to drink cold things for three days straight. Let’s see how this works out.
After drinking some warm water with lemon (not hot, just warm) as the instruction card that came with the juices suggests, I have my first juice, conveniently labelled “1.” It’s…not bad! It’s green, which is a little strange, but tastes sweet enough to not make me feel like I’m drinking a salad.
The ingredients: kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, and lemon (this is definitely not a Beyonce/Master Cleanse situation — each of these juices are full of nutrient-dense ingredients). I definitely taste the cucumber, and the parsley..somehow the apple saves it from going full veg flavour.
I’m halfway through and feel like I already have to pee.
Oh my god, I finished my juice but I don’t get another for another hour. What do I do til then? What do I do with my hands? What do I do when I don’t want to answer that email that just popped into my inbox? What do I do with myself??
OK, I’ve had two juices, one green, one citrus, and I feel…full. Not sated necessarily, but I’m certainly not starving. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all?
I might be starving. Not sure. Maybe it’ll pass?
Done with Day 1! Well, almost. I’m slowly sipping my aloe vera h20 (why it’s not just aloe vera water, I don’t know..maybe water doesn’t sound fancy enough?) and I kind of can’t believe I made it. I only went outside once today and practically fainted from all the smells. Have you ever eaten Polish food? It’s delicious and all smells amazing. That is my neighbourhood, and like a person who’s just been blindfolded, my senses were heightened to recognise the delicious smells everywhere.
I’m feeling a little wary about Day 2 just because the novelty will have worn off, and I already know what all the juices taste like. I also have a meeting at 11am at which I will drink herbal coffee and try not to have to go to the bathroom three times because my bladder is constantly full of liquid.
In terms of how I’m actually feeling…not so bad! It was definitely smart to start easing off solids and alcohol and caffeine (except for that little pre-cleanse Mexican blip the night before)..I had my caffeine withdrawal headache the day before I started, so what could have been a really bad day was only…strange feeling.
Plus, the last “juice” of the day is really an almond milk, and if you close your eyes, it tastes a little like melted ice cream. As someone who NEEDS to end their day on a sweet note, this is kind of life-saving.
Thursday (DAY 2)
I’m only one juice into today and I’m actually feeling surprisingly fine.
I drank my first juice around 8 a.m., then tucked the next into my bag to have at some TBD time before or after my 11am meeting. Walking to the subway, I thought I might have to chug it while waiting for the train, but then the hunger subsided, and I decided to wait til after. Now, though, I’m working from a coffee shop (had to have a change of scenery, delicious food smells be damned) and the juice is still sitting in my bag. Partially because I feel bad about bringing it out while using this place’s free wifi / partially because I really don’t need it.
It’s interesting working through some “Am I really hungry right now, or just bored? Am I hungry, or do i just eat at this time bc this is the time I’ve always eaten at?’ questions on this cleanse.
I just went to the grocery store and all I bought was toilet paper. I feel like I’m peeing every five minutes, but of course, that’s a good thing. I also am only on juice #4 and it’s already 5 o’clock. It really does feel like my body’s getting used to the idea that i don’t need a big breakfast..AND a big lunch..and a snack..and still be starving at dinnertime.
Okaaaaay, maybe the lack of food is getting to me just a little. Because I just yelled at someone I love on the phone who probably…ok, definitely, didn’t deserve to be yelled at. I think I might be more food-deprived cranky than I thought. Time for bed.
Friday (DAY 3)
I wake up and notice how totally fine I feel. It’s the last day, and Im not starving. I’m not miserable. I do miss food and liquid that’s not crushed vegetables and fruit, but I suppose knowing there’s a light at the end of a three-day tunnel has made it that much more manageable. If I was doing a cleanse longer than this, right about now might be when I was the most unhappy.
If anything, the cleanse has made me less social. I had herbal tea yesterday when meeting someone in the morning to talk about a new project (she drank a latte..I was very jealous). I’m skipping a concert tonight because it doesn’t start til 9, and that’s about an hour after I’ve had my last juice, so I’d be ready for bed right around the time the headliner comes onstage.
I’m starting to feel tempted to celebrate the end of the cleanse with a big meal tonight..but that’s really not how it works. While I feel confident I can hold out this last day, I’m not so sure how good I’ll be about “slowly reentering” the world of real food tomorrow. I really want to give this cleanse the attention it deserves, and do it the way it’s recommended to get the most benefits, but tomorrow when I wake up? I’m pretty sure I’m going to want an egg sandwich, not broth and steamed veggies.
If anything, I’m a little tired of not eating. I’m on my third juice of the day, and I’m about to go meet a friend, and I’m going to have tea. What I’ve found I miss the most is salty carbs. I want pizza. And nachos. And ramen. Forget cake or cookies. Give me buffalo wings and bbq chips.
Got a little caught up watching old West Wing episodes, so heading to bed finally with my aloe vera water (sorry, h20) in tow. Already feeling a little sentimental — I’m going to miss having everything I need for the day tomorrow planned out for me. Plus, there’s nothing in my fridge.
The Final Verdict
While I’m not going to tell you what I weighed before or after the cleanse (what are you, crazy?!), I will say I had lost 3 pounds when I weighed in Friday. 3 pounds in 3 days? Not too shabby. And I feel…light. Not that I’m constantly stuffing my face with food and eating to excess, but y’know what? Sometimes I do. I did with those nachos. And sometimes I drink too much. And sometimes I don’t exercise enough. Doing this cleanse made me feel good about myself because there was no “too much.” The only test of will was in not cheating, not in a piece of cake sitting on the counter that I’m tempted to eat even though I’m not hungry.
I will 100% do this cleanse again — right now, I’m thinking once a season, or at the very least twice a year — and I’m starting to think about how I could incorporate juicing into my regular eating habits. The cleanse I went on isn’t cheap, but eating healthier usually isn’t. Organic fruits, vegetables, and meats cost more, but they’re also significantly better for you than the alternative.
The way I see it, it’s an investment in me. Just like I set aside money from my budget for high quality clothing and accessories that will last, my body deserves the same attention. Whether that’s splurging on a gym membership when the temperatures dip and I cant run outside, or a seasonal reboot to my diet, it’s worth it — at least for me.
Now if only I could go cold turkey on my beloved mac and cheese….
More from Style Girlfriend:
- Wear It Well: 3 Ways to Wear Corduroy Pants
- “Nothing for me, I’m on a cleanse.” My Three Days Drinking Nothing But Juice
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- MLK Day Style Girlfriend Girl Talk: On the Importance of a First Impression
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