Three years ago my husband and I discovered a then unknown documentary on Netflix called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.
Today the movie is nothing short of a phenomenon that has sparked a revolution in health through juicing. We got a Breville juicer immediately after watching that movie, and we've been juicing ever since. But we've never been on a juice cleanse. Until recently. It's over now. And I lived to tell about it. And share my experience.
What sparked my decision to go on a 3 day juice cleanse was a pervasive feeling of yuckiness accompanied by low energy. I needed to clean out my system. I needed to "reboot," as Joe Cross (Joe the Juicer) from Fat Sick and Nearly Dead calls it.
If you've read this blog, you know that my husband and I are vegan. But my husband is the super healthy one. He enjoys eating meals of plain raw veggies. In fact, that's what eats most of the day. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't have been able to do this juice cleanse because I don't have the patience to juice, or clean the juicer. He, on the other hand, enjoys the entire process. And he loves juice. I don't. I drink it only because it's healthy. Sometimes you do the right thing only because it's the right thing to do.
Day before Day 1:
We checked out the reboot plan on the website. (Click here to view.) We chose the 3 Day plan:
8 oz hot water with lemon and/or ginger.
Go Orange or Red
Drink 16 oz (500 ml) coconut water
Go Yellow or Red
Go Purple or Orange
Drink herbal tea
Throughout the day:
Drink lots of water
I printed out the recipe list of juices and picked the ones that were the most appealing to me. Brad marked them on the grocery list, and we headed to Whole Foods. The lady at the checkout asked if we were going on a juice cleanse. I guess she'd seen the telltale signs of bunches of kale many times.
The overall feeling I had that day was as if I were walking to a guillotine. Dread. Impending doom. I was grumpy. And when I saw all the veggies in our shopping cart and paid $200.00, I knew there was no turning back. Brad on the other hand was excited and happy.
This was our packed out refrigerator. Not a spare inch.
I was surprised at how good the breakfast juice tasted. I thought, "This isn't going to be so bad."
I don't like coconut water, so I bought electrolyte water instead. Lunch was a green juice. Green juices are the hardest for me to swallow. But like I said, I drink them regularly. Brad adds an extra apple to mine for sweetness.
I found myself full all day from the copious liquids, but I was also hungry--probably psychologically. I started feeling deprived. And I had no energy, no motivation. By late afternoon, I was not in a good mood. No doubt I was detoxing.
I wanted to just go to bed early so that I didn't have to think about it anymore nor feel what I was feeling. I remember lying in bed and telling Brad, who felt great by the way, "I feel terrible. I just need to go to sleep." I didn't think I was going to be able to do 3 days.
I woke up early feeling AMAZING! I was a new woman. Reborn! I felt light and energized. I wasn't even hungry. I lost 1.5 lbs. Day 2 was all around great. I thought, "I've got this. No problem." And I did. The only snag was that I couldn't keep up with drinking the juices. It took me a long time to finish one, and I was still working on it into my snack juice. So I fell behind in my intake. But I think that was fine, because I was still drinking juice; it was just cut down to about 4 a day.
Brad woke up feeling great and energized too. But he was hungry. This was the day hunger set in for him, and this was the day it went away for me.
We went to an animal rights protest that day and spent time in the sun and on our feet (you're not supposed to be too active while cleansing) so by the time we got home, I noticed my confidence start to wane. I told Brad that I might eat that night. He reminded me that this cleanse was my idea and I needed to stick with it. I responded, "I'm not really going to quit. I just need to tell you that I might. So that in my mind, I know I can." I needed to know I could eat at any time. It was a psychological mindset.
Woke up with a feeling that I would like to wake up every day feeling: light, energized, happy, clear-minded, in control. And lost another 1.5 lbs. As wonderful as I felt physically, emotionally, and spiritually all day, I was thrilled that this was our last day. I told Brad that we could eat that night because we hadn't eaten since Friday night, so realistically it had been 3 days. He wasn't really buying it. Brad too was feeling great.
I was tired of juice by this point, and I have to admit that I was down to about 3 a day. But I wasn't hungry. That night, around 11pm, before we went to bed, I told him our 3 days was up and I was going to thaw some old roasted corn and potato soup that I had in the freezer. It was a homemade soup that we didn't really like that much, so I froze it. But this night I thawed it and we each had a small bowl, and it was the most delicious soup I've ever had.
Day 4 after juice cleanse:
Brad and I woke up and had juice. We could've had anything! The juice cleanse was over! Hooray! But interestingly, we opted for juice for the first half of the day. It reminded me of the Edgar Cayce Apple Cleanse I went on about 5 years ago. You eat apples for three days to de-tox. The morning after that Apple Cleanse was over, I was so excited to eat something besides apples--the night before I had been dreaming of all the amazing food I could have--but when I went to the refrigerator, something funny happened. I reached for an apple. All I wanted was an apple. I forced myself to not eat an apple and eat something else instead. What I learned on that Apple Cleanse was that if you feed your body healthy food, your body craves healthy food. If you feed your body crap, it craves crap. And I also learned that we eat too much. Especially in the West. The human body needs very little food to sustain itself.
I was reminded of that on this juice cleanse. Since the juice cleanse I have become more conscientious about the food I am ingesting. Being vegan, I already naturally have a heightened awareness of what I'm eating, but this juice cleanse left me looking at food as medicine. I also eat more slowly. And sugar is less appealing to me.
For Brad, it reinforced his belief that he needed to stay away from processed food and instead stay on his path of whole foods.
If you too are feeling yucky, if you have low energy, if you're craving unhealthy processed or sugary foods, you may want to consider a reboot. Watch the enlightening and entertaining movie Fat Sick and Nearly Dead online for free. And don't be surprised if you find yourself ordering a juicer.
Despite my missteps along the way, would I recommend a juice cleanse? Absolutely! You'll feel better than you can remember feeling. And if a juice cleanse seems too daunting, consider incorporating juicing into your daily or weekly diet.
“It’s never too late to start eating well. A good diet can reverse many of those conditions as well. In short: change the way you eat and you can transform your health for the better.” T. Colin Campbell, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition