GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – As a writer sometimes I need to do things that I don’t want to. When some of our staff sat down to brainstorm story ideas, we got on the topic of juice cleanses. Most articles you read are heavily biased. Since none of us had done one before, we wondered what the deal was and what the after effects were like. I decided to take on the cleanse challenge, in the name of research! I hope this helps anyone thinking about trying one.
Let me preface this by saying I know many people who live by “the cleanse”. They do one regularly and are pleased with the results. On the other hand, I think cleanses are total bull. There’s no such thing as a quick fix. However, I was curious to know if there was a method to the juicing madness. Can someone feel shiny and new, ready to kickoff a new lifestyle of wellness after a cleanse? That’s what I intended to find out.
I did a feature on Freshii in Downtown Grand Rapids a little while back and knew they did cleanse regimens. I chose Freshii because it’s convenient and you get to eat a salad during the day (real food seemed like a plus). It really could not be simpler; you pick up your four juices and the salad at the store and you’re all set for the day. I chose the three day cleanse and begged my good friend and workout buddy, Heather, to do it with me. It’s more fun to suffer in pairs. Both of us work to stay in pretty good health, but we definitely love burgers and beers, it’s all about balance.
Before I begin, if you’re thinking of doing a juice cleanse, please consult with a doctor! These dietary restrictions may not be fit for everyone. Alright, here’s what happened:
Here’s the breakdown:
Waking up, I feel optimistic about the day. I picked my day’s juices the night before and breakfast starts with Green Energy. This one is the most unappealing in color but tastes the best. It’s very fresh and the jolt of flavor and greens in the morning makes me feel like I just got a Vitamin C shot. Drinking the juices every 2.5-3 hours seems like a lot, so I wonder how tough this will be.
News flash, juice digests in half of a second. It’s almost 10:30 a.m. and my stomach is growling. Is it lunch? It doesn’t really matter, I doubt my Carrot Zinger will satisfy me, anyways. I did learn something about myself, I LOVE carrot juice. It’s so peppy and fresh. This particular carrot juice is sweet with a hint of ginger to keep it interesting. Unfortunately, juice for breakfast and lunch is not holding me over. My stomach is hungry, I’m hungry, and come to think of it I’m angry! Hunger and anger go hand in hand. If you’re cleansing, warn your loved ones to stay away. Lunch time juice kept me satisfied for about 15 minutes.
It’s not even 2:45 p.m. and I’m drooling waiting for my 3:00 p.m. juice. I don’t want to get it a minute early because that’s another minute I’ll have to wait until the next one. The Mighty Detox is next. Mighty indeed! It tastes good, but there’s a weird back-taste of celery that I can’t get over.
It’s now 4:45 p.m. I can’t focus, I have no energy, and need to go home for the day. I can’t make it another 4 hours, I need to eat the salad when I get home. Luckily, the salad is massive and chock full of kale, edamame, and even goat cheese! I pounced on that salad like a lioness pounces on her prey.
The final juice of the day is Red Power. I eat the occasional beet in my Greek salad, so in my own mind I think I like beets. Update: I do not like beets! This juice is hard for me to choke down, it’s very earthy and pungent. It’s a gorgeous color and full of antioxidants, but no. No. I can’t, I won’t. However, if you’re a beet lover, this one is for you! I’m jealous of all the nutrients you’ll be getting.
Day 1 was tough and the juices didn’t satisfy my hunger, but they at least filled my belly. Actually filled my belly so much that it had that “food baby” feel, which was an odd sensation when cleansing. The juices don’t taste awful, but they aren’t amazing either. The salad is a saving grace and your only source of food, so that was something to look forward to. Day 2 was easier because you knew what to expect going in.
Heather is right, knowing what to expect is a million times better. Feeling overly tired, I get out of bed and have my Green Energy juice, it perks me up. Unfortunately, it’s chilly and wet outside and I would kill for warm eggs or peanut butter toast. New day, new game plan. I want to go to the gym so I decide to switch up the schedule and have the salad in place of my noon lunch to nourish and fill me up before the workout. I feel like I have a much better handle on the cleanse, but if you ask my boyfriend or coworkers, they would say I’m being a royal B. My boss said I looked like I had a nice glow, I think she’s lying to make me feel better. Why does hunger make you so darn angry? The day continues and having the salad earlier made a world of difference. Once the 3:00 p.m. juice rolled around I felt good and ready to hit the gym.
I’m a dirty cheat. I’m not proud of this, but I must tell you the truth. I cheated my cleanse! Not that bad though….I drove down to Kalamazoo to visit my best friend, Sarah. If you know anything about craft beer, you know Kalamazoo is the city to drink in. Putting two and two together, you’ll see I had to have a Bell’s brew. Just one, I promise! I feel guilty, but won’t let this knock me off the cleanse bandwagon. I still drank a few sips of my Red Power juice when I got home.
Health rule # 1: Always partner up. Doing a cleanse is so much better when you do it with a friend. That way you can both suffer together, support each other and laugh away the hunger. In all honesty, the cleanse wasn’t terrible. I had spent 5 days before I began my cleanse in Las Vegas, so needless to say, my body needed the extra nutrients and detox.
Finally, the last day! Cleanse time is different than real world time. In the real world I had been drinking juice for 3 days, in cleanse time it’s about 2 months. I noticed I use the phrase, “I can’t, I’m cleansing!” quite frequently. Surprisingly, the Green Energy juice this morning was amazing! I woke up feeling really rested and the juice was so fresh and really satisfying! I switched the schedule around to eat my salad at noon again. I don’t know if I’m used to being hungry at this point or if I’m turning a corner. I’m still unreasonably grouchy but am better at keeping it under wraps. News flash, cleansing makes you pee. Like, all the time! I’m up and down from my desk twice an hour, not ideal for meetings. At this point, I feel like juice is coming out of my ears and I’m ready to be done. It’s become too predictable. Three days really is the perfect length for this cleanse. I feel like I’ve had the full cleanse experience without having a meltdown about not eating solid foods. I couldn’t even finish the salad at lunch and stopped after half. I take that as a good sign. Maybe after the cleanse I can be a little better about portion control.
Heather’s (last) update:
I think juicing is beneficial as I feel better on the inside and needed to hit the refresh button. However, I probably wouldn’t partake in a 3-day cleanse, but would rather choose to incorporate juice into my diet every so often or add more vegetables. All in all, I found a new salad I like and a smoothie at Freshii.
Overall, I like most of the Freshii juices. They are made fresh don’t have anything artificial in them. I would like to drink these juices regularly. It’s a super easy way to add more nutrients to my diet. The cleanse also helped clear my head of junk food. After the first day my fast food, grease, and french fry cravings were gone. As for cleansing again, I’m not sure it’s for me. I didn’t like feeling hungry after working out and I definitely didn’t like being grouchy. After a few weeks of splurging a little too much, this cleanse did feel good to bump up my fiber and vitamins. However, I am looking forward to a big bowl of chips and guac this weekend.