I don’t know if you picked this up from the title of this post… But, I went on a three day juice cleanse.
I don’t know how much I believe in ‘detoxing’. The thing is that your body is one massive natural detoxing machine.
That’s sort of part of its job.
It’s (almost) the sole purpose of our livers. And there is no amount of green juice that is going to be better than our own internal organs.
Having said that, I’m interested in all things foody (and faddy), and the challenge of a juice cleanse intrigued me. Being someone who had recently been put on a fairly strict medical diet that seemed tricky, I liked the idea of ‘clearing out’. Not necessarily in a gross TMI sort of way, but more the idea of knowing whole heartedly that every morsel I was consuming for 3 days straight was legitimately FODMAP. No lingering feeling that the ache in my tummy could be from that salad I grabbed from Prêt (that may or may not have had more that 5cm of celery in it), or perhaps it was the pomegranate seed that magically jumped from the Boys plate to mine over dessert (disaster). With a juice cleanse I would know exactly what I was eating, when I was eating it, and (fingers crossed) who the culprit of my stomach cramps could be.
So, with all that in mind, I worked closely with Neal’s Yard based Blend & Press to create juices that ticked off against my long list of dos and don’ts from the doctor, and sat down to start my 3 days without food.
Often when you hear a review of these things people have written them with a blissfully full tummy after their first meal back to reality. This is probably the worst time to get a real opinion. Of course you’re bloody happy – your stomach is finally full! To counter balance this I kept a few notes along the way and have given myself a week or two to ponder the real outcomes of my fasting.
My notes for day one consisted of a rather poorly drawn sketch of a skull and cross bones. Needless to say it was a dark, dark day. I hated it. I felt crap. I had a five hour nap and was really disappointed when I woke that I hadn’t managed to simply sleep through the entire ordeal. Day two was considerably better. I was just weak. I’d scribbled down the word tired, then both highlighted and underlined it (I think I might have been trying to make a point or something). The final day of my cleanse was actually the first time (surprisingly) that I was hungry. Not the first time I WANTED food (god no, that time hit at precisely 6:02am on day one), but it was the first time my stomach actually grumbled.
Truth be told, the cleanse really knocked the wind out of me. I am a hugely competitive person (mostly with myself), I take pride in my strongish willpower and I really, genuinely thought this would be easy for me. Oh boy was I wrong. It was really, really hard.
And, it didn’t really seem that worth it.
Maybe this sort of thing is better suited to someone whose diet is atrocious, but all I really felt from doing this was that I was making myself weak. I feeling I probably hate more that hungry (and that’s saying something). In a typical week, I usually go hard at the gym around three to four times, however the week (not just the few days) on my cleanse, I only made it twice – and in those times I was so exhausted I could barely crack a run on the treadmill. I felt like I was ridiculously unproductive, lazy and all I was doing was starving my body. Not treating it with respect.
I so wanted to have an enlightened moment, a feeling of peace with myself come the end of my three days. I really wanted this to work. Or at least to do something. But all it boiled down to was three days of being grumpy, having a nasty headache and feeling tired, followed by a couple of days of eating LOADS of food to try and get myself back to feeling normal.
I completely agree that people need to get more fruit and vegetables into their diet. But what I don’t understand is why the juice cleanse has become a thing… Why can’t we just “cleanse” on actual (none liquid) vegetables? Surely we would still reap the benefits, whilst not wanting to sleep through large chunks of our lives? Juice can be great, don’t get me wrong. If it’s done right (aka not processed and pumped full of added sugars), if its a mix up of mostly veggies with some fruit, then I think it packs a nutrient punch like no other… But I don’t think it is an adequate meal replacement. Just a great mid-morning treat, or a way to combat 330-itus. It strikes me that this style of dieting is just a new fangled way of starving yourself. Sure, you will probably loose weight (who wouldn’t if they just stooped eating), but I don’t believe it is the healthiest way you could do so. And, I don’t think too many people would actually enjoy it.
This post got a bit derailed and self righteous, but I guess that is what not eating for so long does to you. It makes you go loopy. I didn’t start hallucinating the Boy as a chicken leg or a square of cheese, but I did get emotional (read; very emotional) about the state of our food education in the world.
Having said all that, something tells me a juice cleanse is sort of like child birth (bear with me on this one). Not that all the pain is worth it. Not even that after you have done it you will produce something amazing. Nope, more like, in 6 months I will have forgotten all the pain, all the tired, drained and rundown feelings. The rose tinted glasses will convince me that it is totes worth another shot. So I will ignore the Boys eye-rolls and go for head first into another three days. Probs.