In early December I found an deeply discounted holiday sale offer for a Suja Juice cleanse. I am one of those people who need to pay for a cleanse to be sure to stick to it. I am a woman of little self control when it comes to food.
I've done some cleansing before. A few years ago David and I did three or four days of the detox cleanse from Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop, which was actually nice because there was actual food. But it ended badly when I suggested David and I get some "Thai-spicy-larb-gai-with-fresh-Thai-chilis" on night four because I was so hungry. That didn't agree with David one bit. Actually it put him in the hospital, and it was totally my fault. That's the kind of lack of self control I'm talking about here.
Since then I've really wanted to give cleansing another try. We have a juicer, and I use it more in the summer months but just haven't gotten in the groove to juice regularly. I ordered the Suja cleanse and got excited. And then I got a 24-hour stomach bug, which actually would've perfectly prepared my system for when the juice arrived. Unfortunately due to a massive amount of orders the juice shipped a week later than expected, after my stomach bug had come and gone.
When it did arrive, I did the full three days of the cleanse. From the perspective of someone who was only in it to lose a few pounds and was physically unprepared for the cleanse, let me share with you what I learned. Results and findings are totally going to vary for you, I am sure.
What I Drank:
Six juices a day. Three green, two beet/carrot-based, one "dessert".
I wasn't. I mean, I didn't prepare. I actually did what I knew I would do and ate a few things I really was craving the night before I started the cleanse. And of course I loaded up on coffee. It was really absurd, but I don't think if affected the good results I received from drinking all that juice.
Day One Findings:
I had my first bottle of juice around 10:00 a.m. The juice tasted great, and I got that great wave of feeling that most people probably get when starting a cleanse. Boy, I am SOOOOO HEALTHY!
I was hanging in there until about 5:00, and then I was hanging on by a thread. I was teaching a class that night so I picked up some Mexican food for David and the kids, and all I could think was "How am I not eating this Mexican food every night? How could I have taken advantage of this wonderful restaurant right around the corner from us? I am eating this the second this cleanse is over!". I was really, really hungry and wanting to eat. I had to skip ahead and have the almond-based juice before I went to the class so I could get my head screwed on straight, then finished the night with only half of the final green bottle.
Day Two Findings:
The morning of day two I had totally forgotten about food. I was feeling good, until I remembered coffee, and how the ritual of coffee really makes my day. I talked to Stella all morning about it and researched the effects of decaf on cleanses in the school parking lot after dropping her off. I was obsessing. I finally bought a cup of decaf. Like I said, I wasn't in it for anything but weight loss, so I went for it.
The rest of the day went fine. I was feeling enthusiastic about it, and energized. I also had a deadline I was working toward. I ended up having David make me a cup of coffee so I could work into that night. It was a new experience for me to work late into the night without snacking. It wasn't just the coffee, it was the fact I was two-thirds of the way through the cleanse so I wasn't tempted at all. Very new for me.
Day Three Findings:
On the final day, I was feeling fine hunger-wise. Primarily I was just feeling like I could not finish all of that juice. Suja juice is very sweet, almost all of it tasting like apples mixed with various vegetables. I really couldn't stomach it by then end, and only drank five of the six bottles the last day. I had coffee again that afternoon, which on top of the cleanse I am sure helped suppress my appetite in ways it doesn't normally.
The good news is that after only a few days, I could tell my facial skin was looking so much nicer. I received numerous comments on how good I was looking. I lost 4.5 lbs., and where it came off most noticeably was my face. I am SO self conscious about all the weight that I carry on my face. To have some of it gone made me feel like a new person.
Despite how tired I was of the taste of the juice, I also felt like I could keep going. I know I could've done at least one more day, maybe more. But I didn't (read on).
Coming Off the Cleanse:
You are instructed to come off of the cleanse very slowly and gently, eating only fruits the first day, fruits and vegetables the next, and on the third day post-cleanse you can introduce small amounts of rice and the like. I hear a lot of people say how after just three days on a cleanse they crave only foods that keep them feeling clean and energized, and get enthusiastic about raw eating. But not me!
By noon the first day I had eaten a tray of grocery store vegetable sushi with wasabi, with only a slight rumble of the tummy. By 2:30 I had scarfed down a Tupperware container of soba noodles in sesame oil with tofu left over from Oliver's preschool's lunch that day. And then I went out for a ladies' night dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant, where I had copious amounts of wine and some great squid ink pasta.
I had no obvious ill effects, although who knows what was happening inside me. Hopefully nothing damaging. Remember that this wasn't a good idea, and everyone is different, so I can't really condone my actions here. But that's what I did. I ATE!
What I Learned (and Would I Do It Again?):
Here's the thing. I gained those four and a half pounds back in a matter of days. This was not about permanent weight loss or lifestyle change for me. It was an experiment to see if I could do it, and with that came a peek at who I could potentially be. For three days of juicing I earned a brief look at what I used to look like, before getting pregnant with Oliver. It was really eye opening. I loved it. I struggle with my weight all the time, and sometimes I worry if my jowls are just going to hang down even worse if I lose weight (obviously my tummy will, but I have always worried about my face). But it looked good! And four pounds is not that far away. I'm kind of committed to get at least those four pounds off so I can see myself that way again, and then take it from there.
I also learned that juice cleanses actually are not that hard, and that I would definitely do one again (when there's another sale!). Maybe the next time it will help jumpstart a healthier approach to eating for me, but I hope for my sake I'll get on that sooner, rather than later. I have had a juice or two since the cleanse ended and now they don't taste as sweet. They actually taste amazing and I crave them when I am thirsty.
What the cleanse did for me was proved to me that it is worth it to take care of myself better, whether it be less sugar, more sleep, more vegetables, or whatever. It was like trying on a better me.
I'll stop there, lest this become one more New Year's rambling by another someone who wants to get their act together. But if you are thinking of trying a cleanse, I say go for it. It isn't that hard at all, and it's definitely worth it, if just to see a better you.
Have a great weekend!