Juice Cleansing: Fad or Fact?

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By now, we are all in the thick of our resolutions. Maybe you’ve been going strong since January 1st or maybe things haven’t gone quite as well. For 2018, I decided (like many others) that I’m determined to live a healthier, more balanced life. And I have had no problem finding options to start my year on the right foot because the health and fitness industry is constantly shouting at us: “Detox this way!” “Work out here!”. Well, this weekend I decided to let myself fall for one of the too-cheap-to-pass-on deals and bought myself a three-day juice cleanse from a local juicer in Nashville. My “late holiday gift to myself,” I rationalized in my head. (I am not thinking that I’m a great gifter.)

Pre-Cleanse:

Juice cleanses boast being a “reset” for your body. Each individual 16-ounce juice is packed with the nutrients from over 2 pounds of produce! Flushing your body with only nutrient-dense juice gives your digestive system a break in order to have more energy to get rid of “toxins”. The day before my cleanse, I stopped at the local juicer to pick it up. I was presented with a large bag containing eighteen juices–six juices a day for the three days. Accompanying the cleanse was a packet with some info regarding the do’s and don’ts, as well as some helpful tips. A few things that I read in the material scared me:

  1. You can have absolutely no solid food–even veggies! (Since when is eating a carrot discouraged?!)
  2. Headaches are common on a cleanse, and dealing with fatigue is just a part of the process.
  3. Perhaps the worst of them all: coffee isn’t recommended for a cleanse. I love my caffeine, so this was going to be a problem.

Day One:

I was doing great throughout the morning and had typical energy. It’s recommended to drink a juice every three hours, and I didn’t feel deprived or hungry yet. Later in the afternoon, though, a headache accompanied by the expected drop in my overall energy left me wishing for my usual latte. I also noticed that I was hungry, even though I’d just had my last juice thirty minutes prior. Later in the evening, I came home late to have my last juice of the day, which on most cleanses isn’t really a juice at all, but a nut milk of some kind. My cashew/cinnamon nut milk felt like a treat after a day of only fruit and vegetable juices. I went to bed early, hoping I’d feel a little more energy the next day.

Day Two:

Thinking I would wake up with no energy due to yesterday’s obvious lack of food, I woke up with a surprising increase in energy–and I didn’t even miss my coffee as I sipped my carrot lemon juice during my morning routine! As my day continued on I noticed my mental focus was impeccable. How was I going so strong on day two? I thought I’d be lying on the floor all day, calling it quits for barbecue or something.

Day Three:

I woke up with extra energy because I could feel that my body was adjusted to a diet consisting of only juice, but also because I knew it was my last day! Listening to your body, I decided to stop by a local juice bar for an extra juice in the afternoon since I was feeling hungry. It was a small pick-me-up to “go out” for one of my juices as opposed to sticking to only the bottled juices

Post-Cleanse:

It’s recommended that you ease back into food with a plant-based diet for three days following. This was no problem as I realized that I was craving vegetables and fruits more than I ever had. The juice cleanse had somewhat reset my taste! I even decided to incorporate my favorite juice (a sweet green juice containing kale, spinach, apple, and ginger) into my diet regularly. On top of that, I felt that I had more energy and focus. Though those three cleanse days had highs and lows, finishing the cleanse made me feel accomplished, and I felt great inside and out afterward. Some things I found helpful throughout included having an incredible support system in friends, and taking time for myself to journal and be present. Overall, I’d recommend the cleanse for anyone seeking to undergo a health jump-start and to set aside time to refocus on themselves and their health.