I’ve been hearing about these juice fasts for a long time now, and kind of wanted to try one. If you’re not familiar with the concept, basically for the next three days I won’t be eating any solid food, drinking coffee, or drinking alcohol. I’ll be drinking 6 bottles of raw, organic juice per day instead. A few things finally tipped me over the edge to try this thing:
- My eating over the holidays, and since the holidays, was atrocious and I haven’t really felt the same since.
- Some coworkers were doing one shortly after the holidays, and universally reported feeling more energetic and more “well” by day 3.
- Nick is out of town for ten days, and I was finding cooking for myself tedious and time-consuming, and I’d often end up eating light by just having toast or heating a can of soup anyway.
- One of my 30 before 30 items, due in just 7 months, involves achieving a target weight I haven’t seen for many years. One of the things that people say about these juice fasts is they often re-boot your diet and eliminate cravings, which I thought would be helpful in achieving that goal.
- This post by Dooce: To Juice or not to Juice
Things that I do not think will happen:
- I will probably not lose any weight. Weight I do lose will be water weight or bloat, and it’ll come back within a week or two.
- I do not think that I am “flushing toxins” from my body or reducing my risk of cancer. If you read the Wikipedia article, there are references linked at the bottom that basically debunk everything the juice fast/cleanse/detox industry tells you about the benefits.
Okay so! Let’s get started. I’ll be keeping this post as a draft and updating it through the first day, and hopefully doing the same for days 2 and 3 (if I last that long). I bought the Blueprint bottled juices from Whole Foods, which, while expensive, is only about $35 more expensive than buying a juicer and produce, and juicing it all myself, which is worth it when I consider the time it’ll save me. I’ll be doing their middle-of-the-road 3-day cleanse called the Foundation.
Just a little note on the prep for this…I didn’t really super prepare. You’re supposed to eliminate meat, sugar, dairy, grains, and coffee/alcohol slowly from your diet in the 3-5 days leading up to the cleanse. I had beer and poutine on Friday night, and toast for breakfast on Saturday morning. However, in general, I eat pretty clean (generally no sugar, no processed food, no pasta or rice, only the crunchiest of whole grain breads, and no alcohol during the week), and hadn’t had any red meat since Monday. So, I felt fairly prepared. The one thing I am anticipating/worried about are caffeine headaches, since I do usually have two coffees every morning.
DAY ONE: Sunday Feb 23
I was going to wake up at 4am to watch the gold medal hockey game, but giving up food, coffee, AND sleep all on one day seemed like a stupid idea.
8am: Juice 1. Kale, apple, ginger, romaine, spinach, cucumber, celery, parsley, lemon (henceforth referred to as “green juice”). I opened the fridge and was confronted with cloudy yellow-green potions with creepy green moss-like sediment in the bottom. Gross.
The back of the bottle says “Don’t have separation anxiety. Stop staring and give me a little shake shake.” All righty then.
Verdict: The green juice tastes like drinking a salad. Probably not a salad I would normally order, but it tastes really healthy and fresh. Not bad, although if I was making this juice myself I’d probably eliminate the parsley and cucumber, which aren’t my favorite things. I miss coffee so I hang out on the couch and watch some trashy TV (three episodes of Sex and the City, to be exact).
10am: Juice #2. This one is called the “PAM”! How fun. It’s Pineapple, Apple, and Mint.
Verdict: tasty! Tastes like real juice. I would drink this any day. Feeling: tired, hungry, and slow/stupid. I tried to practice piano and failed miserably. Okay then. I was expecting the first day to be rough.
11am: I’m starving and have a headache. I’m allowed to have as much herbal tea as I want so I make myself a green tea and stare forlornly at the espresso machine.
12:30pm: Juice 3, another green juice. I have a headache and I’m really hungry, but not the hungriest I’ve ever been. Problem is, my body seems to have realized what’s happening and I nearly gag when taking the first swig of green juice. I don’t remember it being that bad from the morning dose, but there you have it. It’s very difficult to finish.
1:30pm: I cave and make a bowl of vegetable soup. My headache was rapidly turning into a migraine and I was so tired/exhausted I couldn’t even make myself go for a walk in this beautiful, sunny, warm weather. I feel like I’ve failed, but WTF?? No one is grading me on this. What’s up with the self-guilt? I’m feeling much better now and am thinking I’m going to have to supplement with soup or salads if I hope to be productive at work or go for bike rides. Interestingly, the juice does seem to have filled me up somewhat, as I’m full after finishing half the bowl of soup.
4pm: still not hungry, thank you soup. Also, my headache is gone and I feel much more alert. So, I’m a juice fast failure, but I’m starting this new thing called the juice+soup fast, or joop diet! I think it’ll catch on.
5:30pm: Getting hungry again so grabbed the next juice – a lemon-cayenne-agave blend. It tastes like watered-down lemonade. Super unoffensive after the last disgusting green juice, which I still can’t get out of my mind.
7:45pm: Time for juice #5…green juice…oh HELL no. I’m starving. Toast with peanut butter it is. I was feeling so lightheaded, fatigued/exhausted, and mind-numbingly stupid & slow. I added up all the calories from the 6 juices and they add up to 960 calories, which is about 2/3 of my BMR (basal metabolic rate, or the amount of calories that your body burns just breathing & functioning), so no wonder I was feeling as terrible as all that.
9pm: I want to unpack my feelings a bit here on the end of the first day, with only 4/6 juices consumed. My first inclination was not to talk about eating soup and toast in this entry, and just saying I’d fallen asleep or something, or make an excuse for why I didn’t finish the 5th & 6th juices. I feel like so many others have done a 3-day cleanse or fast with no issues at all, and I couldn’t even make it to 3pm on the first day of mine! I feel like a total wimp that I wasn’t able to crush the hunger and headaches and WIN and get an A+ gold star on the juice fast. But realistically, I’m probably going to modify this thing a little bit to make it work for me. I’m going to have a healthy breakfast tomorrow (I’m thinking fruit & boiled eggs) along with my morning green juice, and I’m going to bike to work, even though exercising is somewhat discouraged. I think I’ll likely be fine on just juice during the day, as I don’t usually even get hungry at work until 2pm, and even then only have a small salad. I will have a can of (organic, vegetarian) soup for dinner if I need to. And I will not feel like I’m dying and like I can’t think clearly by 3pm. See you tomorrow!
DAY TWO: Monday Feb 24
7am: I wake up feeling refreshed, energetic, and happy after a great sleep. I’ve read that improved sleep is a benefit of the whole juice thing, but I generally sleep pretty well most of the time, so I’m not sure if I’m willing to attribute this good sleep to the juice. I weigh myself and I’m up a pound, go me! Anyway, I consider sticking with only juice today, and not the modified plan, but then remember I want to bike to & from work, and also that Mondays are always crazy, and I decide to have a real breakfast – poached eggs on toast and half a cup of coffee and I’m ready for the day!
10am: First juice! Green juice. It’s gross, but not as gross as I remember from yesterday afternoon. The best way to describe it would be to think about a salad of kale, romaine, celery, and whatever else is in this – no cheese or meat or dressing – and blend it all up and there you go. I really feel very happy, zen, and energetic today.
12pm: PINAPPLE.APPLE.MINT!!!! for lunch — my favourite! Still feeling great. I go take a tour of the gym and resolve to be healthier. Yoga classes are now on my calendar for every Wednesday. We’ll see how long that lasts 🙂
2pm: second green juice while in a meeting (so no picture). The second green juice of the day is just as disgusting as it was yesterday, my god. I have to hold my breath while drinking to try to avoid tasting it, but the taste is SO STRONG and it lingers. No one in the meeting mentions the juice, but a coworker saw me putting 4 bottles in the fridge this morning and asked about it. I told him I almost passed out yesterday from hunger and he said he didn’t think he’d even last until 10am. Looking forward to the spicy lemonade at 4pm, and a sunny bike ride home! I am still feeling super positive, happy, energetic, and only a little hungry.
4pm: Spicy lemonade time!! My second favourite. Today’s spicy lemonade seems spicier than yesterday’s. Work is busy, so gotta go. Yep, I’m still feeling super energetic and happy!
7:30pm: work ran a little later than I expected and I just got home. I’m feeling really good, and I have to say I’m surprised by that. I did notice my cycling pace was a little slower than usual tonight, but I still kept up a good clip (normally I’m around 28-32km/h when I’m really moving, tonight I couldn’t seem to push my legs to go faster than 25km/h). I’m sort of peckish but not nearly as starving as I was yesterday, so I crack open a much-hated green juice for dinner. I read online that they taste better SUPER cold, so I pour it over a big glass of ice. Bottoms up…
9pm: Technically too late to be having a juice, but I wanted to see the day through. You’re not supposed to drink any juice less than 2 hours before bedtime, and I’m going to bed right after this, so way to eff it up again there, Pammy! Oh well, I don’t care, because THIS IS MY NEW FAVOURITE. Even better than the P.A.M. is the “Cashew Vanilla Cinnamon Agave”…mmmmm…it tastes like sweet milk with cinnamon & vanilla in it. Almost like rice pudding, actually! It’s also incredibly sweet. I’m not sure I can finish it tonight, I feel like it’s going to give me a sugar rush. Also, I wasn’t hungry at all up until drinking some of it, and now all of a sudden I’m starving. As a sidenote, you know your juice is hella authentic when you find a cashew in the bottom of the bottle.
Goodnight blog-world, see you on day 3!
DAY THREE: Tuesday February 25th
7:30am: I wake up feeling pretty good, but have a headache and am sort of tired. I shower it off and weigh myself. I’m down 2lbs from yesterday and 1lb from the day before. I don’t have time for breakfast so I down a green juice and hop on my bike to work! Biking is definitely slower this morning – my legs burn when I try to go over 24km/h.
11am: I was in meetings all morning and missed my 9:30 juice date and I’m STARVING as a result. I would normally break up the green juice horribleness with a P.A.M. right now but I actually, intentionally, choose the green juice because I feel like it’ll fill me up more. WTF, who am I?? I definitely feel full after drinking it. I’m still feeling pretty good, though today I’m COLD – not sure if the conference rooms from this morning were just cold, or if it’s the lack of food. Regardless, normally I complain about my office being a sauna, but today I’m happy to close my door and warm up. I’ve also noticed my sense of smell is amplified. Hard to explain but for example, someone having one cup of coffee in one of my morning meetings made the whole conference room smell like a coffee shop to me.
12pm: Lunchtime! It’s time for P.A.M. which you all know is my favourite thing! I can’t get too excited though because I’m on a conference call. I’m starting to feel tired and hungry now. I know there will be snacks in one of my afternoon meetings and it’ll be tough to resist. I’m also feeling a little…dumb. I forgot to mention that this morning I tried to open the door of the bike cage at work with my garage door opener. And I keep making mistakes in emails I’m writing, like skipping a word. If I ever do one of these things again, I’ll probably do it over a long weekend when I’m not expected to behave intelligently.
2pm: I’m just about to head to the meeting with SNACKS. I can stay strong!! It’s spicy lemonade time, and I’m planning to bike home early around 4pm so I can clean the house before Nick comes home tomorrow, and also get groceries since I’ve been on this juice thing and the cupboards are bare.
4:30pm: OK guys, home stretch. I made it through the snacks meeting without consuming any snacks! EVEN THOUGH they had goldfish crackers and chocolate cookies. Now I just realized I’ve only got four juices left in this whole thing! I’ve got the leftover green juice and cashew milk from Sunday, and the remaining green juice and cashew milk from today. I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to do with the other two “extra” juices. Drink them, for sure, as they were so expensive, but when? Maybe I’ll double-green-juice tonight…I’m pretty hungry, and about to burn some calories by biking home.
5pm: Dinnertime! Definitely feel tired and hungry after my bike ride, although the ride itself was good (fast). I have a serious craving for noodles and/or noodle soup like phở or maybe just udon plain by itself with some sort of light sauce/broth, so I skip the green juice until later, and have the cashew milk instead (300 calories vs 110).
6:30pm: Grabbing a green juice before heading out grocery shopping so I don’t go crazy and buy a bunch of pre-made stuff. This is the second-last green juice!! I still have one more after this one because I didn’t drink all of the juice on the first day. I also have another cashew milk to finish too. Will probably have those two for breakfast/snack tomorrow, and then ease back into real food with a salad at lunch.
OK but here’s the funny thing. I’m pretty excited to be eating food again (and to not have to drink anymore godforsaken green juice). BUT, I also don’t want to eat the unhealthy stuff that I would think I want to binge on. Does that make sense? So for example, I’m off to get groceries tonight and consciously decided to eliminate things like our favorite yoghurt (which has a ton of sugar in it and is basically a dessert), bread (even though we usually buy super grainy healthy hippy stuff, it’s still a vehicle for peanut butter & jam), and steak (we were getting a little crazy on the steak and eating quite a lot of it, complete with butter-soaked sautéed onions).
Did my life change on the juice fast? Not really. It made things easier for me because I didn’t have to grocery shop/cook for myself while Nick was gone. It was also pretty neat that except for the first day, I really wasn’t very hungry. However, that’s not to say that I’m not super excited about eating again – because I am SUPER EXCITED!!!! In the movie “Fat, Sick, And Nearly Dead”, there are people who live on just juice for weeks and weeks! I could probably do another couple of days if I had to, but probably no more than a week.
I wish I had thought ahead so I could end this post with a picture of 18 empty juice bottles in the recycling bin, but I didn’t, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.