Proponents claim by giving your digestive tract a break with a juicing cleanse, the body is able to efficiently relieve itself of the massive amount of toxins we consume on a daily basis.
With the excess and indulgence of the holidays behind us, I decided it was time to try a juice cleanse myself, along with three friends. Together we make up a hodgepodge of diets and fitness routines.
For someone who makes a living by eating incessantly, it's going to be a challenge -- and probably hilarious.
After consuming solely liquid for three days straight -- with some minor cheats along the way -- my gang of juicers and I were finally allowed to eat.
Emily Alvarez (part-time spin instructor; currently training for a marathon) started the day off with eggs and coffee; she said she felt fine afterward.
She asserts that she did not feel any positive effects from the cleanse.
"No doubt that I think it's a good way for someone to get essential vitamins, nutrients, and all the good stuff to make your hair, skin, overall body feel great," said Alvarez. "But I think the results are better seen by those who don't already incorporate this into their diets. I think that I didn't see immediate results because I already eat a shitload (for lack of better terms) of veggies and fruit normally. I was just ingesting them in a different form with the cleanse. The rest of the stuff I usually eat is pretty healthy, for the most part, so it's not like i shocked my body in eliminating a bunch of bad stuff all of a sudden. I think I would need to stick it out a lot longer to see effects, but at the same time. it would definitely not be healthy for me to do that considering my level of activity."
At the end of day, Alvarez went back into her normal diet with a bottle of wine -- it was wine night -- she felt the effects quickly, and she's feeling hungover today.
On the other hand, Gilcelia Dos Santos (regular exerciser) felt fantastic. She woke up energized and in a great mood, had a cup of coffee, and ironically didn't even feel hungry.
She would complete another juice cleanse and recommends it to anyone looking to reset.
Lisa Wray (occasional exerciser) wasn't able to complete the cleanse due to work and health factors; however, she would like to attempt it again over the course of a weekend.
I (occasional dog walker) wanted to ease back into eating after feeling the effects of consuming a piece of bread at the end of day three. I started the day off with an apple and peanut butter and a cup of decaf coffee -- it was the most exciting apple and cup of decaf I've ever had. I moved on to the animal proteins later on, even incorporating a beet juice in the middle of the afternoon.
I woke up in good spirits without feeling too hungry.
In the evening, I met some friends for dinner and had a glass of wine, still feeling wary of coming off the cleanse too quickly I didn't drink much, but I did feel sluggish upon waking the following morning. I think it's wise to stay away from alcohol for a day or two after completing a cleanse -- all the experts say this anyway.
All four of us noticed a difference in our skin from the cleanse; other people have noticed an improvement as well.
While I must say I do feel better, I wouldn't necessarily attribute it to juicing; I think going raw with solid foods would have a similar effect. Honestly, I doubt I would ever opt to do a juice cleanse again -- I felt good, but I despised it with a passion.
Had we opted to spend the $40 plus a day to purchase a cleanse from a juicing company, it may have been easier -- "may" being the key word -- but that's an expense that did not bode well for our budgets.
Regardless, I am glad to be rid of my caffeine and sugar cravings.
Even though I would most likely stay away from liquid-only cleansing regimes, I do think juice cleansing has its place for people with a specific goal in mind. I have two friends with arthritis who swear by it.
Lessons learned overall:
- Don't drink the day after completion.
- Cleanse on a weekend, when you can relax and get to juice as needed.
- You will rid yourself of addictions -- well, coffee and sugar, at least.
- It's best if you can stay away from other people -- there's a good chance you're going to smell.
- You will see improvements in your skin.
- Eating is exciting when deprived of chewing for days.
- The first day is the hardest.
- Stay away from happy hour or any social engagement involving food.
- Chewing juice helps with the frustration.
- It's OK if you're not a fan.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.