How to Cleanse and Still Eat Real Food

Considering a cleanse but not sure if you can survive on liquids alone? Luckily, you don’t have to. Here’s how to do a juice cleanse and still eat.

Prepare-(1).jpgphoto credit: Village Juicery

Usually when I hear the words “juice cleanse,” my response is “Thanks, but no thanks.” Days of subsisting on nothing but liquid just doesn’t sound fun (plus, I get really hangry, which science says is bad for my relationship). That being said, my diet is in need of an overhaul, or a reset in this case. I turned to Village Juicery’s Reset Program largely because it involves food. Yep, you can eat on this juice cleanse. The program involves three phases: Prepare Eliminate and Reset, and you can customize it to your body and objectives.

In addition to copious amounts of liquefied fruit and veggies, the five-day cleanse I’m about to embark on involves drinking a tonne of water, and eliminating sugar, alcohol and caffeine. As for food, the emphasis is on clean, raw foods (think: salads, salads and the occasional breakfast chia pudding). So, no meat, no refined carbs, and nothing processed.

To prepare for the week, holistic nutritionist Gabby Ouimet recommends slowing weaning off coffee and sugar to lessen any effects of withdraw (i.e. headache and irritability).

So naturally, on Sunday I consume two cups of coffee and savour a cold beer with my carbolicious dinner.

Over the next five days, I’ll be updating this post with a play-by-play of each day. Check back daily to share in my misery. 😉 Just kidding, I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Monday: Day 1

Confession: I cheated this morning. I got into the office around 8 a.m. and knew that my food and juice delivery wasn’t going to arrive until roughly 9:30 a.m., so I caved and got a coffee. I drank it black though, so there’s that.

Breakfast was a really good Probiotic Breakfast Jar with chia seed pudding, coconut yogurt and strawberries. For a mid-morning pick-me-up, I had a Be Green juice and an E3 Live shot. Full disclosure: The E3 Live shot reminded me of lake water and algae. I Googled it and turns out, that’s exactly what it is – “organic and wild grown blue-green algae.”

As lunchtime rolled around I was pretty hungry. I ate a Kale Tabouli Salad and drank plenty of water.

Aside from an afternoon juice (Hydrate + Heal), I spent the rest of the workday thinking about when I was going to be able to eat my next meal. But that’s not that unusual for me.

My husband and I usually eat a late dinner (7 or 8 p.m.) but today I had to eat dinner (a Plant Protein Salad with quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, curried cauliflower) as soon as I got home from work, around 6 p.m. When my husband ate his dinner later in the evening, I only stole a couple of bites-promise.

Tuesday: Day 2

I slept fairly well last night, except for the hour from 4-5 a.m. when my husband was called out for a work emergency. (I know, how rude!)

Today’s breakfast was similar to yesterday and lunch was a Kamut Salad. I’m finding the lunch portions (which are the size of a small jar) to be much smaller than what I normally eat, so I’m still adjusting to that.

By 2 p.m. I was feeling pretty tired (more than the usual afternoon slump). I picked up a few things from the grocery store, such as kale chips and almond butter for snacking, as well as two avocados and a can of chickpeas. My plan is to bulk up some of the salads with avocado and extra chickpeas, as I’ve been feeling pretty hungry. I also have a workout in the morning, so I know I’ll need the extra energy. I sliced one of the avocados and added it to my dinner salad, which kept me satisfied until bedtime. As far as snacks go, I’m supposed to stick to herbal teas, kale chips, unprocessed organic nuts and seeds, raw veggies and raw dips, and fresh fruit with raw nut butters.

To be honest, the hardest part so far has been cutting out coffee. I love coffee and it’s such a part of my morning ritual that I’m really missing it.

Wednesday: Day 3

My morning started with a high-intensity workout at Equinox in Yorkville. Usually, you’ll want to avoid intense exercise while you’re cleansing, says holistic nutritionist Gabby Ouimet. But, since I already had this workout planned, she told me to have some juice prior to class and to refuel post-workout with a Strawberry Hazelnut Protein Milk. Once I got to the office I had a Power Breakfast Jar, which had a mix of rolled oats, chia seeds, cashew milk, banana, cacao nibs and hemp hearts. Lunch and dinner were similar to the previous day’s but I did add some additional chickpeas to my dinner salad.

Aside from a small headache in the late afternoon and evening, I felt a lot better today than I did yesterday. I wasn’t nearly as tired. According to Village Juicery, symptoms of detoxification may include headaches, aches and pains, and in some cases, low energy.

I’ve also been going to the bathroom a lot. Partly because I’ve been drinking so much, but my body also seems to be ridding itself of, well, everything. I emailed Ouimet to ask if this was normal. She assured me it was. “It’s your body’s normal response to increase elimination to help with detoxing. This is one reason why it is so important to ensure you are drinking plenty of water during your reset,” she said.  So far, so good!

Thursday: Day 4

While the first two days of this cleanse seemed like an uphill climb, the last two days are definitely an easier downhill stroll. I’m getting a little bored of juice and could use some more variety in my diet, but I’m definitely feeling better when it comes to energy. I even went for a short run this evening.

Friday: Day 5

I made it! Today was an easy day. Probably because I knew the cleanse was nearly over. To be honest, any cravings I was having earlier in the week are nonexistent now. I also feel full and satisfied with the smaller portions and haven’t needed to have any snacks for the last two days. I couldn’t even finish my last dinner salad. I’m sure one over-indulgent meal would be enough to throw my hunger signals out of whack but for now I’m feeling good and will try to eat smaller, more frequent meals and snacks.

A few things I learned this week…

• I really love coffee and don’t want to give it up again. But I will stick to just one cup a day.
• Texture makes a big difference. Adding a variety of foods with difference textures to a simple salad can turn it into a satisfying meal. Try creating your own Plant Protein salad with a mix of quinoa, lentils, sprouted chick peas, sprouted mung beans, broccoli, curried cauliflower, arugula, cashews, hemp herts and sesame seeds.
• Chewing really does help with digestion. Another thing each of this week’s meals had in common was that they required a lot of chewing. For example, a small Kale Tabouli salad seemed much bigger and required a lot of chewing with the addition of sprouted mung beans, walnuts and a variety of seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame). It was also suggested that I “sip juices slowly and ‘chew’ them to enhance satiation.”
• Preparation is key. When the week got busy, it was so helpful to have my meals planned and prepared and ultimately, that helped me stay on track and prevented me from giving in to cravings or hunger.

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