Pictured: Beet, celery and carrot juice
I finished my first-ever juice "cleanse" a couple of weeks ago and wanted to let you know how it went. One reason I waited this long to follow up was to see if the 5 pounds I dropped after 5 days of drinking just juice would stay off, and they have (I’ve gained back one pound, and that was one day after finishing).
My reasons for trying it were not about losing weight, though of course I hoped that would be an added bonus. I don’t ever advocate extreme diets, and I really don’t like the idea of calling something a "cleanse" or "detox." If you eat a balanced, whole-foods-based diet that minimizes processed foods, what’s there to "cleanse" or "detox"? And, our organs do the job of cleansing very well (in fact, our columnist Dr. Susan Biali wrote about that in a recent issue of Best Health). And fasting or dieting extremes just aren’t good for any prolonged period as they could become a tool that is relied on to "un-do" unhealthy habits, or an excuse to lead an unhealthy lifestyle.
So when Raw Juice Guru here in Toronto offered to let me sample it, I readily accepted; for one thing, I liked that they call this a ‘feast’ rather than a fast. And, I’ve been hearing so much about juicing, and a few of my friends have jumped onto the trend. I really wanted to see what it was like, and frankly whether I could stick to it’I regarded it as a personal challege.
The juices flooded and flushed: flooded my body with fresh, organic, raw vegetable and fruit juices, and as for flushing, let’s just say you do need to empty your bladder a lot! Yes, I did feel dully hungry pretty much the whole time. So I craved my juice by the time 1.5 to 2 hours had passed between finishing one bottle and starting the next, and it was satisfying. I loved the feeling that I was getting way more than my required daily servings of fruits and vegetables; that I was eating absolutely nothing that was refined; and that I was getting zero fat (though on an everyday basis, you should eat good fats). I also loved that I didn’t have to shop for food, plan meals or cook, since my day’s worth of juices were left on my porch early each morning. I didn’t feel any more or any less energy, although I stayed away from exercising as I felt I wouldn’t be able to hold up with so few daily calories and so little protein.
So what kind of juices were they? Each day, six large [I think half-litre] glass bottles of any of the following combinations: celery, apple, beet, cayenne pepper, carrot, kale, apple, lemon, turmeric, orange, ginger, cantaloupe, pineapple, grapefruit, and more. Then there were 2 small vials of pure aloe vera, or spirulina or chlorophyll. The combinations were different every day.
The total daily calories was 1000-1400. I had been used to 1,800 or so, and for me that amount maintains a healthy weight for my age and height. So I was cutting some 1/3 of my calories; no wonder I lost 5 pounds. But part of the reason most of it has stayed off this long is that the juice feasting helped me form new habits. I’m now used to eating a bit less overall, and I feel it’s fine to be a little bit hungry between meals and snacks. Instead of satisfying a sweet-snack craving in the afternoon with a small cookie, now I’ll have a cup of fruity green tea. I find myself at the juice bar near my office a few times a week (must invest in my own juicer!).
Would I do it again? Yes; two or three times a year. Nothing extreme. Just the way I like it.