Samantha, my boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend (side note: does that make her my girlfriend-in-law?) recently did a 4-day, organic juice cleanse in order to get started on losing weight, getting in shape, and just being healthier overall. So, being curious, I asked her how it was. And then, being selfish, I asked her to do a guest blog. And she said yes! So, ladies and gentlemen, if you’ve wondered what it’s like to “be on the juice,” here’s your opportunity to find out.
Let me start off by saying that if I did a juice cleanse, I think I would get so incredibly grumpy that I would permanently lose friends. As the tagline of this blog suggests, and as I have repeatedly stated, I hate dieting. I would rather spend 3 hours at the gym every day than restrict what I eat. That being said, with juice cleanses and detoxes all the rage these days, I will admit that I’m intrigued. Is putting your stomach—and those around you—through 3 days of hell worth it? What’s the cost-benefit analysis on this? If it works and is really a jump-start to being a lot cleaner and healthier (popular opinion says yes, science’s jury is still out), I would do it in a heartbeat. I’ve heard about people doing it, but haven’t really gotten specifics. Until now.
If you have questions for Samantha about her experience with her cleanse, leave them in the comments and I’ll make sure to ask her for you. Take special note of her references to “potty troubles.” They cracked me up!
I first made the decision to start a juice fast after watching the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” I highly recommend watching it if you’re at all serious about juice fasting. I have been on a journey this past year or so to really improve my eat habits. I started eating as much organic and non-GMO as I possibly could as well, incorporating some superfoods into my daily routine (hello, spirulina!). But I really felt like I couldn’t go much further until I got rid of all the crap I had been putting in my body for the past 24 years, which meant I needed to do a serious detox session. But before you start, you might have a couple questions like:
- Why is this better than just eating fruits and vegetables?
You can, and that’s also a way to get healthy! But you would be eating way more than your stomach can hold. The point of juicing is to pack a ton of fruits in vegetables into a manageable amount it eat in one day. The argument for a juicer is that it breaks down the cell walls in fruits and vegetables, so you end up getting way more of the nutrients out of each item you juice than you would by eating it normally.
- Why detox in the first place?
One big reason is weight loss. When you eat artificial and processed foods, your body does not recognize it as “real” food, since it isn’t part of our natural diet. Instead, it recognizes them as toxins, so it panics and tries to protect you from the foreign invader! It attacks the “toxins” and coats them in a layer of fat so that they can’t harm you—and the problem here is that your body feels the need to hold onto that fat. Obviously, this is not what you were hoping for. Another reason to detox is the health of your immune system. The food that we eat ends up being the food for our cells. If we don’t eat the right things, our cells don’t get what they need to function properly. So when any type of illness enters our bodies, our cells can’t fight it off as well and we have a higher chance of getting sick.
- Are there side effects of detoxing?
YES! And they are absolutely awful… but I think it’s totally worth it once it’s all said and done! When you detox, you are releasing all those toxins in your body from their fat jackets all at once. This is not a fun process. Those toxins are floating all around your body uninhibited and escaping through any way they can find. This includes your sweat, saliva and “bathroom functions.” Some common side effects while you are detoxing are: headaches, insomnia, weakness, major grumpiness and some serious potty problems. But once these side effects pass, you start getting the benefits of the cleanse: clear, glowing skin, healthy nails and hair, improved mood, fresh breath, easier weight loss, and of course, healthy and rehydrated cells!
- How much does it cost?
Your average juice fast costs about $14 a day, but I did an organic fast, so it ended up costing about $30 a day including the suggested extra fruits and coconut water the fast. So if money is tight for you, do a normal cleanse!
So, what’s a juice fast really like? A day-by-day account.
Since everyone reacts to the detox differently, I am going take you day-by-day through my fasting experience in order to help you understand what is ahead of you. I chose to do a four-day juice cleanse by Willow and Jade. Should you choose to do a four day cleanse, I HIGHLY recommend doing it on a Thursday-Sunday schedule so that your worst days are on the weekend when you (hopefully) don’t have to work or truly function as a human being. Don’t overwork your body during this time either—detoxing wears you out. If you can’t imagine not exercising for four whole days, just do some light yoga or walking.
Day 1 is absolutely the easiest. Your body hasn’t started truly detoxing yet so there aren’t any side effects just yet. You can think of this as a day for cleaning house. Your cells are getting rehydrated by the sudden intake of water and your will is still strong (for now…). You will be surprised at how much juice you actually have to drink each day, three meals a day at a about a quart and a half each. The least of your worries during these four days is hunger.
While Day 3 is usually the hardest for most people, Day 2 was the worst for me. I woke up with a headache and was so weak, I could barely get myself dressed. It got better as the day went on but this was the day that I got hit with all the side effects I listed previously. But it honestly wasn’t that hard to manage. I just kept myself secluded from the rest of the world (this is why I said do it over the weekend!) so that I wouldn’t bite anyone’s head off. And anyways, I was too scared to leave my apartment for longer than five minutes (those potty troubles I warned you about).
Day 3 got a little easier! Through this whole process I was never hungry, but I did start to crave real food on Day 3. My issue was that most of these juices were very sweet and fruity, but I have a salty tooth rather than a sweet tooth. So I was seriously craving some potato chips by now. It also got a little harder to get all of the juice down by this day. As I said before, you have a TON of juice to drink at each meal and it was just getting really difficult to stomach it. While some of my other side effects subsided by Day 3, my grumpiness and potty troubles were at an all-time high so you should definitely be cautious of who you are willing to let in your presence during a juice fast.
By this day, all my side effects were subsiding and I was starting to feel the positive effects of the detox. I generally have slightly patchy skin on my face… not anymore! I swear, I could walk around without any face makeup these days and no one would be the wiser. But I will say, with the end being so close, my resolve was definitely weakening. I was already on the good side of the detox so I kept trying to talk myself into just stopping and getting some real food. The only thing that kept me from quitting on Day 4 was all the money I spent on those fruits and veggies so if you can think of anything to keep your resolve up, stay focused!
The Day After:
A lot of things I researched before I started said that you should juice for breakfast your first day out and then bring in solid foods for lunch. I, unfortunately, was not strong enough to do this. But as long as you stick to fruits, vegetables and legumes on your first few days out and introduce more normal foods slowly, you will be golden! Steer clear of anything greasy, heavy meats, or anything dairy as these things can be really hard on your digestive system after not having anything solid for so long.
As long as you keep up healthy eating after your fast, you’ll feel the longer-term benefits of the detox. I also suggest adding some detoxifying foods to your regular diet to keep toxins down. Try eating dark leafy greens, chia seeds, parsley, aloe vera, cilantro, green tea (matcha if you can) and spirulina for a nice, daily detox!