beauty buzz: the juice cleanse

{Editor’s Note: I’m thrilled to welcome my exceptionally talented and health-conscious friend, Megan Clark, to the blog today. She’s here to tell you all about a juice cleanse…which I’ve always been secretly curious about, yet too chicken to try. She volunteered to play guinea pig, and I think you’ll love her rundown of the results. Enjoy!}

Juice Illo MyJuiceCleanse beauty buzz: the juice cleanseOh, the mysterious juice cleanse. I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard my fair share of horror stories, watched documentaries, seen friends suffer through cleanse and wondered: is it just a fad? I decided to find out and finally tried it myself.

For many, just the mention of a juice cleanse conjures up the mandatory fasting that takes place before surgery or a blood test. I’m happy to say that it’s actually a very different experience. There’s still some anxiety and food cravings, but what you get in return is well worth it. A juice cleanse gives your digestive system a break. Consequently, all the junk that has been put into your system has a chance to get flushed out. (I have a mental picture of coffee, donuts, cookies and bottles of wine floating down a river through my digestive tract. Just in case you were wondering.) It’s like a reboot for your body.

We were privileged to partner with The Feel Good World in Portland for this little experiment. Their three-day program, affectionately known as the “Juice Feast” is made up of eighteen juices, or six juices each day. The entire experience is titled Shine Signature VIP. It includes all of the juices for the cleanse, a bag of fresh snacks and prepared meals to help you taper off the cleanse at the end, one week of yoga/movement classes and a spa treatment to top it off (though the package has now changed, and the spa treatment is a colon hydrotherapy session).

So, you probably want to know how it went, right?

The Schedule Summary

Thursday: Pre-Cleanse

As the cleanse, errr…feast approached, I was apprehensive. I had done countless green smoothies and a little at-home juicing, but never anything this intense. I wondered: What if it makes me sick? What if I get a headache? What if I get unfathomably hungry? What if I give up? Beyond the apprehension there was some excitement; trying something new is always fun and invigorating.

Friday: Day 1

Let the juicing begin! I twisted open my first juice and took a sniff. Oh, dear Lord! What have I done? Supposedly some TFGW patrons can’t get enough of this, but I had enough even before my first sip. Think apple cider vinegar, honey, cayenne pepper and ginger. It just burned. I sort of want to cry thinking about it. Friday was a work day for me, so after I choked down this first-thing-in-the-morning beverage, I went about my business and felt fine until about 10am when the nap monster snuck up on me. Fortunately, I’m self employed and could succumb. I slept for two solid hours. Throughout the remainder of the day I drank the rest of my allotted juices, which got increasingly better. (One of the 16oz juices is made from an entire pound of vegetables!) Even with a nap, I was pretty darn tired by the end of the day. Bedtime came early.

Saturday: Day 2

When I got up Saturday morning and looked in the mirror, I thought to myself, “I look healthier.” What an odd, sort of vain thing to think, right? I didn’t dare assume such success, but then I had breakfast (if you can call that potent vinegar drink ‘breakfast’) with my mom and she said, “You look so healthy!” Confirmation! My skin was tighter, I felt slimmer, and – lo and behold – I actually got excited for my liquid meals throughout the day.

Sunday: Day 3

Late in the day I got a little headache-y, but they warn that may happen when you stop eating solids. Go figure. Beside the achy head, my day wasn’t bad. That evening, out of nowhere, I was suddenly starving. It was like my body knew I was at the tail end of this case study and decided it wanted an early out. I treated myself to some broth and raw almonds (as recommended by TFGW). Mind you, I never thought I would consider those food items treats, but they really, really were. Simply chewing felt totally self-indulgent.

Monday: Post-Cleanse

My highest level of energy hit once I was back on solids. On Monday I eased into “real” foods, including several items from the Good-To-Go bag. And, get this: I went to three gym classes on Monday. Three! If that doesn’t illustrate how good I felt, I don’t know what would. One of the three classes was hot yoga at TFGW. I had never done hot yoga and jumped at the chance. I loved it…especially when the instructor said, “Are you sure you haven’t done this before?”. Flattery is a fast way to my heart.

Juice Illo Reboot beauty buzz: the juice cleanseThe Overall Effects

I did:

  • Sleep really well
  • See a difference in my skin
  • Enjoy most of the juices
  • Have at least two pity parties
  • Have more energy post-cleanse
  • Crave the juices post-cleanse
  • Lose about three pounds

I didn’t:

  • Feel hungry (’til the end)
  • Feel totally deprived
  • Change my entire diet post-cleanse
  • Keep those three pounds off for long

Lessons Learned

  • Food = comfort. If you listen to the voices in your head, you may hear what I heard I did during the cleanse: “I’m upset. I think I’ll eat.” “I’m bored. I think I’ll eat.” “I’m happy. I think I’ll eat.” Who knew my brain wanted me to be such a glutton!? Now I know and can fight back.
  • Trying something new is a good thing. Getting out of your comfort zone is exhilarating. Whether it’s skydiving, learning French or drinking juice for a weekend, the act of trying something new benefits mind, body and soul.
  • Mind over matter. When you’re mindful of what you’re putting in your mouth, your body will thank you. It’s like ordering nachos poolside; you don’t do it when you can literally see where the fat would sit on your bikini-clad body. Once you put time and energy into being healthy, it takes a lot to compromise your fitness program and diet.

If you’re up for drinking 18 juices in 72 hours, I say go for it! It may be trendy, but it’s also beneficial. Do some research. Ask your doctor. Check out The Feel Good World if you’re a local. If you’re not, or if you’re really ambitious, try whipping up some juices of your own. (But maybe skip the apple cider vinegar.)

Cheers! — Megan C.

 

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One thought on “beauty buzz: the juice cleanse

  1. kristina

    I just can’t jump on the juice cleanse bandwagon. Our digestive systems were meant to digest – I think it’s a bunch of hooey that they need “a break”. Also, logic suggests that if one stops consuming the “coffee, donuts, cookies and bottles of wine” and eats more fruits and veggies instead you’d have the same health benefits as a juice cleanse.

    Although I must admit, as you mentioned under Lessons Learned, for those who find that Food=Comfort, a juice cleanse may be a good way to jump start new habits!

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