I know… “a juice cleanse isn’t a quick fix”,”juice cleanses are bad for you”… fun fact, I’ve heard every pro and con of a juice cleanse EVER. I had a SUPER indulgent December… i.e. I drank a ton of wine, ate gluten-filled pizza (totally worth it, go to Il Pizzaiolo if you’re ever in Pittsburgh), and not running. I want to caveat that I did this vaguely responsibly, focused on nutrition and did some research about how to keep this from bordering on “fad diet”.
I decided early the week of New Year’s that I was going to have Soberuary, aka not drink this month, and focus on eating at home… and tracking what I’m eating. (Check out Marisa’s Back to Basics January Challenge for other great ideas on how to reset this month!) Once I had a plan in my head, I decided a juice cleanse would be a great way to kick it off because as much as I hate juice cleansing, I love juice cleansing. After eating whatever I felt like (aka still eating a lot of salads but drinking a lot of wine and maybe a few special meals with A), I had no desire to eat things or think about food so a juice cleanse just made sense. And I’m really thankful that I didn’t have to think about food or make time for food once I got back to SF.
I didn’t do a juice cleanse as a quick fix but I did do it to get a jump back on the wagon after hating where my weight had crept up to for approximately three months straight. I did a juice cleanse two years ago (Blueprint) and loved how it cleaned up my pallet and how I felt afterwards. I kind of forgot how awful I felt (minus hitting the wall during a five mile run in Palm Springs… dumb) and how cold I was (I blamed it on Pittsburgh winter) and instead remembered that I was basically the most creative and productive I have ever been afterwards.
Pressed Juicery is one of the biggest juice companies in California (but let’s be real, it’s California, there are more juice companies than people basically). There’s one within walking distance of my place (I think I also pass approximately ten other juice places walking there) and they were doing a $35/day special. I paid over $200 for three days on Blueprint so to me, $105 was basically a steal for a cleanse. I know, that’s a lot of money for “food” for a day, but if you think about eating out once or twice per day in SF (not that I normally do that during the week), you’re paying at least that much. (Insert lament about how I miss Pittsburgh and two people eating and having a drink or two for $30, plus tip…)
Anyway, so post drunk-Thai food, Pittsburgh Popcorn Company popcorn eating, my vision cleared up and I realized I couldn’t keep doing this. In my head I’d been “watching” what I was eating for months but I somehow had went through several jars of nut butter in the two months I’ve been living in SF, eating salads and real food but I was still watching my weight creep up. My dad has lost close to 50 pounds since June or July and attributes it all to tracking what he eats on MyFitnessPal. I realized I had to do all the shit I didn’t want to do, i.e. count calories and my macros and open up that little app several times a day.
A juice cleanse for me is more mental than anything else. It reminds me I don’t need chocolate and almond butter and Greek yogurt every single day. Are those things delicious and full of health benefits? Yes, to both of those things. But in moderation. Not in a “just dump a bunch of spoonfuls of cashew butter on everything multiple times a day”. My hair and skin are GREAT because I eat so much [healthy] fat but also my expensive designer jeans are tight. Not good.
Last Monday I went for a slow, watchless 6 miles that ended me at Pressed Juicery. Luckily I got there before the rush (in the 15-20 minutes I was there, probably 10 other girls came in the small shop) and was able to discuss some options with the girl working. I knew I wanted to keep my calories to at least 1200 and get as much protein and fat as possible while keeping sugar as low as possible.
Pressed Juicery is awesome because they have at least 3 options for each type of juice – greens, roots, citrus and “signature” aka nut milks. I did two nut milks for extra protein, two greens, a roots and a citrus. I tried all the juices, looked at the nutrition and sugar content of each and chose ones that were nutritionally a better option. I also decided to try out the chlorophyl water and aloe water as supplements. I packed up my 24 bottles(!) and hiked the mile back to my place, stopping at the grocery by my house to grab a lemon and avocado.
I chose to do Greens 3, Brazil Nut (the absolute best one ever!!!), Citrus 1, Roots 1, Greens 1.5 and Chocolate Almond. In between I would drink the chlorophyl water throughout the day (with a lemon wedge) and an aloe water at night. The waters were the worst. I ended up choking down the aloe water on the morning of day two and day three instead of the night of. I even added a teaspoon of chia seeds to make it a little better. The chlorophyl water helped with the headaches from caffeine withdrawal and the aloe helps with digestion.
I remembered Sunday night that on a juice cleanse that don’t just give up food, but coffee as well. That was a rude awakening on Monday. I was a little jet lagged, sad to be back in SF (crazy, I know) and on top of that… freezing, despite it being in the high 50s. I chalked up my extreme coldness on my last cleanse to the actual Pittsburgh winter but this time, I realized it was because my body really wasn’t running on very many calories. I ate some almonds and added some chia seeds to my citrus juice for a little extra protein, fat and energy. I wasn’t feeling drinking more than Citrus 1 that afternoon.
I make it a point to go to yoga when I’m cleansing to go sweat everything out. I headed to an advanced class at Yoga Flow SF and threw my Roots 1 in my bag to drink on my way back. When I got home, I opened Greens 1.5, realized I didn’t even want it, and basically chugged the Chocolate Almond. I got into bed because I was still freezing and realized I was also starved. I inputed all my juices in My Fitness Pal, didn’t like how low my calories were (crazy, I know, but I’m not trying to screw up my metabolism) and immediately ate an entire avocado with hot sauce and sea salt. I slept like I was dead that night, because basically I was dead by that point.
Day two of a cleanse is the worst and I totally forgot about that. I did another six miles without my watch and felt okay, despite having zero energy from only drinking juice and eating almonds and an avocado the day before. I spent all day completely unfocused, in a daze and absolutely freezing to death, despite wearing a sweatshirt and a jacket all day. I was so over juice. I wasn’t even hungry at that point. And when I was hungry, I didn’t want juice so I just stayed hungry.
I decided to go to Whole Foods that night to buy food to prep for the rest of the week on Wednesday and knew I was probably going to get some soup. Going to Whole Foods on a juice cleanse is either really, really smart or really, really dumb. I wasn’t tempted to buy crap I usually would (artisanal chocolate, three types of yogurt, fancy cheese) and instead just bought a bunch of veggies and fruits.
It was very, very sad when I went by the prepared foods section. I looked sadly at the salad bar, thinking about how I was very likely to binge on an entire salad if I made one and started worrying that this juice cleanse was going to turn me into a binge eater. I looked at the soup options and got a vegan Lebanese Vegetable soup because I was craving chickpeas (protein! fiber!). I finished it in approximately two minutes when I got home then chased it with another chocolate almond milk. I skipped Greens 1.5 again that day.
Day three I didn’t run and instead did a strength workout at home. My lack of interest in juice was pretty similar to day two and the freezing continued except I had that crazy thought I always have on day three (and the following day when I can eat) called… I should just keep juice cleansing. I also had decided to come home and make zucchini pasta with pesto and chickpeas so I didn’t really care that I was hungry. I once again skipped Greens 1.5 and ended up drinking them as lunch Monday and Tuesday with a Roots 1 and as a snack on Sunday.
I realized sweet cravings are killed with juice cleanses because they are all so sweet. Despite choosing juices that were lower in sugar, I’m super sensitive to sweet things because I haven’t eaten refined or fake sugar in over a year so I think carrots are sweet. Hell, I eat winter squash for DESSERT most nights like a crazy person.
I should note, I also take a fiber supplement some days (when I feel like it) and a probiotic every day because my doctor prescribes them to me. I think this probably helped keep me feeling okay during the cleanse as well.
I read an article that a person was against cleansing because it made them feel like they were wrong to indulge during the holidays or skip workouts. I don’t think what I did while at home was wrong – I enjoyed being off of my routine and having those extra hours to spend with the people who mean the most to me. I didn’t do a cleanse to “punish” myself because I don’t believe in that. I did a cleanse because I needed to reset and feel good quickly. I’m still watching what I’m eating, trying to eat as vegan as possible (at least until dinner, unless I have yogurt for breakfast) and tracking everything on MyFitnessPal. I’m measuring my food and all those awful things that actual work in helping you lose weight. My jeans are alright less tight and the scale is headed towards a number I’m more okay with seeing.
I totally recommend Pressed Juicery’s cleanse. It’s customizable, has lots of options and nutritionally, more solid than BluePrint. Also some of their locations have PRESSED JUICE FREEZE aka something I mentioned over the summer but never thought I would experience, let alone at least once a month. They don’t have it at any of the SF locations (can we add to Union Street, please?) but they do in Palo Alto and Santana Row.
I’m linking up for What I Ate Wednesday… despite it being what I drank.
Chat with me:
Have you ever done a cleanse, juice or otherwise? What are your thoughts on cleanses? Would you ever want to do one? Do you have any questions for me about juicing?