10 April 2014

DIY juice cleanse diary, day 3 (and the verdict!)

8:30a It’s the last day of juicing! And so I start it off with coffee, because I am a bad juice cleanser. That’s ok, because I feel like I’ve been doing it wrong all along. Although I’m feeling a little less negative about the whole experience itself this morning, I can report that I still retain all my hatred towards all food. I don’t think that’s how you’re supposed to feel when juice cleansing.

8:35a I forgot to mention before that I have been taking a daily multivitamin during this whole process. Granted, it’s been one of these, which are the only vitamins we have:

Make do with what you got, eh?

9:30a Coffee finished. I suppose I should have a juice before church. It’d be kiwi, one of my favorite juices! But I can’t muster any excitement for it, or for any food at all. Food is gross. I decide I’m not going to have any juice today until I’m hungry for it, which means going to church with any empty belly.

10:30a I’m still not hungry. My stomach hurts less, though.

12:30p We’re home from church and I finally make my first juice of the day. Normally by now I’d be trying to start juice number three, so it’s been a welcome break. I down it sitting at the table while Mr. P eats his lunch.

It never stops looking gross, does it?

12:50p Huh. I’m done with my juice and still... kinda hungry. Well, at least I have an appetite again. Huzzah! I’ll reward that feeling with.... a pineapple smoothie? Blah. Nevermind, I’ll wait.

2:30p With less juice-drinking today, there’s clearly less to write about. My tummy still feels full, but is also getting that hungry, gnawing sensation. I’d make a pineapple drink, except the food processor is so dang loud and Mr. P is in the next room napping. I eat a couple of cashews (reasoning that I’m only using half as many cashews for the cashew milk tonight) and pour a glass of water.

2:32p Since I’m already in the kitchen, I take a break from cleaning and start meal planning for the week, so I can make our grocery list for later. I’m realizing that food is actually starting to sound good again. Who knew, eating less means getting hungry. GENIUS. Most people don’t have to DIY their way through a juice cleanse to figure that out, but whatever.

2:33p This water I’m sipping while meal planning? Is delicious. I suddenly realize I haven’t had a glass of water in days.

2:35p I keep getting distracted from meal planning with other home décor and project ideas. Clearly, “being obsessed with food” is not a side effect of juicing.

2:45p Since my relationship with food has become even more uncomfortable than before, I’m having trouble incorporating meat and dairy into this meal plan. Even pasta is getting the side-eye. Sorry, Mr. P, there’s lots of salad and veggies involved.

2:50p I’m poking around Shutterbean’s website for ideas and, I admit: my mouth is watering as I fantasize about shrimp, corn, and pepper quesadillas.


3:00p Mr. P is still sleeping. I’ve decided I’m hungry enough to skip the stupid pineapple drink. I’m so over that stupid pineapple drink anyway, with or without the dang cucumber. When he wakes up, it’s a spinach-berry fest in here.

3:10p Mr. P wakes up and asks me a question about laundry. I respond with “Oh thank goodness you’re awake I am so hungry” while running to the fridge to get juice ingredients.

3:15p It’s so odd that this disgusting-looking drink can taste so good.

5:15p With the weekend drawing to a close, it’s time to head to the grocery for the next week. I admit, food is starting to sound pretty great again. It’s probably because I’ve ingested all of 600 calories today. IN JUICE.

5:30p I can smell all of the foods in our cart. Every one of them. Did you know that packaged flour tortillas have a smell? All the food smells together is pretty gross, but the concept of food is finally palatable again.

6:15p I am so daggum excited about all these groceries I’m putting away.

6:25p I decide to make my last two juices of this diet (ignoring the sliced pineapple-apple chunks in the fridge that I never got around to juicing today. The cashew milk goes in the fridge for later, the blueberry juice is for now. I feel an immense sense of relief that normalcy is about to return!

6:30p Mr. P cobbles together a buffalo-chicken-flatbread sort of situation out of leftovers for his dinner. Again, it smells delicious, but the concept of ingesting it still seems a little weird. I bet it tastes a lot better than this blueberry spinach juice. We sit at the table for dinner, him with his leftover concoction and me with my juice.

6:45p Mr. P is done. I’m left sipping my juice at the table. On the upside, the juices are so big that it takes a while to get through them.

6:55p I’m done with my juice and decide to clean the kitchen. It is with GREAT SATISFACTION that I throw all my juice-making supplies in the dishwasher and the last Ziploc bag (which held the blueberry juice ingredients) into the trash. I am DONE. I am SO DONE with this. My kitchen sink won’t be full of wet, inverted Ziploc bags anymore! We can live like normal people again!

7:15p The kitchen is clean, which means in theory, it’s time to head to the couch with my last cashew milk. Honestly, I’m not ready for it – I’m not particularly hungry, but I also want to push it back in case I get hungry later (I did cut way way back on the calories today). Hmmm.

7:17p I remember that I have vegetables to dice up! I’m surprisingly excited about the excuse to put off drinking this juice. But how weird is that I’m putting off drinking juice by cutting up produce, after nights of complaining about it?

7:45p All right, time to finish this off. The ratio of one cup of water to half a cup of cashews makes for a much more, uh, milky cashew milk. Much better than the calorie-laden cashew drink the first day!

8:15p I’m done with my cashew milk, so I go to rinse the glass. And with that, I’m DONE.


So. Am I glad I did this? Yes. Am I glad I DIY’d it? My wallet will not allow me to answer anything other than yes. Do I feel like I did it right? Well...

Clearly, the first few days were way too heavy for me. I knew it would be higher in calories starting out, but thought I should focus more on nutrients and less on calories. Nope. If you DIY a juice diet, aim for a similar number of calories as you normally eat, or maybe a bit fewer if your usual number is on the high side. A multivitamin can make up the rest. If I were to do it again, I’d cut it back to 2-3 spinach-berry drinks, 1 pineapple drink, 1 small cashew milk. That’s enough calories to keep my body happy, at least.

The most surprising thing was how, not only was I not hungry, but I became so disinterested in ALL food. Sure, that could have something to do with the length of the cleanse (just three days) or the fact that I started out with too many calories on day 1. But it was nonetheless surprising. I wanted to do this cleanse in order to regain an appreciation for food, rather than just mindlessly stuffing it into my face. The opposite happened: while I didn’t want to pig out anymore, it wasn’t because I had cultivated a respect for nuances of flavors and textures. It was because all of it made me feel ill. I guess it’s the same result in the end – resetting my food attitude – but I was rather disappointed in how my attitude was reset to a negative one, not a positive one.

I know I’m not the only one who didn’t experience hunger – Dooce was the same way, apparently – but because of my lack of interest in food, I didn’t ever play the mental game that is apparently supposed to be a part of a juice cleanse. The only control I needed was not gagging at the thought of another juice. The only willpower I used was making myself drink juice when I didn’t want any food at all. To sum: it wasn’t hard so much as a thought-consuming inconvenience.

I don’t say that to make juice cleansers who struggle feel bad! Because while I didn’t experience any of the obvious difficulties with juice cleansing, I also didn’t really feel any of the amazing benefits that are apparently supposed to come with a cleanse. I didn’t feel an amazing boost of energy. My skin didn’t clear up. I wasn’t sleeping better, I didn’t lose weight. I just ate plants for a few days and it was kind of annoying.

You could argue that my morning coffee totally negated those benefits, and I won’t necessarily disagree (again, my juice cleanse was about my relationship to food, not trying to be the healthiest version of myself). But really, if you want those benefits, and if giving up coffee is the secret? Just give up coffee. I’m not sure the juice cleanse has much to do with that, honestly. Another way: the extreme caloric restriction that other juice cleanses use to put you in a starvation state. Uh, no thanks.

So I guess that’s why I feel like I really didn’t really do a juice cleanse, not really. If I’m being honest, the hardest part of this cleanse was DIY’ing it. If you just buy the juices pre-made, your life doesn’t revolve around chopping up fruits, washing out your food processor, and amassing every travel mug in your home. THAT was the challenge. Drinking juice instead of eating a sandwich was easy, in comparison. Even the dumb pineapple drink.

But again, as I said – I’m glad I did it! If only because I’d always wondered what it would be like, and because it did change my attitude about food, at least for a little while. Who knows, maybe I’ll do it again someday! And while I can’t officially recommend trying it yourself (disclaimer, not a doctor, blah di blah)... I CAN leave you with a few tips, SHOULD you decide to try a DIY juice cleanse yourself!

1) Be prepared to spend a LOT of time preparing the juices. SO MUCH TIME. If you paid attention to those timestamps, I spent nearly an hour every night cutting up and bagging fruit. The morning that I made multiple juices at once, it also took an hour. I suppose it’s not that different from time spent cooking meals – just be sure to budget your time that way.

2) Make sure your calorie counts are on target. Your body needs at least 1200 calories a day, period. Apparently some store-bought juice cleanses have fewer than that, which I CAN say is dangerous and unwise. Take advantage of your DIY control to make juices with the appropriate number for you, which should be NO LESS than 1200, or 1500 if you exercise (and if you’re worried about nutrients, just pop a multivitamin).

3) And finally... lower your expectations. Juice cleanses are trendy and all the beautiful people are trying them and talking about their struggles and their triumphs. And because WE want to be trendy and beautiful and talk about our struggles and triumphs, we want to juice cleanse. If you have a hunch it might not be all that you want it to be... you’re probably right. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it (you’ll never know unless you do!), but just go in with a properly-calibrated attitude.

All right, dear readers! Hopefully, that’s all you ever wanted to know about a DIY juice cleanse! If you decide to try it yourself, GOOD LUCK!


Tina said...

Did you feel cleansed? Detoxed enough to feel brand spanking new on the inside? Unbloated???
I remember a water cleanse that seemed pretty dang thorough in Costa Rica... ;-)