07 April 2014

DIY Juice Cleanse: the plan & preparations

With the warm weather and spring cleaning in full gear nowadays, I’m seeing some talk of juice cleanses popping up around the blogs. And here’s where I’ll confess: every time I’ve seen someone talk about trying a juice cleanse, I’ve been SO JELLY.

Yes. I’d always wanted to try a juice cleanse. Now, let me be clear – I don’t buy the vague pseudoscience babble about toxins building up in your body that can only be cleared with ridiculously unhealthy (or absolutely useless) “cures” of juice cleanses. That is not real. I do, however, understand what it means to feel like you are constantly eating unhealthy foods that make you bloat like a balloon, and wanting a swift kick in the pants back to healthy habits. And in that case, a sharp mental and physical re-adjustment back to a plant-based diet just might be the ticket.

So yeah, given my own motives, I wanted to join the ranks of the juice cleansers. How healthy they are! What resolve and determination they must have! How much money they have to spend on one week of liquefied, bottled produce!

And that’s for a New York address – add forty-five bucks for middle America, where I am. Nearly two hundred fifty dollars for three days of juice. THREE DAYS. For ONE PERSON! In contrast, that same amount of money could buy ONE MONTH of groceries for our family of TWO. Look, I get it – it’s fancy juice, airlifted directly to your home. But that is absolutely not in my budget... particularly for something I was pretty sure I would not enjoy.

And so I wondered... is it possible to DIY a juice cleanse?

I am here to tell you the answer is YES. And when I tried this over a weekend (a few months back, I admit), I documented it over the three days for public consumption. Remember when Emily Yoffe used to do those Human Guinea Pig columns? This is like that, only with me, and a lot of plants.

Obviously, I’m not a nutritionist, or a medical doctor, or even a very good cook. I’m just telling you my experiences. Disclaimer, disclaimer, et cetera!

So! Where to start with a DIY juice cleanse? Why, with Google, of course, who took me to this page right here... for a DIY juice cleanse (duh). I used that page as a great jumping off point, with a number of changes:

1) The page suggested a four-day cleanse, but I decided that three days (Friday through Sunday) fit into my life a bit better.

2) I do not like spicy lemonade. There would be no spicy lemonade.

3) I also do not like kale. NO KALE.

4) Annnd I’m iffy on cucumbers. Less cucumber!

5) Beets also sound terrible. And with carrots?. No no no. I decided I’d just have the pineapple juice all three days.

6) Granny Smith apples are blah. Gala apples are where it’s at!

7) Those three spinach “smoothies” (guys, they’re just juices) a day sounded so boring. I decided to mix it up a bit by making one with a kiwi as suggested, one with blueberries, and one with strawberries.

8) This may be controversial among juice cleansers, but: I’m not giving up coffee. The point of this cleanse is exercising some psychological control over dietary choices, NOT suffering crippling migraines for days. Morning coffee stays, though without the sugary Coffee Mate creamer.

So given those changes, here was my plan for all three days:

  • 8 AM: 1 spinach kiwi juice (2 handfuls of spinach, 1 kiwi, 2 gala apples, 1 banana)
  • 10 AM: half of 1 pineapple juice (2/3 of a pineapple, 2 gala apples, 1/3 cucumber) [this actually made so much that I split it into two juices, one for morning and one for afternoon]
  • 12 PM: 1 spinach strawberry juice (2 handfuls of spinach, 1/4 cup frozen strawberries, 2 gala apples, 1 banana)
  • 3 PM: second half of pineapple juice
  • 6 PM: 1 spinach blueberry juice (2 handfuls of spinach, 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, 2 gala apples, 1 banana)
  • 8 PM: 1 banana-cashew milk (1 cup cashews soaked in 1 cup of water, 1 banana, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg)

And here’s what that translated to when it came to grocery shopping:

As you might expect: this is when I started to freak out. On one hand, it’s scary to think that I can only eat those items for three days. On the other, that’s so much FOOD! Who cares whether it’s apples or cheese fries – it’s intimidating to think about putting all that food in my body over three days. But I was determined, if only because I cannot waste food. Oh, and while I forgot to save the receipt, I think it came out to fifty bucks or so – definitely more expensive than usual, but way way less to DIY!

Here’s how much I actually got of what, just to save you the trouble of multiplying those numbers up there:

It’s a lot of produce for three days. A LOT.

The night before I started my DIY juice cleanse, I diced up all the ingredients for the three spinach juices and the pineapple juice (which, remember, actually made enough to become two juices). I stored them in gallon-sized Ziploc bags overnight with a bit of lemon juice to keep the apples from browning:

And with that, I was ready to start this cleanse! Tomorrow I’ll fill you in on my journal from DIY Juice Clease, day 1!


Tina said...

I am so curious as to how you responded to this cleanse... I added up your calories and carbs and was surprised how high it was: 6469 cal and 1234 carbs... That is a lot for 3 days of food. Hope it was worth it!
Where is my weekly menu in today's post???

Sarah said...

@Tina, your calorie count is a bit high. It's actually about 1900/day, which is something I'll discuss in a later post. And no regular menu when we're talking about juice cleansing! That's just mean. :)