Thinking of doing a juice cleanse? Read this first.
Last week I did my first ever juice cleanse. In this week’s article I’m sharing all of the details with you, including some of the most helpful tips and tricks that help me complete it successfully.
My goals for this cleanse were simple, and quite honestly, not all that unique; I wanted to feel lighter, have more energy, and feel incredibly nourished. While a juice cleanse may seem restrictive to some, I believe it’s a great way to infuse the body with all of the antioxidants and phytonutrients that plants have to offer, that can do tremendous things for our health.
About the cleanse
As much as I love fruit and vegetable juices and try to incorporate them into my diet as much as possible, I have never successfully completed a juice cleanse before. So with this in mind, I figured it would be best/easiest to buy a cleanse that consisted of pre-made, ready-to-go juices as opposed to making my own juices at home. To be honest, I didn’t want to be discouraged by the heavy lifting that would be required if I did everything myself - the daily grocery shopping, physically juicing the fruits and vegetables and cleaning my juicer 5-6 times a day for three days, etc. was more work than I wanted to do. So on that note, I decided to purchase a 3-day juice cleanse from Pressed Juicery. As a Pressed Juicery regular, I knew I could expect quality juices that taste great. As part of my cleanse, I also purchased one chlorophyll water and one aloe vera water to add to my cleanse each day (which I talk more about later on in this post).
In addition to the juices, I allowed myself 1-2 cups of broth each day if I felt like it, using my homemade miso broth recipe. My decision to include broth was not due to any particular health benefit. In fact, it was simply to avoid feeling bored and to give my body something warm and comforting, without compromising the principals of cleansing.
Day one was a nightmare
Without a doubt, day one was the hardest to get through. I was hungry, grumpy and not all that optimistic that I would be able to endure another two days of cleansing. In retrospect it makes sense that day one would be the hardest, as your body is just beginning to adjust to only liquids when it is used to solid food most of the time. Adding to my misery was the fact that I hadn’t really accomplished anything yet and I had another two full days ahead of me.
Days two and three were a breeze
Compared to day one, days two and three were an absolute pleasure. I felt accomplished and could see and feel the difference in my body; I had more energy and felt a lot lighter and leaner. Seeing and feeling a difference in myself gave me the motivation to push through fleeting moments of difficulty, and just made everything in general feel much easier than it did on day one. It’s also worth mentioning that I didn’t have any miso broth on day one, and had 1-2 cups on days two and three.
My advice to anyone considering a cleanse but perhaps feels intimidated by the idea, would be to dive right in and stick with it. If you can get past day one, things get a lot easier from there.
I went to the bathroom… a lot
Due to the sheer volume of liquids consumed during this cleanse, I went to the bathroom to relieve my bladder a lot. To my surprise, I had no I was able to produce healthy bowel movements each day of the cleanse. Since juice cleanses offer very little fiber, I was expecting to experience some constipation as a side effect. I was very relieved that this wasn’t the case.
I suspect that this was the result of including aloe vera water (one bottle each day, before bed) as part of the cleanse.
Drinking aloe vera juice or water has a ton of health benefits; it helps to balance acidity in the body due to it’s alkaline properties; promote healthy liver function; and prevent or treat dehydration. But in addition to all this, Aloe Vera water is often used as a natural remedy to help relieve constipation!
When taken orally, aloe vera can have a laxative-like effect. Because of this, it’s very important to avoid having too much aloe vera water or juice as it can wreak havoc on the liver and colon. With that in mind, I’d recommend consulting with a healthcare professional about including aloe vera in any cleanse.
I added extra drinks to avoid feeling like I was in over my head
With this cleanse, I had a juice every two hours and on days two and three I added some broth at around lunch and dinner time. Despite the constant nourishment, there were times throughout those three days that I still felt hungry. In response to this, I drank copious amounts of water and herbal tea, which was somewhat helpful. But for those times when my hunger wasn’t entirely satisfied, I simply had another juice or coconut water, or another cup of broth to hold me over.
My single greatest objective in doing this cleanse was to complete it successfully. Therefore, I didn’t see the value in allowing myself to become so desperately hungry at any point that I would consider eating solid foods. To prevent this from happening, I thought it would be wiser to just have one or two more servings of what I was already drinking, which I believe made the greatest difference in preventing me from falling off the rails.
Keeping busy and staying active was key to my success
While most experts recommend taking it easy during a cleanse, I found it helpful to keep my mind occupied and body active each day of my cleanse. Light exercise, doing work around the house, reading, even cooking were all welcomed distractions. Keeping busy and staying somewhat active seemed to help make the time go by faster, which helped me to mentally overcome any physical signals of hunger that my body would send from time to time. Resting, on the other hand, simply lead to boredom. When I was bored , time seemed to slow down and I felt noticeably hungrier.
With that said, every one of us is different. If the effect of cleansing lowers your energy levels and leaves you feeling tired, you should absolutely respect how your body feels and take it easy.
One of the things that shocked me most about this cleanse was that I was sad when it came to an end. I felt so great in the final hours of the last day - my energy levels were high, I felt leaner, and proud of myself for staying the course - that I honestly worried that these effects would only last so long now that the cleanse was over. So with that in mind, I didn’t treat the end of my juice cleanse as an opportunity to indulge in the foods that I missed. Instead, I decided to continue to treat my body to clean and easily digestible foods. I continued to drink 1-3 low sugar green juices and broth each day, and introduced solids slowly - starting with leafy green salads, some fruit and steamed vegetables.
While completing a juice cleanse feels amazing (I am already planning to do another three day cleanse soon), eating solids again serves as a great reminder that no cleanse will ever be as powerful as caring for your body and eating the right foods for it, each and every day.