“I need coffee!”
That was my first thought upon waking on Day One of a three-day juice cleanse. Since coffee’s obviously not allowed, I retreated to my fridge instead to grab my first of 18—18!—total juices that I would have to consume over the next three days.
Taking my first sip, I was pleasantly surprised. The first juice, called The Glow, contained pineapple, grapefruit and turmeric, and it was pretty tasty, with a nice burst of fruit and citrus.
“This won’t be so bad,” I thought. For the most part, I was wrong.
People go on cleanses for many reasons, as Jeff Hutto, owner of Kale Me Crazy in Raleigh and Cary, explained to me. Cleansing can help kick off a diet, get you back on track after the holidays, help you detox after a period of heavy drinking or eliminate an unhealthy craving.
According to downtown health café Raleigh Raw, cleanses deliver improved energy, mental clarity, deeper sleep, weight loss and a balanced body.
After a winter break spent eating and drinking (I had my fair share of Christmas cookies!), doing a juice cleanse seemed appealing to help me get rid of all the “bad toxins” I surely had been putting in my body. So I was, leading up to the day I started the cleanse, actually quite excited.
I typically eat healthy anyway. I try to eat as many fruits and vegetables a day as I can; it helps that I’m a vegetarian, so I rely on fruits and vegetables to keep me full. I learned that juicing, however, was a completely different story from just healthy eating.
On the first day, though I thoroughly enjoyed my first juice, I quickly learned that juice is no substitute for coffee. I rely on my cup of Joe in the morning to spark me awake and, without it, I was drained of energy by noon.
As the day wore on, I found that most of the juices were tasty and easy to drink, especially the more fruit forward ones. But while I enjoyed the juices, I desperately craved something to eat. Drinking juice, as nutrient-laden as it might be, doesn’t make up for the act of chewing solid food. Letting go of that, turns out, was all part of the cleanse.
“Your stomach is a muscle, and it’s constantly having to digest food,” Hutto explains. “The cleanse gives it three days off, because you’re just drinking juice.”
At the end of Day One, I had felt pretty full, but on Day Two, I woke up ravenous. I downed my first juice before I would usually eat breakfast. Without coffee, I felt exceptionally tired throughout the day and began to question why I had subjected myself to this.
Maybe it was because I was one day away from eating solid foods again, or maybe I had just gotten used to drinking juice, but by Day Three, I actually did have a newfound energy that I had not experienced on the previous two days of the cleanse. By then, I didn’t feel like I needed coffee anymore and was even able to do a light workout at the gym that evening.
Sure, I was sort of a grump during the cleanse, and maybe it was just in my head, but I did feel like I had detoxed my body of all the bad things I had previously put into it. I felt less bloated, some of my acne had cleared up and instead of reaching for the most greasy, fat-laden food I could find the next morning, I opted for some yogurt and an apple (and a cup of coffee, of course). I have to say, I was exceptionally satisfied.
I personally would probably not do a three-day juice cleanse again, as I usually eat healthy regularly and I’m at a healthy weight for my body type. But I do think a one-day cleanse might be doable for some light detoxing and to get all the good vitamins and minerals from the fruits and vegetables—and yes, to get rid of all those pesky “bad toxins.”