I’ve had a number of people ask me about doing a juice fast or cleanse so I thought I would share my experience. I like to do a cleanse periodically. Usually, when I feel my energy decreasing, I’ve been through a stressful period or I’m preparing for a super busy time, such as holidays followed by Carnival and the extra work load and poor diet and lifestyle choices that come with. I choose to start on Thanksgiving because my family is away and I shouldn’t have to be preparing too much food. I find it harder to stick to my juices when I’m making and serving delicious food (healthy or not) to family and customers.
I normally eat a fairly clean diet anyway. I drink a green juice every morning and eat healthy (Good to Go) meals, but I do find I like to ease into a fast. I do this by cutting back on meat and dairy for a couple days before and increasing vegetable intake especially raw vegetables. Starting Monday of my last week I ate a primarily vegetarian diet. On Wednesday I drank several green juices and had smoothies whenever I felt hungry with a salad for dinner. My favorite smoothie is the Green Lunch with Avocado, spinach, mango and coconut water the fat from the avocado makes me feel full and satisfied. I also added a little protein. I wanted to make sure I got adequate protein before my cleanse since during the cleanse the only protein comes from vegetables which are an incomplete protein. Protein is important for many reasons, but its greatest role is helping build and repair tissue and gives you energy.
Day One- Thursday, 11/22/12
The morning of my cleanse I’m down 2 pounds from raw day. Upon waking I had a glass of water with psyllium husks. Since you won’t be getting much fiber from your juices you need to take a supplement. Fiber keeps the digestive track working. Without it your body couldn’t remove waste. I had several small formed bowel movements throughout the first day.
I started my day with a green juice. I don’t worry too much about particular juices or a schedule. I make sure I include a wide variety of vegetable with a little fruit in each drink and I drink them whenever I feel hungry or tired or want. I also alternate lots of water and green tea.
My energy has been high and I haven’t felt hungry. I also stayed away from situations where I would be around food. The sight and smell of prepared food makes it more difficult from me. I even avoid reading food magazines as it draws my mind towards food and eating. I don’t do strenuous exercise, but I like to walk and sometimes take a nap which I did today. For me cleansing is about the body and spirit. I like to be kind to be kind to myself. I took a long hot bath with a little Dead Sea Salt to help pull toxins out of the body. I drank 6 juices today, 1 water with psyllium husks and lots of tea and water. I also had an aloe juice in the evening a couple hours before bed. Just as aloe is great for the skin is also helps soothe the digestive tract. I end the day with a herbal tea.
Day Two- Friday, 11/23/12
Woke up after a 7 hour night’s sleep feeling good and another 3 pounds lighter. Drank the psyllium and a beet, kale, lemon parsley, apple juice. Planned on resting a little more, but restaurants call. I worked about 6 hours including making some candy for La Dolce and for the afternoon I scheduled a massage. Massage is a great way to help release toxins and acid from the body. After my massage I spent a little time in the steam room to sweat out toxins. It felt heavenly and made the cleanse seem like a treat. Afterwards more juice. I did have to go back to help a new employee close, but felt good all day. As I get closer to my usual bed time I feel sleepy as I’m writing my update, but I haven’t felt the need for extra sleep so far.
Day Three- Saturday, 11/24/12
I woke up feeling really hungry for the first time since I started my cleanse, but hunger went away after drinking my first juice. Only lost one pound, but I can see a noticeable difference the way I look and pants fit without the bloating. Stomach looks flatter and jeans are fitting a little looser. I picked up some first of the season Ponchatoula strawberries from the farmers market today. I couldn’t help but eat a few out of the box and they were so good. Energy has been steady. While previous days I didn’t feel hunger and had to remember to drink my juices today I begin to get hungry as it gets close to time for another juice. It could be that I have spent more time around food today. Making gelato and candy at La Dolce and grocery run and a few deliveries at Bawk and Pizza Nola. I did add a little vegan protein and flax oil to my lunchtime juice thinking that may be what my body wanted. I experienced less hunger the rest of the day, but that could be because I wasn’t smelling all the great food at Bawk and Pizza Nola. Overall, I have felt good. I drank an extra glass of psyllium and water towards evening since I only had 1 bowel movement today. I’ll decide tomorrow based on how I feel whether to start easing back into solid food. The family gets back tomorrow night and I’ll be cooking for Bawk and Good to Go Monday morning so sticking to my juice diet will be more challenging.
Day Four- Sunday, 11/25/12
Slept 9 hours and woke up ready to go. Feeling good and down another 2 pounds. Took some measurements this morning. I have lost an 1 inch from my waist, 1.5 hips, 1 on each thigh, and 1/2 inch from my calfs. I feel amazing. The brain fog has lifted my insides are quiet and happy. I’m definitely going to do one more day of juicing and enjoy this state.
Sundays are typically busy at Bawk/Pizza so I expect to get called to help. I went ahead and made my juices through this afternoon and as I was making the juices I drank a psyllium and water. Here is the produce list
1/2 head cabbage
1 small knob of ginger
1/4 bag cranberries
1 bunch kale
1/2 head romaine
2 handfuls of spinach
2 knobs turmeric (I use it to reduce inflammation/soreness in my hands)
1 small piece of broccoli
1/2 bunch cilantro
That made four 16oz juices which will get me thru mid-afternoon. Now I’m going to walk the dog and then read the paper while I sip my tea and wait for the call.
Almost immediately I got called to help at Bawk! Had to negotiate conflict between front of house and back. Fortunately, a clear head helped me prevail and then deal with the customers caught in the middle. I had good energy and surprisingly wasn’t tempted by the buttery shrimp and grits or stuffed French toasts we were serving.
Got home in time to watch the game while working on schedules and Good to Go menu for next week. I always get the munchies working on menus and recipes, but drank another juice with avocado puréed in and felt better. Interesting I didn’t have a craving for anything in particular just the desire to munch.
Only 1 poop again today, so more psyllium and water, aloe juice and detox tea.
I will begin easing off tomorrow and will likely have a raw salad for dinner maybe a little bit of the coconut curry soup I’m making for GoodToGo. It is hard to tell a 4-year-old she can’t just have juice for dinner when Mom is doing it.
Day Five- Monday, 11/26/12
I slept soundly for about eight hours. I’m ten pounds lighter than I was a week ago. I’m sure five of those are water weight which will come back in the next few days. Woke up feeling good and a little hungry. Drank my psyllium as I made 3 juices for the morning. I will probably have a green smoothie for a late lunch and green salad for dinner. I feel bright and alert. Love the feeling of mental clarity. The goal has been to detox to prepare my body for the retox I will be doing over the holidays and throughout Carnival. I’m starting to rethink whether I want to give up this happy state my body is in for alcohol, sugar and fat. I will definitely be more mindful of my choices as I remember how good clean feels.
I will post another update in a few days to let you know how much weight I gained back immediately and how the transition went. If you are interested in trying a cleanse I would be happy to answer questions. If I’m not around leave your name and number and I will get back to you. Cleansing may not be right for everyone, but I feel great.
PART 2: UPDATED 12/3/12
Day Six: Back to Real Food
I woke up and made enough juices to get through the morning and then got busy in the afternoon and just grabbed another juice at La Dolce Nola after I realized I should eat or drink something. I didn’t feel hungry, but I don’t like to skip meals. For dinner I had the coconut chickpea curry soup from Good to Go. It went down well and I felt fine.
One of the most amazing things about the cleanse is how well I’m sleeping. I have always had difficulty sleeping and often have to take melatonin, but since starting the cleanse I have been sleeping soundly and waking refreshed. The weight loss is nice too. I’m down another pound and even my father-in-law noticed I had lost weight. I got up and made a couple of juices. I drank one immediately and then had an omelet with spinach and mushroom about two hours later. I had another juice later for a snack and a green smoothie for lunch. I lifted weights a little later and felt like I hadn’t missed a day. I know when you fast you risk losing muscle, but I don’t feel like I did. I don’t consider a juice cleanse to be fasting since your body is actually getting more nutrients than it normally does and I usually supplement a little protein in. After my workout I had a handful of almonds for a snack and a Good to Go Sesame Shrimp Salad for dinner. I’ll update in a couple days as to how much weight I gain back.
One Week Post-Cleanse
I have only gained back two pounds which I earned those over the weekend and probably won’t stick around. A couple glasses of wine on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening and a picnic with fried chicken and plenty of sweets.
My energy has continued to be good and I also feel less bloated and no gas. I’m not having the afternoon energy dips and have continued to sleep well at night. I haven’t had cravings and feel like I’m more in control of my diet and not fighting cravings. At the picnic I stopped at one piece of chicken and took only bites of a couple of pastries.
With the holidays rapidly approaching I realized this was the detox to retox cleanse. There is at least one party every weekend through the end of the year. My plan is to party in moderation and focus on sticking to my diet and exercise routine during the week. Hopefully, that will take me through Carnival without packing on the pounds.
If you are interested in losing weight, but aren’t ready to commit to a full on cleanse a daily juice is a good place to start. I usually drink mine in the morning, but also find it makes a great pick me up later. The most important tip is to eat real food. Read labels. If you don’t know what an ingredient is chances are it isn’t food, but chemicals that will not nourish and fuel your body the way real whole foods do. When shopping stick to the outer edges of the grocery store or better yet skip the grocery and hit the Farmers Market. It’s better for you and helps support your neighbors. If you do nothing else, cut soda out of your diet. Even diet soft drinks are loaded with chemicals that your body is not designed for. If you don’t have the time to prepare meals from scratch, let us help. Good to Go offers a new healthy dinner every day.