Project Juice Cleanse: Result? I Didn’t Die

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The sensation of biting into and chewing on a giant piece of delicious food, usually when it is meat, or covered in hollandaise or mayonnaise (insert anything with “aise” at the end of it), is the single best feeling in the world. The end. Oh yeah, and love, that’s great too…It’s a tie? But yes, back to eating everything. I love food. So does Ashleigh. So does mostly everyone. Because food is AMAZING. So colour me baffled when I decide that the idea of not eating any solid food for three days was a great idea.

Let me explain. Several years ago I attempted to go on a “detox” after Gwyneth Paltrow told me it was a good idea on her website. Since I adored GOOP I thought “Sure that makes sense, I’ll give it a whirl!” – I lasted exactly four hours on that “cleanse”. Yup, basically the average time between meals. Whoops. Although to be fair we were headed to a BBQ that night, so the idea of burgers versus Broccoli and Arugula Soup was a non-starter.

Fast forward two years later, I was living on my own for a few months for work, and being away from my main-squeeze, cat and friends was causing me to eat not so great and I was feeling particularly sluggish. I was basically subsisting on a diet of seafood chowder, delicious creamy coffee and SkinnyGirl margaritas – if you picture that combination of food together you will understand why I was feeling a little toxic*. So I checked out cleanses and happened upon Total Cleanse out of Toronto. I opted for their Purify cleanse. And guess what, it wasn’t bad! The juices came in a cute little bag and were delivered to my door. There were six juices each day. I found that I liked the Creamy Cashew Milk and the lemon juice the best, and I eventually got used to the green juice, but at first it was hard to get down – mostly because I hate veggies, so  a normal person might have no trouble at all! The best part was there was no guess work, you simply take the bottles to work with you in the cooler, drink them in the specified order, and try not to dream of cupcakes.

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Since then I have done a cleanse every year, just once a year, when I am feeling like I have been making bad food choices, or feeling like a gremlin that’s been fed after midnight. Last year I ordered Total Cleanse again, and today I just came off of my own three-day cleanse. So I thought I would share with you the details of the experience in case any of you ladies are feeling like you want to get your juice on!

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Day 1: This is going to be a long three days.

It is the first day, I am bright eyed and bushy tailed. Look at me, I am going to be all healthy and filled with vegetables and feel amazing for the next three days. I woke up early, albeit not early enough since I barely made it to work on time, to juice my juices for breakfast and lunch. If you make your own cleanse you need to drink the juice freshly squeezed, so one to drink at home, then a few for the office, but not your dinner and pre-bed-time cleanse, that will need to wait until after work so you don’t get botulism (I am not a scientist so I don’t know if you can even get that from poorly conceived and executed juice cleanses, but here is hoping no). My breakfast and lunch juices are the same so it’s a double batch of a typical green juice; 20- 30 large kale leaves,  2 lemons, a 3 cm piece of ginger, 1 green apple. This was enough for breakfast and lunch. For a snack in the morning and another snack after lunch I juiced four lemons, mixed it with two litres of water, added some cayenne pepper and was ready to go – four mason jars filled with juice! I was not hungry the first day at work, mind you I also drank about four Perrier’s and was really busy. By the time I got home I was ready though for juice number five. In this case it was the same doubled juice as outlined above (except all for one sitting) along with three cups of spinach. I was tempted to add some gin, but alas, this is the entire reason for said cleanse. I also had some non-caffeine herbal tea before bed. I slept like a baby.

Day 2: The worst day of a cleanse.

I make the same juices as the first day (creature of habit) and then proceed to work. One thing is that without caffeine, if you drink coffee every day, you will get a withdrawal headache. Not wanting to be hungry and headachy, I opt to have a baby sized black coffee in the morning even though the point of the cleanse is to avoid bad things. Sorry. Strike one. I almost had a strike two when they were selling BROWNIES at work for charity. Here is a dollar, keep your stinking brownie, was what I wanted to say –  well I may have actually said that. Strike two for poor behaviour. I also forgot that I committed to go to trampoline aerobics with folks after work. FYI, you are not supposed to do tedious or any type of workout really on cleanses, because you are getting little to no protein, so take it easy. But nope, I am going to jump up and down until my eyes get blurry. Strike three. After that, bed time.

Day 3: I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

On my last day I thought I would be adventurous (not a word in my vernacular) to change up my drinks. I used the dinner one for breakfast, made with three beets, three carrots, eight kale leaves, three cm of ginger and lemon juice. It was awful. I could barely stomach it. Yuck. Also I was very happy that I could see the end in sight.  I actually felt really good on the last day, although I really wanted a simple scrambled egg (to the point that I couldn’t get the thought out of my head). Also I ran out of kale from my garden, so I had to buy some for dinner. Note to future juicers, avoid the grocery store like the plague during a cleanse – roasting chickens, aisle of cheese, help! I went to bed early again, an inexplicably woke up at 5am and couldn’t fall back asleep – was it the lack of solid food, or the idea that solid food was in my immediate future? Philosophical debate ensues…

So now the cleanse is over, and the result? My hair is somehow shiner, I don’t feel as toxic, my body feels very happy and most importantly, I don’t feel like making bad choices, and actually (shockingly) wanted to eat more vegetables today.  A word of additional caution, always consult a physician if you are going to do anything drastic, like say, not eat solid food for three days, and my personal mantra – don’t do a cleanse to lose weight. Chances are, you’ll either not lose weight, or just lose water weight and maybe even put on a pound extra once you go back to solid food, so it’s more about feeling better and making better choices post-cleanse in my humble opinion. Have you gone on a juice cleanse or are thinking of trying one? Share your comments, questions or experiences in the comments field below.

*Disclaimer, to be fair also to Bethenny Frankel (jeeze I am being “fair” to everyone today, apparently I am the Dalai Lama), SkinnyGirl on its own is delicious, however combined with the other foods outlined above was the cause for my gut rut, lesson to everyone: don’t mix dairy with margaritas – but you knew that right? Ok. Thank you.

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