My Juice Cleanse Experience Taught Me More About Myself Than I Ever Expected
Taking care of your body is no laughing matter. It's also a constant learning process, filled with iterations and experiments and adjustments as you age. For these reasons, I was excited to try a three-day juice cleanse, especially since I recently moved to California and quickly became an In-N-Out junkie as a result. I was excited to give my arteries a break and to see how a juice cleanse experience would feel overall.
For full disclosure, I'm not traditionally a fan of any type of cleanse, and as much as I love fruits and veggies, I'm more of a noodle gal myself. Most people's bodies are comprised of 65 percent water, but I swear that mine is 65 percent Thai food. Anyway, after completing this juice cleanse, I can honestly say it was nowhere near as miserable as I had expected — probably because all of the juices I drank were so damn delicious.
In order to ensure that my cleanse was a healthy, properly detoxing experience, I worked with the people at Pressed Juicery to create a three-day cleanse that would provide me with the energy and sustenance to survive a 14-hour work day, and even a potential workout or two. They suggested I do "Cleanse 2," their most popular option, which is a six-juice combo of green juices, the most delicious beet juice ever, an apple mint lemon juice, and some almond beverage that I swear to God was a repackaged In-N-Out milkshake.
One important thing to take note of is that a juice cleanse is not, and should never be, a weight loss strategy. In fact, if you do a juice cleanse correctly, you actually don't lose any weight at all. All in all, the main point of the experience is to detox and reboot your system. This particular cleanse that I chose to do is meant to reduce inflammation in the body, regulate metabolism, reset digestive juices, and flush out toxins.
Although the cleanse wasn't a totally smooth ride, it was definitely a transformative experience in how I view and pay attention to my body. Here are a few things I learned from the experience.
1. I Get A Little (A Lot) Moody When I Don't Have Food At First
My boyfriend and roommate can attest to what a complete and total monster I was on the first day of this juice cleanse. My mood swings were all over the place, and I missed the stimulation of chewing so quickly that it was almost embarrassing. I wish I could say I came up with some great strategies to center myself, but honestly, I was just a brat. What can I say, juice cleanses take a little bit of getting used to, guys. Y'all have been warned.
Thankfully, though, by days two and three of the cleanse, the mood swings were totally gone, which kind of makes sense: Most diets involving dairy and meat include a lot of hormonal input into your system, so on the first day of cleansing, my hormones might have been totally out of whack from this jumpstart of non-hormonal food.
The whole point of a juice cleanse is to detox and reboot your system, which can definitely lead to a few ups and downs in the process. The good news is that it's not a permanent side effect of the experience.
2. Being Aware Of What's Going Into My Body Feels Really Good
Switching your diet in any way — whether it's through a juice cleanse or deciding to cut out meat — forces you to be more cognizant about what you're putting into your body.
During my cleanse, I had to think about which of the six juices I was drinking and when. This awareness was a totally different daily approach to meals than my standard one of eating something whenever I'm hungry. By knowing I had six juices to space out throughout the day, I was more intentional about when and what I drank.
Surprisingly enoguh, this was more helpful than I thought it would be, not to mention it kept me from getting stressed out or hangry at any point.
3. Juices Help Me Avoid The Dreaded Afternoon Crash
One thing I personally struggle with is the early afternoon, lunchtime food coma. I tend to eat a big lunch in my usual routine, but then I always feel like I want to take a nap while my body digests a huge pasta bread bowl.
While I was cleansing, I definitely felt a noticeable energy peak in the early afternoon (as well as an energy drop later in the evening). I don't know if it was from the specific juices I was drinking, or if it was just a result of me not eating too much in the middle of the day, but it helped me power through my writing shift and into the next part of my day without any flagging.
Given those boosts in afternoon energy, I'd definitely consider having a set of juices to replace a lunchtime meal in the future.
4. Planning Meals (Of Any Sort) Is A Great Way To Save Time And Thought
One especially awesome thing about my juice cleanse was that every day, I had a fully planned set of meals, and I didn't have to think about what to eat when I got hungry.
Pressed Juicery provided me with a specific chronology of juices that were meant to me help get me through the day as smoothly as possible. Plus, the juices themselves were numbered, so I literally just grabbed "Juice One" at the start of the day, and continued from there.
Not having to worry about how I got my nutrients freed up my mind to focus on other things, whereas, in my normal routine, there are often days where I might spend up to an hour weighing out options for meals before actually making them and nourishing my body.
5. I Learned More About How My Body Responds To Food (Or Juice, In This Case)
One of my favorite parts about doing this cleanse was that it was an excellent excuse to really pay attention to how my body was feeling in an academic sort of way, which I don't do nearly as often as I should. I started to notice how each juice made me feel, and I learned the difference between being full and being too full (aka sleepy and crampy).
The fourth juice of the day was this amazing concoction of beets, apples, lemon, and ginger juice that completely woke me up and almost gave me a boost similar to drinking coffee. Paying attention to these little things is a skill I'd like to carry back to my regular eating habits: thinking about what I'm putting into my body, and how it's actually making me feel.
6. I Can Wake Up On Time Without An Alarm
While I was on this juice cleanse, I woke up about 20 minutes earlier than usual every day, which meant I didn't even need an alarm for my writing shift (which starts at 6 a.m., so yeah, my alarm is usually my saving grace).
I was pretty hungry as soon as I woke up each day, and after gulping down the first juice, I'd immediately feel ready to get to work. For the record, I did continue to drink coffee throughout the cleanse, because trust me, no one wants to see me go through caffeine withdrawals in addition to a juice cleanse.
7. It Takes Serious Willpower To Do This Regularly
I felt pretty awesome when I finished the cleanse, but like, I was also stoked to eat a massive bowl of spaghetti when it was over.
Cleansing is super hard, not just for the missed stimulation of eating actual food, but also because it makes it pretty challenging to be social with friends, or to go out to eat.
Although I'm pretty certain I'd feel positive effects from doing more juice cleanses throughout the year (and maybe doing some longer than three days), I'm not sure I have the willpower for it quite yet. Perhaps one day.