- Diet & Weight Loss
5 Day Juice Cleanse: My Riveting Journey
I've always been a wellness junkie. Be it hemp powder, chia seeds, kale or quinoa, if there's a new fad, I want to try it! So when I mentioned I'd gotten stuck in a health rut, a health nut friend of mine suggested I attempt a cleanse. Purge toxins from my body? Count me in! Better skin, more energy, and drop a few pounds? Where can I sign up?
Not sure where to start, I perused the health and fitness section of Groupon, and stumbled across a 5 day juice cleanse by A Choice for Life. Flush 5-20 pounds of toxins from my body in 5 days? How could I say no to that? I hastily purchased the voucher and waited by my mail box.
On a side note, I waited a looooooong time, and ate plenty of pastries in preparation for my purge. Their company's customer service (not Groupon), ironically, made me want to purge them from the planet. That being said, the remainder of this article will focus on the product itself (after I finally received it over a month later).
I primarily chose the A Choice for Life cleanse because I found it on Groupon. It's helpful to note I paid $36 for the program, while it retails on their website for $65. After visiting their site, I liked more than the discounted price. The company is made up of certified nutrition counselors, certified colon therapists, herbalists, and wellness coaches. It's fair to say they might know what they're talking about.
I only purchased the Level 1 Cleanse, although there are three levels you could ultimately complete for best results. The purpose of Level 1 is to cleanse the small and large intestine (colon), where the average person can retain 5-25 pounds of waste. Gross.
However, don't be mislead by the title "juice cleanse." Not only are you allowed to consume fresh fruit throughout the 5 days (not just juice), the product you purchase doesn't actually contain any juices-- those you must buy separately. What you DO get, are one package of herbal tea, which makes a gallon once steeped, and a package of protein powder, which you can mix with water or blend into smoothies. Fortunately, I didn't mind the taste of either, although review consensus seems to be that they are disgusting.
When your package arrives, you will also receive a small booklet with information about your cleanse and instructions. While most of it seems self-explanatory, I suggest you read it all the way through first because you'll learn things like:
- Use only one banana per day to avoid constipation, and,
- Eat melons separately from other fruit to avoid combining fruit enzymes.
Although, I'd suggest avoiding melons all together. The only time during the cleanse I experienced uncomfortable "bathroom issues" arose after eating watermelon. Not pleasant.
Overall, the instruction are simple, but then, easier said than done, right?
Dish Your Detox Deets
Would you ever try a cleanse?
My Detox Diary
Pre-purge, I have to admit, Michelle Obama would be ashamed of what I ate. I had a Mardi Gras for my mouth, a foodie free-for-all, a bakery binge. I ate like it was my last meal on death row, not my last meal for only the next 5 days. But I digress...
- Day 1: I woke up, had a cup of black coffee, then the special tea blend. This time I drank it hot. Shortly after, I made a strawberry smoothie with the protein powder. Throughout the day, I drank juice, water, and ate a variety of fresh fruit, before having the tea once again before bed. Overall, I felt... HORRIBLE. The cravings weren't too bad, but I had zero energy, and cranky didn't scratch the surface of my foul mood. I assumed the toxins were angry I was asking them to leave.
- Day 2: I followed the same routine as Day 1, except I had the tea over ice. I felt a little better, but the only exercise I could handle consisted of collapsing on my bed for a nap. I still felt irritable, but managed not to kill anyone.
- Day 3: Still following the same routine, my mood started to pick up, and I had more energy. Of course, with every blessing, comes a curse. My cravings returned. All I wanted was a big bowl of homemade guacamole and jalapeno chips. But I couldn't give up.
- Day 4: I felt almost back to normal. I wasn't about to run a marathon, but I worked for a few hours in the yard without crumpling into a tired pile of tears. I picked up some new fresh fruit at a local farmers market, and told my cravings to shut the hell up.
- Day 5: The end was in sight. As incentive to get me through the last day, I finally weighed myself. I'd lost 5 pounds! Mind you, I didn't have a lot to lose, so the meager loss sent me over the moon! I felt great, thin, and even a little proud. The drudgery and delirium of Day 1 seemed like a distant dream.
Post-purge, I honestly felt pretty good. My energy was returning, but not my cravings. On Day 6, I slowly introduced other foods, mostly veggies, with a few bites of chicken at dinner. Then Day 7 rolled around... and I lost it. it was my boyfriend's birthday and after all that hard work, I ate a cupcake, thus introducing new toxins back into my beautifully purified body. Day 8, I weighed myself again. I'd gained all 5 pounds back. Depressed, I wanted to grab another cupcake, but my friend sagely softened the blow. "Hey," she said, "at least you got rid of some toxins so you're not just piling news ones on top of the old ones." Ah, always the optimist, that's why I love her!
Summary of Results
- Better Sleep
- More Energy
- Improved Skin
- Pride in Accomplishment
- Overall Improved Sense of Self
- No Permanent Weight Loss
- Difficult to Complete Cleanse and Function Like a Normal Human Being
- High Levels of Sugar in Juices Unless you Cut Them with Water
- You Start to Hate the Sight of Fruit
- May Experience Hallucinations of Cupcakes Dancing with Hot Dogs
In the end, I'm glad I did the cleanse. While it was grueling and soul-sucking at times, I feel healthier, and, in spite of my pastry slip-up, it helped to kick-start better eating habits.
Would I recommend trying the same cleanse? Sadly, probably not, unless you too can order off of Groupon and don't mind waiting a century to get started. While I actually enjoyed the taste of their products, you could construct your own cleanse for a fraction of the price.
If you're feeling ambitious and colon-friendly, here's what I suggest:
- Purchase a detox tea. Some ingredients you want to look for: Alfalfa, Aloe, Burdock Root, Cascara, Chamomile Flower, Chickweed Herb, Cloves, Dandelion Root, Fennel Seed, Fenugreek, Hawthorne Berry, Hibiscus Leaf, Hyssop Herb, Juniper Berry, Lemon Balm, Licorice Root, Mullein Leaf, Pau D’Arco Bark, Peppermint Leaf, Psyllium Hulls, Raspberry Leaf, Red Clover Flowers, Senna Leaf, Slippery Elm & Yellow Dock.
- Get yourself a protein powder. A Choice for Life contains Rice Protein, Soy Protein, Pea Protein, Lecithin Granules, Spirulina & Oat Bran, but the important part is that you're giving your body protein, the exact brand isn't crucial, although you want to stick with all natural, etc., not that muscles milk, macho man, stuff.
- Purchase fresh, organic, no sugar added juices, such as Cranberry, Apple, Pineapple, Papaya, Prune, Grape, and Grapefruit. Or, for best results, juice your own!
- Gather a selection of fresh fruit, either from the wild, being mindful of bears, or your local market will do. Of course, organic, organic, organic. Did I mention organic?
- If you're hardcore, consider adding an enema to your routine.
Follow my daily regiment and purge, baby, purge!
*As with anything of this nature, you should consult your physician before starting.