I've been pretty clear about my views on juice cleanses publicly (in The Knot and on Huffington Post Weddings) for a long time now. I give all sides of the story...but I have yet to do a truth bomb, totally real blog post on what it's like to go through one from my nutrition expert point of view. I know many of my brides are interested in them so I needed to totally commit and go through the full three day juice cleanse myself (my ultimate max I'm okay with) .
When Virginia based Fruitive reached out to me to test their three day cleanse I said yes. Well, that's a half truth. At first I automatically said no. After realizing I may need to open my mind a little to understand the benefits of a 'hard reset' my clients sometimes need, I went for it. And then panicked. The next day when I was sent my pre-cleanse protocol I sat at my desk thinking "What the heck did I get myself into?". 'Protocol' was so medical. So colonoscopy. But when I read into it, I realized I did support what Fruitive was suggesting. It's actually how I pretty much eat every day! Pre-cleanse was just a 'back to whole foods' clean eating way of life. Except when I got to the part about no coffee, no dairy, no meat, no alcohol and I'm like wait...what the eff?! Admittedly I didn't follow the no coffee rule. And here's why: I love coffee, I enjoy it, it's part of my daily ritual. And to get rid of it wasn't something I wanted to do. I also wanted to make sure everything I experienced during the cleanse was purely related to the cleanse itself and not caffeine withdrawal. Too many changed variables means an experiment with questionable results.
To kick things off, I did appreciate the other directions they sent for the pre-cleanse. They recommended avoiding social activities (that's just baiting you to not do it and be mad at yourself) and to give yourself a relaxing weekend. Except I couldn't opt out of weekend plans because I was food styling a party. And that's just the perfect example of what not to be doing during a cleanse.
The process of a juice cleanse is easy since everything is numbered and all you do is drink them in order. But there's a lot more than 'drink and be done'. Here's what I learned during the three day cleanse.
- You live by the hour and the drink number. You literally sit there thinking "Okay 30 more minutes until juice number 2!". It kind of took over my brain.
- By the end of the night you are this close to killing someone for a rotisserie chicken. Even if you rarely eat meat. I straight started obsessing over food, especially protein by the evening and that was a red flag for me. Since I'm very in tune with my nutrition and my body that's a major 'woah' moment for me. I talked about going out and buying a rotisserie chicken for probably an hour on the first night. For me, I probably would have been happier if the last drink (the nut milk based one with protein) was actually half way through the day. That level of obsession was a little too disordered for me.
- The juices were too sweet for me. If you are already eating a pretty clean diet that's vegetable heavy, you are going to be overwhelmed by how sweet these juices are. Even the green juices were just overwhelmingly sweet. By the end of the third day I really think my body re-calibrated to craving more sweet things. The salad I had the next day seemed so bitter in comparison. That being said if I was to do this again I would pick a different cleanse package to meet that need.
- Beet juice does not bode well for all of us. I actually emailed my appointed contact during the cleanse at Fruitive asking about some side effects I was experiencing. I had a headache and my heart was racing. And it was probably the beet juice. She actually told me some people need to cut the beet juice in half with water. Yikes! I had no idea that was a problem for some people!
- If you're going to do a cleanse reset for one day or three, your partner needs to be on the same page. I'm very lucky the husband was up to do this with me at the same time. If he was eating and I wasn't, I would have had a conniption. If you have the same parameters you're less likely to be mad that he or she suggested you go out to dinner and you become the "I caaaaan't!" girl.
- It made me realize how much I head to the kitchen when I'm bored. Yes. Sometimes I fridge browse when I need a mental break and that weekend made me realize it!
- One day is enough for me personally. This is different for everyone but if I honestly felt I needed a major reset, one day would be my maximum. My personal reset would be a juice in the morning or for lunch and then having a salad and protein with lots of veggies and maybe a soup. I think because I respect food and enjoy everything about food so much, it's really torturous for me to shun it.
The bottom line: More than anything, I would love to incorporate a veggie juice into my everyday life at home. So I did! Since I finished this cleanse I started using my Vitamix paired with cheese cloth to strain out the solids. We always have green juice or a carrot beet apple blend stocked in to go bottles for breakfast in a pinch or part of lunch. And I love that. I think this process is good for someone who needs hard rules to start eating healthier because really you're detoxing your habits. I do get concerned that those who have a diet that really needs help go on this and come off in a binge mode. People probably need help post cleanse in the 'what's next' phase which would be a great reason for them to actually stop in to the Fruitive store for their meals! I'm actually hoping I can go in and try their non-juice menu soon! It looks amazing-and totally what I would eat on a regular basis.
Who's up for a road trip to the VA shore?
Dietitian Nutritionist and cookbook author sharing flavor-forward recipes and simplified science-driven wellness.