3 Day Juice Cleanse- Is it worth it?
It seems that juicing is all the rage these days. I mean after all, there are documentaries about it (Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead), infomercials on the benefits of juicing with various kitchen gadgets, Dr. Oz segments, and Pinterest recipes. Could a juice cleanse really be that great? Could there be something to all this hype or is it just another passing fad like the infamous “Cabbage Soup Diet” of the 90’s?
Well, I decided to find out. I originally set my sites on a 3 day juice cleanse but ended up doing 7 days instead. I had support. My meat-loving hubby came along for the ride (God love him!) and we learned to juice together. We didn’t have a juicer so I ordered one from Amazon that was under $100 and got ratings of 5 stars.
I located a fairly simple 3 day plan on Pinterest from Skinny Mom and just referred to it daily for the recipes. I just repeated it once we decided to push forward with 7 days but to be honest, it’s not rocket science. By the end, I could eyeball portions and it seemed anything I threw into the mix was pretty tasty (although one combination on day 5 was sort of brownish so it was not very visually pleasing).
We went to Sprouts where I am able to buy the cheapest produce, and purchased enough fruit and veggies for the first 3 days. I purchased the ingredients for the plan as it was written but in the future I will buy whatever produce is in season and on sale. That is how our ancestors would have eaten (well, not the sale part). I ended up spending $35 for 3 days for 2 people. We were also allowed a healthy, low carb dinner. I realize this may seem like a ton of money but in reality, we weren’t eating much else during the cleanse so the $35 covered most of our food intake.
This is what ONE day of produce for 2 people looks like!
Day 1-Red Juice Day:
We both weighed ourselves so we had a baseline. Of course, I am always hoping to drop pounds but that really wasn’t the point of this cleanse. My priority here was to feel better by the end. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect or precisely what I wanted to improve but I went into it very hopeful.
Our first juice was a red concoction thanks to the beets. It doesn’t matter what color juice you have, adding a piece of a beet immediately turns it bright red. Juicing that many veggies created a TON of pulp. At this point, I didn’t know what else to do with it so I threw it out, but by the end I started to research this, mainly out of guilt. It turns out, you can make crackers, muffins, soup, stock, bulk up meat, throw it on a compost pile, and countless other inventive things with this veggie pulp. There are recipes all over Pinterest. I tried the crackers (just blend a few cups of the pulp with a cup of ground flaxseed, salt and seasonings, and some sunflower seeds and bake for many hours at 175; they were very dry and took forever but they were not bad tasting), broth, and I also used it to bulk up my turkey meatballs.
The instructions on our cleanse told us to blend our juice (which made about ¾ of a gallon each) and drink one 8oz glass every hour intermittently with water. You guessed it- we peed constantly! I think I went to the bathroom every hour and that went on all day long. We really weren’t too hungry but the desire to eat was still there. It’s amazing how much of a habit grazing becomes. We didn’t give in though. We hung in there all day, with only the juice, until 4pm which is when you are allowed to begin eating.
We took a 2.5 mile walk around our lakes because we had enough energy but we did make the decision not to lift weights or do circuit training during the 3 days. When we came back from our walk we made peppers stuffed with ground turkey breast mixed with spinach and tomatoes and some riced cauliflower (yes, more veggies!). We did not have gluten, starchy carbs, sugar, or dairy at all with this meal.
All in all, it was a good day. My hubby said he didn’t feel it was that much of a struggle.
It’s a well-known fact that nurses have no trouble discussing poop. We can go on at great length about it. For the sake of those of you that are NOT nurses and would NOT appreciate graphic details, I will keep it vague. Neither of us suffered from diarrhea or issues at all during the first day (which I was a little worried about); however, I did wake up in the middle of the night and nothing but a glass of red juice came out. Let’s just leave it at that.
Day 2- Green Juice day:
I woke up weighing 4 pounds less than the day before. Wow! I realize that wasn’t fat but to think that I’d been holding onto all that water is crazy. I felt much less bloated, too.
I washed all of the produce the night before so that when we got up we could get right to juicing. The green juice was just as tasty as the red stuff. We drank our first glass and went for another lake walk. During this walk we both talked about how we were feeling and this is when we made the decision to stay on the cleanse for 7 days. I was astounded that my hubby was so into it. We drove to Sprouts after our walk to get 4 more days’ worth of veggies in the house. This came to $45. I also started planning our dinners very carefully to ensure we were eating only the healthiest foods. For day 2 dinner we ate turkey and spinach meatballs, green beans, and riced cauliflower.
Our day 2 summary? We both had lots of energy, we were in really good moods, and both felt slimmer in the waist.
Day 3- Orange Juice Day:
We prepped our juice the night before because this was going to be our first work day. We get up at 4-4:30 depending on whether we are working out or not and the washing, cutting, and juicing of nearly 2 gallons of juice takes a good half an hour and we just don’t have that kind of extra time in the morning. We divided the juice up into airtight Mason jars and I really don’t think the quality was affected. We also decided not to have any coffee. I drank green tea and hubby just went without. I was dragging a bit by mid-morning because of this.
I wasn’t sure how I’d cope at work with no food. I mean, you sort of lose something when you go to lunch and don’t actually get to eat, right? Well, I just kept reminding myself that this was only for a week. You can do almost anything for a week! I survived work just fine and so did my hubby. I may have even inspired a few co-workers to do some juicing themselves!
We were plenty hungry for dinner by the time we got home (I walk in the door at 6pm). We got to cooking right away. We made bun-less burgers, salad with oil and vinegar, and sweet potato wedges for me and regular potato wedges for hubs. We added the grain free carb because we planned to get back to our workout schedule in the morning and it’s pretty intense. We felt this serving of carbs would be essential to our success.
Take away from day 3; I am not really pooping much, maybe due to the lack of solid food. Either way, I felt kind of bloated all day. It may be something in the day 3 juice combination that didn’t agree with me, I’m not sure. I spent much of the day contemplating whether or not I had appendicitis due to the persistent lower right quadrant cramp I had (as it turns out, I am fine, though maybe a little dramatic).
We continued prepping our juice the rest of the week on the night before. That worked best for us. When we worked out we allowed ourselves a rice/pea protein shake with unsweetened cashew milk afterward. I was concerned that our muscles wouldn’t recover if we had insufficient protein in our diets. We had juice for the remainder of the day until dinner. We were very good about eating healthy dinners and then cut ourselves off from food for the rest of the night.
So, here I am, on the other side of a 7 day juice cleanse. I survived! Not only did I survive, but I dropped the coffee habit and still have plenty of energy. I have had no sugar at all for a week and when I attempted to add a mere 2 teaspoons of honey to my double cup of green tea it was outrageously sweet! I almost couldn’t drink it. My husband lost 6 pounds and his stomach looks much flatter to me. I lost 5.5 pounds and feel really good. My weird stomach cramps from earlier in the week have resolved and am not thinking about food much at all. We both slept great at night as well as had more daytime energy. We are continuing to drink a large glass of juice daily for the nutrients. I hope to keep that up forever.
If you are considering doing a juice cleanse but are not sure if it will be worth it, I can tell you it was. The 5 pound weight loss was a bonus. The way I feel is the real prize. Everyone can benefit from more produce in their diet and if you aren’t ready to commit to a whole week, just try 3 days. Or 1. The point is to get juicing and reap the benefits of vitamins and nutrients that are so deficient in our Standard American Diets (SAD). I promise you’ll have more energy, feel de-bloated, and be in good spirits. And if you have a carnivorous counterpart, try and get them on board with you. If my steak-eating husband can survive a week on celery and beets, anyone can!