Happy new year fellow pescatarians (and carnivores)! 2013 was a pretty good year but I know that I really enjoyed getting everything off to a fresh new start too! Like everyone else, my holidays were filled with social gatherings, food, wine and frankly, not a lot of time at the gym. I decided to kick off what I hope to be a year of healthy eating and shedding the holiday pounds with my first juice cleanse.
Let’s clear it up now: they absolutely do not recommend doing a cleanse to lose weight. They recommend eating healthy which I already do. To me, this was just a way to start off weight loss and a year of continual healthy eating. Take my experience for what it is!
I split this blog post into two parts. During and then my immediate takeaways and long term results.
Last year I attended an excellent private event at Evolution Fresh. I had a chance to chat with founder Jimmy Rosenberg and really enjoyed their food and drinks so I decided to go with them for my cleanse.
Evolution Fresh’s juice cleanse is actually called a juice ritual because there aren’t many rules. It’s very customizable. I bought 18 juices which is a 3-day cleanse but I decided to spread it out over four days and eat a little more instead. I decided to customize my juices and went with:
First juice of the morning: Essential Vegetable: the store associate recommended I drink this first because it’s the heartiest. I also chose this first because there’s more sugar in it and I hoped it would replace the honey I usually put in my coffee.
Afternoon: Essential Greens, Sweet Greens
Evening: Essential Greens
I bought two extra drinks: Spicy Lemonade and Pineapple Coconut Water that I figured I would just throw in whenever I needed/wanted it.
A combination of Evolution Fresh’s suggestions and my rules were: no processed food, no added sugar, no carbs (beyond vegetables), no added fruit except avocados, no dairy, no caffeine and no alcohol. I was originally trying to eat raw food but well…
Here’s how my four days played out:
Day 1: Wednesday:
I drink the Essential Vegetable juice on my usual 8:30 walk to the bus. It’s delicious! As I walk, I think “I’m hungry.” I immediately realize, I don’t usually even eat breakfast until 9:30! I am psyching myself out. Within the half hour, I’m stumbling over my feet. I blame the lack of coffee. A few almonds later, I feel SO much better. At 11:00, I drink the Essential Greens juice. This tastes like celery and wheatgrass. I hate raw celery. I can already tell this is going to be a low point of the ritual.
At noon, I have a lunch of green salad of kale, microgreens, baby tomatoes, tofu and chia seeds with lemon juice, a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper. I have Sweet Greens and then Pineapple Coconut water. I had tried the Sweet Greens before but wow, these were both delicious! I sprinkle the afternoon with more almonds.
I fall asleep on the bus ride home. Sigh. I hurry home for a quick dinner of another tuna and avocado based salad.
I have plans to see a movie with friends that night so I make some green tea and hope this will get me through the movie. It isn’t. I drift off a little towards the end. That night, I feel very hungry and made some vegan tomato caprese I made up of tomato and tofu slices and basil and drank the Essential Greens juice. I still can’t cut that pesky nighttime eating habit!
Day 2: Thursday:
The second day goes much better. I learn to drink the juice slower. I only have four juices this day and only had olives and almonds at work. I’m pretty proud of myself but I did notice two things: 1. I really started to miss chocolate and 2. I’m starting to feel very cold.
I believe in the Chinese philosophy of the yin and yang in foods (but that’s for another post!). A quick one sentence summary: yin qualities in food include coldness, darkness and dampness while yang qualities are warmth, dryness and light; we need a balance. I’ve always run cold and needed to go out of my way to include the yang in my life. This juice and raw food diet? All yin. I wished I brought more layers to work but since I don’t have that choice in the moment, I make ginger (yang) tea and hope for the best. It sort of helps.
That evening, I have the same tuna salad. On the way home from a talk, I passed a restaurant. The smell nearly made me fall over in hunger but the weird thing was, I was only hungry in my head! My stomach was fine! That night, I have the Essential Greens juice and some vegan tomato caprese. I’m starting to seriously feel the lack of sugar so I go for my next best thing: two spoonfuls of peanut butter. Does that count as processed? I don’t know but it was in the booklet of suggestions!
Day 3: Friday:
I start off the morning heading to the doctor for my yearly checkup. The doctor tells me I’ve lost four pounds! How much of it is water weight? Debatable. I also get my blood drawn for my iron test, something I make sure to do every year since iron deficiency is a big issue for those on limited-meat diets!
At 11:30, I’m on my way to work and drinking my first juice of the day. By 12:30, I’m already feeling exhausted and dig into another kale salad. I’m feeling rather faint when itt finally hits me: who gets their blood drawn during a juice cleanse?! This was a terrible idea. After hearing this news, my coworker immediately insists I take two of her apple slices. I am incredibly grateful and break my no fruit ban.
By that evening, I can’t take anymore. I need cooked food! I wasn’t raised eating raw, I’ve never liked it and I needed the yang elements and warmth of cooked food, mushrooms and garlic. In addition to Essential Greens, I saute some kale, tofu and mushrooms with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and crushed red pepper. It’s earthy, delicious and warmed me right up. I’m not made for raw food- what can I say? I go out for tea with a friend afterward and have a much sweeter fruit tea than I usually like. I think I was desperate for sweetness. Afterwards, I have the Spicy Lemonade instead of a second Essential Greens because frankly, I could not take another one. Turns out, I’m not a fan of the Spicy Lemonade either but it had some yang qualities I needed. I also saw a commercial for IHOP. I don’t even like pancakes but they look amazing. I eat some cucumber with tuna to soothe my mental anguish.
Day 4: Saturday:
I’m not going to lie. I sleep until 11:30am. Cleanses take a lot out of you! I needed sleep desperately. After I wake up, I examine myself in the mirror and find that a lot of the fat in my midsection has visibly reduced. I’m so happy! I knew I wanted to go to hot yoga later but I’m feeling very tired so I make a shrimp, kale, tomato and mushroom stir fry, drink two juices and have a few spoonfuls of peanut butter before I hit hot yoga at 4:00.
When I headed to the studio, I felt good but I end up having a harder time than usual in there. I need a lot more rest and complete less postures. Afterwards, I find myself completely exhausted! I have a long list of things to do around the house that day and only get about halfway through the list. I am so tired, most of the evening is spent sitting like a bump on a log fantasizing about food. Dinner is sauteed kale with black eyed peas. I have five juices for the day total including three Essential Greens this day to finish them up. I still don’t like them.
It’s been a little over two weeks since this cleanse. I’ve recorded my immediate afterthoughts and my thoughts and weight two weeks later. Check back later for part 2!