Everywhere you turn someone is doing a juice cleanse. In an attempt to understand just what a cleanse is and if it works, I’ve committed myself to a three-day juice cleanse. You all owe me.
Leah Hunt, nutritionist at Pressed Juices gives me the low down. “Rather than just eating a clean diet, juice cleanses are about giving the body a break. Digestion is energy costly. With juice, you get nutrients rapidly. This gives the body more energy for detoxifying,” says Hunt.
Detoxifying. That’s good, right? Alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar and stress can cause these pesky toxins. I am guilty of all.
“Juice cleanses are also a spiritual experience. It makes you listen to cravings and be more mindful about your food,” Hunt continues.
Come at me spirituality and detoxification, I’m ready! Then I read the first piece of advice that comes with my cleanse.
We recommend you alter your daily hydration routine at least three days before commencing. Cease drinks that de-hydrate, IE: coffee, alcohol.
The day before my cleanse, I have one coffee and a Pimms cocktail. That’s a pretty good effort. I think so anyway.
With an intense fear of facing three days without coffee and a diet of only juice, day one arrives. I am excited. Ready. Then I consume the first juice. The strong ginger flavour in the green juice feels very strange on an empty stomach. I, err, press on. There are five more juices to go, and I have to focus.
The juices contain the equivalent of over six kilos of fruits and vegetables and are designed to gently detox the body with ingredients such as celery, cucumber, kale, lettuce, parsley, spinach, lemon, orange, pomegranate, raspberry, turmeric. They are cold pressed, with no additives or preservatives.
After the caffeine withdrawal headaches end, I feel energised, even happy. I head along to a yoga class – talk about spiritual! The biggest struggle is the amount of juice I have to drink – six bottles, one every two hours.
Day two isn’t the same. I wake up with a serious case of the shakes. My blood sugar levels are low and I am cranky. I kind of want to cry. But I don’t. I wouldn’t let a juice cleanse defeat me. By the end of the day, my mood has lifted. I felt okay. Over it, but ok.
On day three things start to look up. I can see the finish line. I’m not going to lie; I even skip one juice. I can’t handle all the spinach. I focus on the apple and pineapple 4pm juice and the almond milk that followed. Then, I realised, I’ve done it. I have conquered the cleanse. I feel like I deserve a prize.
My prize comes the next day. I feel great! The cliché may be true after all. I felt happier, healthier and had so much energy I was annoying even myself. Maybe those nasty little toxins do get you down after all. Kudos juice. Thanks for the buzz.
Speaking of buzz. When choosing the right juices, there are a few ingredients that are more nutrient than others. Kale, while being very popular at the moment, is also seriously good for you. It is packed full of vitamin K, beta-carotene, vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin, as well as being full of calcium. One cup of grapefruit contains 120% of your daily vitamin C needs, while beet greens are packed with iron and have more calcium per calories than milk. Word of warming, I’m not recommending you put kale, grapefruit and beets together, but separately. Go for gold. Also if you’re looking for a treat, cacao is really high in antioxidants and is also filled with fiber and good fats. And it makes things taste just like chocolate. That’s a win.
Upon reflection, the cleanse wasn’t the most fun I’ve had, but I guess that’s why they call it a cleanse. My recommendation is; have a clear reason for doing it, because by day two you’ll be asking yourself why the hell you’re drinking only juice. You’ll need something to hang it on to get you over the line.
Top Five places to get your cleanse fix: