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Truth: I always thought that the concept of a juice cleanse was a bit of a gimmick and I wanted no part. My thinking was what’s 3 or 5 days of juice going to do for me? I try to focus on long-term, big picture health and eschew trends and fad diets.
Plus, I love to eat… I really, really love food and the ritual of meals. I’m the type of person who begins thinking about lunch promptly after finishing breakfast. Spend upwards of $150-200 only to feel hungry and deprived? No chewing? Blah, I can’t drink ALL my meals. Nope, no thank you.
Though I’ve been on the fresh juice bandwagon for some time, my habit was to incorporate them into my diet in moderation. I spent a good amount of time in New York and the abundance of juice bars quickly turned me on to a healthy habit. And when time allows I make juice at home.
But here’s where I started to realize I might want to take a cleanse for a test spin… Besides being an environmental blogger, I also work as a Sports Performance trainer. Over the past few months more and more clients began to inquire about the pros and cons of a juice cleanse. My instinct was to tell them to avoid extremes and focus on healthy eating and exercise! But, I realized I couldn’t provide a fully formed opinion without trying one myself.
So I decided to try the 3-day Suja juice cleanse. There are a lot of juice options out there these days but Suja appealed to me for a few reasons.
- It’s a little less expensive than some other comparable cleanses ($8.99 per bottle vs $9.99/11.99)
- The juice is Non GMO verified by the Non-GMO Project and USDA Organics. (Other companies may claim they are Non GMO, but unless they have the sticker they are not official.)
- All fruit and vegetable juices are 100% juice.
I also liked the idea of the Suja cleanse because you can still eat some solid food. You could stick solely to juices but there’s no harsh wagging of the finger if you need to eat.
Below is my cleanse journal I kept to give you guys an idea of how I felt during the process.
A few quick things to note:
1. I didn’t really properly prepare. Suja recommends that you cut out alcohol, processed foods, excess salt, white flour and bread products, and refined sugar a day or two before the cleanse and load up on fresh fruits and veggies. This is to make the transition easier and help jump-start the cleanse process. Well, I had decent intentions but after a crazy hectic work day before the start of my cleanse and little motivation to prepare a real meal I ate tortilla chips, guac, and salsa for dinner.
2. I started midday instead of first thing in the morning as my juices came later than I expected. I emailed the nice folks at Suja and they said this was no problemo at all. (Since I was traveling in a few days I knew I needed to start on the day I originally planned so I went for it).
3. I gave myself full permission to eat the foods on the safe list if I wanted to. This list includes raw fruits and veggies, half an avocado, a baked sweet potato or broth-based soups. I wanted to reap the detoxifying benefits of all the juice; I also didn’t want to go insane.
Day 1 of the Cleanse
6:30am: I wake up and since my juices haven’t arrived yet (this was confusion on my part re: delivery date/time not Suja’s) I decide to eat something light and in keeping with the cleanse. I have warm water with lemon slices and a grapefruit and pear. About two hours later and my juices haven’t arrived – I track my shipment and see they should be on my doorstep by 11:00 am. Buuuuut it’s 9:30am and I’m famished with a grumbling stomach. I eat several tablespoons of almond butter (no, not a cleanse food.)
A few hours later I develop a slight headache from caffeine withdrawal. I typically drink coffee within an hour of waking. I make a cup of green tea. This seems to help.
10:45am: My juices arrive! I emailed Suja that morning about starting midday and they assure me that starting later in the day will have “no adverse affects” and I will experience normal detoxification results as long as I stick with it for 72 hours.
2:30pm: I’m feeling slightly hungry but my stomach isn’t growling so I wonder if it’s just mental or boredom hunger. I decide to do a quick strength workout (medium intensity workouts while cleansing are fine) and feel much better afterwards.
3:30pm: I enjoy my fiji afternoon snack drink later with 2 baby carrots. I know that sounds ridiculously pathetic but I wasn’t unsatisfied or hungry I just need to CHEW something.
6:00pm: For dinner it’s the green supreme – kale, green apple and lemon. I really enjoy this combo, and this is my fav juice so far.
About a half hour later I REALLY feel the urge to eat again. I have half a cucumber and then a few spoonfuls of leftover plain spaghetti squash. I’m looking forward to my dessert drink!
8:00pm: I am definitely hungry and ready to dig in to “Vanilla Cloud dessert” which is a mix of almond milk, coconut milk, vanilla bean, honey and filtered water. (If you have a nut allergy Suja offers alternative drinks.) Despite my typical distaste for coconut I LOVE this. I’m feeling positive and excited about my first full juice day tomorrow.
I see a commercial for pizza and stare at the television longingly. I watch Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead again to pump myself up. It works.
10pm- I get into bed a little earlier than usual and feel slight hunger. Any other night I would get up and have a snack…. but I decide to wait it out.
7am- Weird, I wake up and somehow don’t feel as hungry as think I “should.” I quickly make green tea as to avoid a caffeine withdrawal headache. I wait about an hour and then break out my morning “Glow” juice.
I have a pimple. Annoying but I know breakouts and blemishes are a common side effect of cleansing so for some reason this doesn’t bum me out; I just think “hey something is working.”
The rest of the day goes as planned. I’m feeling positive, happy and while not extraordinarily different I definitely can tell my body is pleased with all of the nutrients I’m feeding it. I have a lot of energy and no midday slump. At times my energy seems a little frenetic. I wonder if it’s all the natural sugars in the juice.
I add 1/2 an apple to my mid-morning juice and my lunch.
6:30pm- Around dinner time I feel really cold… I’m wearing a lot of layers and can’t warm up. The house is warm but I have goosebumps. This is an effect of the cleansing process I’d read about.When your body isn’t digesting as much food as usual your internal body temperature often drops. (Heat is created while digesting.)
It doesn’t help that it’s rainy and dreary outside. I want something other than cold liquid. I prepare a baked sweet potato to have with juice. I eat it very quickly and feel warmer and satiated.
7:15pm- I enjoy my dessert drink almost immediately after dinner. Suja directs you to have your last juice 3 hours before bed. I feel the most full I’ve been since I started.
Day 3 of my Juice Cleanse
Day 3 is up and down. One minute I feel a little listless and tired; And then I will suddenly get a burst of energy. I have my morning juices as planned.
I add a pear and spinach to lunch – I once again felt the need to chew and have something else on top of juice. The pear tastes AMAZING – as in better than I ever thought a piece of fruit could. This strikes me as funny because day 1 when I had a pear I thought it nothing special and even a little boring. My taste buds must be alive and refreshed. I’ve read that one of the benefits of cleansing is your taste buds get sort of “reset’ and you in turn enjoy simpler foods.
When I finish my last juice that afternoon I’m sort of sad that the cleanse is over. I definitely feel rejuvenated and more in touch with my cravings. I’m not as excited about tortilla chips and chocolate as normal. My side effects weren’t all that bad given some of the cleansing journals I’ve read. I think this may be because I tend to eat fairly healthfully on a consistent basis.
The aftermath of the Suja Juice Cleanse
Suja recommends you slowly reintroduce heavier foods and protein. I try to follow this advice and consume mostly fruit, vegetables, smoothies, avocado toast and grains like quinoa and such for a day or two. Full disclosure: One day post cleanse, I do enjoy a mimosa, a glass of wine and a little chocolate at a friend’s party. (Hey, it’s a party!)
The verdict? I think the Suja juice cleanse could serve as a helpful recharge period for those struggling with healthy eating habits. It definitely had me craving whole, unprocessed fare after the 3 days and as I mentioned my cravings for chips and the like were way down.
However a 3 or 5-day cleanse can be just a band-aid of sorts. Sure, you’ll clean out your system but if you go back to heavily processed foods and bad habits after then you might be wasting time and money. I didn’t do this cleanse for weight-loss but I’ve had a few people ask me about this aspect so I’ll address it. I lost 3.5 lbs and then gained back 2 lbs after returning to normal eating. This was likely just water weight loss, anyway. I would NOT recommend a juice cleanse for weight loss.
The thing I liked best about Suja is most of the juices taste really good and refreshing (though I generally like fresh juice.) There are enough nutrients and flavor combinations to keep you interested for a few days. Though a packaged cleanse might be slightly pricier than preparing your own juices the convenience of having them delivered to your door on ice is definitely nice.
The bottom line – My Juice Cleanse Lessons
Juice cleanses are a health trend I don’t see going away anytime soon. If you decide to try a cleanse I recommend Suja’s 3 day option as it’s long enough for a digestive and mental reboot but not so long that your coworkers heads turn into cookies.
If you try it please listen to your body and remember it’s what you do most of the time that counts, and moderation is key. Yep, two cliché statements right there …but they’re repeated over and over again for a reason, friends. Cheers.
Readers, what’s your experience with juicing or juice cleanses? Do you say yay or nay?
*I am not a medical professional, if you have health issues please consult your Doctor before trying a cleanse.