As an avid fan of food, the term “juice cleanse” has always sent shivers down my spine. Three days without a bite of solid food? No thanks. Forgoing the satisfaction of a delicious meal hitting your taste buds? Count me out. Never did I picture myself attempting one of these crazy things, yet here I am. ‘Tis the night before my first ever cleanse. My 18 juices were delivered earlier today and are currently taking up my whole shelf in the fridge, with anything chewable shoved to the back, hidden from my tummy’s sight. I opted for the 3-day cleanse, which means 3 days of only fresh-pressed juices and the occasional water with lemon. I enjoyed my last evening of freedom with a final meal at Andy’s Thai Kitchen, a local Lakeview spot, where I devoured Tom Yum Noodle soup (which was just as “yum” as the name promised). I ended the evening with a bowl of ice cream, because why not? If I was about to not eat anything solid for the next three days I was going to enjoy my final moments (dramatic, I know. I sound like it’s my last night with food ever).
A few different factors inspired me to embark on this juice cleanse journey. They include the following:
- I work for a company that makes delicious juices that I’ve had before and that I know I like. This would make the consumption process easy and enjoyable.
- Multiple coworkers of mine have raved about the juice cleanses they’ve participated in, exclaiming how they have never felt better than their post-cleanse selves.
- Due to the fact that it’s summer, and the weather in Chicago is finally beautiful and sunny, I have been spending an excessive amount of time enjoying a drink on a patio or at a rooftop bar. It’s safe to say my liver could use a little time to clear out.
- Also due to the fact that it’s summer, and I’m constantly on the move, my diet over the past couple of months has been less than ideal. My body needs a good flushing of all the toxins floating around inside.
- I do not eat fruits and vegetables as often as I should. This cleanse will convince me to consume healthy produce that I otherwise wouldn’t eat.
- My mental health needs a boost. According to Drink Juice RX, cleansing can create a “much greater sense of calm,” and “restores mental clarity and focus,” two things that my hectic, on-the-go lifestyle could use!
Our juice cleanse provides a total of 18 juices, which allows for 6 different juices each day. Here is what my daily (more or less) juice schedule looked like over the three days, and which juices I came to call my favorites. I consumed the juices in the order that Cooked recommends, but you can drink them however/whenever you want!
My Daily Juice Schedule
9:00(ish): Cardinal Greens, 3 Stars
First juice of the day, let’s do this! Cardinal Greens is a classic green juice complete with cucumber, celery, romaine, kale and spinach. It’s not my favorite juice of the bunch, as I prefer the ones with a kick of sweetness, but I do feel refreshed and revitalized after downing the bottle.
12:00(ish): Detox Lemonade, 5 Stars
This juice packs a punch. I’m a huge fan of spice and love the unexpected kick of cayenne floating around inside. Although the point of a juice cleanse isn’t to lose weight, it is thought that cayenne is a “slimming spice.” According to Health.com, cayenne has the ability to “...curb appetite as well as increase calorie burn during digestion.” The addition of organic maple syrup in the Detox Lemonade makes this sweet concoction more of a treat than a chore.
2:30(ish): Just Beet It, 3 Stars
I don’t typically like beets on their own, but this juice’s combination of beet, carrot, apple, lemon and ginger seems to hit just right. It’s earthy taste makes me feel like I juiced some fresh fruits and veggies right in my apartment! Beets have quite a few health benefits, and according to Daisy Coyle, a writer for Healthline, “...are low in calories, yet high in valuable vitamins and minerals that you need." Coyle also talks of their ability to keep blood pressure in check, improve athletic performance, and help fight inflammation.
5:00(ish): The Sweetest Greens, 4 Stars
Dinnertime! Well, at least the appetizer. I typically like to eat dinner later, and therefore have decided to save three juices for my evening. This also has to do with the fact that I won’t be running around all day, busy and preoccupied. Having more to drink at night will help satisfy my boredom hunger (this is a real thing, I promise). This juice is super similar to its cousin, Cardinal Greens, but has a sweeter flavor with the addition of apple. A kick of ginger gives this drink a tangy aftertaste.
7:00(ish): Cucumber Lemonade, 4 Stars
I feel like I’m back to my childhood tendencies with all of this lemonade consumption. Right about now is the time I normally indulge on my dinner. In this case, mine comes in the form of a super simple, yet delicious, Cucumber Lemonade. Created with just three ingredients, cucumber, lemonade and honey, this juice is a classic. You can’t go wrong!
9:00(ish): Almond Cashew Milk, 5 Stars
Ahh yes, dessert. More "milk" than “juice,” this drink is by far my favorite, complete with almonds, cashews, dates, vanilla and cinnamon. It’s the perfect end to the day! It allows you to mix up the usual fruit and veggie diet that was thrown your way all day. The most filling of the bunch, the Almond Cashew Milk keeps you satiated throughout the night. This drink also provides you with the majority of your protein with all of the nuts included.
Day 1: Tuesday
Day one, I’ve got this! I began my cleanse on a Tuesday morning. I figured the middle of the week was a safe bet to avoid any potential dinner plans with friends or weekend party invitations. I woke up and downed a hot cup of water with lemon (per the recommendation of Cooked). My strategy throughout this process would be to keep myself busy with other activities so I wouldn’t notice the existence of hunger. As an individual who generally skips breakfast (I know, not ideal) I wasn’t terrible hungry until a little past noon, as this is when I typically have lunch. The hardest part was walking around and being hit by wafts of local restaurant food, tempting me with their delicious smells. I had an easy evening chilling on the couch and catching up on some shows. I definitely felt off not having consumed food all day, and my mouth seemed confused by the lack of chewing. But overall, I was okay. I noticed a dull headache which came from lack of hydration to balance out all the sugar I was drinking. Be sure you are consuming at least 10 to 14 oz of water in between each juice to avoid this! I called it quits early and went to bed to prepare for my long day ahead.
Day 2: Wednesday
I woke up at 6:00am to head out for the day. I had some major brain fog this morning and felt a bit sluggish, which could have been due to either my lack of sleep or lack of food. My body wasn’t used to not drinking caffeine first thing in the morning, so this was also throwing me for a loop. Around noon I headed over to Cooked for a tasting with one of our new partners, Cocktail Courier. It was as if a switch had flipped inside me and I was all of a sudden ready to go. The tasting went really well, and I felt alert and stimulated throughout. Post-tasting I decided to squeeze in a light workout on the stair master rather than my usual run, in order to keep up my routine without overdoing it. I topped the evening off with the new Lion King remake at a theatre near my apartment. As my friends enjoyed bags of delicious and buttery popcorn, I felt fine consuming my Cucumber Lemonade. This came as quite a surprise, as movie theatre popcorn is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Another early evening. I was wiped from the full day.
Day 3: Thursday
Who would have thought day 3 would be my peak? Not I, said the fly. I woke up feeling energized, happy, and ready to Carpe Diem. I felt light as a feather and food no longer seemed necessary to conquer what lay ahead. I had a super productive morning with a focus I was not typically used to. My brain felt clear and recharged; gone was the grogginess and fuzz. I cranked out a couple of hours of work in the morning and then headed outside for a quick dog walk. I resumed my afternoon with more work where I continued my morning’s productivity. Sure, the smells still tempted me, but I was confident that I could get through this final day to ultimately complete the cleanse in success. I started to hit my wall at an event that evening. Although I still felt light as a feather, I began to feel the same drowsiness that had hit me the previous two nights. I noticed that the lack of solid food left me more tired than usual.
I had another early morning Friday. However, I didn’t even feel the need to eat until my stomach started hungry gurgling around 10:00am. Overall, the cleanse left me feeling light, motivated and excited to take on each new day and challenge.
What I Learned:
- It is possible to consume and enjoy fruits and vegetables you wouldn’t typically eat in raw form.
- We, as a society, tend to overeat, and eat things that leave our body feeling weary, bloated, and unhappy. According to Carrie Forrest of Clean Eating Kitchen, a 3-day cleanse can “...support the immune system, promotes a healthy gut microbiome, and supports detoxification.” When you fast with juice you are giving your digestive system a break, while providing your body with necessary antioxidants and nutrients.
- Anyone is capable of completing a juice cleanse. It helps to have a friend or relative who is designated to hold you accountable throughout the cleanse. If you go to eat something other than juice, have this person step in to help talk you out of it. You may feel starving, but trust me, it’s all a mental game. Part of my personal accountability was knowing I would be writing this article. Failing the cleanse would have been like failing the Cooked family!
- Stay hydrated throughout this process. It is key to drink at least 10 to 14 oz's of water between each juice. The average water bottle holds about 16oz, so you should be drinking a little less than a full one of these.
- Expect to hit the bathroom more often than usual due to the high ingestion of liquids. Try to make sure you have an option located nearby at all times!
- Get lots of sleep to let your body rest and reset (trust me, you’ll want to!).
- I can live without coffee. What a surprise.
- This cleanse opened my eyes to how much of our life is dictated by what we eat. Food controls our schedules, surrounds us in the media and news, and is a huge social catalyst. Food is not only a means of survival, but a way of life. This cleanse gave me a whole chunk of free time that was originally consumed by preparing and eating meals. It opened my eyes to the gluttony that the United States partakes in, and the possibility for a simpler diet.
- Although juice cleansing is not a long-term solution (over three days without solid food can become detrimental to your body), it is a great way to reset when you have hit peak mental and physical unhealthiness. Or, if you think you may have a food allergy, try juice cleansing and see how you feel after a few days!