*Note: FAB added that he wanted this juice cleanse to help him eat healthier after we finished. I told him I already eat healthy. This, coming from a person who frequents Taco Bell, sparked an argument where he scoffed at me because I sometimes cook with butter and cream. I maintain that cooking with butter does not mean I don't eat healthy.*
We decided do do this juice cleanse before we left the Midwest, and our research led to Joe Cross's three day juice cleanse, which can be found on Dr. Oz's website here. The reason we chose this cleanse was mostly because it was very organized and came with specific recipes and a shopping list. This particular cleanse allows for one solid food meal a day, for dinner, made only of fruits and veggies. We ate sweet potato and carrot "fries" with a side of green beans. We also watched Joe Cross's documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, which is available via Netflix. I enjoyed the documentary far more than I enjoyed the juice cleanse. Also, if you watch the documentary, I find Phil's story to be far more compelling than Joe's.
I learned a lot over the course of the last three days. Most specifically, though perhaps not surprisingly, I learned that I do not like being on a juice cleanse. Here is a list of things I learned.
1. Not missing solid food is a lie. Almost any juice cleanse will tell you that after the first day or two, you will not miss eating solid food. I am here to tell you, that is a boldfaced lie. From the moment I tasted the first juice, I already knew I was in for a long three days, and could not WAIT until the end of the day for my solid food dinner. I am a girl who likes to eat, and chew, and enjoy food. I do not like to drink my meals.
2. I do not like kale. Adding kale to anything will make it taste like the inside of a lawn mower.
|Sometimes juice separates and makes density stripes!|
3. Be ready to commit. When on this cleanse, there is really very little time to do anything else during the day. When making juice (especially for three people), it takes a lot of time. You have to prep the food before it goes into the juicer (because juicers don't like things like apple cores and citrus rind), actually make the juice, clean the juicer, and drink the juice. By the time you've finished drinking the juice you've just made, it's practically time to make the next one. I can now tell you that over three days, that juicer was cleaned FIFTEEN TIMES. That's five times a day. It's a lot.
|Kind of sad, that this beautiful plate of food...|
|…turns into this.|
4. The word "cleanse" actually means "empty." This is kind of part of the commitment. The time you are not spending making or drinking juice is most likely going to be spent in your bathroom. I will spare you the ugly, uncomfortable, unladylike details, but I'll leave you with this: what comes out of you is directly related to what goes in. Sit on that for a while.
5. You MUST adjust the portions. I don't know what kind of tiny-ass produce Joe Cross was using, but his portions are WAY out of whack. The first few juices we made were triple batches, as the recipes you will see on the website are for one juice for one person. This made about a glass and a half, to two glasses of juice PER PERSON. We later adjusted to making one and a half batches, sometimes adding an extra apple or cucumber to adjust for volume. Adding apple and cucumber can only make it taste better.
|One unadjusted portion of lawn mower juice, comin' right up!|
6. Juice cleanses are expensive. We did a lot of shopping at Costco, and made up the difference from the grocery store. Because the portion size is so crazy, we over-shopped and now have a lot of leftover fruit and veggies. But we threw away all the kale.
|Our refrigerator. We also had a cooler filled with food that wouldn't fit in the fridge.|
7. Never EVER go on a juice cleanse (or any diet) when it's "that time of the month." This is the second time FAB has suggested and started a diet right when I started my period. It's partially my fault for not suggesting we postpone it until after, but the timing worked out really well relative to vacation time. I don't normally have a sweet tooth. I sort of lost it as I got older. But with absolute certainty, all I want when I'm *ahem* having a visit with Aunt Flo, is chocolate, and candy, and all the foods I KNOW I shouldn't eat. This juice cleanse turned me into a mean, irritable, whiny little dragon who did nothing but complain for three days. I'm sorry FAB, for yelling at you. The cotton pony made me do it.
Now, despite all these negative take-aways from the worst three days of the new year, I did learn a few more positive things from the juice.
1. Developing a system is important. Remember how I told you it takes a lot of time to prepare juice? As long as you develop a system that works for you (this can be anything from how to cut certain vegetables to making the juice far enough in advance to refrigerate it because it tastes better cold), the time can be minimized. FAB and I took turns washing the juicer, making the juice, cutting fruits and veggies, and we made sure to make juice ahead of time so it could be refrigerated. Hint: If you are doing this cleanse, when making the third juice, use the bell peppers as a cavity for parsley or the parsley will fly up in your face, go easy on the onion, and add an extra lime. Trust me.
2. A change in energy. Yes, as much as I hate to admit that this juice cleanse did anything for me, I did notice my levels of energy were higher. My skin got slightly clearer, and I slept better at night. I still wouldn't do it again. FAB and our roommate lost like five pounds. I lost like, two ounces. Yes I was on my period, and bloated, and puffy, but juicing for three days is not gonna get you anywhere weight-loss wise, so unless you're a dude who's kind of athletic (my boys all play softball) don't expect to lose any poundage.
3. I didn't get sick. Fun fact: During these three days, all of my roommates, including FAB, were sick, except me. One even had the flu, and was basically quarantined to his bedroom. I'm pretty sure that the juice cleanse helped FAB and our other roommate get over their illnesses (we even gave some of our extra juice to our flu-mate, who spent a lot of his time coming up with flu puns) a lot quicker. I'm definitely sure that taking in this much liquid, with this many nutrients is the main reason that I experienced no symptoms of illness at any time. Also probably because I work with kids every day and am developing immunities, but we'll pretend that's not a factor.
For the last part of this post, I want to explain for a minute why I hate the word "diet" and the concept of dieting in general. The word "diet" inherently implies impermanence (I just LOVE alliteration). When you go on a diet, for the most part, you are setting aside a finite amount of time where you will drastically change your eating habits, lose a bunch of water weight, and the day after you will allow yourself to eat whatever you want, causing you to gain back that weight almost immediately. Also, because diets are temporary, and frequently force you to deprive yourself of certain foods, guaranteed, those are the only foods you will want to eat. By not allowing yourself to indulge, you are more likely to cheat, thereby completely negating the purpose of your diet to begin with.
If you want to lose weight, you need to change your eating habits. Plain and simple. Eat healthy food. Exercise. Make sure you're eating fruits, and veggies, along with proteins, and carbs, and dairy. And manage your portion control. Don't clean your plate, eat until you're full. You want that ice cream bar, or extra piece of pizza? Go ahead. Go right ahead and have it. Just make sure that you aren't making it a habit. Don't deprive yourself of all the foods you love, make it a treat to eat them. Everything in moderation, including moderation. By eating right and making sure I was exercising even a little bit, I was able to lose 15-20 pounds in about four to six months. Yes, I became a calorie counting fiend for a while, but even when I was counting those calories, I would allow for the occasional cookie, or scoop of ice cream. Or a beer. I have never had that much success on any "diet," ever.
My pal Foamy the Squirrel knows what I'm talking about…
Don't diet. Eat right.