Sometime last week Josh was complaining about all the junk food he feels like he's been eating lately (I'm sure still a lot less than the average American) and how tired he's been. For some reason, I suggested he could do a juice cleanse, which a lot of people claim makes them feel healthy and enegergized while kicking cravings at the same time.
I did a week-long Master Cleanse once with a friend, but failed on about the fifth day when I ate half an apple, and then completely abandoned it on day six when I scarfed a whole bag of Gardein chicken tenders (craving protein, big time). But a shorter juice cleanse seemed like it might be a good idea. I'd felt good on day four of the Master Cleanse, and including lots of fruit and vegetable juices seemed a lot more manageable as far as calories and variety are concerned. Another element of the Master Cleanse regimen we would not be including was the nightly salt flush - yuck!
We also thought the week after moving would be the perfect time because we had barely any food in the house anyway. We headed out Sunday to grab tons of fruits and veggies so we could start the cleanse Monday morning. With no juicer, my plan was just to blend the fruits and veggies with water and appreciate the added fiber to keep us full.
The first menu item: a grapefruit-orange-kiwi juice. This was majorly sour, but otherwise tasty. I sipped this one slowly while teleworking Monday morning, and managed to finish it off only a little before it was time to make my lunch juice. Josh, meanwhile, took a Naked Juice to work for lunch to make his life easier on the juice front.
For lunch, I blended up a green juice using kale, green apple, green grapes, and a cucumber. This one definitely tasted like grass in a cup. It was not a pleasant lunch (and dinner - I made three servings so Josh and I could each have this one later too) but with work and unpacking later, it wasn't too difficult to get through the day.
Before bed we each had a glass of banana-cashew milk (soaked cashews blended with water and a banana) with a pinch of cardamom and pumpkin pie spice. This was definitely my favorite drink of the day, though I won't exactly be adding it to my post-cleanse repertoir.
For breakfast on Tuesday I mixed together frozen blueberries, mango, and strawberries with water. This juice was actually tasty and, dare I say, a pleasure to drink. Don't get me wrong, my normal morning smoothie made with soy milk and protein powder is a whole lot better ... But this wasn't a bad option if I happened to be out of both.
For lunch I followed Josh's lead and headed out to grab a pre-made juice for lunch. This isn't quite in the spirit of the cleanse, I realize, but it definitely makes life a lot easier. I grabbed an Odwalla Mango Tango, made with mango, apple, organge, and banana. It wasn't exactly filling, but it was enough to get me through the rest of the day with only minimal stomach rumblings.
When I got home I was pretty hungry, so I quickly had the rest of Monday's green juice while I waited for Josh to get home from work. He later informed me that during work that day he'd snacked on some peanuts to get him through the day - not the worst cheat, considering we were blending up nuts into our juices as well. But in theory one point of the cleanse is to avoid solid foods altogether to "rest" your digestive system. Not sure how much I buy into that ...
For some reason I didn't manage to take a picture of our "dinner" juice, which is a shame because it was really pretty good. I roasted a sweet potato and soaked some almonds before Josh got home, so when he walked in all I had to do was blend up the sweet potatoe and almonds with a banana, water, and a big pinch of pumpkin pie spice. It was really delicious, and actually pretty filling too!
"Dessert" was mango strawberry juice, which was also excellent - the same as breakfast, but even better without the blueberries.
Wednesday morning I made us a breakfast juice of banana, kiwi, and mango. The banana really helped cut the sour flavor of the kiwi and made this a pretty tasty juice as well.
Rather than heading out to buy a lunch juice, I also mixed up a lunch juice before work that I planned to shake up and drink midday. On the agenda: stawberry and kale juice.
BIG mistake ...
This "juice" was disgusting. The strawberry wasn't enough to mask the kale flavor. And blending didn't break up the kale enough, so there were big chunks still in the juice that I had to try to choke down. It was really quite vile.
And so I broke ...
I suppose I could have run out to the store to buy a replacement juice, but my heart and will just weren't in it anymore. Instead I went straight to my office cupboard and ate two heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter. (Hey, that's still not really solid food, right?)
When I told Josh of my cheat, he said he'd also broken that day and eaten a bagel for lunch. (Way bigger cheat ...) But we decided that, despite the breaks, we shouldn't let that be a reason to let the whole experiment fall apart. I mixed up a dinner juice of blueberries, cucumber, and apple. There was so much pulp it was hard to drink, but it was otherwise tasty.
Maybe it was our cheats, but we still had energy for a "run" after "dinner" in Rock Creek Park (near our new place). It was really scary because it was almost dark when we ran, and even darker in the woods. I got especially freaked out when I accidentally kicked a frog that was in the middle of trying to jump away from us. Wherever you are, frog, I hope I did not injure you too badly!
Before bed we had another banana cashew milk (the same as Monday's). We also decided our original plan for a 4-day cleanse would be nixed and we would end our cleanse with breakfast today.
I decided to go out with the healthiest juice I could muster - kale, avocado, and green apple. And I just now took the last sip. It wasn't good, but I drank it. And perhaps I'm healthier today than I was Sunday ...
So, what's my verdict on our half-hearted cleanse? We didn't do a pre-cleanse weigh-in, but I feel a bit lighter than I did at the start. I don't think I've had any more energy, but I certainly haven't had less either. And I'm sure I've gotten more servings of fruit and vegetables than I normally would, so I've certainly gotten all sorts of helpful vitamins.
Would I do it again? Probably. Maybe at another time our hearts would be more in it. Maybe if we hadn't just moved and were feeling so isolated in a new and strange place. All we really wanted was to go out and explore, but usually that would have involved looking for new and interesting restaurants near our new home. That's our plan for tonight. We'll be Yelping for Mexican food in Silver Spring, and hopefully we'll find something good. But either way, I'm sure it will seem great compared to the last few dinners we've had ...