In about 60 days, our family departs on our 1st Disney Cruise. I’ve wanted to get into better shape for a long time now. Primarily, this desire is meant to improve my health overall and I’ve been using the cruise as a mental milestone. I also keep putting off any serious attempt. “Oh, it’s a year away.” “Well, it’s the holidays” “I can’t diet during our Disney Parks vacation in February…I mean, I need that Dole Whip!” So here we are, 60 days out and I am not feeling great about my health or physique.
My biggest challenge: I have a hard time avoiding my craving for sugar. I will cave quicker than you can say mocha latté for some m&m’s, it’s pathetic really. I’d been reading about juice cleanses and was interested in one of the often noted results…a decreased craving for junk.
Apparently, after 3 days of drinking nothing but juice, water, and herbal tea an apple or fruit salad looks like a real treat…let alone the garbage I’ve been craving. Plus, it seems like it could be a good reset, providing a detox of all that junk and leaving me with a blank (if not overweight) slate from which I can begin the inevitable diet that will follow.
I looked at Urban Remedy, Blueprint Juice and Cooler Cleanse. They all seem to be pretty similar, including six 16-ounce juices a day for 3 to 5 days. I read reviews to compare how the different combinations rated for taste. I like a good V-8 (especially with vodka) and, with the exception of peppers, I like just about all vegetables and fruits. But, I’m not sure I could easily drink wheat-grass or similar concoctions.
Ultimately, I decided on Jus by Julie. I can offer no grand reason other than, I was ready to place an order elsewhere when Living Social offered a discount that made it $100 cheaper. Ding, ding, ding…we have a winner!
Jus by Julie offers the standard six 16-ounce juice combinations to be consumed at approximately 2-hour intervals every day for 3 days.
**After ordering, I realized that the 2nd juice every day was “Spicy Lemonade.” I am not very good with spicy foods, so I emailed their customer service department to see if there was anything with which I could replace that juice daily. Quickly, they responded that, while that drink was not terribly spicy, they wanted to make sure I would be comfortable with my cleanse, and I could replace the lemonade with something else. I advised which I wanted instead, they confirmed, and it was delivered correctly. Great customer service experience!
What follows is my daily account of the cleanse:
Across the board, instructions for cleanses advised I should prepare a few days in advance by eating whole and healthy foods; avoid caffeine, alcohol and preservatives. Largely, I have been successful in this effort. Lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and nuts have comprised the bulk of my diet the last few days. I did enjoy a much-needed mini Peppermint Patty yesterday at work, and again today after fighting with my toddler to eat his dinner.
This morning, packed in a bright green cooler and thawed (but on ice) all 18 of my “meals” arrived via FedEx. I’ve got my starting weight (which I am not yet brave enough to share) and I think I’m ready to begin my juice journey tomorrow. I hope you will read on and finish it with me.
After taking my toddler to daycare and logging in for work, I began with Juice #1 (Morning Glory) at 8:35 am.
My first thoughts were that it smelled like my Grammy’s garden. It’s very thick and, while kind of bland, it has a clean fresh taste. There is a definite celery finish to it. I like celery, so that’s a good thing. But, the celery makes me think of celery seed, which makes me think of crab cakes, which makes me think of Old Bay, and how much this drink could benefit from some of it (and some vodka.) I shot off a quick email to their customer service team asking if I could add spices to their drinks. Within minutes, a very friendly email came back advising that, while that does sound yummy, they don’t recommend it due to the sodium content. Oh well…
I have to shake it regularly or it will settle. In all, it took about 20 minutes to finish.
At 11:15 I find I’m not hungry, but I know I have an upcoming emergency dental appointment and I should eat before then. So, I open Juice #2 (Pine-Apple-Mint.) It’s a little gritty, but not off-putting. The mint and pineapple are subtle and it tastes mostly of apple. This is a good sipping juice, and I’m glad I chose it as my replacement for the Spicy Lemonade.
Around noon, I really want to chew something so I enjoyed 5 edamame pods. Jus By Julie advised that steamed veges and egg whites (in limited quantities) are acceptable to eat during the cleanse if I feel I need to eat something.
I’m at the dentists for about 30 minutes when he advises I need a root canal. I’m thinking, wow, it’s good I won’t have to chew anything for a couple days. Yay, silver lining…
Around 2:20 I am done at the dentist, so I break out Juice #3 (Sweet Spin), which I brought with me in a cooler. Half my face is numb, so drinking from the bottle was a challenge and I must have looked like a complete idiot doing it.
It’s milder than Morning Glory and a little sweeter…no celery in this one. I finish it on the drive to drop off an Rx for antibiotics.
I’m not hungry at 3:30, but I realize I have 3 more juices to get through and only so many hours left in the day. I open juice #4 (Acai Blend.) It smells like something I used to order at Smoothie King. It’s definitely the sweetest so far, and very refreshing. There are bits of seed/pulp, which allows you to pretend you are chewing.
Around 5:15 my son comes home from daycare, and I make dinner for him. I’m surprised to realize I’m not very hungry…and I’m still pretty numb.
Around 6 pm I sit down at the table with him and open Juice #5 (Not So Chunky.) I have very mixed feelings about this “juice.” I love peanut butter and was hoping this would be an excellent meal replacement. I think I had my hopes too high. It’s made from peanut butter, bananas and water. It was grainy and slightly off-putting. The banana flavor is subtle, so it mostly tastes like drinking peanut butter water. I think it could benefit a great deal from some vanilla extract. (which, I may add on Sunday when it appears again on the menu) It is rich and filling. It just needs something else.
At this point, I’m experiencing discomfort from the root canal, but my energy level is good and I feel fine. But, around 7 pm I feel like I absolutely need to eat something I can chew. I throw 2 egg whites in a pan with some pepper and call it a meal…a meal I enjoyed much more than I probably should have.
Putting the boy to bed, I make it out of his room around 9:30. It’s time to break out Juice #6 (Sweet Spin), which is a repeat of Juice #3 from earlier in the day. I wasn’t really hungry and I should have downed it before putting Andrew to bed. But I chug it down anyway. Thanks to the painkillers from the root canal, I have a lovely night’s sleep…and only dream of food once.
Waking early to take the boy to swim class, around 8 am I open Juice #1 (Morning Glory – again.) It’s much easier going today, although I still wish I could add some Old Bay. I have a headache and my tooth hurts, but I’m betting both are related to the dental work, and have nothing to do with the cleanse.
At 10:15 I break out Juice #2 (Pine-Apple-Mint – again) and feel like I am really beginning to appreciate it. We hang around the house and I lay down on the couch to rest. Noon comes and goes, I make lunch for my son, while hubby fries up some chicken tenders for lunch. For the first time today, I realize I am hungry and could really go for anything that requires chewing.
I make some hot green tea with Truvia to hold me over, but soon after, I cave and eat 5 more edamame pods.
Then I realize it’s 1 pm, so I open Juice #3 (Sweet Spin – again) and find it tastes sweeter than I remember. My toothache and headache are creeping back in, so I take a pain killer and decide to nap. (Thank you Aunt Crissy for taking Andrew for the afternoon!)
Wow, 6:30 pm! I hope it was just the pain killer, but I slept (happily) from about 3:15 to 6:30 pm! I could have slept longer, but I was dreaming about food (cheese?) and thought I should wake up and have my juice before it was too late to finish the day (which it probably is anyway.)
Juice #4 today is Chia Berry…and it is wonderful. I would drink this regularly and happily. It tastes like super-fresh strawberry lemonade. I don’t think the chia seeds add any flavor, but when you get some in a swig they add a nice crunch. It’s so good I’m not going to finish it. I’m going to save half of it for tomorrow when I need a pick-me-up.
Putting Chia Berry on hold, I thought I should move on to tonight’s entrée, Juice #5 (Island Coconut.) This is so much better than last night’s peanut butter/banana concoction. This is creamy and smooth and sweet. This one ranks just below the Chia Berry! It tastes like vacation with the coconut…and the cinnamon is subtle but key. It’s only con…it smells like school glue. Fortunately, it’s not a strong smell. This is a great rich entrée for the evening. I don’t think I’ll need anything tonight. I was worried I might be hungry like last night, and we are out of eggs. But this is good and will satisfy.
Around 10 pm I start work on a post-cleanse meal plan, while drinking juice #6 (Sweet Spin – again.) I keep reading about cathartic cleanse experiences and I’m wondering if I will experience this or if I’m even doing it right. Hubby goes shopping in the morning. He will question all the produce on this week’s list. Hopefully I will eat it all…or at least most of it.
Woke around 8:00 and was surprised I wasn’t dying of hunger. It was 9 am before I made it down stairs and started drinking Juice #1 (Morning Glory.) Ok, I’m glad this is my last Morning Glory. It isn’t bad, I’m just tired of it and it still really needs some Old Bay.
At 10:30 I moved on to Juice #2 (Pine-Apple-Mint.) It was still good, although this one seemed grainier than the others. Soon after, we headed out to the grocery store for our weekly trip. This was not fun. My son was whiny the entire time, I wanted to eat everything, and my husband was irritated at the cost of the healthy groceries. Fun.
Back home, I opened Juice #3 (Sweet Spin) while hubby made pizza. Now, I’m starting to really feel it. Instead of pizza, I ate a handful of edamame pods and drank water. All the while, I’m thinking…tomorrow, I can chew food tomorrow.
1:15 and I’m finishing the Chia Berry from yesterday. It’s really refreshing and yummy. I’m also fighting with my toddler about eating his lunch. I could really use a piece of chocolate now…
Took my boy up for a nap, and didn’t come back down til 5 pm! I’m drinking Juice #4, Acai Blend while I make some egg whites. The juices have started to separate. I’m less inclined to enjoy the peanut butter one now that’s begun. I still think I’ll try it with some vanilla extract (after a whole lot of shaking) but I think 2 or 3 egg whites will be my entrée tonight. I’m also planning my meal for tomorrow – I hear it’s supposed to snow more tonight. Blarg.
Yup, 2 egg whites at 6 pm really hit the spot. I did drink about half of the peanut butter “juice” for dinner. I can say, quite confidently, the vanilla made a world of difference. I don’t know if it’s cleanse approved, but it made it so much better.
By this time, it was 8 pm and I was drinking a lot of water. I didn’t feel the need to drink the last juice of the cleanse (Sweet Spin #6.) So I readied my boy and myself for bed and looked forward chewing the next day.
I woke to six inches of snow and more falling. I was able to get my work together (to work from home again,) get downstairs and make breakfast for my son before I even considered breaking my fast. For my first meal today, I decided on a banana, oatmeal and some apples with peanut butter. I only made it through the banana, about half the oatmeal and 1 slice of apple before I was feeling full.
I ended up eating the apples and peanut butter as a mid morning snack. For lunch I got a little more bold with couscous in chicken broth and homemade guacamole with vegetables. Everything was yummy. Despite being snowed in with a toddler while having to work, I didn’t even need my post lunch piece of chocolate to survive. There may be hope for me yet!
- I would like to do this again at a time when I do not have emergency dental work involving painkillers and antibiotics. I can’t help but feel these took away from the experience. But, I already had my juice so I had to move forward.
- Doing it again, I would prepare by eating better for longer.
- I only lost 2.3 lbs, but I knew this was not a weight loss cleanse. However, I do feel that my skin and digestion benefited from the experience.
- Although I did not experience a catharsis, I think my craving for junk has been put in check for a while.
- I expect, unless you were a very committed healthy eater, you will need to do this seasonally, or at least with some regularity, to maintain its benefits.
- All the reviews I read in advance came from people who did not appear to care for young children or live with hungry carnivorous men. I can tell you, I was surprised how easy it was to make dinner for my son and not feel desperate to eat it off his plate.
- Two notes about timing – the next time, I would plan to start the cleanse as soon as the juices arrive. They say they are good for 3 days and I think they mean it. The separation was evident toward the end. Also, after drinking 16 ounces of cold liquid I found I was chilly through to the bone. I think in summer this would be a very good thing.
A week later:
One week later, I’ve lost 5 pounds. I don’t expect to maintain that rapid weight loss moving forward, however, my cravings are so much more controllable. I find I’m full on a lot less and I’m very optimistic about my goal to lose another 9 lbs before the cruise in May. Reflecting, I credit the cleanse with a successful jump start and will likely look to Jus by Julie the next time I need a clean slate…but I’ll be sure to skip that Peanut & Banana “juice.”