IMG_3111

For years (years!) I’ve been promising myself to try out a juice cleanse for a 2-3 day period. I’ve bookmarked recipes, watched documentaries, and done plenty of research. I’ve wanted to reap the benefits of an onslaught of pure nutrients and vitamins, I’ve wanted my skin to glow like a retouched magazine cover, and I’ve wanted to flood my body with health and vitality. It all sounds so wonderful and idyllic, doesn’t it? And has it ever happened? Have I ever buckled down and done it?

No. Decidedly not.

Well, after my wonderful coworker and neighbor purchased a juicer this past week, we committed to try this thing together, and someone finally held me accountable for my juicing dreams. Although, I definitely attempted to flake out and felt a bit guilty spending lots of money on food that I would grind up and which wouldn’t exactly keep my full or truly fed. But, I can actually say that I did it. For three days, I tried my absolute best to go on a cleanse. It coincided with three of my very first snow days as a teacher, so I was constrained a bit by being stuck in my apartment and had to get creative at times to keep the juice flowing. And with all of this free time, what better to do than recount the experience in all of its gory details? I will be as honest as possible.

First things first, I decided when to do it. I have a very active bladder on my most dehydrated of days, so I knew this juicing thing could not go down on a workday. I would be ducking out on students at least three times a class!

Next, the recipes. The internet is overstuffed with magical juicing elixirs, so how is a gal to choose? I settled on this thorough DIY courtesy of Epic Beauty Guide. I love how she focuses on ingesting as many nutrients as possible into her body rather than aiming to “fast” or “detox,” both are not really my thing. I believe that the body can detox well on its own, so I much rather set my mind on the good and nourishing things I’m giving myself rather than what I must restrict.

Finally, I did not only drink juice. There, I admit it. I really tried my best, but the last two days especially I was way too hungry. In addition to the six daily juices that I will mention below, I had some bananas, chunks of watermelon, some homemade guacamole, brown rice, and organic meat. And maybe a square or two of dark chocolate. All things considered, I don’t think this is too bad. I definitely was not going to beat myself up for not being “perfect” my first time, and it was definitely a far smaller amount of food than I would eat on a regular day. Heck, I was trying to avoid the negative mindset of achieving perfection altogether.

This juicing guide consists of four different drinks. I stuck to all recipes as best as I could, but juicing is more fun with room for experimentation. Each juice yields about 16 ounces.

Green Drink

One apple – I like golden delicious
Half a cucumber or a whole cucumber if you need more juice
2.5 stalks of celery
one lemon
2-3 stalks of kale
2 large handfuls of spinach

IMG_3129

Red Drink

1 lemon (peel it first)
3-4 hunks of watermelon
1 beet (make sure to peel it first)
lots and lots of carrots – I use enough to make myself those 16 ounces

IMG_3108

Lemonade

1 lemon
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
14 ounces of water
a healthy dash of cayenne pepper

IMG_3130

Nut Milk

The nut milk is the most tedious to concoct. First thing, no juicers for this one. You need a blender; I just use my magic bullet.

Mix 1 cup of almonds with 14 ounces of water and blend
Use a strainer to strain the “milk” from the almond pulp. (You can keep the pulp to add to oatmeal/cookies/etc. or toss it out)
Put the strained milk back in the blender and combine with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (or stevia), 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil.
To give this milk a little more body, I add a banana and some spinach to the mix and blend it all up a second time.

It’s sweet, fatty, and delicious.

IMG_3127

On the first day, I made the first five juices first thing in the morning. I waited to make the nut milk until the moment I drank it since I knew it would require a blender rather than a juicer. I hadn’t made fresh juice at home for a long time, and I forgot how much I enjoy it! It’s sort of like riding a bike; as I went through the motions, I slowly remembered the ins-and-outs of efficiently making juice at home. First, put a bag in the pulp disposal section of the juicer to catch all the bits; this way, you have one less part to clean! Next, especially with the green juice, make sure to run juicier fruits through the juicer after greens to make sure the juicier fruits collect and swill in all the green goodness. Also, I run filtered water through my juicer to wash down any missed juice and help make clean up easier at the very end of each juice. Finally, make all of your juice at once. This means there is only one clean up session per day. All of this will seriously reduce the hassle of juicing. Oh and have some mason jars on hand to best store juice in the fridge to keep it as fresh as possible.

The main thing this experiment did for me? It reminded me that I love the feeling of drinking a juice. It may be totally psychological (it probably is), but it feels so darn good that it just doesn’t matter. On that first day, I felt refreshed, rejuvenated, and just all around healthier. I had been neglecting getting enough fruits and veggies in my every day life and mainlining them into my system felt great. Plus, I got to drink and look forward to “eating” every 2.5 hours which is never a bad thing (I had a juice every 2.5 hours). My favourite drink of the bunch is the red drink in terms of taste, but the green drink makes me feel the best as I drink it. I would drink my juice when the time came, then fill up the glass/mason jar with water or a mixture of water and kevita to sort of get any bits still in the glass that I may have missed the first time. This also made sure I was getting a lot of fluids. After that first green drink went down, I was hitting up the bathroom pretty consistently, but I wasn’t going every five minutes by any means. Also, I didn’t feel as if my body was purging itself or acting all out of whack. I didn’t feel nauseous, have stomach pains, or experience anything out of the ordinary. However, this may be due to the fact that I did have some solid food, but it’s a bad sign if you feel totally awful while juicing. The purpose of juicing is to feel good. It shouldn’t make you feel like garbage.

By the end of the night, I’d only made it through my first four juices and finished with the lemonade. I decided to save my last green juice and the nut milk for the next morning. In the original juicing post from Epic Beauty Guide, she ended up drinking the nut milk in the morning rather than at night because it sat better with her stomach to start the day off with something fatty, so I figured that would work well for me too!

On the second day, I definitely woke up feeling more hungry than usual. I still felt super great drinking the juice just like the first day. I had more solid food for lunch, some protein-based chili with veggies and beef  chunks, because I felt pretty darn hungry. I also had some dark chocolate squares this day. I made it through four juices again plus the nut milk in the morning. This became consistent for me; I could only get down the nut milk and four out of the five juices all three days. As far as exercise goes, I kept things more low key. My boyfriend and I spent a good amount of time convincing our finicky dog to walk on the ice and snow! She absolutely hated it, but she just had to get out. We also spent a solid 20 minutes breaking out my car from ice. Other than that, I played the game Just Dance for 20-30 minutes and did some yoga videos. I was more sedentary than usual. I ended the day much like the first; I felt pretty good and slept well.

On the third day, I awoke hungrier than the second, and I had a headache. However, I’d been having some cold-like symptoms the whole week, so I don’t know if this was some “detoxing” thing or just a cold. I started the day with a green drink and some solid food followed by nut milk. I still added my banana and even some spinach to the mix; the nut milk is super delicious, hearty and fatty. I felt a renewed resolve to really get at it with the juicing today and set to work mixing up all of my daily drinks.

IMG_3132

Fresh beet juice is so vibrant!

The day passed pretty much like the second. I had some solid food in the late afternoon and felt nourished and hydrated all day long. I really looked forward to each juice when the time came and was pretty much constantly drinking a juice, tea, or something all day long.

All in all, I’m happy to say I actually completed my first juice cleanse. I will definitely be dusting off the juicer more often and paying better attention to my daily fruit and vegetable intake. I’m finishing it with clearer skin, a lighter feeling in my body, and an appetite for more. My skin is totally loving the juice. I’m considering incorporating one day of juice every Sunday or at least one weekend a month!

If this is something you’ve never done before but want to give a go, do it! There really is no risk and a great potential for reward. I hope these recipes and this recollection were helpful 🙂 I want to hear all about your experiences with juicing!