I was hoping to write a post today about how I successfully finished a three day juice cleanse and am feeling detoxified and better than ever. However, I’m not going to get to write that post, because I failed. I failed miserably. It turns out I cannot sustain myself on nothing but juice for three days, in fact, I can’t even do it for 24 hours. I made it to about 7pm the first day before collapsing on a train full of people and deciding to call it quits.
I don’t want to knock juice cleanses completely, because I do think they can be beneficial if you do them for the right reasons and under the correct circumstances. My motives for doing this cleanse were not good health, clearer skin, or increased energy; it was weight loss. There’s failure factor number one.
I know, I know; this was a stupid idea and I really should know better. Lose weight quick schemes and fad diets never stick and end up backfiring and wrecking havoc on your body. I’ve learned this first hand through a series of yo-yo diets in high school. I thought I’d learned my lesson, but as my trip got closer and I wasn’t looking the way I wanted to in a bikini, I started to panic and I fell back into my old ways.
I strongly believe that if I had started this juice cleanse with the right mindset and with the goal of treating my body properly by detoxifying it, I would have had a much different outcome. When you make decisions based on loving your body, you’ll always have much more success than if you’re doing something because you hate your body.
Rewind all the way to the day before the cleanse. I ordered my juices from Urban Juice Press in Ottawa and my 30 bottles of juice came with clear, easy to follow pre-cleanse instructions. They basically said to make sure I was already eating a somewhat healthy diet before the cleanse and don’t binge a bunch of junk food before I begin.
Well, I had two vegan pizzas by myself the night before the cleanse. Whoops, there’s failure factor number two. I didn’t really think that would be much of an issue as up until that point I had been eating a plant based diet that was almost entirely raw and filled with fruits and veggies, however looking back now, I definitely think that pizza binge played a big role in my cleanse failure.
The day of the cleanse I woke up excited, I was ready to get started feeling better and flattening my stomach. Now, this day was also an extremely busy day. I was packing for my trip, had meetings at school, online meetings, a hair appointment, and a train to catch. Here’s failure factor number three. Had I been sitting at home all day rather than running all over town, it certainly would’ve been easier to sustain myself on juice given the lower energy demands of a couch potato.
This is what I mean by having the right circumstances to complete a juice cleanse. I definitely think you need be doing lower energy activities the days of your cleanse and you also need to factor in that you’ll need to drink a juice every 2-3 hours. So, if you’re out and about as I was, you’re going to need a lug around a few juices with you. Keeping that in mind, it’s important to note that these juices are juiced fresh usually the day of or day before you begin your cleanse; so they need to remain chilled in order to not only taste good, but to reap the detoxifying benefits of them.
It’s perfectly normal to experience some side effects while doing a cleanse, as you’re ridding all the toxins from your body and your systems will have their own adequate response to this. Aside from the obvious one: hunger, you may also experience headaches, light-headedness, and some frequent bathroom breaks. (Number two if you feel my drift.)
During my cleanse I experience the headaches first, probably a few hours after waking. I think this was mostly due to the caffeine withdrawal as I typically start my days with a giant cup of coffee and often have many more as the day goes on. Coffee and other caffeinated beverages are not allowed on a juice cleanse; you’re limited to your juices, water, and herbal teas. I was tempted to sneak in a quick up just to rid myself of my pounding skull, but my determination to finish the cleanse over powered that temptation-for now anyway.
By 7pm I had drank 6 out of my 10 daily juices and had just boarded my train home; a five hour journey I thought would make my cleanse easier as I’d just be sitting on the train. But of course, I was wrong. The headaches had only worsened throughout the day and as I tried to get caught up on some work on the train, I found my brain to be incredibly foggy. I couldn’t concentrate on anything but the pain in my head. I was also starving at this point and the train attendants coming through the aisles with snack carts were only making my stomach growl even more, but I gritted my teeth and drank my juice.
I decided to finally give up on my cleanse when I got up to use the washroom on the train and my legs gave out. I ended up toppling onto an empty seat and it took me a while to get orientated again because I was so dizzy and lightheaded. At this point I decided it was time to get some food in me. When I went vegan I made the decision to listen to my body, to stop worrying about calories and macros, and just listen to the signals my body was giving me and respond appropriately. So, I took my train collapse as my body telling me it needed some carbs in order to function properly again.
I drank another juice and ordered myself some crackers and hummus. My headache went away almost immediately and as soon as I got home I carbed up with some rice and potatoes and felt a hundred times better.
At the time I was extremely disappointed. I mean, I had spent a lot of money on these juices and I really wanted to look good on the beach. I felt like a giant failure, like I had just added another thing to the very long list of things I’ve started and quit before finishing. Looking back now, I realized this cleanse was doomed to fail from the start and acknowledging the mistakes I’ve made and how wrong of a mindset I was in, I’m chuckling and my moment of weakness and moving on. A three day starvation diet was not going to change anything about the way I look or feel on the beach and I’ve now come to terms with that. Now that I’m back in a better place and a healthier mindset, I’m refocusing my efforts back on eating for health, energy, and feeling good; not to lose a muffin top.
And don’t worry; I didn’t let those delicious juices go to waste! Yes, freshly squeezed fruits and vegetables were delicious. I was actually surprised with how tasty the juices were and still continued to drink several a day after my cleanse failure. I’m hoping that once I get back from my trip I can start doing some fresh juicing of my own!