I have never participated in any kind of “cleanse” or fast, save for one Yom Kippur in college when I fasted for the better part of a day and broke it with a vile D.P. Dough calzone. It was not what one would call a healthful experience.
And I have always been skeptical about juice cleanses. As soon as one finishes and eats a hamburger they immediately gain back whatever water weight they have dropped. But as a person who eats clean 90% of the time, I have to believe that if a juice cleanse could jump start a couple pounds of nagging baby weight for anyone, it’s me.
So I decided to give Blueprint Cleanse a whirl. After all, a billion dollar business can’t be wrong, right? Oh, wait, so were thighmasters. No matter! It’s only three days so what do I have to lose besides half my intestinal tract?
I was told to prepare for the cleanse by eating extra clean the day before. I didn’t quit coffee but did finish the day with a nice salad and my a homemade banana whip (bananas + almond milk + vitamix = ice cream).
As luck would have it, snow delayed the morning arrival of my juices. For several hours. As instructed, I drank loads of herbal tea and, as not instructed, I ate an apple. I also chewed a forbidden piece of gum. Not off to the best start. By noon I was getting antsy so I went to Whole Foods to purchase a single Blueprint juice. They didn’t have the green juice that was meant to be the first of the day, so I went with the #6 vanilla cashew milk. It was delicious – like a milkshake! And no wonder – it was supposed to be the last drink of the day! Oops – looks like we are starting with dessert.
When my package finally arrived I was thrilled. I also thought “Hey, that’s a lot of plastic!” I downed the actual #1 green juice which at first tasted strongly of celery. But after a few sips I began to strangely enjoy it.
#2 is pineapple/apple/mint and it is delicious. Like a mojito without the alcohol.
#3 is more green juice. It is 4 p.m. and I am starting to feel inexplicably depressed. Probably because this is around the time I would start making dinner. Yes, we eat at 5 p.m.
#4 is the Spicy Lemonade I had been dreading. But surprisingly I really like it and it actually curbs my hunger.
#5 is yet again the green juice. And sadly I have already had #6 for breakfast. But fortunately it almost bed time so now the only thing left to do is sleep.
I woke up feeling OK – no more hungry than usual. And I am down two pounds. Brilliant.
I drank my usual morning green tea until around 8:30 when I started my first green juice of the day. I feel fine during my workout and drink #2 afterward. But then I come home to the smell of fried chicken and gravy which my babysitter has decided to cook for my husband’s dinner since I will not be cooking (yes, he can cook for himself, it was just a nice gesture). So now I am suddenly starving.
I drink #3 around 1:30 and I am feeling hungry and a little pissed off. Mostly, I’m pissed because I keep reading that after the cleanse you are supposed to only eat fruits and vegetables for a few days. The last thing I want to do is mitigate all this hard work – but are you kidding me??
Now it is 2:30 p.m. So much for mental clarity as I have no recollection as to why I just opened this browser. Also, my baby’s formula is starting to look appetizing so I am drinking #4.
At 3 pm I take a few bites of cucumber (an acceptable “cheat”) and it is awesome.
By dinnertime I am suicidal watching my family eat real food. I drink #5 and then my “dessert” #6. I am now questioning the purpose of all of this and look forward to blissful sleep. Fortunately I pass out at 8 p.m.
I always feel less hungry in the morning. Especially when I wake to find that I have lost another two pounds and I am down to my pre-pregnancy weight! (However, my body looks like it has been completely ravaged beyond repair).
I don’t feel great during my workout. Despite all the claims of an energy boost I feel less strength and endurance as usual, but I get through it without feeling too awful.
However, my 11 a.m. and juice #2 I am starting to question everything in life and seriously considering quitting this thing.
Once again, at 1:30 I drink #3 and feel hungry and pissed off. It might be time for more cucumber. I also have an extra bottle of the delicious #6 so I decide periodic swigs is an acceptable cheat.
Around 3:30 I decide to start cooking some vegetable soup to eat tomorrow. I am actually finding the idea of a raw onion appealing. Cooking while fasting takes a special kind of masochist.
I prepare to drink my final juice while my 4-year-old is begging for more ice cream because he is sooooo hungry. And this final night I am in a total fog when I finally fall asleep.
The Day After:
I wake up at 5:30 a.m. feeling strangely good. I am five pounds lighter than when I began. I also feel the need to mention at this point that I have not spent any extra time in the bathroom during this cleanse so the weight loss was not just a massive enema.
I’m not particularly hungry. In fact, the idea of pizza does not entice me. If anything I want fruit and vegetables – which is a good thing since that is all I am permitted to eat. I go downstairs and eat a strawberry and it tastes weird.
So does a bite of apple. This isn’t good. So I sip some herbal tea for a while and prepare to make a green smoothie with apples and spinach. And it makes me feel ill.
So I do what so many other cultures do and have some of my vegetable soup for breakfast. Much better!
I need to speak at a conference today so I am definitely having some coffee. There is no non-dairy creamer available so I drink it black, which tastes strangely OK. After that my energy levels soar – which could be from my first taste of caffeine or an actual result of the juice cleanse. I skip the boxed lunch at the conference and head home for a surprisingly nourishing salad of spinach, cucumber, and avocado with lemon juice and olive oil. I prepare some roasted cauliflower to go along with more of my soup for dinner and really feel like I accomplished something with this cleanse.
However, by 8 p.m. I cave and eat a bowl of oats which makes me feel a little ill. The following evening I split a massive chocolate concoction with my son and the following day I gorge on pizza. I realize that the five pounds I lost will probably reappear within the week.
But that wasn’t the entire purpose. In fact, some of this was just a test of my own willpower. Could I survive for three days on nothing but lettuce juice? Yes, I could. So it’s good to know that if I were stranded on a dessert island with nothing but coconuts I would not die immediately.
What I’ve really learned is that we do not need nearly as much food as we think we do. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to die if I don’t have dessert. But clearly my overeating has been a combination of mental and possible physical factors from just eating as most Americans do.
That said, I will not be giving up gluten. Or meat. Or cheese. I will ease back into eating a mostly organic diet of every food group and occasionally house a pan of Betty Crocker brownies. Some things are just worth it.
But there is definitely a new awareness of how my body responds to food, or lack of it. And I feel really proud of myself for taking on something so intimidating and actually following through.
Would I do the Blueprint Cleanse again?
Only if I receive an invitation to walk the red carpet at the Academy Awards. Apart from that, I’ll take back the weight and enjoy the physical, social, and emotional pleasure of food.
Disclosure: Amazingly, no one paid me to do this. I shelled out the whole $200 on my own plus $11.99 for the extra juice on day one. Please feel free to click on my actual affiliate links to help pay for my juice debt.