Diary of a 3-Day Cleanse
Ever done a cleanse? Neither had I. But I wanted to feel better and refresh my system. Trouble is, I was a little scared. But Blueprint Cleanse made it easy. And they delivered to my doorstep.
I’m hardly a health nut—although, for the most part, I try to watch what I eat. I spent two years working out with a personal trainer, though in recent months my exercising has been sporadic at best. I order the majority of my food from Diet Gourmet (a 2009 D Beauty Award winner, BTW), because it’s appetizing, easy, and portion-controlled. But I’d say that I’m “good” only about 75 percent of the time. The other 25 percent I’m likely indulging in chips and queso, maybe a couple of mango margaritas. What can I say? I don’t like to deprive myself of Tex-Mex.
Lately, however, I’ve been feeling run down. I can’t decide if I’m working too hard or I’m not putting enough good stuff in my body. It’s probably a combination of the two. So I decided to try the Blueprint Cleanse, "a nutritional juice cleanse delivered straight to your doorstep." The idea here is that the cleansing process should be flexible and available to everyone. According to the web site, "This cleanse will gently rid your body of impurities, regain an alkaline balance, and normalize digestion and metabolism." I interpreted that as "reboot my system." I’m in. (And there’s a handy list of FAQ on the web site, if you want to know more.) They use the finest raw food ingredients and organic produce whenever possible. There are three different levels—The Renovation Cleanse, The Foundation Cleanse, and The Excavation Cleanse (yikes). I’ve never done a cleanse before, so I chose to do the Renovation Cleanse for three days—to me, the maximum allowable time to go without solid food. Here’s how it went.
My box of juice arrives promptly, so I’m not forced to starve to death. I can have tea and fruit until the juice arrives, so I had a cup of black tea when I woke up. I’m overwhelmed by the number of bottles; turns out I have to drink six a day for three days. This is the Renovation Cleanse—for beginner’s, and that’s definitely me—and I chose three days because I’m not sure if I can take much more than that my first time out.
No. 1 is romaine, celery, cucumber, kale, parsley, green apple, spinach, and lemon. It’s a dark green color—not particularly appetizing, but it does scream GOOD FOR YOU—so I dive right in. I can taste the cucumber and celery mostly, though I can also taste the undertones of leafy greens. The green apple is bound to be the ingredient that makes it just sweet enough. I’m a third of the way through the bottle and I’m wondering if I should just take a deep breath, hold my nose, and down it. But it tastes sort of good, maybe because my body is thanking me for not overloading it with another Tex-Mex combination plate or the chicken finger basket I ordered at Lake Texoma on the Fourth of July. I hope by the end of the day I’ll go to bed thinking this is the beginning of something good.
No. 2 is pineapple, apple, and mint. It’s delightfully refreshing. It’s not too fruity; you get a hit of mint on the nose and on the finish. So far I’m not hungry, so that’s good, although I suspect by tonight I’ll want to stock up on the approved foods: celery, avocado, cucumber, vegetable broth.
I’m officially starving. I’m trying to decide if I just need to suck it up or if I need to high-tail it to Albertson’s for some “snacks.” I guess the first day is the hardest, huh?
Rather than get out of my pajamas—I’m working from home today—I opened up juice no. 3. Same as juice no. 1. I’m not as excited as I was this morning. It’s really like someone shoved a bunch of greens in a blender. But it’ll have to do in a pinch.
All I can think about is food. It doesn’t help that I’m working on the restaurant directory for dmagazine.com, reading about Tex-Mex, chicken-fried steak, breakfast tacos, and little French bistros. And why is every commercial on television for some sort of meal? Lord, give me strength. A quarter of an avocado sounds divine right about now.
I just peed for the eighth time today. I guess that’s good.
Just cracked open no. 4—water, lemon, cayenne, agave—but I’m not hopeful it’ll prevent me from gnawing on my coffee table. Going down, it tastes a bit like lemonade. On the finish, I can feel the tingle of the cayenne in the back of my throat. I’m in for a long night. I’m sure I will dream about cheeseburgers.
I’m so hungry I might murder someone. I don’t really need this cleanse, do I? I have no idea what I was thinking. I eat pretty decently most of the time. Isn’t that enough? Time to get dressed and head to the store for some approved snacks before I turn homicidal. I will say, however, that I haven’t had that usual late-afternoon slump. I’m pretty energetic. I worked all day, without interruption, and my head is still clear. Maybe I don’t need solid food, after all.
I just got back from Albertson’s. I bought two large cucumbers, a bunch of celery, and two avocados. I hack open the avocado and eat a fourth of it. Nothing has ever tasted so good in my life. It’s funny how you really appreciate the taste and texture of food after it’s been denied you; besides that, my palate has been cleansed. The avocado is smooth, rich, and definitely buttery. This makes me think about this beautiful side of avocado I just had at York Street: chunks of avocado, slivers of fennel, a little lemon juice and salt. Terrific. One more thing for me to crave. But at least it took the edge off my hunger—for now.
Time for juice no. 5: carrot, apple, beet, ginger, lemon. It’s the color of beets—watch out for spills—but it has a sweet edge to it, especially on the finish. I can taste the ginger right away, too.
As I’m reading over the instructions again, I realize I haven’t had any water today. How did I miss that? Dummy. Anyway, off I go to chug a gallon of water before drinking my last juice of the day.
What a fool I am. I should have been drinking water all day. That surely would have cured the empty feeling in my stomach. Just downed two tall glasses of water and I’m the fullest I’ve been all day. But must move on to no. 6: water, raw cashews, agave nectar, vanilla bean, cinnamon. It’s recommended I drink the last one at least two hours before bedtime, so here I go. It’s as delicious as I imagined—I’ve been dreaming about this one since I pulled it out of the box—because it’s like a dessert in a bottle. A little nutty, a little sweet, a hint of cinnamon. Toward the end there are larger chunks of cashews that have settled at the bottom, so it’s almost like eating. The instructions recommend half a bottle of no. 6 first thing in the morning to curb any hunger pains. Can’t. Wait. I would drink this any day, especially when that sweet tooth starts calling around 3 pm.
I am wide awake. I slept soundly last night—for the first time in a long time (without any sleeping aids). I got tired at a very natural hour, fell asleep quickly, and slept deeply. I woke up six minutes before my alarm clock, and I feel refreshed.
I’m drinking half a bottle of no. 6 on my way to work. I need to be awake, alert, and sated before my 9 am presentation. Besides, that, it tastes sooooo good.
I crack open no. 1 before my presentation. The smell of blended green veggies smacks me in the face. It’s hard to drink this pretty bitter green monster after indulging in a little dessert-like treat like no. 6. No matter. The greenness of it still screams goodness to me, and I desperately want to feel good.
Just finished no. 2. So light and refreshing. The mint is really perfect, especially in the heat of summer. It went down fast and smooth. I haven’t even thought about a snack of cucumbers yet today, even though I brought some to work with me—just in case.
I’m drinking no. 3, which is the same as no. 1. I’m hoping for some energy. And I don’t know if it’s the color or the fragrance of greens, but I feel good about filling my body with this juice. Otherwise it might have been a Krackel out of the jar of candy I have in my office (for other people, of course). Today I’ve been less distracted by thoughts of food, probably because I’m in the office, surrounded by people and activity. Plus I’ve stayed away from that restaurant database.
I’m sleepy. Maybe low blood sugar? A few cucumber slices might be in order.
Already on juice no. 4—the lemonade with a hint of cayenne. Today I’m struggling. I have a bit of a headache, although I’m not sure if it’s because of this or because I’m generally prone to headaches. I have only two juices left today—well, one and a half, because I drank half of no. 6 this morning for breakfast. Maybe I should just go to bed early?
Just spoke to a co-worker who once did a fruit fast during a 40-day yoga binge. She thinks the afternoon of the second day is by far the hardest—she, too, was sluggish and felt generally unwell—but she says by that night she was feeling great, and day three was a breeze. Here’s hoping.
A message arrives in my in box: "Sprinkles delivery tomorrow (7/9)." This is the danger of working for a magazine company; we get sweets and other good delivered frequently. Sprinkles cupcakes are a regular in our office. Tomorrow is a new flavor: raspberry. I must resist.
Just finished a cup of vegetable broth. It was warm and soothing, just enough to take the edge off. I’m hopeful for an easier day three, although I will say I do feel lighter. While I wish I had a bit more energy, I’m happy to be doing something good for myself.
Just finished no. 5. I feel pretty good, actually. I guess my fellow-fasting friend was right. Once you get past the mid-afternoon blues, it’s smoother sailing.
“Indulged” in the dessert juice, only half a bottle, because I had the other half first thing this morning. I’m feeling a lot better than I was this afternoon. Relaxed, ready for bed. No more headache. I’m glad this day is ending on a positive note.
My neighbor puts his dog in the backyard every morning at the same time. Then he leaves the dog outside to bark her head off. Normally this makes me crazy, because it’s right outside my bedroom window, and I never wake up at 6:40 am; I’d much rather sleep until 8. But today it’s fine. I’m actually awake and alert—ready to tackle the day. I haven’t felt this rested in months. I’ve been dragging, totally unwilling to get out of bed no matter how long I sleep. This is a good feeling.
I’m drinking some hot tea this morning before I start with the juices. There’s something comforting about the hot liquid as it goes down my throat. Today I’m not going to “cheat” and drink no. 6 first. I’ll do it the right way, starting with no. 1, even though no. 1 is the most healthy-tasting (read: lawn in a blender) and not the most appetizing. But, weirdly, I feel the best drinking it. Must be something to all that greenness.
The raspberry Sprinkles cupcakes have arrived. Someone else has baked a peach pie, so I’m waiting until that’s gone before I put out the cupcakes. For now they are sitting in the bag, beside my desk. I am not taunted.
Still haven’t opened juice no. 1. Contemplating another cup of hot tea before I go for it.
I’m just now getting around to juice no. 2. By this time the last two days, I was already on no. 3. Today I’m more relaxed, less anxious about not eating "real food." In fact, I’m not even sure I’ll have to hit the fridge for my cucumbers. Of course, now that I’m just now getting in the groove of this cleanse thing, it’s almost over.
I finally put out the cupcakes and enlist a few co-workers to taste-test them so I can see what I’m (not) missing. I got a few thumbs up—sweet icing, though I hear the inside tastes like a blueberry muffin. That’s weird. I thought they were raspberry. I grab my juice out of the fridge instead and slice a few cucumbers. Surprisingly, I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.
I can only get halfway through no. 3 today.
Because I abandoned no. 3 halfway through, I’m moving on to no. 4, the cayenne-spiked lemonade. Dear friend.
My friend Julie comes into my office and reports that the cupcakes aren’t worth it. I’m secretly glad. I’m drinking my cayenne-spiked lemonade and feeling proud.
I know everyone wants to know, um, the bathroom situation. I will attempt to put it delicately. I have never peed so much in my life. And there have been no other unfortunate explosions.
I have a confession to make. I have just returned from Whole Foods, where I purchased a small cup of chicken soup. I’ve been feeling great all day, but I was starting to get that late-afternoon headache—even though today I did remember to drink lots of water—and chicken soup sounded like just the ticket. While some of you may call me a cheater, I call it honoring my body. While I do believe in discipline, I also believe in making smart choices based on what our bodies tell us they want. And today, around 5, my body called out for chicken soup. Not a cheeseburger or a margarita. Chicken broth, rice, and protein. I think I did the right thing. Within the next half-hour I’m off to visit a friend who’s in town from New York. She’s gathering friends at the Idle Rich Pub. I will join them and drink a club soda.
This is my final diary entry—the prologue, if you will. I went to the Idle Rich Pub, and I drank three glasses of water. I caught up with friends. I left feeling great, and a little superior, because the rest of those fools were just drinking empty calories. I’m taking the last few sips of no. 6, my favorite, and I’m thrilled to report I am still clear-headed. I haven’t been this alert this late in who-knows-when. By this point I’m usually curled up in bed, watching an episode of Law & Order on my DVR. I feel lighter, refreshed, renewed. Even with the chicken soup incident, I’m proud of myself. I’m looking forward to breakfast tomorrow, but I’m craving an egg-white omelet with a few slices of avocado. This cleansing stuff isn’t so hard, after all.