What to expect when going on a juice cleanse for the first time

Slim woman's body, detox
“Periodic fasting can help clear up the mind and strengthen the body and the spirit.” Ezra Taft Benson

… strengthen the spirit?!?!? I can promise you this. On a juice cleanse you and your spirit are going to have loud disputes about how to handle the situation where starvation is imminent. It’s like the good cop, bad cop scenario on TV. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. You will see what I mean. All I want to accomplish with this post is to assure you, that this is not a fun thing to do. It’s painful, it’s torture but enlightening in the end.

The week before the juice cleanse

I can’t quite remember why. Sometimes it’s just like that with me. Ideas of new experiments come to my mind and then I just do it. This time it was not about “What kind of things can I bake without using eggs” or “will my nose breathing improve when I wear nose strips”, no this week it was about living one week on a vegan diet.  Can you imagine the excitement of my carnivore boyfriend? Can I see a light smile on your face? Is that “Schadenfreunde” (let me throw some German into this, since there is not a translation for this word in English)? I know what you think and it’s so not true. A vegan diet doesn’t have to be boring but more about this in a different post. Anyway, so I “was on a vegan diet” and then I ran into our vegan neighbor, who proudly announced that he hadn’t eaten in two days because he “was on a juice cleanse”. And of course that hit my nutritionist ego. Theoretically I knew everything about a juice cleanse but never had done one. Was this the universe telling me that the timing was perfect? My body was well prepared, with one week of vegan dieting and we also had a down week with the run clinic. The juice cleanse seed was planted. When Day 1 came I had lost 2 pounds, felt energized, strong, and I was ready for this next experiment. One piece of advice in advance, don’t take anyone along with you on this juice cleanse journey unless they are at least as convinced about the trip as you are.

Day 1 or
how I distracted my spirit from thinking that I was going to die 

Twenty-one little (ca. 400 ml) juice cleanse bottles were delivered to my front door yesterday evening. I can’t wait to taste them all. The labels sound promising; especially the “Protein Milk”, it looks delicious. And now they’re all waiting patiently – standing in rows like little juice cleanse soldier – for their consumption in my fridge. Seven for each day. Let’s begin the cleansing business. Every two hours I am allowed to open a new bottle that are labeled with names like “The Digestive”, the Base” or the “The Energizer”. I put them in order according to the little schedule that came with the box. I must say it is a very convenience way to juice cleanse. It takes out all the thinking and organization that is required. You open the fridge, crack open the bottle, drink, done. No shopping for veggies, no clogged juicer, no cleaning, no personal blame about a lousy tasting juice combination.

But it requires trust. And I have trust issues. I compare the juice that has been delivered and is occupying the upper shelf in my fridge to the juice that I normally get at the local juice bar. They are both supposed to be cold-pressed and deprived from organic produce (at least from “The Dirty Dozen”). But somehow the cleansing juice in my fridge seems a little bit more watery and less dense (taste I find is a totally personal thing. So be your own judge here).

And then I find a thing, which keeps my German spirit busy for the next 2 hours. Some of the nutritional information on the bottles don’t add up. All bottles are the same size but have two different ml declarations. I start re-calculated the calorie content (4 calories per g of carbohydrates and protein, 9 calories per g of fat) and find only one juice that holds up to my calculations. Well, at the end it doesn’t really matter if you live on juice that contains 1.800 calories or 1.950. So far I haven’t died and my brain seems to be working.

Day 2 or
how I bath in self-pity

The optimism of day 1 is gone. It is Sunday, it is raining and my alarm kicks me out off bed at 7 am. I’m about to experience the least enjoyable 10 kilometer run I can remember. My legs are in a cast of concrete. My bum muscles feel flabby. My nostrils excrete snot. And of course it is exactly the day, where I forget to take my German Tempo tissue to the run. Every part of my body sends SOS signals to the master of the nervous system saying “REALLY?” My cleansing spirit is negotiating with my nutrition ego and we come to the following conclusion: This was a very bad idea. I’m stupid. I have to do a juice cleanse for five days. And I have to do it while I’m in training for a half-marathon. Three days of juice cleanse just weren’t enough. I had to go all in because I am a nutritionist. Doing it just for three days would have been like asking Ben Johnson to run only a 50-meter sprint, right? So the brilliant plan is now to stop after day three and re-sell the juice of day four and day five. Obviously I’m not going to survive more than three days on juice.

The run is not fun but I survive. I drag myself to the finish, the running store. Then the first mirage hits me. Never ever has there been a cookie buffet at the run clinic. But of course this is the day where it happens for the first time. Is this a test? Or is this again a sign from the universe that I better start eating, NOW? With a hanging head and shoulders I sit on the shoe fitting chair while examine the cookies and evaluate my options. I postpone the decision and take one of the richest looking cookies back home (it even had a smiling face saying “eat me”). My cleansing spirit wins. With refrained generosity I hand over the cookie to my thankfully smiling better half. He assures me a little time later that this was the best cookie ever. It really is great to have such support on your side.

What a hard day. Plaque builds up on my teeth. It’s still raining and it’s freaking cold. My better half ensures me that the temperatures haven’t dropped lately. And then I remember one of the beautiful side effects of eating or drinking raw vegetables and fruits. They have cooling abilities and are basically the opposite of hot sauce. Great! After a hot shower I try to relax on the couch. I wrap myself in layers and layers of cloth and feel like the Michelin’s man wife. My better half puts his super cozy alpaca socks on my cold toes and joins me on the couch with his iPad. While shuffling peanut butter filled pretzels into his mouth he is all excited about a super delicious looking gluten-free cake recipes he finds on the Internet. I would give everything for superpowers right now. You know, the powers where you can eject someone off the couch. But I haven’t. It’s too painful. I thank him for his attempt to sabotage my fast and leave. My cleansing spirits assesses that my sense of humor has fallen victim to the cleanse. But my sensory system for heat is sharp. I’m drawn to warm places in the apartment: running dryer, water kettle, and the cat (it is amazing how much heat such a tiny fur ball can dispense).

Starvation is imminent! I can’t stop thinking about food. Mirage part two. Pictures of golden French fries soaked in gravy with melting cheese on top come to my mind. Followed by an ice cream sundae dessert. It’s the day of extra sandwich and pizza commercials on TV and somehow even cat food smells delightful. It’s a great day for the invention of new juice recipes. If you blend a cinnamon bun and some almond milk for a very long time in a blender, it would pass as juice, wouldn’t it? This is mental torture! With the last juice of the day I cry myself to sleep.

To be continued in the following post…

What to expect when going on a juice cleanse for the first time by
Tanja Knapp
About the Author
Tanja Knapp

Tanja Knapp is an Explorer, Adventurer and Happiness Hunter currently camping in beautiful Vancouver, Canada. Her roots are in Germany where she grew up on a remote farm. A colony of abnormal cells in her cervix taught her the lesson that would change her life forever. Life doesn't get better by chance, it get better by change. She truly believes in creating happiness & health through constant adapting, growing and evolving. Her super power is curiosity. With her blog she likes to inspire others to explore uncharted territory.

If she is not busy writing, running, swimming or cycling, she is expanding her knowledge, exploring the World, and taking on new challenges.

She is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and graduated with an Honors diploma in Holistic Nutrition from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in 2013. She obtained a Hospitality certification in 1998 and a Marketing Communications diploma in 2004. She has worked both in Europe and North America.

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