This is the final instalment in my DIY juice cleanse mini series (find the full series here). I completed my cleanse a few weeks back and kept a diary, so read on for a step-by-step guide/blow-by-blow of the experience…
Probably the most important bit of prep you need is to make sure you have the right equipment. You will need
- A juicer. My recipes, with the exception of the cashew milk, have to be juiced, not blended, unless you want to drink a thick, lumpy, grassy mess. I have the Philips HR1861, which I’m a big fan of (still going strong after two years). I paid about £80 for it from John Lewis, not the £120 listed on the Philips website! Looks like my model has been discontinued, but this seems to be its replacement.
- A blender. I have two: expensive one/cheap one.
- Containers to hold your juice. I used a jug and a bunch of mason jars.
Also, make sure you have enough fruit and veg to last the three days. It’s quite a lot…
Next, while browsing the multitude of “juice cleanse delivered” websites for recipes to ‘borrow’ for my own DIY cleanse, I found that lots of them made suggestions of some lifestyle changes you could make leading up to the cleanse to avoid some of the negative side effects of juicing (stuff you might expect like headaches and dizziness). The general jist is that you want to avoid eating anything that is hard on your digestive system reight before you cleanse, so that your body isn’t trying to flush out so many toxins. They suggest that a few days pre-cleanse, you might want to avoid:
- Processed/high fat foods (i.e. obviously unhealthy foods, including ready meals, biscuits, crisps, cake etc.)
- Red meat and poultry
- “White” foods – white flour, rice, bread, pasta
- Sugar and artificial sweeteners
This leaves lots of fresh fruit & veg, legumes, nuts & seeds, and a little fish.
I didn’t do this religiously and to be honest I didn’t have any major side effects, but then I don’t really drink coffee (I know, boring) or alcohol (I know, lame). Me thinks, these have the biggest effects, so if you tend to drink 3+ cups o’ jo a day, you might want to cut back a bit instead of going cold turkey. Apparently caffeine withdrawal is a killer. Your call though.
I also bought some Dead Sea Salts (Epsom Salts are also supposed to be good). These are often included in some of the professional cleanses. Obviously they are completely optional, but I wanted the full experience. You do want to take it easy on a juice cleanse, and what is more relaxing than bath salts? They also help to ease any side effects because they draw out the toxins from the body.
The Night Before (Tuesday)
I was supposed to avoid the foods mentioned above, but I didn’t. I ate chicken. And like I said, I was fine. But you know. It might help. Also I put my cashews and brazil nuts in the fridge to soak, ready to be whipped into milk tomorrow.
Day 1 (Wednesday)
I woke up and first thing I did was make myself a mug of warm water and lemon. Then I went straight on to prepping my juices for the day. I definitely recommend making all of that day’s juices in one go. This equates to about 1 litre of green juice and then about 400-500ml of the other juices. That way you can just pour out what you need as and when. You do NOT want to be washing the juicer more than once a day. Faff.
I had the same set of juices each day, and aimed to drink them in pretty much the same order. This order:
- Lemon and warm water (when I wake up). You can add some mint or ginger if you like
- Glow Getter Green Juice number 1 (30 mins after the lemon water)
- (Not a) Pina Colada Pineapple Detox Juice (mid-morning)
- Glow Getter Green Juice number 2 (lunch time)
- Beet it! Beetroot and Carrot Juice (mid-afternoon)
- Third and final Glow Getter Green Juice (late afternoon)
- Cashew & Brazil Nut Milk (dinner)
I don’t think there are any major rules to this, besides the fact that you should start with a green juice, because it has the lowest sugar and highest nutrients, and the sites tend to say that the cashew milk should be dinner, but if you prefer it at lunch, I say go for it. And you can mix and match the juices however you want really. But personally I’d rather not drink green juice after green juice.
The timings are pretty loose too. I had my first juice when I was hungry in the am, post lemon and hot water. Then I’d have another one every time I started to feel hungry after that during the day (approx every 2-3 hours).
Another thing I did was “chew” my juice. It was mentioned a few time online, and I don’t fully understand the purpose, besides the fact that it made me conscious of drinking and it took me longer to finish each serving. I didn’t feel hungry at all on day one, or faint or headachey at all. I might have felt hungrier if I’d slurped the juice down in 10 seconds. I don’t know. But basically I think you want to savour your juice a bit.
I had a pretty easy time of it on day one. I was working from home all day, so I didn’t need to run around at all. I guess this meant I wasn’t expending all that many calories. I does make me wonder where all those hobnobs were going previously… The worst part was in the evening when the bf was eating his dinner (no solidarity there) and all I had was cashew milk. I kinda just wanted to go to bed to get the day over with.
Day 2 (Thursday)
The first thing that surprised me when I woke upon day two was that I wasn’t hungry at all. I was expecting to wake up ravenous, but not at all. I also found it a lot easier to wake up that usual. I am NOT a morning person. I normally feel really groggy in the morning. But this morning it wasn’t a struggle at all. After that, it was the same routine as day one (drink lemon, make juice, drink juice).
I was out and about quite a lot that day, so I packed a few juices to take along with me. I felt a little bit hungrier than before, but still nothing major. And no faintness or dizziness at all. Probably the most challenging thing for me, was being around people, who obviously expected me to eat and drink normally. And I had to be all like, “I’m cleansing”.
Overall, day two was my worst day. By the evening I wasn’t hungry in the strictest sense, but I wanted to eat. I’m a self-confessed foodie. I love to eat and going without was killing me a little bit. I realised it’s less the food (it’s a lot the food), but more the social aspect of enjoying a meal with the boyf. So that evening I was pretty grumpy, and at this point, I was contemplating sacking it in and calling it a two day cleanse. I went to bed pretty early because I was getting hungry (I drank my cashew too early – going to bed hungry is not the one).
Day 3 (Friday)
Surprisingly, considering the night before, I wasn’t even hungry when I woke up. Again I woke up really easily, and felt incredibly clear-headed. I need to reiterate that I am NOT a morning person, so that feeling was a first for me. The sensation was hard to explain – I felt this kind of mental sharpness. Maybe a placebo effect. But whatever, it was good.
It became clear that mornings were a lot easier than evenings, and having slept on it, I felt a lot better about completing my final day. By the evening of the third day, I was so close to the end, and I really wanted to achieve what I’d set out to do that I stuck with it, and completed the full three days.
The Next Day (Saturday – Post Cleanse)
As was the pattern now, I didn’t feel hungry at all when I woke up the day after the cleanse. I ended up having scrambled eggs for breakfast, but I could have just gone for another juice. In a way I wish I had because I didn’t really enjoy my breakfast as much as I thought I would. I think I would have appreciated it more if I’d held out for a yummy dinner…
So that’s it. That was my juice cleanse. After that I tried to continue to eat more healthily. It’s going quite well. On a day to day I try to avoid most of those non-detox-friendly foods. Off that list, diary and sugar are probably my biggest vices (I do love me some Ben and Jerry’s). But a treats called a treat for a reason. And if I go to far, I can always do another juice cleanse to set me on the right track again.
Finally, I thought I’d share a few of my general observations
Hunger: Nope. I didn’t feel hungry almost at all throughout the cleanse, which surprised me. I thought I’d be ravenous, considering that I didn’t actually eat anything for three days.. I think the trick is to always have a juice handy. Every time I feel a pang, grab a juice to chew on.
Other adverse side effects: None. I was also expecting to feel faint, get headachey and stuff. None of that. For me there were no adverse side effects. I didn’t have any less energy than usual. If anything, I felt more ready to get up out of bed and get going with my day.
Positive effects: I don’t weigh myself, so I have no idea whether I dropped any pounds, but I was so much less bloated by day three. This made me really rethink my diet, which was one of my major motivations for cleansing in the first place. Oh and the clear-headedness that I keep banging on about. That was great. I just generally felt better in myself. Lighter, mentally and physically. Less weighed down. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain…
If you’re thinking about juice cleansing, go for it! It’s not as hard as it looks. I’m not exactly the poster child for nutrition and I did it. And I’m so glad I did.
I’ve you’ve ever done a juice cleanse, I’d love to hear your experience!