3 days, 18 juices, and nothing else. It wasn’t fun, but I survived my first (and probably last) juice cleanse, and lived to blog about it. Lots of my friends have been asking me how it worked and what I thought, so here is my official review.
With the Broad Street Run behind me, and a little bit of a lull before my NYC Marathon training starts, I figured now would be a perfect time to regroup myself and get my body healthy and ready for the next leg of training. I also wanted to see if I could drop a few of the pounds I’ve put on while not being able to work out due to my ankle injury. So I decided to try out a juice cleanse, and roped Jordan into it.
We did the Catalyst Cleanse, which I chose largely because I know other people who have done it, and because you can pick it up locally through Jar Bar. We chose the 3-day juice cleanse, which was a whopping $180. I’m still trying to deal with the sticker shock from that. You order the cleanse at least 4 days in advance, and choose whether you want to pick it up or have it delivered, and select what day you start. They only have pick-ups on certain days, and it’s recommend you start the cleanse right away so the juice remains fresh. So we chose to start on Tuesday. I got a confirmation email shortly after the order was placed instructing me to pick up the juice at Jar Bar on Monday, between 5-7pm. I had a number to call when I arrived, and they brought the juice right out to the car for me. I underestimated how difficult it would be to carry 36 bottles of juice around, so I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with that. With the juice obtained, we were ready to get started.
How it works:
The cleanse consists of 6 juices per day, each 16 ounces. You drink them all about 2 hours apart, finishing your last one at least 2 hours prior to bedtime. During the cleanse you can only have decaf tea and water. No food, alcohol, or anything else. According to the website, you’re supposed to have extra energy because your body won’t be wasting energy on digestion. They even tell you to think of it as a “tropical vacation.” That part’s debatable. Anyway, each of your juices are numbered for the day, so there isn’t much to think about.
1- Green Juice- cucumber, celery, apple, parsley, spinach, lemon, lime, ginger
2- Spicy Lemonade- lemon, agave, cayenne
3- Carrot Ginger Juice- carrot, apple, celery, ginger, lemon, lime
4- Beet Juice- apple, beet, ginger, lime
5- Green Juice (repeat #1)
6- Cashew Milk- cashew, agave, cinnamon, vanilla
How Did They Taste:
On day 1, I was pleasantly surprised by how the juices tasted. They were all much better than I was anticipating, probably because I set the bar pretty low. But on day 2, the thought of drinking them all over seemed less appealing. And on the third day, I was pinching my nose to get them down. My favorite was the spicy lemonade, then the carrot ginger juice. I didn’t love the cashew milk. It tasted like watered down milk to me, and I hate milk (yea, I know that’s weird). But that was still a million times better than the green juice and the beet juice. I shudder to think of the beet juice. I hated beets going into this, and I hate them even more now. Most of the drinks have lots of ginger and/or lemon and lime in them, which basically is there to mask the fact that you’re drinking celery. But drinking ginger really isn’t that good. I know it’s supposed to be cleansing, but I would have much rather eaten plain carrots than liquified carrots mixed with a ton of ginger and lemon juice. Keep in mind that I am extremely picky to start with. I hate tomato juice, any kind of vegetable juice, v8, and many fruit juices. So maybe someone else would love them. Matt tried the green juice on the first morning and thought it was pretty good.
My hunger levels were all over the place during this. On the first day, I felt good until after lunch. Then I was starving until bed time. Sitting on the couch with Matt as he ate Tostitos and drank a beer was torture. On day 2, I woke up hungry. Not a good sign. Luckily that went away after a morning workout session. I was feeling decent until after lunch, and starving in the afternoon. By day 3 I think my stomach finally shrunk a bit. I wasn’t really hungry most of the day. I actually skipped juice 5 for the day. The thought of one more green juice was just too much to take. And I wasn’t super hungry, so I figured I would be ok skipping it. I did chew (sugarless) gum almost constantly during the cleanse. That probably isn’t allowed. But it was just too weird to be only drinking and not chewing anything.
In theory, your body should have more energy while doing the cleanse. I experienced quite the opposite. My workouts felt a little tougher than normal, but I was able to do them just fine. However, I workout in the morning. If I was an after-work gym goer, I doubt I would have been able to power through them. I felt lethargic and tired every afternoon on the cleanse. I was falling asleep super early each night.
Aside from being hungry and tired, I was ridiculously cold during the last day and a half of the cleanse. I just couldn’t get warm. I felt weak.
I did vomit after drinking the beet juice on day 2. And that night, I felt pretty light-headed. I would imagine the two are connected. Since I was already on such limited calories, losing some of that left me even worse off.
The most noticeable result of this whole thing was weight loss. I lost 8 pounds in 3 days. Not bad at all. However, I ate like a pig right before the cleanse, so it was definitely water weight. And I am pretty confident I’ll gain most of it back after eating real food again. Regardless, it feels good to see the number on the scale go down. I am much closer to my lowest weight from last summer.
I also notice already that my stomach capacity has shrunk. I ate my normal breakfast of an apple and flax bread with organic peanut butter, even earlier than I usually do. By this time in the morning, I’m usually eating a snack and/or starving for lunch. But I feel totally fine right now.
I also noticed my skin was looking better by the end of the cleanse. I don’t know how to describe it, but the tone is better. Maybe it has a bit of a glow?
I am not sure if I washed the toxins out of my body, or if I just feel good from eating healthy, but after getting some food in my system today, I feel pretty energetic and clean. Pretty much the opposite of how you feel after a whole weekend of eating junk food.
This whole cleanse process also reaffirmed my willpower. It’s really hard to go to a restaurant and sit there as every person around you is eating food and drinking beer and you’re just sitting there drinking water and hoping nobody hears your stomach gurgling. But I did it. Being reminded that you have the power to control and conquer things in your life is always a great feeling.
Would I Cleanse Again/Recommend It:
I honestly don’t know if I’d do this again. I can’t deny it was a great way to drop a few pounds in a very short period of time. It could be a great thing to do before a big event if you need to fit into your favorite dress. However, I don’t think the cost was worth it for me. I feel like you could get most of the same benefits just by eating raw vegetables and water for a few days. I feel like that would be a walk in the park for me after doing this. And it would be much cheaper. I am sure not everyone experiences the same side effects that I did with this. Jordan didn’t feel nauseous or lightheaded at all, and he wasn’t really hungry. Each person will be different. I am glad I tried it out for myself. And if you’re really curious and have the money to spare, you should go for it. You’ll never know how it will work for you if you don’t try it out.
I am quite glad this cleanse is over. It’s a small feeling of accomplishment to have done it, and I like the way my jeans fit much better now. But I was SO happy to eat an apple this morning. I am taking it easy the rest of the day and focusing on light foods and fruits/veggies. I would prefer to ween myself back into real food a little more slowly, but I’ll be in NYC tomorrow, which means restaurant food. And cupcakes. I think I’ve earned one after this week!