I was offered a free 3-day juice cleanse from Austin-based company Skinny Limits, a cold-pressed, raw juice producer. Seeing as how we’re both alway harping on about getting healthy and stuff, I grasped at this chance with as much strength as my feeble fingers, weakened by a year of lifting nothing but margaritas and tortilla chips, could muster. Meaning, I emailed back and said, “yes please”.
To preface, I don’t believe that my body is “toxic” or that there are “toxins” running rampant through my system that must be “detoxified” or anything. As long as my liver and kidneys are functioning, I trust them to take care of all the toxins that I may ingest or even create as a product of metabolism. I generally don’t suffer from digestive ails, skin blemishes, or mood swings. And I’ve got plenty of energy, most of the time. But I like experimenting, I’m interested in human nutrition, and it’s kinda my job to stay up on topics in the food and drink arena. I was skeptical of the benefits of juicing, but excited to try it out nonetheless.
The only other inside-my-body-cleanse I’d done was about 12 years ago. I attempted the Master Cleanse — the one where you drink a gallon of spicy lemonade a day for a week? I made it exactly 9 hours. But with Chris at my side, both diligently drinking juice, I knew I could do it. It’s only three days! Every day we would each drink 6 – 16 ounce bottles of juice (I opted for the variety pack) along with water (you should drink more than none, as I found out) and maybe tea. No caffeine, no alcohol, no food … no problem! Ha. Ha.
December 31. Thirty six bottles of fresh-pressed, raw, unpasteurized juice are delivered to our door and quickly stowed in Party Fridge 3000. [PF3K is a machine that lives in the garage as a relic of our party-days that are, henceforth, OVER. FOREVER. (I hope not completely!) PF3K is normally brimming with average beers, shitty wines, and the occasional container of leftovers that undoubtedly will never be eaten, but for the past week was filled with juice instead and now is filled with nothing.]
January 1. We do what all red-blooded Americans do: we eat black-eyed peas, cornbread, and beer for good luck. Then we have queso and tacos for more good luck. Then we go to bed, fairly stuffed and remarkably sober, as well.
January 2. Oh, January Second. You were so positive and fun in the few days before you actually arrived . . .
8:30 am I open my eyes and read for a little while. Without coffee, reading is hard on my morning brain. I’m hungry and I want migas.
8:45 am I have my first juice of the day: Pure and Simple green juice. It’s not bad. It’s actually pretty good. About half-way through it I start to feel full, but I finish it, slowly. I go back to my book on the couch, occasionally interrupted by the MOST ANNOYING DOGS EVER.
11 am I do a yoga video. I realize how horribly out of shape I am. But I do the whole 40 minute class.
12 noon I drink my second juice of the day: Balance Green Ginger, which seems appropriate after the yoga during which I felt most unbalanced. Then I take a really hot shower. Then I start to feel sleepy.
1 pm I cheat and have a cup of green tea. It’s green, so it’s okay, right? I feel a little more perky after that.
2:30 pm I have my third juice of the day: Lotus, a beet and carrot blend that is surprisingly sweet and beety. I like it. Chris likes it less. I still feel fine, normal even, but kind of tired. I slept well the night before so it’s either remnants of sickness dragging me down or a shortage of tortillas and eggs. We’ll leave this one up to the scientists.
3:00 pm We go shopping for a new front door. I’m starving and irritable as soon as we get to the giant home-store-place. I smell the smell of scam coming from the door “expert” so we leave, doorless. I realize that a juice fast is not the time to make big decisions like what kind of front door to get or even what kind of herbal tea to drink. Also I realize that I’m dehydrated, even though I’ve been drinking juice all day. Weird. I note to drink some regular water today, as well. We stop by HEB on the way home to get some herbal teas to drink instead of our usual coffee and realize we both feel high as shit. Like we are on drugs. It’s kind of awesome, but I wonder if it’s safe to be driving around.
5:00 pm Home again. Thank God. It’s all I can do to sit on the bed and type this. So tired. We drink our fourth juice of the day: Scorpion Lemonade. It’s basically the Master Cleanse spicy lemonade drink, but with way less sweetness than I put in my Master Cleanse jug, lo those many years ago. It’s super tart, but not super spicy. I’m not sure I can finish it, it’s so sour. I feel sleepy and yawn again.
6:15 pm I finally choke down the rest of the Scorpion. I actually feel a little energized and clean the kitchen even though I can’t even use it for 60 more hours.
6:24 pm I find a flaccid carrot in the fridge. I eat it. With salt. It is delicious.
6:45 pm We enjoy hot mugs of ginger tea like the Yogis we are not.
7:30 pm Time to watch a movie! I’m so glad we have juice instead of popcorn! Juice number 5: Firefly, another green juice. All the green juices kind of taste the same, but they are all good.
9:00 pm The “bedtime juice” is Crescent Moon: delicious cashew milk with vanilla and cinnamon and it tastes like the nectar of the gods. We are both in love with it. And it does the trick I guess, because my worry of rousing at 2 am and sleep-devouring half a bag of Fritos was needless. I slept soundly except for having to get up and pee . . . ’cause of all the juice.
I woke up “starving” and then immediately felt bad about using that word when there are people in the world who are literally starving to death and I am just here in my warm bed, sad that juice is my only food. This becomes my mantra whenever I feel hungry.
8:00 am This morning, I realize how sweet the juice is. The first ingredient is apples, then kale. I didn’t recognize the sweetness as strongly yesterday. Maybe my tastebuds are getting cleansed, too. I also had some hot ginger tea which is supposed to aid digestion because all day yesterday, my tum-tum-tum was a’rum-rum-rumblin’ like a freight train. Was that too graphic? The dogs were giving me dirty looks, it was so loud.
10:30 am My yoga video is easier today.
1:00 pm I have some hot mint tea and notice it’s 1 o’clock and I probably should be having another juice right now. I’m hungry, but I don’t mind it as much. Of course, that may be because I’m busy. Working. Writing. This thing right here. Whoa. So Meta. So Zen.
1:30 pm Juice time! Chris and I both notice the beet juice is “beet-ier” than it was yesterday. Definitely our tastebuds are cleansed. That’s exciting. We take the dogs out. We are both still feeling high as shit and it takes 100% of my brain power to walk the dogs.
4:30 pm Scorpion! I added a dash of extra cayenne to mine and it’s an improvement. It still takes me an hour to drink it.
5:30 pm The dogs are hungry. I know because they are jamming their noses into my elbows while I type. The weirdest part about a juice fast is not being about to cook. That might be weirder than not eating. Without the cooking/eating/table conversation that goes along with eating food, the day passes in a loosely structured way without any timeline. Kinda cool in that way, but I do miss cooking. I’m spending a lot of time planning what we will eat for the next week.
10:00 pm We hit the hay. I’m wide awake, though, and lay there until about 1 am.
8:00 am I awake in a marvelous mood! Even though I couldn’t get to sleep last night, I’m up at 7:30 feeling all refreshed and shit. Rad.
11:30 am A longer-than-expected visit with my brother and sister-in-law has set our mid-morning juice break a little closer to lunch-juice break, but I don’t mind. I’m hungry, of course, and boy I want that juice bad, but the irritability that usually comes along with being hungry is not around today, nor was it around on Day 2. Very interesting.
12:00 pm We head out to see a man about a ring. Since we are taking the month off, we are going to get some things done, by golly! Meaning, a full year-plus after getting married, Chris and I are finally going to see about getting my ring fitted. I’ve been wearing my grandmother’s engagement ring and it’s about 3 sizes too big for my finger. I hold it on with tape. It’s fun looking at sparkly things in the store, but we begin to remember once we’re in there that while on a juice fast is not the ideal time to make decisions. Nevertheless, we make a decision! Apparently, my ring would take a lot of working on to get it back to its former glory days. We decide to use the diamond in a brand new setting instead. We pat ourselves on the back for making a decision that has been on the table for a year. I hope we do not regret that decision once we are fed.
3:00 pm Chris has a blazin’ headache. I feel awesome and I put on my “Ride, Captain, Ride” Pandora station and clean the house. Chris realizes that I am 100 times better than he is at juice fasting! GIRLSRULEBOYSDROOL! I try not to gloat too much as I polish the floor.
5:30 pm We both add even more cayenne pepper to our Scorpion Lemonade and it’s real good.
8:30 pm Movie time! It’s amazing how movies are still interesting even without drinking. Maybe I shouldn’t be amazed at that.
9:30 pm We have our delicious cashew juice a little earlier than normal because we are both super hungry. Man, that cashew milk is a miracle. It’s like a light horchata. I want to keep it in the fridge at all times for bedtime snackies.
10:00 pm Bedtime. I lay awake until midnight again, but wake up feeling fine!
And that’s the run-down. The next day we ate normal foods (huevos rancheros, lentil soup, salad, pho) but not too much of them. Same for today. Overall, I would totally do another juice fast. I feel like my tastebuds and appetite got a “reset”. I’m less hungry with less food, flavors seem brighter and stronger (especially sweet and salty) and my desire to drink alcohol is completely gone. That is the strangest and most magical part to me. Chris and I are in the habit of drinking 1-2 glasses of wine a night. During the cleanse, neither of us missed it and we have yet to miss it now. We feel great!
What didn’t happen: We didn’t lose any weight, if you’re wondering. A 3-day juice fast probably isn’t enough to make anyone lose significant weight, but personally I wouldn’t want to do longer than 3 days. I missed cooking. A lot. If you enjoy cooking and eating solid food, you probably won’t like a long fast, either. If you could care less about those things, then a juice fast will save you a lot of time! It’s amazing how much other stuff you can get done in a day when you don’t have to stop and cook, eat, or wash dishes. It’s like an extra 2-3 hours a day! I do worry a little bit about the sugar content of most of the juices; I tried to rinse with water after the apple-based green juices and the acidic Scorpion to protect my teeth. But I suppose 3 days can’t do that much damage. As long as you brush your teeth.
We plan on doing a one-day fast/cleanse about once a month both for the tastebud-cleansing effect and the general effect it had of putting us both in a more healthy frame of mind regarding diet and alcohol consumption!
If you’re interested, this is the variety package we did. Skinny Limits ships, too.