I decided to try out a juice cleanse last week because they seem to be rising in popularity in the city with the increase in green juices, cold-pressed juices and a general juice frenzy having taken most cafés in the capital by storm! Despite being a green juice lover, I've never considered doing a juice cleanse before because I just love food so much and never really considered that it would be something enjoyable or practical to fit into everyday life. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a bash last week and was really surprised by how it went.
I decided to get my juices from Green Beards because I'm already a regular customer, a big fan and their shop is a stone's throw away from my house so it would be easy to pick them up. I think it's important to have tried the juices bar's juices first as if you don't like the taste, it's unlikely you'll want to continue drinking 2.5 litres of the stuff every day. There's lots of other places in the city doing the cleanses though including Punnet, Pure Green, Sprout, Juices By Ginger and Staple Foods just to name a few. You can collect all the juices in one go but I decided to pick up a fresh batch each morning because there is no way I'd fit 15 in my fridge.
I decided to start the cleanse on a Monday morning. Apparently it's important to cut down on refined foods a day or two before the cleanse, and that truly was my intention but when a toffee and banana french toast presented itself to me for brunch on Sunday I could hardly say no. I decided not to worry about it however and go ahead with the cleanse anyway. The idea is that you have 5 juices each day and between the juices you drink as much water, lemon juice and and non-caffeinated herbal teas as possible. My juices consisted of a carrot juice, beetroot juice and 3 green juices. If you're hard-core, Green Beards let you swap one of the green juices (Starmode - which tastes like yummy lemonade) for one which contains pure vegetables and herbs (The Boss - definitely doesn't taste like lemonade), I decided to make the switch because I thought I may as well go hard if I'm doing it, right?
The carrot and beetroot juices were my favourite, they tasted incredible and they were the most filling too - you have them for breakfast and lunch respectively. I know this is hard to believe, but I honestly was not hungry once during the juice cleanse. At all. Usually when I hear people say this I assume they must be either lying or else secretly munching behind closed doors, but it was true. Cold-pressed juices are so nutritious and apparently contain more enzymes, vitamins and minerals than regular juices, so your body is getting nourished. Now to say I wasn't hungry doesn't mean to say I didn't miss eating. The smell of my colleagues pulled pork sandwiches was a unique kind of torture, yet my tummy didn't rumble once. It's funny, the juice cleanse made me notice just how often I would eat when I wasn't truly hungry. Often I would snack out of habit or for comfort when I wasn't actually hungry at all.
I thought day one would be the easiest, but actually day three was because I was well and truly in the swing of things. If you want to do this you need to drink every drop of the juices so you're nourished and therefore not hungry, also drink lots of water in between. I found that I was pretty cold during the cleanse (not eating any food will do that to you) so lots of peppermint tea and hot water with lemon helped massively. Okay, I also may have also had a hot water bottle at my desk, which surprisingly helped loads. Get an early night each night. Definitely have some light exercise. I avoided this the first day or two thinking it would use up all my energy and make me ravenous as a wolf, but I went to a boxfit class on the Wednesday night and honestly didn't know where all my energy was coming from. I'm definitely not suggesting running 10k or anything but in retrospect I wish I did something light on the Monday and Tuesday too.
The biggest challenge was that I work for a food company and so am constantly surrounded by food, either looking at pictures of food or eating food. In my head I thought the Great British Bake Off final on Wednesday night would crack me. My housemates and I have a tea & cake tradition every Wednesday when watching it (it's nigh impossible to watch such glorious cakes being made without eating some yourself). I bought a Natasha's Living Foods cake made from raw nuts and fruit just incase I crumbled, as apparently if you're hanging for something to eat you can have some raw nuts, fruit or veg. In the end I didn't actually eat it, I wasn't hungry for it. I think the biggest thing is thinking you're going to be missing out, especially from a social point of view. I think it was a good idea to do it during the week rather than the weekend as at least you're constantly busy and have a routine, it would have been harder at the weekend for me as I would have been thinking about the brunches, dinners and farmer's markets food stalls that I was missing out on.
When you finish the cleanse make sure to eat something light and plant based so as not to give your digestion an almighty shock. I had grain free muesli with coconut yoghurt and fruit in the Fumbally on Thursday morning as I thought it would be gentle on my stomach, I definitely wouldn't recommend a sausage sambo. The whole idea behind doing a cleanse is to give your digestive system a break and flood your body with nutrients. This isn't a quick weight loss fix, I didn't lose any weight. However, I did feel lighter and not remotely bloated, my jeans were looser, I had tonnes of energy and I lost my taste for refined foods. It's a good way to turn a new leaf with your diet and I am definitely glad I did it. It's also gotten me out of the bad habit of mindless snacking that I had gotten myself into, I'm more aware of hunger cues now. I felt great afterwards and full of energy, it's something I'd consider doing again after Christmas when my my body is bursting at the seams with Christmas pudding, turkey and mulled wine. Now that I know what to expect I think it would be easier the next time too. It's not cheap at €85 for the three days, but I guess it's an investment in your health and body. Also the different juice bars have different price points and you can get ones for €60, I just prefer the taste of the Green Beards juices so went for them. This is definitely something to consider doing if you want to give your health a kick start.