What I’ve Learned From Doing a 24-Hour Juice Cleanse.
Since starting my job as a full time writer last year, I put on some weight. How much weight, I can’t really tell you because I don’t have a scale or a full length mirror that I can consult in my apartment, but all my clothes suddenly got really damn tight and that was a pretty good indication. I can estimate that I gained anywhere from 10–15 pounds in the last year, and I attribute that to 1) sitting at a desk all day and 2) treating my body like a trash can in an elementary school cafeteria.
Pop tarts, sour straws, chicken fuggets (those are fake nuggets, FYI) pretty make up my diet, not to mention all those Hostess Snacks I would “treat myself” to after a long day, which ends up being every day. Does it hurt to be a cliche? Yes. Yes it does.
Anyway, I don’t care that much about the extra weight I put on. Not enough to do the logical thing like eat less and exercise more, at least. Nope. I have a gym membership that I never use, and if I do, I walk on a treadmill for about 20 minutes and then circle the various machines trying to look casual as I peep other people’s workouts to see how to use them. When I work out at the gym, I simultaneously feel like I am doing way too much and nothing at all, which is an overwhelming feeling that makes me leave around the 40-minute mark every time, although I technically only worked out for about 20 of those 40 minutes. I do, however, use the infrequent gym trips as an excuse to buy a blue Gatorade, the best flavor Gatorade, and if you are one of those people who think yellow is the best flavor, I’m sorry, you are trash. However, I feel like I got very bloated about 3 months ago and never un-bloated, so the juice cleanse seemed like a good option for me.
On my way to a rehearsal I was running early for on Monday, I stopped at the Pressed Juicery in the Columbus Circle subway station (yes, juice stores are in subway stations now, and New York is almost as bad as LA) and bought a 24-hour juice cleanse. I tried to appear super nonchalant to the girl at the store, who was probably around 18, because I am easily intimidated by teens, especially ones who work at juice stores. Come on, could she get any cooler? Anyway, this cleanse had 1500 calories, the same amount that I eat in a normal day, and because I’m not really trying to lose weight (more reset my diet), I figured it would be a good one to try.
So this teen gave me 6 juices, labeled them in the order in which I was to drink them, apologized about not having the chocolate flavored nut milk, I said I didn’t care (I lied) and I was on my way with $32.00 worth of liquids in tow.
The next day, I started the cleanse as per the cool teen’s verbal instructions: drink the first drink when I wake up, then drink a juice every 2 hours until I’m finished. Sure. I get up at 6:30am, and by 7am I am on the downtown 1 train and ready to get drinkin’. The first drink is some kind of vanilla almond nut milk with figs. I unscrewed the cap, planted my feet in a wide second (again, moving subway) and took a swig. Honestly, it wasn’t bad. It tasted like vanilla soy milk with sand in it. I could live with it. I started getting some chunky bits in there, so I shook that sucker up and pretty much chugged it. By 8:30 am, drink 1 out of 6 was down, and I was feeling really good about this cleanse situation.
Now, I should mention that I am a real creature of habit at my job. I work as a blogger for a website, and I have my routine down pat. Arrive at 8am, write an article, eat cereal (whatever was on sale at Walgreens + almond milk), write another article, poop, make tea, write another article, eat lunch, write two more articles and then head home. Of course, half my time-tested schedule flew out the window on cleanse day, so I got cozy with my juice at my desk and settled in.
By 10am, I started to feel the pang of hunger that meant I was ready for my bowl of Special K (don’t judge me), so I reached for juice #2. This juice was called “greens 2,” and it’s basically a liquified salad. Now, juice #2 did not taste horrible. It was made up of a bunch of green shit I would avoid eating normally like kale, parsley, romaine, spinach, cucumber and celery, but it also featured the granddaddy of masking flavors: apple. So I know that this juice isn’t going to taste as good as some vanilla almond shit, and I brace myself and take several large swigs just to get this shit down. The initial flavor isn’t horrible, but the aftertaste was acidic, like the taste you get in your mouth after you barf. I start doing that thing where you hold your breath and drink as much as possible, and then come up for air at the last second like a toddler drinking a juice box. No matter how much I drank, sipped, and chugged, I swear this fucking juice never went down. I ended up nursing this lettuce-water for about 3 hours, putting me behind schedule. Fuck. It was the beginning of the end of the juice cleanse.
I have learned that while doing a juice cleanse, you get to experience the very bizarre sensation of being extremely full and extremely hungry all at the same time. By 12:30pm, around the time I usually eat lunch, I felt like a water balloon. Yes, I peed a whole bunch, but I still felt like I was sloshing around and full of liquid. What I didn’t do, however, was take my daily 11am poop. My asshole was acutely aware that I was doing a juice cleanse, and although I kept feeling like I had to go, I couldn’t. Isn’t the whole point of doing a juice cleanse to piss out of your butt? Anyway, the thought of drinking another juice made me nauseous, so I decided to give it a little break. It was around that time when one of my coworkers informed the office that there were free cookies in the break area. I audibly groaned “No, not today!” to which my coworker responded, “Oh, come on, April.” She was right. I did the one thing you’re not supposed to do during a juice cleanse: eat. And I ate the worst thing possible: A warm chocolate chip cookie that probably had the same amount of calories as all my juices put together.
I have to be honest, before eating that cookie I was feeling a bit light headed and totally unfocused. After eating it, I felt revived, not only in my stomach, but also my soul. It also made me thirsty, so it was onto juice #3.
Juice #3 is called “roots 2” and basically looks like swamp water in a bottle. It’s similar to juice #2 but with carrot and ginger, which made it taste sort of like that ginger salad dressing you get at Japanese restaurants. This one was a real fucking doozy to get down, though. As a matter of fact, it took me 8, long, excruciating hours to finish, and I heaved between gulps. Here’s the thing, the juice didn’t even taste that bad, but I was just so full of fucking juice that my body was straight up rejecting it. Oh, I also pooped, and it wasn’t butt piss. Just normal poop.
So cut to 8pm, and I am back in my apartment, mentally preparing myself to swallow the last ounces of “roots 2.” I’m sweating a bit, taking deep breaths and suffering through the last drops— the hardest bit to get through because all the juice debris settled at the bottom. At this point, I know that I can’t drink 3 more juices before going to bed. I gave my friend juice #5, which was the same juice as juice #2, so I knew I wouldn’t miss it. I felt semi-guilty about giving away 1/6th of my cleanse, but then I thought of having to drink another 16 ounces of salad juice and I suddenly didn’t care anymore. BYE JUICE #5.
As I fall asleep that night, I think about this juice cleanse. I’m pretty hungry, but more than that, I really miss chewing food. I also miss warm things. All I did all day long was drink cold, bitter slop and I thought about how nice eating a microwaved sweet potato would be. Do you see what the fuck a juice cleanse does to your mind? I ended up pining for a fucking MICROWAVED SWEET POTATO. That shit is NOT normal.
Anyway, I wake up the next day and I am surprisingly not ravenously hungry. Unfortunately, my 24 hour juice cleanse is going to take closer to 32 hours, but I deserve to be punished after eating a cookie with little remorse yesterday. I decided to switch the order of my last two drinks and have the vanilla almond nut milk for breakfast again, which was just as sweet and grainy as the first one. The last juice, which I had around dinnertime, is called “citrus 2” and boy was it a winner. It actually tasted good, I didn’t have to do some mental gymnastics in order to convince myself to drink it, and it was refreshing as hell. It also had 24 grams of (natural) sugar, so it was pretty much like drinking melted ice cream, which is why I was probably so on board with it.
In conclusion, juice cleanses are stupid and I wouldn’t recommend them. I was hungry and unfocused the entire day, and although it did make me grateful for chewing, it was not worth the dull, lingering headache that persisted for nearly 24 hours. I learned that I have no will power, but that is something I pretty much already knew. I walk away from this experience with a new found appreciation for solid food and solemn reminder that I should be taking better care of my teeth. In the future, I plan on changing my long term eating habits to not include inhaling entire sleeves of Oreos in one sitting, but right now I am shoving saltines and cheese into my mouth and it has been the happiest I’ve been in two days.