I recently started a new job working for an organic grocery delivery company. As someone who tries to be as active as possible and has a goal of running a 50km trail race this summer, I focus a lot on how I fuel my body, so organics seemed right up my alley as I truly believe in clean, natural sustainable produce as the best form of food. Fast forward to 1 month in at the new job and there was discussion at work about doing an office cleanse. I have never actually done a cleanse before and was intrigued at the thought of it. In the past I have read articles about cleansing and discovered that a lot of people spoke of a clarity of mind and intense focus that came as a result of doing a cleanse; this interested me enough to want to give it a try. However, I knew that I couldn’t do it for long as I didn’t want it to interfere with my training…I can’t run without food in my body! After talking it over at work we decided that we would all choose the cleanse of our choice, I opted for a 3 day juice cleanse. I made sure to research to ensure I was doing it right, such as drinking alkaline juices in the morning/evening and a juice with a higher sugar content in the afternoon.
Recently my other half and I have been adding veggie juices almost daily to our diet (partly motivated from watching the documentary Fat Sick & Nealy Dead) so the thought of juicing wasn’t new to me; but could I do it for 3 days straight, that was the question. Here is a quick look back at how I did over those 3 days.
Day 1: As a 1 cup a day coffee drinker it was a bit tough to start the day without a coffee and it was a Monday as well *ugh*. As I read when researching for the cleanse, a cup of hot water with lemon is a great way to stimulate the digestive system, flush toxins and re-hydrate you after an 8 hour night of fasting; so this is how I decided to start my morning. To be honest I actually felt a little bit queasy after this drink, but went ahead with making myself a morning juice. I was making a juice with mint so hoped it would settle my stomach a bit.
Mighty Mint Juice
- 1 Lemon
- 1/4 Cucumber
- 1 Handful Chard 0r Spinach
- 1 Bunch Mint
- 1/2 Apple
I left for work not feeling too bad, but my head felt foggy and I felt hungry. I found it hard to concentrate at work, but since the other 2 girls in the office were also on a cleanse it was a great support system.They were doing the cleanse for much longer than I was so I knew I just had to suck it up and get on with my measly 3 day cleanse and try to not complain too much.
Although, as the day went on, I found myself thinking more and more about food. I am a big snacker during the day. I usually always have a piece of fruit and some raw almonds with me so I was missing those…big time! I lamented to my fellow cleansing colleague (yes I was being a real wimp) and she commented about how the cleanse she was on allowed her a cup of brown rice a day. Hmmm…this sounded like a great idea to me. It would at least satiate my appetite and give me the feeling that I was eating a meal. So I decided to alter my juice cleanse to include the brown rice for the remaining 2 days. It tasted so delicious… that first night!
Oh and I think I forgot to mention that this first night I decided to make my other half homemade pizza and salad. Not something I would recommend when you can’t eat!
Day 2: The second day was again filled with hunger pangs. Although the brown rice had helped, I found that I was eating a tad more than I think is recommended while on the cleanse.
By this day I realized that by choosing the 3 day cleansing option I was actually picking the hardest part…as most people mention the first 3 days are the toughest as your body adjusts to the changes. So kind of kicking myself now for picking the hardest cleanse…doh! And I have definitely garnered new respect for people who do extended cleanses, for weeks and sometimes months at a time. I don’t know how they do it!
I also decided that it would be better to be out of the house in the evening, keep myself distracted, so that I wouldn’t think about food. We went rock climbing but…found that I felt pretty weak. Not just physically, but mentally weak. I couldn’t get the focus I needed. The lack of energy at this point was becoming an irritant. I really wanted to stick with this, since I had never tried it before, and it was only a 3 day cleanse. However I was finding it hard to not be active.
Again my colleague had some timely advice for me. *Oh yeah did I mention that we were working around fresh fruit and vegetables all week and we couldn’t even take one bite!* Anyway the advice I was given was to try an apple/ginger shot first thing in the morning. It would quell the queasy feeling I had in the morning so I was going to try this the next morning.
Day 3: The final day of the cleanse. I woke up that day feeling really well. My head felt clear, the sun was shining and I decided to get out for a ½ hr run/walk to the river and soak in some of the morning rays. The apple/ginger shot left me feeling settled in my stomach and I was feeling energized.
By around noon that day though my energy really started to wane again and I was feeling pretty tired. I found that I didn’t have the desire to drink any juice at this point and I didn’t even really have thirst for water either, which is strange for me as I tend to drink a fair amount during the day. I finished the day looking forward to the next morning when I could eat a piece of fruit, eat some porridge for breakfast and chow down a big salad!
*This was the supersized salad that I had the next day!*
Final consensus: Personally for me I don’t think I was in the right physical or mental state to try a cleanse, which is why I found it more difficult that I thought I would. Being in the mental space where all I could think of was how I should be training for my trail race, I found I was just feeling frustrated with the lack of energy rather than submitting myself to the experience. Rather than feeling the effects of cleansing my body, I felt I was doing my body a disservice by withholding food from it.
Having said that, I am glad that I tried the cleanse, or my version of one! It was interesting to see how it made me feel and found it rather cathartic. Looking back now it felt a bit like a hot yoga session to me. It is so uncomfortable for the duration of the activity and the range of emotions I feel during the class…frustration, anger and release, felt very similar to the cleanse. Coming out of the cleanse I felt like I reset my body and it has helped me to focus more on what I was putting into my body. There is now a much stronger desire to put more raw natural food into my body because this I find that this is what my body works best with.
Will I cleanse again? Well I think if I was to do any kind of cleanse again it would be more of a raw food cleanse. I personally feel that this would work best for me. Just being able to have the sensation of chewing is a major factor. However I love juicing and definitely recommend it for the energy boost that it gives you. For me it is more about giving your body a break from processed unnatural food, than it is giving your body a break from food. It’s more important to keep the 80/20 rule when it comes to food, most of the time eat raw, fresh & natural foods and the remaining 20% of the time don’t be afraid to treat yourself.
If you have cleansed before or are thinking of trying it I would love to hear from you!