Is a juice cleanse a waste of time ... or is it worth the effort?
Yvette Manessis Corporon: I've never been one of those "I'll just have a small salad" kind of girls. I like my food. I like my food a lot. And because I have such a food fixation, like so many other moms, I've been struggling with those last stubborn five-ish pounds I just couldn't manage to get rid of. So when a similarly food-loving friend of mine raved recently about how she lost several pounds on a three-day juice cleanse, I was more than curious -- I was ready for a cleansing kick in the pants.
"So you weren't hungry?!" I demanded.
"Nope, the shakes filled me up," she insisted, gesticulating with her newly slender arms.
"How did they taste?"
"How do you feel?"
"Where do I get it?"
The answer was blueprintcleanse.com. I signed up for a three-day juice cleanse. That's right, just juice -- no food. Nothing, nada, zilch for three days. No sneaking nibbles of my kids' nuggets, no giving in to my leftover Happy Meal fry fetish, and no sandwiches or salads to satisfy my rumbling, yet still somewhat rounded, belly. This is hard core. I prayed I could get through it as I said my silent goodbyes to even the liquid holy trinity of my mom vices: coffee, red wine, and Crystal Light.
Here's how it works: You sign up online and choose your cleanse. Since this was my first time forgoing food, I chose level 1, the Renovation Cleanse, supposedly the easiest cleanse.
On the first day, I woke up knowing I couldn't just dive in to my usual two large cups of coffee with milk. Nope, instead, I stuck to the program and had a large glass of water with lemon. Next came the first of my six premade, prepackaged shakes, the Green Juice. "Bye-bye belly bloat!" I thought, as I lifted the Green Juice to my lips and toasted to my new body. I shook that sucker right on up and popped open the lid, but the moment the green mixture of ginger, spinach, and lemon hit my lips, I knew I was in trouble. "I'd rather be fat than drink this crap" was all I could think. Where was the yummy juice my friend had promised?! Where was the delicious tonic the website raved about?! I could barely get this concoction down. This wasn't going to be easy.
Thankfully, the next drink lived up to the hype: the pineapple-apple-mint juice was delicious, and I savored every sip knowing the evil green juice was soon to be again on my menu. Next came an unusual but good spicy cayenne lemonade, followed by a funky lemon, ginger, and beet shake, which I surprisingly didn't mind at all. And last, but certainly not least, was the richest drink of the day, a cashew-nut milk which tasted like cookies and cream ice cream after my difficult first day of deprivation.
And so it went, and so I starved for three days straight. There were a few rocky moments, but I made it through. Believe it or not, I actually started developing a taste for the dreaded green juice. Maybe it's just because I got used to it, or maybe it's because I was so famished that anything would have tasted good to me by that point. Sure, I was tempted to cheat and even to quit a few times, but I stuck to it and kept hunger pains at bay with the BPC list of acceptable "cheat foods." I never in my life imagined I would look at a stick of celery, a slice of cucumber, or a piece of avocado as cheat foods, but they did the trick and kept me satisfied enough to stay honest and stick with the program.
So, after three days of cleansing juices, I woke up and stepped on the scale. Now mind you, the BPC makes it very clear that this is not a diet program, this is a nutrition-dense cleanse, a detox -- a way for your body to rest and get rid of all the junk you've been eating and drinking.
Well, they can call it what they like, but I call it a miracle diet. SIX POUNDS!! I LOST SIX POUNDS IN THREE DAYS!!! My belly is flatter than it's been in years, and my long-lost friends, my hip bones, have actually come back to visit after a very long hiatus.
Alright, now I know it was mostly water, and that it means I was just probably really bloated to begin with (I'll admit, I never met an olive I didn't like). But when I stepped on the scale and looked in the mirror after my three-day juice fast, I liked what I saw -- and more importantly, I liked how that felt.
The BPC says that detoxing will leave you energized and euphoric because your body is ridding itself of impurities. I have to be honest -- for me, that wasn't exactly the case. During the cleanse, I felt nothing but hunger. For me the euphoria came afterwards, in knowing that I could do it -- and that I had done it ... and that I had learned a vital lesson in self-control. No, I don't need that burger and fries to satisfy my hunger; sometimes an apple will actually do the trick.
It's now been a week since I finished my cleanse. I'm happy to report that the six pounds have stayed off -- and my new attitude about food has stayed on. I'm now eating when I'm hungry instead of sitting down to a full meal just because the clock says it's dinnertime. I'm making smarter choices and eating more fruits and vegetables than ever before. And you know what, it feels GREAT.
Was it easy? No, I have to admit it wasn't. Would I do it again? Absolutely!
Now, the BPC is not cheap: it's $85 a day to have the juices delivered if you live outside New York; $65 a day if you're in New York City. Sure there are other options -- you can find lots of do-it-yourself juice cleanses online. They're not as convenient as popping open a premade BPC shake, but they will save you money. Remember, I never said it was easy -- but I do think it's worth it.
|Yvette Manessis Corporon is an Emmy award-winning writer and producer. She is also the co-author of "Peeing in Peace: Tales and Tips for Type A Moms." Yvette lives in New York with her husband and two children.|