Having recently completed a juice cleanse with incredibly results (including weight loss, restored relationship with food, more mindful eating and no more binging) I thought it would be appropriate to share my experiences and some tips on why I believe it went so well.
A lot of people have been asking – how did you do it? Did you do X or did you try Y? How did you do it without coffee?! And the most important (because it’s the perception I most want to change) ‘I could NEVER do a juice cleanse!’.
So I’m going to put it out there for all of you to read, see, share and try for when you do your own cleanse (which I 100% recommend!).
1. Order a good cleanse!
Obviously the most important step is to make sure you have chosen the right cleanse for your body, and with a brand you trust. My #1 recommendation is Sol Cleanse, because it’s local, organic and served in glass jars (you can read more about Sol Cleanse’s benefits in my previous post here). You also have to choose the right type/style of cleanse. Sol Cleanse have various levels available. My most honest recommendation is whether you are super healthy or not, starting on Level 1 (the easiest level) is most ideal, to desensitise yourself to the experience and to enable success. In Occupational Therapy, we call it the ‘Just Right Challenge’ – don’t choose something that’s going to be too hard, and don’t overestimate your ability to cope with a brand new, foreign and somewhat frightening experience (that being, the juice cleanse!). So, choose your cleanse really honestly.
2. EAT (if you want)
I know, completely counter-intuitive for a juice cleanse, but I ate and I am now 5kgs down. It’s about knowing what works for your body – for some, not eating is fine and can be a thrilling experience. For others, especially those who love the textural experience of food (I’m talking about that crunch or the chewing motion), veggie sticks are going to be your best friend. I stuck to raw and steamed vegetables throughout the cleanse, with a little bit of tahini. It’s all I craved, and because they were healthy cravings, I allowed my body to thrive from that. And I am glad I did, because since the cleanse has finished, vegetables and tahini is all I crave! It’s like the meal reminds my body of being in an optimal state of health, and it loves it.
3. Drink Coffee
Okay so now you are probably thinking, did this girl cleanse at all? Well yes, I did, but I adapted it to my body’s needs. Not drinking coffee can be a massive deciding factor for doing a cleanse and fair enough! Coffee gives us ENERGY and if you’re working full time + have kids, a blog or have a lot going on, it’s a real necessity. I say, DON’T let the idea of not drinking coffee hold you back from an amazing cleanse experience! Have your one coffee a day (though I only ever have long back) and nourish your body with organic juices for the rest of the time! If you only have one coffee a day, then your not addicted. And if coffee isn’t something you are wanting to stop completely post cleanse, then bloody don’t worry! If it is a vital part of your routine and is going to get you through the day – let it!
P.s. your body is going to be withdrawing from carbs, sugar and food in general, so if you are going to cut coffee be prepared for some serious withdrawal symptoms (totes fine if you want them/plan to give up coffee after the cleanse).
So you order the cleanse and you get 6 juices per day. Say one day, you feel like a little more? Then make it! Or purchase a high quality juice alternative (e.g. Impressed Juices from Woolies). Having an extra juice is going to be better than breaking the cleanse and binging on bread instead.
If you feel like you need something more than a juice? Well make a smoothie! It’s only going to provide you with fiber you otherwise aren’t getting anyway, and you can substitute that in for the night time almond milk too. Just stick to rough calories (you are pretty much safe if you don’t go hard on the nuts).
My favourite smoothie creation during the cleanse (and after!) was water, a touch of almond milk, vegan activated protein (from Amazonia), 1/4 banana and 1 date – perfect substitute for when I couldn’t stomach another juice (or the almond milk) and wanted some time in my happy place (that is my kitchen – also a part of routine, also something to keep me sane!). So by the end of the cleanse, I had 4 more juices left so just decided to keep the cleanse going and didn’t eat until dinner – so pretty much did a 4 day cleanse in the end! Well.. and then my cleanse kept going anyway (but more to come on this later!).
5. DON’T exercise!
This whole experience is abut pacing, which is about knowing your body’s limit and working within that. Remember you are consuming SIGNIFICANTLY less than usual, so your body is going to be tired and exhausted, while it’s spending time rejuvenating and cleansing. On the first day I literally napped for two hours in the afternoon, then ate some veggies and went to sleep. Your body is, in all truth, getting used to the feeling of being hungry, so there is literally no point to stress it out even more with exercise. With stress comes increased adrenaline, heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol, which in high doses (i.e. lots of stress) can be extremely damaging for our body and it’s function. Obviously, that isn’t what you want while you are trying to allow your body to cleanse and recover.
On the last day of my cleanse, I did go for a light walk, because I had adapted and felt up to it – but it really was a super conscious decision which I knew was not pushing myself too hard. Keep to the mentality of ‘how will this make me feel after’ and most importantly ‘do I have enough energy right now’.
So there you have it, 5 of the tips that got me through.
Stay tuned for my last blog to this Juice Cleanse Series – it’s going to be all about post cleanse benefits and how to keep that health kick going!