Not long ago I learned about juice cleansing, a procedure where you feed yourself only with vegetable juice for a number of days (1 to 5 days is typical for commercial packages). I was particularly researching on how to improve my eating habits so I could achieve my ideal weight and fitness level, and I came across several people who did this “Reset Cleansing” with results that seemed unbelievable to me. I watched a lot of videos of people who did it, what they experienced and what were the results. In these videos, I could see a consistent loss of 2 to 3 kilos (4.41lb to 6.61lb) in just 3 days and also improvement on skin health (I have an annoying skin condition that forces me to use a prescription cream regularly), so I had to give it a try!
For context, juicing became popular thanks to the Netflix documentary “Fat, Sick and nearly Dead”, where this Australian business man cures himself from a condition hat had been affecting him for a long time and also lost a lot of weight, by drinking exclusively vegetable juice for 60 days. I have to say that the documentary not only didn’t touch me at all but after watching the sequel “Fat, Sick and nearly Dead 2”, it made me think that juicing cannot be a sustainable habit for a healthy lifestyle, and on top of it, people featured in the documentary didn’t seem to achieved a normal body weight throughout the years and also had horrible bounce effects.
The Cleansing Experience
The purpose of this “cleanse” or “detox” is to allow your body time to eliminate toxins from your system and “reset” yourself. A lot of the quick and delicious junk that we eat leaves us craving more and more (in my case is very notorious with refined sugar products) so with this process we suppress this cravings and also it gives our stomach a chance to shrink a bit so we crave less food.
How to get it done?
The first choice that you have to make if you want to give juicing a try is to either make the juices yourself or buy commercial packages. While this decision will be affected mostly by your budget and the time you have available, I decided to go commercial for 2 reasons: First, I didn’t want to have a bad experience because of my lack of nutritional education (I’m definitely not remotely close to be educated in nutrition), and second, as fun as it sounds to me, I didn’t have the willingness to buy a juicer and shop for tons of vegetables and spend a lot of hours experimenting with juice recipes.
The second choice, if you went for commercial, is which one of all the available ones you should buy? After reviewing several packages I went with one I felt was the right one for me, it was from a store that is originated in San Francisco, local to me, and the package seemed very well thought, this one is “Project Juice“: it has a combination of juices, soups and wellness shots. And despite of the price tag (almost double as other options) the results I got were very aligned to what I wanted to get out of it. One good tip if you’re buying online, is to pick it up from the store, where you will save around $65. Don’t get discouraged by the price as you will be getting the best in class cleansing package available. Another option more on the budget side is “Pressed Juicery“.
The process for me consisted on 3 days of juicing plus an additional day of prep. So I started on a Monday and my first solid food was on a Friday.
The prep day was easy, pretty much everyone that documented this (and the instructions I’ve got from Project Juice) say you need to have a raw vegetable diet, drink loads of water at least 3 liters, avoid alcohol and reduce or eliminate coffee. So I did it by the T, ate salads the whole day with very minimal dressing, I had herbal tea and fruits for snacks. Also I went by the store and picked up my package. By adding up the calories in every juice I ended up with approximately 1200 calories, which is a little lower than what a male of my age should be getting but definitely not for starvation.
My weight on the morning of prep day was 70.9 KG (156.31 lb).
I got early and very and excited to try out the juices, my first thing was the juice of a lemon on warm water and the first wellness shot, what happened after 20 minutes is that I had to poo A LOT, basically cleared a big chunk of the solid foods I had on my inside. By noon my stomach was growling and around 4pm I started having a light headache. I was not really hungry but definitely craving to chew on something solid and salty.
My weight on the morning of day 1 was 70.7 KG (155.87 lb). This means by only having salad and no coffee and alcohol for 1 day I had already lost 200gams!
Every blog and video I followed said that day 2 is the most difficult. Not in my case really, I had the regular routine of juices, tried to be consistent with the timing, etc. One of the symptoms from the cleanse I did experience is a little dizziness and confusion by the evening. During day 2 I was not really hungry and my stomach was not growling.
My weight on the morning of day 2 was 70.5 KG (155.43 lb). So far juicing didn’t make that much a difference in comparison to just eating lightweight.
That day I decided to do some physical activity, I was feeling pretty normal and biked like 3 to 4 miles. Didn’t experience any cleanse symptoms and I was not craving solid food anymore. One thing I have to say is that I was on a very good and consistent mood. I do associate this, though, with not drinking coffee rather than the juices.
My weight on the morning of day 3 was 70.2 KG (154.76 lb).
After the Cleanse
The morning of day 4 my weight was 70 KG. This meant that overall by juicing I lost 700grams or 1.54 pounds (almost 2 considering the prep day) which is not bad at all but definitely not drastic drop of weight as I saw for other commercial packages. But is definitely what you would expect if you start getting 1200 calories a day on a balanced diet. I have to say that my skin condition got even worse. So by judging at the immediate results I would have said: “not worth it” but what I experienced the following days showed something different.
The Good Results
On day 5 and 6 I went on a bike touring trip, I did 35 miles each day on a loaded bike, to my surprise I not only didn’t feel tired, but also I felt way stronger. I climbed 4000 ft on constant uphill 3 gears higher than what I normally would! And I didn’t feel cramps or muscle tiredness or anything, my muscles were responding very well. A couple of days after I went to yoga class and I also felt more flexible than before. Finally I decided to get some solid numbers and I rode my bike on a segment I always ride and practice, I could do it 1mph faster than my global average.
With this I’m not saying that juicing improved my sports performance but I learned from the results of very good nutrition in my body. Eating healthy, not drinking alcohol and avoiding coffee helped me perform better at what I love to do, kept my mood very stable and helped me achieve my health goals.
Currently, I relaxed the diet to adapt it to my lifestyle, this is, focus on eating more raw uncooked veggies, staying away from dairy and coffee (eating socially really as I love coffee and cheese so not planning on quitting) and quitting the drink for a season, at least until I reach my goals, only by drinking socially.
Finally 2 weeks after the juicing, I’m slowly but solidly going down on weight: 68 KG (149.91 lb), hopefully over time I’ll get more learnings and will be able to share. Thanks for reading!! Please add any questions to the comment section.