Clearer, Calmer, Cleaner – My 3 Day Juice Cleanse Experience
My first taste of fresh, homemade green juice wasn’t great. My sister-in-law made me a juice consisting largely of celery and parsley. She advised me to drink it as an aperitif to the homemade lunch she had brought me, so I obliged.
Her recipes became more refined and a little sweeter, and I really came to enjoy real, green juice. (Not the green gunk from Naked that you buy at the store – that stuff consists mostly of fruit puree, and not many vegetables.) I noticed a definite uptick in my energy levels after consuming it. I bought it at local grocery stores, the Northeast Farmers’ Market, and even made my own at home once in awhile. (All you need is a good blender and a strainer!)
For quite some time, I’ve toyed with the idea of doing a juice cleanse. During a juice cleanse, you consume nothing but raw, fresh juice made from organic vegetables and fruits, usually for 3-5 days..
Sound terrible? It isn’t!
Any kind of cleanse is a chance to give your digestive system a break, but juice cleanses specifically flood your body with live, raw nutrients which help strengthen your immune system. Juice cleanses are also an opportunity to re-set your taste buds and re-train your brain, to help eliminate any unhealthy food cravings that you might have. A juice cleanse can provide the jump-start that you need to commit to healthier eating.
I finally did it!
Jen Thorpe, founder of Green Bee Juicery, was generous enough to donate a 3-day cleanse to me. I’m thrilled to share with you how it works, what my results were and why I recommend it.
As with any health endeavor, be sure to check with your doctor before jumping in.
How It Works
3 days before you plan to start your cleanse, you begin a pre-cleanse phase. This is aimed to make the transition to the cleanse easier on your body. You cut out processed food, alcoholic and sugary beverages, and focus on fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, water and tea.
I remember thinking if I could do all this, I wouldn’t need the cleanse! In a lot of ways, the pre-cleanse phase was harder than the actual cleanse. Mentally, it was tougher to say no to all of the crap I was used to eating, and I felt tired.
During the cleanse, you receive 5 juices and 1 nut milk for each day. It is recommended that you begin your day with a glass of warm water with lemon. You begin your juice consumption at 9 am, then drink one every 2 hours until you have your last one (the nut milk) at 7 pm. You are encouraged to drink as much water and herbal tea as you can throughout the day.
Green Bee Juicery does a couple of things different that helps distinguish them from other companies. They give you a few extra things to help support your cleanse. They give you 3 “power shots,” (concoctions of a few intense ingredients in a small vial), a tincture (a liquid extract made from herbs), a calming tea and bath salts.
I admit I did not take advantage of the tea or bath salts, but I loved the power shots! Two were lemon, cayenne and raw honey; the other was fresh turmeric, coconut water and lemon. I much prefered the taste of the lemon, cayenne and honey shot. I took it right before I started a big event at work on Day 2, and I truly felt a surge of energy. I’m currently investigating how to make it at home.
- Power Greens – collard greens, kale, cucumber, apple & lemon
- Green Tonic* – romaine lettuce, cucumber, collard greens, dandelion greens, apple, lemon, pink Himalayan salt & flax seed oil
- Glow – carrot, sweet potato, apple, lemon, ginger & hemp oil
- Happy Belly – purple cabbage, apple, parsley, ginger, & lemon
- Cashew Milk – raw cashew, Medjool dates, vanilla bean, coconut butter, cinnamon, pink Himalayan salt, & filtered water
*I had two Green Tonics each day
How They Taste
The taste of each juice was definitely vegetable-y, and not overly sweet. When I took my first sip of the Power Geens on Day 1, my initial thought was
Holy crap! This will wake me up more than coffee!
I was used to drinking green juices without much sweetness, but this was definitely on a different level. It tasted very fresh. Not quite a liquid salad, but close. The Green Tonic had a milder taste, and I enjoyed the addition of oil and salt. The oil helped add a bit of fat (and therefore greater satiety), and some Omega-3 fatty acids.
The Glow and the Happy Belly tasted a bit sweeter than the green juices, but not overly sweet. I enjoyed the purple cabbage in the Happy Belly more than I expected. Each of these juices had ginger in them, which provided a bit of zing and a jolt to my taste buds.
The Cashew Milk was like heaven in a jar. It tasted like a creamy milkshake. The high fat and protein content of the nut milk help ensure a full belly overnight, and I had no sleep issues due to hunger.
How I Felt
In a word, AMAZING! In more words…
On Day 1
I deviated from the suggested drinking schedule, as I had an appointment from 8:30 am to 9:30 am and couldn’t whip out my Mason jar of juice. I drank my first juice around 7:30 am. When I felt my tummy growl at 9:30, I had a few sips of water, and I was fine. I was excited for my 11:00 am juice, and was surprised when 1:00 pm rolled around – time for more juice!
I felt calm and very clear-headed through the day. I was at a different work site, so I had been worried about feeling stressed. To the contrary, I was able to move mentally and physically with ease throughout my day.
I ran 2 miles on the evening of Day 1. I felt a little light-headed at the start, but finished fine. I even did a 20-minute yoga DVD at the end, and then finished up with my cashew milk.
I did feel that running was counterproductive to the point of the cleanse. Rather than pushing through to run, I found myself wanting to slow down, to contemplate, to relax. I wanted to give my body a break. I decided that I would not run during the rest of the cleanse.
Everyone says that Day 2 is the hardest, when you feel the worst and want to give up. I woke up that morning feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. Major headache. I wasn’t even hungry, just tired and headachy. I attributed it to my lack of caffeine, so I had a cup of green tea, after my glass of warm water and lemon.
Support is huge throughout a cleanse. Green Bee Juicery provides support, but I texted with my friend Tia a bit, who has done two juice cleanses. She confirmed that today would be the toughest day, and I had to relax about it, or I would work myself into a “big mess.” She also advised not to make any big decisions this day! I took a few deep breaths, and drank my tea, and felt better.
I knew that Day 2 at work had the potential to be challenging. We were having a huge event, with lots of food, alcohol, people and activity. I was prepared to be irritable and stressy, but to the contrary, I felt calm and grounded all day long. My coworkers even commented on how calm and together I was. I was able to ignore the huge platters of cheese and sandwiches and bags of Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips (my greatest weakness), and still interact with people and be a generally good human being. I felt spent at the end of the late evening, but I also felt as though I’d had a very good day.
I woke up without any trace of hunger or lack-of-caffeine hangover. I had my green tea and drank my juices and marveled at how fantastic I felt. It sounds hokey, but I honestly felt more alive. I was really sad to see the end of the juice cleanse. I felt as though I could keep going forever. (Except for the whole no running thing, of course.) I can’t remember the last time I felt so healthy and vibrant.
Coming off the Cleanse
After the cleanse, your body needs to be slowly re-introduced to solid foods, and most cleanses recommended that you do this over the course of 3 days. I wasn’t able to come off the cleanse as cleanly as I hoped. After feeling so amazing for 3 days, I wanted to keep things raw for as long as possible.
The end of the cleanse coincided with Easter and a visit to my in-laws. On the first day after the cleanse, I had mostly raw fruit, with a few steamed vegetables. For dinner, my mother-in-law made a beautiful plant-based lasagna and salad, so I had a very small portion of each. The next day, I started my day with another green juice, and again had very small portions of blueberry wild rice pancakes and some eggs with veggies. I had a small cup of coffee, which, admittedly, tasted like heaven.
Benefits of a Cleanse and Why I Recommend It
Almost all of us can stand to eat better. To eat more raw, whole fruits and veggies. We know we should, but we don’t. It is easy to think “Oh, I’ll just have the extra-large omelet with cheese this once…” and then have that every Sunday after our weekly 20 miler.
It can be hard to make the right food choices. With a juice cleanse, you don’t have to think about it for 3 whole days. You know that you are flooding your body with live, raw nutrients and getting 5 pounds of vegetables and fruits in every serving. You might try veggies you have never tried, like dandelion greens. You are alkalizing your body, which can help alleviate everything from chronic diseases to runny noses and acne.
As a runner and endurance athlete, I would schedule a juice cleanse when you are ok running less (or not at all), and when you have the time and mental strength to devote to taking care of yourself. Know that you are giving yourself – your body, mind and spirit – a huge gift. Consider it as much of an investment in you and your running as you do new shoes or a coach.
About Green Bee Juicery
Green Bee Juicery was started by Jen Thorpe. Jen attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and learned about the benefits of juicing and raw diets. She said that while
going completely raw was unrealistic for me, including raw juice was a great fit. I began juicing regularly and sharing the juice with friends and family. Everyone felt GREAT! I wanted to share this with the world. When City Food Studio opened near my home, I jumped on the chance to offer the juice to my community.
Based on her studies and experiences at IIN, Jen launched Green Bee Juicery to help people lead healthier lifestyles. Green Bee juices are handcrafted using the Norwalk juicer. This style of juicing creates the highest level of live mineral and vitamin retention. The juices are raw, unpasteurized juice made from organic produce. In line with their commitment to a healthy and sustainable food system, Green Bee purchases locally grown produce from several small farmers and urban farms, and they package their juice in reusable glass jars (not plastic bottles).
Green Bee works with a local herbalist to offer herbal remedies to compliment the juices and cleanses. In addition to cleanses, they offer a seasonal Juice CSA membership, juice boxes and a Food is Medicine program, with custom juice blends and discounted juice boxes for people suffering from chronic diseases and cancer.
Follow Green Bee Juicery for updates on new products, pick-up locations and more!
Have you ever tried a juice cleanse? How did it go?