Juice Cleanse Recap

A week later, I’ve gotten some clarity. The short synopsis: Juice cleanse is awesome! It was hard. Sometimes really hard. But definitely worth it. It did everything it was supposed to do. I feel healthier, cleaner, and back on track. Also, it’s weirdly addicting and I kind of want to do it again.

green juice

It’s such a strange experience. After my last post, I took a turn for the worse. I did the juice cleanse from Sunday morning to Thursday afternoon and my reaction got progressively worse. I’d read more than once that the first day is the hardest, but that wasn’t my experience at all. I felt really good the first day, but pretty normal. The second day, which I’ve already written about, I went a little crazy. Felt real weird. Almost cried in public. Slept a million hours. The third day was similar to the second. I was less crazy maybe, but I felt more lightheaded. I couldn’t focus on anything at all. The fourth day, the headache arrived. It was terrible. Also, I slept a million hours again. I barely even got out of bed that fourth day. I ended up eating a modified version of my clean southwest salad because I was feeling so weak. The fifth day was a half day, which was my intention. And, it was for the best because I was legitimately sick by that point. Maybe the sickness meant that I should have kept going to get past the detoxing, but it was time to stop. I was so nauseous and my headache was even worse.

So, my description probably makes it sound really terrible. But somehow, it really seriously wasn’t. Like, the bad parts were bad. But overall I could tell it was working, which is what’s important.

And all weekend, after the cleanse was over, I felt amazing. I still do! I’ve been having a 16 ounce of green juice everyday for breakfast, which is good for two reasons. First, it’s really the best way to consume as many greens as possible, and it’s a nice way to ease your metabolism into the day. Second, it’s a really good way to remind me to keep up the clean eating for the day. If I have kale-pear juice for breakfast and feel really fresh after, I don’t want to ruin it later.

So for anyone who might be interested, I thought I’d post my juicing schedule. Juice Cleanse

A few of the recipes are on the last couple of blog posts I’ve made. It would take a long time to post the full recipes of every single juice, so I’m not gonna do that unless I get some requests. But in the meantime I have some basic rules for how much to use of each ingredient.

    • Kale: 6-8 leaves. (If you buy Cal-Organic, it’s one bunch.)
    • Spinach: 1 cup.
    • Romaine: 4-6 leaves.
    • Cucumber: 1 cuke.
    • Celery: 5 stalks
    • Carrots: 4-5 carrots
    • Beet: 1 large beet or 2 small
    • Apple: 1-2, depending on taste preference or how many other ingredients are involved
    • Lemon: 1 fruit.
    • Ginger: 1 inch chunk.
    • Grapefruit: 1 or 2 depending on how many additional ingredients you have.
    • Mint: Handful of leaves
    • Parsley: 1/4 cup
    • Pineapple: 1 cup

Obviously, I just included the first three days, because that is how long I prepped. The fourth day I recommend taking your favorites of each category and having those. You can also experiment with combos that use these basic ingredients. I made choices partially based on what I had left from my big shopping trip. For the fifth day, do one green, one citrus, and one root, then eat produce and seeds/nuts for dinner. Avoid animal products and sugar especially. You should also stick with vegan for a couple of days after, too.

Hopefully if you try it out you find it as rewarding as I did. Please let me know if you have questions!


More Juice

Wow okay. So the juice cleanse is…intense. Well, maybe intense isn’t the right word. I should say weird. It’s been real weird. For instance, it took me three tries to write this coherently!

I meant to post something yesterday, but I fell asleep halfway through writing it and basically slept for the next 14 hours. I told you, it’s weird. So I’m posting about yesterday today! And maybe I’ll post again with more tomorrow.

Physically, I’ve been pretty okay. It’s been a lot more manageable than I expected, aside from sleeping a million hours. One weird thing is both nights I’ve woken up at like 4 a.m. with the most insane headache. I’ve had a lot of headaches, and a lot of different kinds but nothing really like this. Maybe the headache when I had a minor concussion…that’s actually the closest I can think of. It felt like someone had hit me really hard with a really heavy bat. But I went back to sleep pretty quickly and felt much better in the morning. Today, a much milder headache has come and gone but other than that I’ve been good.

Yesterday was a lot harder. I don’t know if it’s because I was doing too much or what but I went a little nuts in the middle. I felt so loopy. I almost started crying at an office supply store. Eventually I had to stop and get a gluten/sugar free granola bar because I felt like I was drunk driving and was worried about making it home. I’m guessing it was a combination of low blood sugar (stemmed from not following my juice schedule closely enough) and the detoxing process. Luckily it just lasted a few hours.

Other than the afternoon weirdness, I’ve been feeling really good. All of the juices I’ve made have been pretty tasty. Some have even been super delicious. Here and there I’ll feel hungry or I’ll really wish I could get some Indian takeout (or whatever) but for the most part, the consumption part has been no problem.

2013-03-18 17.01.43

In fact it’s going so well that I’ve decided to extend the cleanse, but on a modified level. Remember those old Slim Fast diets? A shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch and then a sensible dinner? I’m thinking about trying something similar but with juices. I have no idea if it is a good idea or if it even makes sense, but it’s something I’m going to look into. I used to be a consistent habit of starting the day with a liquid, and I realize now it’s something I’ve been missing.

Also, I am adding on a fourth day to the full-on cleanse. I had enough produce leftover so I think I can fill up the whole day tomorrow. I definitely did not expect to want to keep going but I’m not sure three days was long enough.

So, that’s my experience with juice cleansing so far!

Here are a couple recipes that I have enjoyed:

Sweet Green Juice

  • 1 Bunch Kale
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 4 Stalks Celery
  • Handful Mint
  • 1 Pear

Tropical Carrot Juice

  • 1 1/2 Cups Pineapple
  • 1 Orange
  • 5 Carrots
  • 1 Inch Ginger

I would include pictures but I forgot to take some! Let’s blame the juice cleanse…


Juiced Up (Adventures in Cleansing)

Hello! Welcome to the first day of my juice cleanse. So far, so good!* I’m planning on doing three, possibly four days, depending on how I feel. And I thought I would blog about how it’s going along the way.

*It’s been about 7 hours…

I’ve wanted to try a juice cleanse for a while. I’ve done a couple of raw or semi-raw food detoxes in the past year, as you know if you read this thing regularly, but this time I wanted to step it up. I’ve said I want to amp up my efforts starting now, because it’s been a year and it’s time. First step of amping up? Juice cleanse.

The specifics of a juice cleanse are simple enough. Six bottles of juice a day, equal to roughly 96 ounces total. I am adding in an extra bottle of “spicy lemonade” which is like a lazier version of Master Cleanse (lazy because it is agave nectar instead of hardcore black tar pure maple syrup and more water).

When I decided I wanted to go this route, I was planning on ordering my cleanse. Juicing establishments often have cleansing programs. We have one local one in Indy, or there are several in LA or New York who will ship overnight to you. The national ones are crazy expensive, though, presumably because they are using LA or New York pricing. The local one was cheaper, so I decided to go with that, but when I went to place my order I was informed that they were booked for the next 8 days and I should have scheduled earlier. Something they could have mentioned on their website, which I read three times.

So, I was annoyed. I put a fair amount of effort into planning the cleanse, limiting my nutritional and caloric intakes for the week and limiting my number of work assignments for the weekend. But I was telling my mom about this problem and being the angel on earth she is, she suggested she buy me a juicer! I have been really missing my roommate’s juicer since I moved out a few months ago, so that was like the best solution I could think of.

After doing a little research on different juicers, I ended up with the Omega Vert 330. It juices at a low-speed, which is important because the high-speed ones heat up the juice and cook away some important nutrients. So far, it’s been pretty great.

The Omega Vert 330 Juicer! (Yes, I am blogging Instagrams. #noshame)
The Omega Vert 330 Juicer! (Yes, I am blogging Instagrams. #noshame)

But then the problem was the actual juice. The bottled programs have certain schedules to follow, and then often you pick the specific juices based on the category. For instance, you start with a green juice of your choosing, then mid-morning have a citrus. So that’s fine, I had some guidance there, but I still didn’t know specific recipes. I was on an hours long Internet scavenger hunt, looking for the perfect combo of juices, and if possible, recipes to go with them.

In the end, I found a few basic ingredient lists (e.g. Apple, Lemon & Ginger), a few actual recipes, and a couple that I made up myself (or already had in my repertoire). I spent quite a while mapping out which juices I would drink which days and in what order. Some of the standard ingredients were going to be duplicated (or quadruplicated) on any given day, but I didn’t want, like, three pineapple juices on day 1 and none the rest of the time. I also wanted to make sure if there was a juice I was really dreading that the one after it would be extra delish. That was another thing, I needed to make sure that I wasn’t cheating by using juices that sounded really tasty but weren’t necessarily as effective as others would have been.

Granted, I’m only halfway through the first day, so have had three out of eighteen juices, but I think I did a good job. I am starting out every day with the same super green juice (kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, celery, apple, lemon & ginger) but the second green juice of the day can be a little more innovative. In an hour or so I’m going to drink “Mojito Juice,” which came mostly from the link above.

The process has been really great so far. Aside from actually purchasing the juicer, it’s significantly cheaper to do it yourself. It was going to be about $160 to do the local bottled program, which is a lot. I spent about $115 at Whole Foods, which is still a lot, but it’s less than $160. Also, the amount of produce necessary for 18 16 oz bottles of juice is pretty substantial.

-This is what $115 of organic produce looks like.
-This is what $115 of organic produce looks like.

For bottles, I poured the water out of a bunch of 16.9 oz water bottles and into bigger 1.5 liter bottles, and am using the little ones for juice. Glass is better, and if I’d been thinking ahead I would have been saving up tea bottles over time, but live and learn. The plastic ones are fine!

The other good thing about doing it myself is it’s actually kind of fun. It’s quite a bit of work but I like seeing the whole process. There’s something so soothing about seeing the process, witnessing how it goes from a big leafy green to a juice I’ll be drinking. I like the creativity.

Day 1, Juices 2-5
Day 1, Juices 2-5

I’m going to keep updating the next couple of days, tracking my progress both physically and emotionally. And I’ll post my “meal plan,” but I’ll wait for a post that isn’t already so long. (I’m wordy, I’m sorry!)

In the meantime, here are some recipes:

Super Green Juice

  • 1 Bunch Kale
  • 1 Cup Spinach
  • 8 Leaves Romaine
  • 3 Stalks Celery
  • 1/4 Cup Parsley
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 2 Apples
  • 1 Inch Ginger

Grapefruit-Ginger Juice

  • 2 Red Grapefruits
  • 2 Lemons
  • 1 Apple
  • 1 Inch Ginger

Spicy Lemonade

  • 15 Ounces Filtered Water
  • 2 Lemons
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar

Spicy Lemonade

-Please don’t be mad if these do not taste good. Sadly deliciousness is not a requirement for juice cleanse. I think they are all tolerable though, particularly the first two.

Happy juicing!

Docu Review: “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”

I decided to take a break from my normal sort of post. I’ve been trying to take in as much information as I can about clean living and getting healthy. At the recommendation of several people I have watched a couple of documentaries this week. First, I watched Food, Inc. which I thought was very informative (and DISTURBING) but the one that really spoke to me was Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I related so well to this movie. I actually watched it twice. It was much more relevant to me than I’d like. So here are my thoughts on it.

The film follows Joe, who also co-wrote/co-directed the film (and I think probably financed it). Joe was 310 lb. and had a terrible auto-immune skin disease that required he take a heavy dose of Prednisone, a really nasty steroid. It doesn’t really get into where he got the idea (or maybe I’ve forgotten), but he decides to go on a 60 day juice fast, in an effort to see if he can clean his body of not only fat but also disease. The movie chronicles those 60 days, (which he spends making juice from a juicer run by a generator in the trunk of his SUV) and interviewing strangers on the streets of New York City and then around the US. While on the road he interviews a lot of really fantastic, mostly unhealthy people, and convinces two people to join him in the fasting and document their progress.

One is a woman who does not appear to even be overweight let alone obese, but has health problems like migraines and sleeping issues, both with which I am all too familiar. She does not enjoy the fast but at the end of her 10 days, she is overjoyed with how great she feels. For her, the biggest challenge is balancing her lifestyle with a social life. Another thing I can relate to very well.

The other person who joins Joe is a man named Phil. Phil weighs about 430 pounds and is heartbreaking. He can’t walk for more than five or ten minutes at a time. He is obviously severely depressed. He is embarrassed to let anyone see him, including his kids. He is a 42 year old truck driver, which is not a very healthy lifestyle in the first place. Joe meets him on the road, and later on Phil calls him to say he needs a change and is ready to fast.

His transformation is incredible. I’m sorry to ruin the movie for everybody, but the end is really the point! Joe loses over 200 pounds, and starts a community-wide fast to get his whole Iowa town into shape. He honestly is a new person both in appearance and personality. I was so inspired.

The movie really made me think about the place I’m at right now, as opposed to who I’ve been in the past and who I want to be. It’s not always obvious in my day to day routine how much my physical state affects my mental one. I’ve always been friendly, out-going and up for a challenge, but looking at the past year or so, I probably haven’t been as lively as I imagine. My mind still feels pretty peppy, but in reality there are a lot of days where I don’t leave my house. (I work from home.) I feel better now than I did a month ago, but still. Looking at this movie showed me a lot about my own personal fears. I definitely don’t want to let things ever get any worse.

Unfortunately, my cleanse is on pause. Or maybe it’s over and I will start fresh in a couple of weeks. I think I mentioned in my last post that I sprained my wrist. Annoyingly, though, it is my right wrist, and of course I’m right-handed, so frankly it’s really a pain (literally!) to try to chop all my veggies. (I do it by hand.) So I’ve been eating a lot more convenience food than I like. Nothing too insane for the most part, but like, sushi or a prepared salad from the Fresh Market instead roasted salmon and veggies I cut up myself.

The film, however, really made me miss my standard breakfast juice, which I’d grown so fond of and accustomed to over the past couple of weeks. I was surprised, both of these men had physician approval to do the 60-day juice fast, where they lost an insane amount of weight. Far more than the standard 2 lb per week normally recommended. That is encouraging also. I’m not sure I want to do a pure juice fast, but maybe I will make sure to include as much as possible.

I did make a really good soup recently, which is the same as juice except warmer, really.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 3/4 Butternut Squash (4 cups chopped)
  • 1 Apple
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Garlic Cloves and a teaspoon minced Ginger
  • Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg to Taste
  • And some water.
  • That’s it!! **

Then you just roast everything until it’s all pretty soft–maybe 25 mins– and then mix it together in a blender with some water. I used about 1 Cup I think. I just sort of added it in til I liked the consistency.

**I just checked the recipe which I got from the Whole Living Action Plan I’ve been following, and apparently you’re also supposed to add a whole onion, but I totally forgot it. It tasted fine without it. Made it sweeter.

I added some cinnamon mixed with a packet of Truvía on top. (This was kind of a cheat but def worth it!)

Here was the result:

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

It was great! It took a lot of time to prepare, I’m not gonna lie to you, but if you have a food processor or are better at chopping things than I am, it should go pretty fast.

And I definitely recommend watching “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” It’s on Netflix Instant. Also from the website it looks like they have a lot of associated materials, which I’m going to check out. Hopefully they have some juice and smoothie recipes I can add to my collection!

It’s a great movie to watch if you are just on the edge of thinking it’s time to really start making some changes, but since if you’re reading this you’re probably past that point, it’s also great for people like me. People who have been doing well with clean living and detoxing, but sometimes just need a motivational nudge when things get hard.

Wow this one was long. Hope you have a great weekend!


The Glory of a Well-Balanced Meal

So, it’s still Week 2 of my cleanse. On Week 2, I’ve been allowed to add in seafood and legumes. Honestly, that’s a diet that could be sustainable long term. It has opened up a lot more possibilities, but to be honest I’ve been using a lot of Week 1 recipes still. I wish there was more information on the reasoning behind each step of the process, because I’m not sure if eating fish or legumes every day or at every meal is vital to success or if it’s just a way of easing back in to normal life.

Either way I am glad this one uses fish as the protein. I don’t eat a lot of meat. I can’t help but think of what I’m actually eating and it grosses me out. I don’t like it. For some reason fish, and to an extent chicken, don’t bother me as much–I think because they are less “meaty”–so I really only eat those, and stay away from other meats. Thus, I got lucky that this one uses fish.

I’ve been reading up on other cleanse programs some more and I found one that seemed so strange to me. It lasts one week. The first day you eat only fruits. Second day, only vegetables. Third day, BEEF AND TOMATOES. Can you imagine? How can that possibly be cleansing? Tomatoes are incredibly acidic, first of all. And beef is so high in cholesterol and saturated fats, I don’t understand how it can be useful for detoxing at all.

But I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist or a naturopath. And, I’ve digressed. I can’t say I notice a huge amount of difference in energy between Week 1 and Week 2. It could be that the thrill is sort of gone, and now it’s purely my body’s energy and not my added emotional excitement. Either way, I still feel great. And, since I’ve been visiting my parents–who eat healthy but not cleanse-healthy/crazy–it’s nice to be able to join them for dinner a little more easily. Last night, I had roasted salmon, with an avocado-orange salsa, brussel sprouts cooked in olive oil, vegetable broth and garlic, and as a “treat” a 1/4 of a cup of steamed brown rice.

Salmon with Avocado Salsa

Here is the Avocado-Orange Salsa Recipe if you are interested:

Avocado-Orange Salsa

  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 Small Navel Oranges
  • 1/4 cup diced onion (or a little less depending on taste)
  • Juice from 1 Lime
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin

(This recipe makes a lot of salsa, but it’s hard to cut down without wasting precious avocado!)

The whole thing was so good. I think it might be psychological, but having different elements to the meal (instead of one giant salad) made it seem so much bigger and I was really full at the end of it. (Not too full, though! Just the good kind of satisfied fullness.)

The only problem is, I am not super great at cooking. I’m good at making things like salads and smoothies, but I have no idea how to grill a piece of fish. It’s easy to be so excited while I’m visiting my mom, who has been cooking meals from scratch 5 nights a week for like 30 years. I am really determined to make these efforts last long-term, so I guess I better get some cookbooks! Or at least watch Youtube instructional videos…

I’ll figure something out!


Accidental Liquid Diet

So I made it through Week 1 of my cleansing process! I feel great! Not only because I accomplished a goal that was a seriously lofty challenge but also physically, I can’t remember the last time I felt this good. The headaches went away all together a couple of days ago.

I did a pretty good job of sticking to the plan of following some of the Whole Living recipes and making up my own recipes with the list of Cleanse-Friendly foods. My favorite new thing is to make smoothies. I don’t have a blender at my house, but I’ve been visiting my parents and I could make a smoothie everyday.

Some Favorite Smoothie Concoctions:

Orange-Berry Smoothie
  • 1/2 Banana
  • 2 Oranges
  • 2 cups frozen berries (Whole Foods & the local chain both had an organic blend)


  • 2 cups frozen berries
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 Mango
  • 1/2 Banana

Tropical Fruit & Strawberry

  • Half a pineapple (& the juice)
  • Juice from 2 Clementines
  • 1 Mango
  • 1 1/2 Bananas
  • 1 package frozen strawberries (approx 2-2 1/2 cups)

Yellow Smoothie

  • 2 Bananas
  • 1/2 a pineapple (& the juice)
  • 1 Mango
  • Juice from 2-3 Clementines

Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup Pineapple (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups Mango (chopped)
  • 1 cup Kale
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 1 inch Ginger (chopped)
  • 1 Stalk Celery
  • 1/2 cup Pineapple juice (or however much is available)
  • Water as needed (maybe 1 cup?)

I was telling a friend about these smoothies and she asked how I got them to the consistency I wanted without adding juice, yogurt, ice or water (usually). Really, it’s trial and error. And, really I do add some fresh squeezed OJ to it, and in the veggie one there is some water. But seriously it’s just a matter of knowing what fruit serves what purpose. Bananas will help give it a creamier effect. Pineapple adds juice (and some sweetness). Mango adds sweetness (and some juice). The berries thicken it, I think, and since they’re cold they add to that sort of frozen treat experience people are looking for in a smoothie. So yep. I guess maybe I am a scientist after all because that’s chemistry folks!

All of these recipes make more than 1 serving, but for instance I was being in decisive about dinner one night and so I just made a big batch of smoothie and had probably 3 servings as my evening meal. I realize this is not an ideal technique for all dieters, but on a cleanse, where you want to get a lot of fruit, especially berries and citrus, I thought it would be okay. I haven’t noticed any adverse effects, anyway. And it was definitely filling.

I also am still into making regular juice. I’ve been making a lot of grapefruit juice, which should be considered its own superfood since it is delicious and has a variety of health benefits. I mean, just look how enticing:

Grapefruit Juice

I generally use a manual juicer to squeeze 3 grapefruits. The sweeter ones taste better but so far I can’t figure out how to tell which ones will be sweeter. Maybe the softer ones? I don’t know. I’m not a scientist, ok? Anyway, here’s a fun tip! I like to save the leftover pulp to eat as a snack later on. It looks kind of weird but tastes good and is pretty filling.

So at this point I was going to also write about all the awesome soups I have made as a part of this cleanse but I think I’ll save that. I’m really happy with the way it’s going though. Week 2 incorporates legumes and fish back into the diet. I wasn’t sure I wanted to jump right into eating fish again, so for today I mostly stuck with a Week 1 diet, but incorporated some lentils. I’ve said this before, and it’s probably obvious based on the subject of this post, but I definitely want to continue incorporating juice, smoothies and other liquids into the diet because it is easy and healthy.

Week 1 was such a success, I’m excited to see what Week 2 has in store!