Everyone I know is doing a juice cleanse right now. A popular way to kick off the New Year in January, these three-day liquid diets are also great way to end the love affair with your winter comfort foods. Bye bye mac n cheese, and hello fresh fruits and veggies.
The concept of a cleanse is this – you’ve built up toxins in your body through your diet. Read: you are literally what you eat. The only way to fix this misfortune is to flush out the bad with the good. Since the average American only eats three servings of fruits and veggies a day (you’re supposed to have up to 13!), adding nutrient rich juice (which also gives your digestive system a break from solid food) makes sense. I thought I would give it a try.
The date of my cleanse came at a perfect time – right between an all-you-can-eat Brazilian BBQ place grand opening (I've never eaten so much meat in my life) and a trip to CoCo Keys Water Park (I've never looked worse in a bathing suit in my life).
I chose The Real Juice, this small company in California created by Shila Moran, who had a mom who was hip to the groove of its benefits so she filled her childhood mornings with fresh raw and refreshing juice.
Sure, I could have hit the Whole Foods and picked up the six bottles from the popular Blue Print cleanse, but something about doing a cleanse with stuff that was sitting on a shelf seemed odd. I wanted fresh. The Real Juice delivers 100% cold pressed unpasteurized juice (translation: all the vitamins and minerals remain) to your door in ice packs and coolers the day you start. They juice with a hydraulic press to squeeze out every last nutrient through thousands of pounds of pressure.
And speaking of pounds, I was happy to know that I would lose a few pounds on the cleanse. I was ready to go.
There are several levels of “green” to choose. Since I’ve never done a cleanse, I chose Level 1, a less intense cleanse with only two green juices.
Although it seems like a great idea to jump into a cleanse, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Three days before (and three days after to ease out), you have a list of what you can and can’t eat. I found this to actually be the toughest of the challenge. I could definitely fit three days of juice into my schedule. After all, I fit the three-day potty training into my calendar, so why not this? But the extra three days before and after made it tough for scheduling. Once I got my calendar to sync, I signed up.
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My juices for the three days were delivered in the AM on my first day. Into the fridge they went. There were six 16.9 oz. juices per day labeled with the numbers for the right order. Couldn't be easier.
The first drink of the day Fantasize, their signature recipe made of carrot, pineapple, apple and orange. An amazing way to begin the day, I actually fantasized about mixing this tropical treat with a spiced rum (definitely not part of the cleanse).
The second and fourth drinks are the main green juices of the cleanse. Called Energize, they're full of crazy amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, diuretics and natural appetite suppressants from kale, celery, cukes, apples and lemon. This drink has a heavy celery taste with a smell of freshly cut grass, so it was tough to down at first, but once I discovered everything in it it went smoothly. I could just feel my body getting healthy.
The only thing this cleanse is missing is the spicy lemonade. Made popular by the Master Cleanse and found in most other cleanses, I've sipped this before mixture before and really loved the taste. Sad face that it wasn't part of the package. They replaced it with Replenish, a beautiful scarlet juice of beets, carrots, oranges, apples, parsley, and pineapples. I wasn't too keen on the taste of this one, but I popped in a few ice cubes and downed it.
Where some cleanses leave off the Real Juice cleanse picks up with the Anti-Age drink, a skin-saving concoction I haven’t seen in other cleanses. It helps you fight against colds and flu with grapefruit and boost immunity with carrots. Lemon juice fights blackheads and wrinkles, red peppers give you even skin tone, and apples are a weight loss booster.
Then came my favorite – Indulge. More of a snack (I almost felt guilty sipping on it) than a “drink,” this is an incredible mixture of cashew, dates, vanilla and Mediterranean sea salt that filled me up for the night.
Other than waking up with the worst breathe of my life (bye bye toxins), this cleanse was easier to do than I thought. The drinks were tasty and kept me very full throughout the days. Another side effect was that my skin looked gorgeous and glowing, and I lost six pounds that I've managed to keep off.
The Real Juice also sent me a very helpful day-by-day booklet that broke down the juices and their benefits, answered my questions, and gave me a few activities to enrich the journey (like dry brushing my skin or energy boosting activities). Their homeopathic remedy section gave some info about dealing with common detox symptoms like headaches or light headedness.
Since doing the cleanse, I've upped my intake of fruits and veggies. I actually have started juicing at home and feel like I have a ton more energy since sipping my daily DIY green juice. The Real Juice brought me to a new understanding of my body and what I put in it. You might say it helps you figure out the real way you should eat for the healthiest you.
The Real Juice is available at therealjuice.com for $75 per day with free shipping.