Serious Eats Goes on a Juice Cleanse: After The Juice
We've survived three days of the BluePrint cleanse adventure—eating nothing solid, drinking our juices and cashew milk, braving juice-headedness and enjoying (some) moments of vibrant energy. Here's how we felt the day after we stopped juicing, and a few of our post-cleanse impressions.
First day post-cleanse, I woke up exhausted (despite nine hours of sleep, about three more than I usually get) but not particularly hungry—though one banana sparked my quiet stomach into a roaring hunger that suddenly made it quite clear I hadn't eaten solid food in three days. The thought of anything too rich made me nervous; out for breakfast, I nibbled at my boyfriend's ham and cheese biscuit but only got two or three bites down. Later in the day, gazpacho and tomatoes did the trick.
Do I feel cleansed? I feel...empty, I suppose. But not in a good way. I genuinely enjoyed the break from office food and review meals, so that's good. But if I'd gone on a self-imposed "detox" of, say, huge vegetable-legume salads and water for three days, that would've been a nice break, too; it wouldn't cost $200, and I'd probably have felt better throughout the day.
For the record, after three days on the cleanse, I had "lost" precisely one pound; after three more days off the cleanse (but still eating primarily veggies and lean protein), that pound came back. Some people may lose weight on BluePrint, but I wasn't one of them.
On the menu for breakfast: cantaloupe and watermelon, as recommended by BPC. I forked up a few bites. Had to remind myself, yes, you are allowed to eat solids again. Felt rebellious and wrong at first. I was craving bananas and peanut butter though, something a little fattier than melon, which ended up tasting more or less like, well, juice, once swallowed.
Kenji's gazpacho was really the perfect lunch. It wasn't juice but it sort of was, multiplied by all the savory flavors I was missing—super fresh tomatoes with olive oil, crusty baguette, and garlic, all blended up. More satisfying and much more like real lunch than the Green juice, even if they were similar textures, and it meant using a spoon! Oh spoons, how I've missed ye.
While the triumphant return to solids was exciting, I found myself hesitating...am I ready for dairy? That fresh ball of mozzarella from Murray's sure looked fantastic, but my tum isn't as gung-ho as it normally would be. Ditto for when Ed brought in spare ribs. A nibble of the meat candy was fine, but I didn't want to push it beyond that single nibble.
This cleanse did have positive, empowering effects on what I started craving, what I knew I could really do without, and what seemed possible. Going vegan, for example, even if just in three-day intervals, is something I really want to do now. Because I know I can, and if I started feeling the spaced-out lows, I could reach for a handful of almonds (instead of being married to only juice, which can get old). No coffee yet. It doesn't even look good. Looks like a headache. But we'll see how long that lasts.
I was relieved to reach the end of the cleanse—though I really enjoyed the feeling of vibrancy and energy I felt most days, the diet disrupted my social life and work life. But I was a bit nervous to go back to real food—could my stomach handle it? I woke up on post-cleanse day 1 and had some water and a few bites of a banana. It felt...strange. And then I downed then the leftovers of one of my not-quite-finished beet juice. I guess I came to (kind of) crave these things.
In the afternoon, I was offered a plateful of incredible just-grilled panini, and as soon as I took a bite, my body seemed to scream out for more. A little roast pork did the same thing—it made me wonder how seriously depleted I was.
For me, the week of juice really pointed out how imbalanced my everyday diet is: too much bland starch, too much heavy meat, too much processed sugar, too much caffeine, too much alcohol, and nowhere near enough fresh produce. This week has me happily dreaming of salads and fruit, grilled fish and other light options.
Did it actually work to reset my habits? I'll be honest..I left the day after the cleanse for a family vacation, which ended up being full of heavy food and too much wine. After two days of that, I really missed the bright, fresh flavors of the juice, and started scheming what I'd eat when I returned home: fruit and yogurt for breakfast, big, bright salads for lunch, and maybe a beet-carrot juice in there somewhere...We'll see if I follow through.
How about you, Serious Eaters...Have any of you tried a juice cleanse? Did you feel good? Did it change your habits in a lasting way?