I’m a not-so-secret foodie. My favourite pastimes are eating and drinking. In between meals (if there is such a thing) my preferred activity is talking about food and if I have overdone that, it is researching the next house of gastronomy or secret watering hole to visit. But every now and then it all gets a bit much, even for me.
I had heard about juice cleanses before and thought it a crazy idea, why would anyone deprive themselves of the sheer pleasure and socialisation of solid food?! However, feeling sluggish and up for a challenge, I decided to embark on one for three days through Lucky You Cleanse.
Lucky You Cleanse (LYC) hydraulically press their juices from their ‘juice kitchen’ in Darling Point. They advocate that juicing is not meant to be a quick fix, but hopefully integrated into your way of life.
Here is my experience:
The night before: The juices look very impressive on arrival in their bright green LYC-branded bag with each juice numbered in accordance with the order of consumption. I eat a big, green salad for my last meal (as suggested by LYC to help ease my way into the cleanse) and go to sleep pumped.
8.30am: I start to nod off on the train on my way to work. Not ideal. I look forward to my usual at-my-desk breakfast of untoasted muesli with fruit and yoghurt, but instead twist the lid on juice 1 (Green Smoothie). As suggested by LYC, I eat it with a spoon. Seriously. While I feel a little silly, this is good advice as it fits with LYC’s central concept of “chewing” the drinks to aid digestion. The smoothie is refreshing; there is the right amount of mango and banana to provide elements of sweetness and density, which makes it quite easy to drink and a solid-enough start to the day. Although, as my Boost-loving boyfriend would say: it’s no Mango Tango Crush!
11.00:am: I sip on alkaline water (which LYC recommends instead of tap or filtered water as it has a neutralising effect on the excess accumulation of acid in the body) and feeling colder than usual, have two cups of green tea (herbal teas, preferably green, are also allowed) until it’s time for juice 2 (Green Juice B. And no, I do not know why it comes before Green Juice A.) I am a big fan of this juice; the hint of parsley is delicious and the apple cuts through the vegetables perfectly for another dash of sweetness.
2:00pm: Work commitments take up the middle of my day, so I don’t get to juice 3 (Spicy Lemonade) until 2pm. This has a real kick and it’s a nice break from the green. The cayenne pepper settles quite quickly and I need to keep shaking it so that it doesn’t get too intense at the end.
4.10pm: I start juice 4 (Red Juice). Although it looks vastly different to the green juices, it’s actually quite similar but for the addition of beetroot. It becomes evident that there is a continuous consumption of liquid while on the cleanse, which also means that there is a continuous need to relieve myself as well. Lucky my office is close to the toilets! I start to lose my concentration by 4:30pm, but in general I have a pretty efficient day at work.
7:00pm: Getting the timing right to drink juice 5 (Green Juice A) is a bit tricky, as it falls in between work, the gym and the commute home. I manage to drink it, or should I say “chew” it all down on the train home, receiving a few strange looks from fellow passengers along the way. The Green Juice A is the one that people may struggle with most, particularly if you are not a veggie juice fan. The coriander and parsley are dominant with no fruit to soften the blow.
8:30pm: I don’t have the required two hour break between the Green Juice A and juice 6 (Cashew Nut Mylk), I don’t mind though as I view these drinks as dinner and dessert (clutching at straws, perhaps?) The Cashew Nut Mylk is honestly fantastic! How can just cashew nuts, medjool dates and alkaline water taste this creamy and good? I initially think that the drink is quite rich, but I have no problem finishing it off on the couch in front of the TV. Knowing that I have this to look forward to at the end of each day will be enough to pull me through.
Day 2: I have a brilliant night’s sleep – so much for sleeping issues being one of the possible side effects of the cleanse! I wake up feeling good and repeat the early morning routine from yesterday. I drink all of the Green Juice B easily and then go with a friend to get his lunch. I’m not tempted in the slightest by what is on offer at the food court, which surprises (and pleases) me.
It takes me forever to get through my Spicy Lemonade, but I thoroughly enjoy it, especially as I don’t make the rookie error this time of letting the cayenne pepper sit at the bottom of the jar! I really struggle to get through all of my Red Juice though. I have a paper to write and I can’t focus enough to do it – while I’m not exactly tired, my concentration is not all there. I feel full and bloated and I still haven’t finished the Red Juice by home time. I go to the beautician at 7pm, so don’t manage to start the Green Juice A until 7.40pm. Initially considering skipping it, I decide to finish half. Forty minutes later, I have the Cashew Nut Mylk, drinking it all (again, easily). I go to bed feeling very full.
Day 3: I feel tired when I wake up – it is the final day and I would really like some solid food! Still, I repeat my early morning routine and head to work for Friday. I drink the Green Smoothie much faster than the other two days. I also drink as much of the Green Juice B as I can before my 11am meeting. Post-meeting my stomach is rumbling – LOUD! I walk down Stanley Street for a dose of sunshine; while I wish to be that couple grazing on sashimi at Sushi on Stanley or launching into a schnitzel at No Names, I’m not too jealous – the wait for solid food is less than 12 hours away! The Spicy Lemonade goes down well on my return to the office, as does the Red Juice two hours later. I do feel good, but I also feel like I’m just holding on. This is also when I start to have some serious pangs of solid food cravings and almost forget that I can’t grab a Fantale out of the tempting bowl at reception. Despite this, I go for a run and have the Green Juice A on the way home. I can’t finish it all, but come closer than yesterday. I savour every mouthful of the Cashew Nut Mylk, as I realise I’m a bit sentimental about the cleanse being virtually over. It goes down too easily… I’m going to make it!!!
The Next Day: I thought that I would wake up at 6am and rush to the kitchen to make breakfast, but I sleep in until 9am, brilliant! Breakfast is a fresh salsa of avocado, cucumber, tomato and celery with one poached egg and one slice of rye bread. Chewing on solid food is a great sensation and I am actually very conscious of it, which is something that our friends at LYC would be happy to hear. I am on a natural high all weekend. Did I lose weight? This seems to be the main question that I have been asked since finishing the cleanse. The answer is, I’m not sure. I didn’t do LYC for this reason and it is not the main ethos behind it, but I did feel lighter and more comfortable in my own skin. However, I think this may be as much of a mental as it is a physical thing.
Since doing the cleanse in October 2012I have continued to start my day with the hot water with lemon and it is now habit. I have also limited my coffee intake to once a week (on Monday mornings). It was a very worthwhile experience, not only for the challenge and the feeling of elation and health at the end, but also for what it teaches you about your own eating habits, particularly mindless consumption. However, Ms. Darlinghurst will be glad to hear that I have picked-up my social life where I left off, but with improved routines during my work day.
Green Smoothie: mango, spinach, kale, silverbeet, banana & alkaline h2o
Green B: fresh pressed cos lettuce, celery, silverbeet, parsley, cucumber, kale, coriander, spinach, lemon & green apple
Spicy Lemonade: fresh pressed lemon, green apple, alkaline h2o, agave, celtic sea salt & cayenne pepper
Red: fresh pressed beetroot, spinach, kale, silverbeet, cos lettuce, parsley, apple & lemon
Green A: fresh pressed parsley, celery, silverbeet, cos lettuce, cucumber, kale, spinach, coriander and lemon
Cashew Nut Mylk: raw cashew nuts, medjool dates & alkaline h2o