January may as well just be called Health Month. Almost everyone has at least one New Year’s resolution involving fitness. So it will come as no surprise that I also made the decision to make this year healthier than ever, and to jump start the effort I decided to press the “reset” button, courtesy of Pressed Juicery in Los Angeles. For this particular juice fast, I had the opportunity to test out Cleanse 2, for five days.
First of all, a juice cleanse—especially one of this length—should not be limited to the liquid program. Prepping and easing back out of the fast is paramount if you want to make it worth it and save yourself from hating life by day two. As this was a true kick off for 2015, starting on New Year's Day every food item that touched my lips was clean and cooked from scratch; no prepackaged or processed foods, no preservatives or chemicals of any kind and I limited liquids to water, sparkling mineral water and herbal tea. Starchy carbs, alcohol, dairy, caffeine and red meat were also off-limits. By the fifth I had eased into a fully vegan raw diet and had effectively already started to “detox.”
Now, I should preface this with saying that I am not a stranger to juicing. I own a juicer and use it fairly frequently, I have also purchased pre-made cleanse packages before. So how it made me feel was no real surprise. Most newbies will assume that juicing is gross or leaves you feeling starving. Neither are true in my experience. In fact I found Citrus 2 (apple, lemon, pineapple, mint) so sweet, I reached out to Pressed Juicery to inquire if it could be swapped out with something else. Unfortunately that was not possible, so instead I found myself watering it down. In the end this actually felt like I got a bonus juice out of the deal. (On a side note, the video above takes a humorous look at “juicers,” and I find myself in the funny position of being one these people right around the 1:07 mark.)
I never felt hungry, but I did crave foods. I found myself salivating over bad restaurant commercials. Master Chef Junior was a thrill to watch. This is mostly because I prefer savory flavors—of which there are none on a diet made up of juice. I drank a lot of tea and water in between each bottle of Pressed Juicery’s elixir. On average, I consumed around eight cups or more of herbal tea per day (both hot and iced) and around 30 to 40 ounces of water (often with lemon). Because of this, actual hunger was not really an issue and when calculated out the regimen equated to about 1100 calories, just a tad under the recommended 1200. I should mention that my normal daily caloric intake hovers around 1500 anyway, so this was not a huge deficit.
Now let’s talk about the juices themselves. A shipment with the first three days arrived on the morning of day one: a box filled with 18 cold juices (three sets) each numbered one through six. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Inside I found Greens 2 (kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon); Citrus 2, Greens 3 (same as greens 2, but with the addition of ginger), Roots 3 (apple, lemon, beet, ginger), Lemon H2O (lemon, cayenne, filtered water) and Vanilla Almond (filtered water, almonds, dates, vanilla bean, sea salt).
All of them are very tasty, almost to a fault in my opinion. Again, I prefer less sweet flavors, so I would probably choose the more advanced Cleanse 3 in the future, as it has a much heavier emphasis on green juice, and as a result, less sugar. My favorites were Greens 2 for its clean, nourishing taste and Vanilla Almond for its creaminess. I also have to point out that the Roots 2 made me feel wonderful (beet juice is kind of amazing) and the Lemon H2O has a serious kick.
Sticking to a pretty strict prep period more than likely led to the lack of side effects I experienced. Often you do hear of headaches and crankiness accompanying a juice cleanse. Repeating the same program going backwards afterwards is recommended as a “gentler” way to reintroduce food, and while I cannot speak for whether or not it is really necessary, I did do it and I can tell you this: when you invest a full ten days in a carefully calculated eating plan, you just don’t throw it all out of the window afterwards.
All said and told by the end of day one I found myself feeling good, day two was a tad bit more difficult in the craving department and by halfway through day three I felt like I could keep going for another week. As I write this today, I actually miss having a juice for lunch.
In Summation: Between January first and 10th, I lost a whopping six pounds and could tell my clothes were a bit looser. Half of that of course was water weight, which I did gain back and am now sitting happily with a healthy three pound loss. But the most important part of this whole process? I really do feel as if I pressed that reset button. Every food item that crosses my lips is scrutinized, I am automatically making substitutions in my mind and working in more raw and natural ingredients. Vegetables have more vibrant flavors all of a sudden. I crave salad and fresh crunchy things even more than I did before. And those lingering side effects will hopefully be casting their light on the entire rest of my year.
Ready to try it? Pressed Juicery offers three different cleansing menus, each on offer for anywhere from one to five days, starting at $72. Just want to learn more about hitting your own reset button? Check out our story on How to Detox Your Body Safely and Easily.