After "Southern Fried," We Tried A Juice Cleanse
During more than a month of researching the best fried foods in town for our June Southern Fried issue, our bodies took a flour-dredged, grease-filled beating. So we decided to give our digestive systems a break with a three-day juice cleanse. We reached out to I Love Juice Bar in Park Road Shopping Center with the plea: We feel terrible. Can a juice cleanse help? Owner Jessica MacIntosh assured us it would.
Armed with two days of their essential juice cleanse and a juice-to-dinner cleanse for the third and final day (more on that later), we looked to Jessica and operations manager Lizzie Colbert, for advice on how to survive. Listen to your body, they told us, and you’ll be fine. They told us not to be too strict—if you need a cup of coffee or solid piece of fruit, that’s OK. And there’s no need to set your alarm as a reminder to drink your next juice.
“If you feel hungry, drink two at a time. If you feel not hungry, wait until you do feel hungry,” Lizzie says. “Just make sure you’re drinking a jar of water for every jar of juice.”
That last point, it turns out, is very important. Your body can’t digest all of the nutrients without be properly hydrated, Lizzie explained—your cells are like raisins without enough water. As your body gets a cleanse, they warned, you might have a while of feeling pretty bad. That can be a few hours or a few days.
“Everybody’s different,” Jessica says. “That’s something that we really try to drive home, that everybody’s different and typical cleanses they will say you may feel kind of blah at first, there’s real no other way of saying that, because your taking all of that junk, whatever it is in your body, and flushing it out.”
Can three days of drinking juice undo a month and a half of eating fried? Here’s what we found. —Kristen Wile
Day One: Orange You Glad (carrot, apple, pineapple, mint, ginger, lemon), Sweet Greens (apple, kale, spinach, cucumber, parsley, lemon), Sweet Greens, Ginger Greens (ginger, apple, kale, spinach, cucumber, parsley, lemon), We Got The Beet (beet, carrot, apple, ginger, lemon), Fresh Greens (celery, kale, spinach, cucumber, parsley, lemon)
Day Two: Repeat
Day Three: Orange You Glad, Sweet Greens, We Got The Beet, Ginger Greens, and a kale quinoa salad for dinner
Observations: I’ve long suffered from migraines, and was afraid my first day of the cleanse would end up with me in bed. Other than a slight caffeine headache remedied by my one cup of coffee (black) during the cleanse, I didn’t have any issues. I felt great, actually. I lost four pounds, most of which was likely water weight, but not carrying that around was nice. I also think my skin cleared up; I’ve had psoriasis for years, and the inflammation was barely noticeable by day three. I also had to pee about every 20 minutes, but didn’t have any of the stomach issues I was expecting. Much of this was likely thanks to the probiotic juice—CoCo Pro, made with coconut and coconut milk, which was one of my favorites.
Favorite Juice: Orange You Glad. It had enough of a kick to wake me up early on, and once the ginger bite wore off, the ginger digestion kept me awake.
Least Favorite Juice: Interestingly, at a first taste, the Fresh Greens was my least favorite. It tasted… too green. But by the last day, the Sweet Greens was my least favorite. It was too sweet after my palate adjusted to needing less sugar.
Defining Moment: I’m not a morning person, so when I woke up Tuesday morning and felt fresh and alert, I was shocked. I was so awake I couldn’t even fall back asleep when my husband left for work.
Low Point: I tried to space out the juices throughout the day instead of following Jessica’s advice, and was powering through hunger on day two. I was a bit light-headed, and I messed up a recording on an interview. I guess that means the low point was my not taking instructions well, from Jessica or my body.
Cleanse Surprise: It was incredible how many things we eat out of indulgence, not necessity. Having to say no to warm doughnuts dropped off by a local PR firm, the candy sitting between my and Adam’s desks, and happy hours made it far more obvious how much I snacked and ate terribly on an average day. It was also refreshing to not have to think about meals, or spend time cooking them when I got home.
The Day After: I ate an English muffin for breakfast, and it just felt like a waste. I was eating processed, terrible wheat, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how if I survived on fruit and vegetable juice, I didn’t need this terrible breakfast. Nearly everyone I talked about juice cleanses with mentioned it was a good reset for their body. As someone who eats for a living, my body needed that reset, and it’s something I’ll definitely do again. We do have an issue focused on burgers coming up this fall.
The pre-cleanse instructions included a recommendation to “eat clean and limit sugar, dairy, wheats, greasy/fatty or processed foods”—so, naturally, I had a bacon cheeseburger for lunch one day, and hash browns for breakfast the next. (I love fried potatoes of any kind.) My friends and family, rightfully, laughed about my ability to survive without much coffee. To say I lack willpower when it comes to food and drinks would be a severe understatement. “This is going to be effing terrible,” I told Kristen as we left Juice Bar.
Observations: The cleanse started surprisingly easy, excluding a moment in the afternoon when I opened Instagram and found a Bon Appétit magazine photo of ribs. My mind craved food, but my body didn’t. I agree with Kristen; we were both struck by how much we eat simply because it exists on our desks. By the end, I lost a little more than five pounds and two inches off my waist. I’d consider a juice cleanse again—especially after overeating for work—to jumpstart a fitness routine.
Favorite juice: Orange You Glad. The mix of pineapple and ginger helped start my mornings on an upbeat note.
Least Favorite Juice: We Got the Beet. I like beets, but the flavor was too overpowering and the texture too mealy for me; I had to choke this one down.
Defining Moment: A flood of energy at the start of the third day. I’m a morning person, but the surge I felt after drinking my morning juice was unusual. I didn’t feel the need to make coffee straightaway.
Low Point: Tuesday night, toward the end of the second day of the cleanse, was the worst for me. I felt run down, flushed, and sluggish. Thankfully, I live alone, so no one had to experience my hangry rage.
Cleanse Surprise: How much I loved the Toomeric, a bright yellow, shot-sized blend of turmeric, black pepper, ginger, lemon, and flax seed oil. It was invigorating and gave me a boost of energy to push through the afternoon slump. I’d take an ounce or two of that daily, if it would keep me from reaching for junk food late in the workday.
The Day After: I normally drink two large cups of strong coffee before work, and I was excited to return to my morning routine. But halfway through my second cup, I noticed my hands trembling from too much caffeine.