I Tried a Juice Cleanse, So You Don’t Have To

I’ll start out by saying that going through a juice cleanse was a horrible idea. I was hungry, moody, uncomfortable, and anti-social. I was starving my body and going to bed while my stomach was growling. Despite this, I somehow feel like if I could go back, I would still do it.

The purpose of a juice cleanse is not to lose weight. In fact, if you’re going to lose any weight at all, you’ll most likely gain it all back as soon as you go back to solid foods. The purpose of a cleanse is to literally cleanse your body of toxins from all of the chemicals we consume, and a juice cleanse allows your digestive system to take a break.

When my cleanse arrived at my apartment, it was in a very large box filled with ice packs and insulating foam. I had to clear an entire shelf in my fridge. My roommates claimed to be OK with this decision, but I’m sure it was quite the nuisance. Either way, I stuffed 30 bottles of cold pressed juice into my refrigerator and prepared for an interesting five days.

The Rules: I was to start every morning with warm water and lemon, and then consume six bottles of the cold pressed juice in a specific order. If I found myself starving I was allowed to eat raw vegetables such as peppers, half of an avocado or carrots. I could not have coffee. I must consume my last juice a minimum of three hours before bedtime to allow for full digestion. I was to write about my experience nightly.

Disclaimer: This is the "Suja Juice" five day starter cleanse. I won this cleanse at Her Campus’ Her Conference through a raffle, but decided to write this article on my own accord. Though I was given the cleanse for free, I was not asked to write about the experience.

Day One:

I honestly chose the worst day to try this juice cleanse out. It’s the first day of my fall Internship, and I had to be up at 6:30 a.m. I’m not totally sure how to space this out, but I start out with a cup of hot water and lemon juice like Suja recommends. This is definitely not as appealing as it sounds.

I lugged around a tiny bag with all of the juices, some raw veggies, and some ice packs. This was not an easy task while navigating my first day to work. I drank the first juice waiting for the metro at around 9 a.m., and had to pee very badly by 10 a.m. That was the start of the constant peeing, but my hunger handled itself reasonably well until about 3 p.m.

By now everything seemed to be crumbling. I tried a half of an avocado, and chugged glasses of water before I headed home for my 5:30 p.m. class. I drank the fourth juice on the metro. By my last juice, I was famished. I nibbled on some raw peppers, and even snagged some kale chips one of my roommates had made. I was the definition of hangry, and really should have gone to bed much earlier than I chose to. My body was exhausted and fighting back.

Day Two:

The headaches have begun. When you read the FAQs for the juice cleanse, Suja claims you can safely continue your regular exercise regimen. The truth is, when you wake up at 8 a.m. after a day of not really eating, the last thing you want to do is get up to workout. Needless to say, the headache overcame me, and I hit snooze until 9:30 a.m.

Hunger wise I definitely did better today. I had my first juice much later, around 10 a.m., and I really didn’t get angry or terribly hungry until late in the evening. I still peed at least once every two hours, and the headache lasted all day long. At this point I started to daydream about eating toast, and I began planning what my first meal after the cleanse would be.

I snacked on some peppers and carrots midday, an apple, a half of an avocado later on, and even opted for an unsweetened green tea to try and get a little caffeine in my system.

The green juices aren’t something I really look forward to, but I actually really like the orange and carrot juice. It’s definitely something I could see myself drinking after this.

Day Three:

My body is literally collapsing on me. If day one was the hangry stage, and day two was the headaches, day three was the breakdown. The headaches hadn't gone away, and I felt nothing less than famished all day long. I broke down and had a cup of coffee that morning to try and stop the headaches, but it ultimately didn’t do much. I ate what must have been two full bell peppers, a half of an avocado, and an apple.

Hunger wise I did okay, despite being awake for 19 hours. The headache was the real kicker. It became hard to focus on things or even hold a conversation between juices. When I finally got home after a long day of my internship and meetings, I decided it was time to make the pain go away. I popped an advil and chugged some water. So far i’ve been feeling a million times better.

Day four:

I’ve decided it’s time to start mixing a little more solid food into my diet, so I started my day with my morning juice and an apple with peanut butter. After taking another pain killer and finishing my breakfast, I felt more like my normal self than I had since I started the cleanse. It actually felt kind of weird eating something so substantial like peanut butter, and for the first time I felt a real change in my body from this cleanse.

I brought my next two juices with me as I spent the day doing work on campus, and got an unsweetened iced tea from Starbucks. I drank my fourth juice in the later afternoon before dinner time. I hardly felt hungry, my head didn’t hurt, and though I didn’t have as much energy as I usually do, I really did okay.

That evening I went to a dinner on campus, and brought my dinner juice along for the ride. When it was time to actually sit and eat, I filled a plate with green beans and ate those with my juice. It was definitely a good idea, and I was able to focus on conversations better than before. I finished the night with my last juice, half an avocado, and a really good night's sleep. I was finally almost at the finish line.

Day five:

It’s finally the end! I spent most of my morning in bed, which means a late start to my last day (less time awake= less time hungry). I had a seven hour shift at work, so I downed a bottle with some apple and peanut butter, and threw my remaining five bottles in a bag.

When I had looked up the FAQ’s on Suja’s website, it very clearly states it gets harder before it gets easier. Today was when it gets easier. I drank a juice every two hours, not feeling particularly hungry all day. My biggest problem was trying to cover the front desk while having to run to pee every hour.

I finished my very last drink at 8 p.m., and I was ready for a celebration. One of my roommates had a piece of french toast she made for dinner and saved for me, and I nibbled on that over a half hour period to get my digestive tract going. Another roommate and I went out for some fancy coffee drinks (and some Instagram photos), to finish off my five days of juice.

Conclusion:

Was the juice cleanse really worth it? Maybe not. But I’m glad I finally had the opportunity to try one. This was my window to have a fresh start to my senior year, and maybe get back into a healthy lifestyle. It’s just unfortunate I had to starve myself for five days to get here.

I also wanted to offer a special shout out to my loving friends who supported me and listened to me talk nonstop about my misery. You guys are the real rockstars. 

Photo Credit 1-3, 5 belongs to the author, 4