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Spring break has crept up upon us at last, and although I promised over and over to start a diet/exercise/detox regimen months ago, getting fit just kept getting...put off. Time and again, the gym took a backseat to schoolwork, extracurriculars, and that must-watch repeat of Dance Moms every night at 5 PM. After two months of camping out on the couch with endless bags of Pretzel M&Ms--not to mention enough coffee, soda and Red Bull to last a year--I was starting to feel more than a little toxic. 

With just a few days to go before Spring Break, there wasn't enough time to prepare for the week of extreme sun, surf, and sugary-cocktail hangovers that awaited me in the Dominican Republic. I decided to try something different to reset my body's internal clockwork: a juice cleanse. 

I'd certainly heard horror stories about juice cleanses, and I didn't want to do anything too extreme--subsisting on nothing but water, lemons and cayenne pepper for ten days on The Master Cleanse just doesn't sound healthy, safe, or fun. So I decided to do just one day of Ritual Cleanse, which provides six organic, cold-pressed vegetable, fruit and nut-based juices a day (plus two extra if you plan to work out), totaling around a thousand calories. Unlike some of the more radical cleanses favored by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Ritual Cleanse promised to "flood your cells with vitamins and minerals that gently cleanse and heal your body without the harsh 'detox' symptoms". A full cleanse is four days, but I thought one day of consuming nothing but super-fresh, organic fruits and vegetables (in juice form, of course) would be enough to refresh my system for the week ahead. I went for their "Seasonal Reset", which replaces one of the juices with a fruit juice using only spring-specific ingredients. 

The cleanse had arrived by the time I woke up, in an insulated box that kept it cold. It even came with a cute little insulated bag filled with ice packs, so I could carry a few juices with me to class. I started the day with a cup of hot water, as Ritual Cleanse suggested, and tried the first drink. It was green--not radioactive Mountain Dew green, not even citrusy Sierra Mist green. Nope, it was salad green--which made sense, considering its ingredients were spinach, romaine, kale, celery, cucumber, green apple, and lemon. Lots of people swore online that the green juice is delicious, but drinking liquid salad certainly takes some getting used to. After only a couple almost-gags, I managed to choke the first one down, and I was surprised that I felt pretty full for about an hour afterward.

The second cleanse, two hours later, was a welcome, tasty, and somewhat satisfying reprieve that got me through to lunchtime. But after that it was another green one--this was a bit easier to get down, but still not exactly delightful (kind of like your second workout at the gym after a long break). By now I was seriously craving a giant sandwich, not to mention a Grande dark roast. Ritual Cleanse suggested I try and wean myself off junk food and caffeine before the cleanse, but I totally forgot, which means I had a whopping headache that lasted through the afternoon. Juice #4, a Master-Cleanse-like "spicy lemonade" mixture, didn't help much.

I was re-energized, though, with the Pre-Shred drink came around. The mix of carrots, apples, celery, beets, and pear tasted like a V8 Fusion, and weirdly provided me with a huge energy boost. I powered through my workout with more stamina than I'd had in months, despite having nothing but juice in me. Turns out all those healthy nutrients make for a better workout than a bagel with cream cheese--who knew?

The "Post-Shred" juice was my favorite: a formula of almonds, agave, cinnamon and vanilla, it tasted just like a healthy milkshake. It was later followed by another green juice--not exactly a delicious dinner, but it filled me up much better than a plain garden salad (its solid equivalent) would have. The cleanse's final juice was a dessert-like confection involving chopped cashews. I wanted to love it, but it kind of grossed me out--the cashews kept getting stuck in my throat, and I was so full of juice by the end that I felt nauseous. 

Somehow, I never went hungry throughout the day; that may have changed if I had done the full four-day cleanse, but I think my body was so full of water that it got confused. Or maybe the juices are just truly satisfying! What I missed more than anything else, though, was the ritual of eating. I love the satisfying feeling of biting into something delicious, which is why I never like to drink my calories--I always chose water, black coffee, and diet soda over protein shakes, smoothies, or calorie-rich Frappucinos. It was tough to focus on my paper without a bag of chips or a box of candy next to me--but although a bottle of liquid lettuce may not have been my first choice of snack, I was grateful to be robbed of an excuse for my usual late-night stress snacking, and I did manage to power through on the power of juice alone.

I don't think I lost any weight on the cleanse, but that wasn't my intention.  I just wanted to feel healthier, and I did. I'm not sure how much difference just one day did to my innards, but I woke up the next day craving not a greasy omelet or starchy French toast as I often do after a night out, but fresh juice--doubtless a by-product of the cleanse. And I liked the idea that I was putting all the organic, nutrient-rich ingredients I always mean to eat, but never have the time, money, or energy for as a busy, broke college student. I may not have been super-human healthy by the next day (I did, after all, return to coffee almost immediately), but I did get one amazing reward that celebs always rave about, but that I'd never expected: glowing skin. Even my guy friend, who never notices such things, complimented me the next day--and I was makeup-free!

At $80 a day, a full Ritual Cleanse is pretty pricey, but they also offer shorter cleanses and individual juices for people who, like me, need just a tiny little boost and not a full-on flush.  Luckily, Her Campus readers can get 20 percent off all Ritual Cleanse products--just enter "hercampusreads" at checkout through March 20th. 

Amanda First is a senior English major at Cornell University.  She is Life Editor of Her Campus, as well as founding editor of Her Campus Cornell. She has interned for Cornell Alumni Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, and Parents through ASME's internship program.  Some of her favorite things include high heels, browsing ShopBop, yoga, The O.C. reruns (but only before Marissa dies), and Tasti D-Lite. After college, she hopes to pursue a career in magazine journalism.
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