Having been on the fence about detox cleanses for years, I finally decided to try a juice cleanse. Since we spend so much energy digesting the foods we eat, a juice cleanse made sense to give my failing digestive a rest so that it could begin to heal.
While I was hoping to do a 5 day juice cleanse, I listened to my body and stopped at 3 days. I was feeling weak, beyond exhausted, and at 100 pounds I couldn’t afford to lose another pound.
I used Cathy Wong‘s 5 day juice fast as a template for the fast, which comprised of 4 large juices (her recipes yield quite a bit of juice – I got about 16-30 oz of juice per recipe) per day plus one nut milk drink. Her recipes are spot on and extremely palatable. I LOVE the addition of whole lemons in juice, which help to draw out the flavors and makes the juice sparkle. The large amount of ginger in the beet/apple juice was also great, making the body feel interesting tingly after drinking. I added red cabbage to the green juice because its high glutamine content and gut healing properties. I also added fresh aloe vera (straight from the plant) to water for its gut healing properties.
This is my grocery list for the whole 5 day cleanse, which was for 2 people. This yielded quite a bit of juice.
- 40 cucumbers
- 10-12 heads celery
- 40 green apples
- 40 beets
- 20 carrots
- 20 cups spinach
- ginger (I ended up using about 30 inches)
- 10 lemons
- 5 bunches parsley
- 5 bunches kale
- 10 heads romaine or other lettuce
- cabbage, 5
This is what I learned.
- When you fast, your body begins to draw on its fat reserves to fuel itself. This is great if you have extra weight to shed, but not so great when you are already somewhat underweight.
- Be VERY careful about breaking the fast. My eyes were bigger than my stomach and I had lentil soup and a dairy/gluten free caesar salad the following day, which was a terrible mistake for my weak digestive system. I’m unsure if I got a stomach flu or food poisoning or if my digestive system failed, but I got horribly sick for 36 hours. There have been people who have died from breaking long fasts with cheeseburgers, and I can see how. Eat veggies, veggie soups, broth, and fruit, but wait a few days before having heavier foods.
- I personally HAD to drink a few cups of homemade chicken and vegetable broth because the detox was too intense. This may have slowed down the detoxification process, but it made me feel significantly better.
- You may want to add some chia seeds or psyllium to your juice, because the lack of fiber results in constipation.
- If you are doing a juice fast for two, you may need to divide the shopping into 2 trips. You need a LOT of produce, and this takes up most of the space in the fridge.
Overall, the fast made me feel pretty sick, but no one’s ever said detoxification is a fun process. Years of filling the body with junk catches up with you. Next time, I’ll do a modified juice fast with the incorporation of protein because I don’t want to lose weight. The juice fast set up good juicing habits and I’ve kept up the juicing every day. My leaky gut is making progress. And there’s nothing like feeling like you’re actually doing something good for yourself by feeding your body fresh, wholesome, and delicious produce.