It’s January, and in the last 3 days I’ve met 3 people who are doing some sort of cleanse – be it juice, food, or soup-based. Keep in mind I’m in LA so that kind of thing isn’t that uncommon around here. But still, cold-pressed juice is becoming more and more popular across the country, and the benefits of intermittent fasting are also being explored more in scientific research. Cleansing for a few days can be a great way to reset both your body and your mind, and to give your digestive system a break. It’s my go-to when I’ve been glutened (or dairy-ed, if that’s a word) to help to clean out my system. Cleansing or fasting also may have the added benefit of changing your perspective on food and your relationship to food, as it did for me. As you’ll see from this diary I kept while doing a 3-day juice cleanse, food is a huge part of my life, and I have a lot of habitual patterns as well as emotions tied up in food. But by keeping this diary, I was able to observe my thoughts and practice putting it all in perspective and coming back to
I was excited to pick up my juices at my local Ritual Wellness drop-off location first thing in the morning. I had done detox cleanses before, and always was very happy with how I felt both physically and mentally afterwards (especially how my stomach felt not having to deal with any traces of gluten or dairy that might have slipped into my food). But I do love to eat and normally have a pretty big appetite, so the hunger that usually accompanies a cleanse like this one was something I was trying not to think about too much!
The drop-off location happened to be a fitness boutique in my neighborhood, where I’m pretty sure I saw Naomi Watts waiting for her “treadmill class” to begin…gotta love LA 🙂 When I got home, I started the day off as I usually do, with a cup of green tea with a quarter of a lemon squeezed in (that really gets the tummy movin’ and gives you some vitamin C first thing!). Then I launched into the progression of green juices, labeled by number, slowly but surely. They actually tasted pretty good and not bitter at all (there was green apple in all of them alongside the spinach, kale, etc), and I definitely felt happy to be giving myself all of these super healthy green veggies that I have been skimping on a bit recently, especially with the holidays. Strangely though, the juices made me thirsty so I was downing water at the same time – and swishing it around my teeth per the suggestion of a dentist friend.
I started getting hungry towards the end of juice #2, and the words “WHY AM I DOING THIS I WANT FOOD” have definitely flashed across my mind a few times now. But it’s interesting just to notice that and go back to taking a sip of green goodness. It’s also interesting to notice how much of my mindspace is usually taken up by something related to feeding myself – where am I going to stop for lunch? What’s for dinner and all the fun around planning that. It’s cold outside (yes cold for LA standards), a hot chocolate sounds great right now! But they are just thoughts, and I am committed to finishing this cleanse!
By the time I started juice #4 I was starting to feel a bit irritated and angry. Again the question of “why am I doing this” arose. But I was excited to try a juice that was NOT green juice, and boy did it give me a jolt! It was a golden concoction of lemon, agave and cayenne, which some people might recognize as being similar to the Madal Bal cleanse that was popular a few years back. I couldn’t wait for the last juice of the day, which was a cashew vanilla milk with nutmeg and cinnamon – yum! So far, my experience has been a positive one – very glad that I’m feeding myself healthy nutrient-filled veggies and giving my digestive system a break, AND starting to accept the feeling of hunger in my tummy as a constant companion and the flashes of irritation as temporary…at least the sensation of hunger is just localized in my tummy! More to come tomorrow…
Similar to yesterday, hunger was my constant companion today but took much more of a back seat to whatever else was going on in the moment. I guess I’m just more used to that sensation now and see it as just that – a sensation of hunger. And I have the luxury to know that this hunger is completely created by me, that when the cleanse is over, there is no question that I will have food on my table again.
I was feeling pretty energetic during the day and even did a light cardio workout, after which I finished off the few sips of cashew milk that I couldn’t finish last night (yes, I couldn’t finish it – it’s dense!). I’m looking forward to tomorrow – as I recall from other cleanses I’ve done, you really start to feel different on day 3, including a renewed sense of focus and clarity. We shall see! I’m already starting to plan my vegan meals out for the first day off the cleanse!
Whoo hoo last day of the cleanse! The hunger was still today there but was very much in the background. At one point I was even stopped at a red light that happened to be right next to the outdoor seating of Burger Lounge. My attention was caught by a normal-looking guy biting into a burger. I immediately started feeling those sensations of craving arise, and could start smelling the burger in my mind. But then the craving went away and it just became me witnessing a guy on the street doing something normal that he does every day. Very interesting experience.
Overall, I feel good after doing this cleanse. Life seems simpler and lighter, and my stomach hasn’t given me any of my gluten/dairy-related issues at all! It’s nice to give my digestive system a break 🙂 I almost feel like I could go longer on this cleanse….but no, I’m looking forward to eating some solid food tomorrow!
The Day After
So I hadn’t planned on writing about the cleanse again today, but after going back to solid food, I am noticing some really interesting comparisons that I thought I’d share. The main difference is how much of my mental capacity is now taken up by thinking about meals again. I have to say that for a few days, it was nice not to think about planning and preparing my meals at all – on the cleanse, there was none of that. I knew what I was going to consume next and that was it. My mind was free to think about other things. Now I am realizing how much of my thoughts are occupied by buying groceries, planning my schedule around meals and where I wanted to eat them, preparing food, scheduling the cooking, etc. Seems very complicated in comparison.
Also, I am tasting so much more now! Even the taste of my vitamins (which I did not take while on the cleanse) is stronger as I swallow them! On the tummy side of things, my appetite has definitely shrunk, and I’m not as into sweets as I was pre-cleanse. We’ll see if this lasts!
For anyone considering doing a juice cleanse, I would really recommend it for a short period of time just to experience it. If only to see what your mind does when there aren’t any meals in your life for those three days. As the name of the cleanse “Reset” suggests, it really is a good way to hit the reset button physically and mentally and to pave the way for a fresh approach to food and your senses!