Raw Juice Cleanse: Amazing or Agonizing?

Have you ever considered undertaking a raw juice cleanse? With summer finally here, the sweaters and leggings come off and it’s time for tanks tops, shorts and other light clothing which makes us more aware of our muffin top, or the baby weight we want to lose. There are some great brands out there like Dove’s Real Beauty  campaign and the Special “K”  #ownit campaign which celebrate women, promoting self love for all our dimples, curves, rolls and stretch marks. In a perfect world,  we should love our bodies just as they are, but in reality we don’t always succeed with that philosophy!

There are no shortcuts to weight loss

After 3 decades of glaring at my scale, I know that there are no shortcuts to weight loss. I believe that anything which starts quickly, usually ends quickly, and never in a good way.  Rapid weight loss can happen, but then the weight comes back even faster. Last week however, while having dinner with my friend Ronnie (name changed to protect the innocent), I listened to her espouse the unbelievable benefits of a raw juice cleanse, and she had me hooked.

Ronnie’s on the conservative side. She’s healthy and fit without being an over the top health nut.  So when she spent fifteen minutes telling me how wonderful you feel after a 3 day raw juice cleanse, I was sold.  She rattled off the benefits: detoxing from carbs, sugar and caffeine, as well as the other toxins that build up in your system.  She said it resets your metabolism so you stop having cravings and just eat healthy.  With summer here, this seemed like a great way to reboot and get back on the good nutrition track.

After dinner I went home and called the company she used.  A trendy raw juicing company in downtown Toronto whose name I won’t use.

It started off well, I spoke with their resident nutritionist who answered my questions and explained the process.  Bottles are delivered to your doorstep every morning in a cooler pack and you have to drink them in their numbered order.  However, with my enthusiasm to get started, I failed to ask, how many bottles were being delivered.

The next morning, my boys stood beside me with excitement to see what was in the cooler.  8 half liter bottles and two small “elixirs” were numbered 1-10 with instructions that they needed to be consumed in order every 90 minutes!

Juicing 1

Raw Juice Cleanse: It’s not as bad as you think… or is it?

They watched as I opened the first mysterious green bottle.  I was upbeat, but as the smell hit my nose, I knew there was no way I’d suavely drink this in front of them and it would likely take a full ninety minutes to consume it. So I made the excuse that they’d be late for school. I rushed them out the door and told them I would tell them about it later.

9AM saw me standing at the sink, pouring what can only be described as green sludge that smelled like rotten moss found at the bottom of a turtle pond, into a glass. Holding my nose I took a sip and gagged.  Panic hit as I realized that this was bottle #1 of a 3 day commitment.

My sister in law’s favourite expression popped into my head, “Pull up your big girl panties and get on with it!”  So holding my nose, I downed the first of the day’s drinks. As disgusting as it was, once it was ingested, I felt energized.  Each bottle was a different colour and blend and included veggies I would have normally not eaten.

The first day passed in a haze of drinking, withdrawal headaches, and lots of swearing.  Ronnie was supportive and told me the first day was the worst.  She was right about that. “Just wait until you wake up energized tomorrow!”

I waited for the blissful sleep.  It didn’t come.  And “tomorrow” wasn’t full of energy.  It wasn’t full of hunger, but like the movie Groundhog Day, there was another cooler on my doorstep at 7am.

By the end of day 2, the headaches were gone.  Though I missed having food to chew, I wasn’t hungry.  I’d ingested 4 liters a day of pure, raw fruit and vegetables, and peed more times in two days than I had in two months.  I felt lighter (who wouldn’t!).

But by the 16th bottle, I knew there was no way that day #3 was happening.

The outcome….To juice or not to juice

There are those who swear that a raw juice cleanse is life changing. I think a week at an exclusive spa in Tuscany would be life changing. I will concede that two days of intense vitamins and minerals in a body that often neglects them, has its benefits.  My skin was glowing! But I didn’t feel energized. As a matter of fact, the first day after the cleanse, when I was back on a normal diet, I felt like I’d been hit by a train.

Would I do this again? Never.  But in all fairness, as unpleasant as this was, Ronnie was right.  The cleanse did rid me of my coffee addiction. The first morning after this adventure, and in the days that have followed, I haven’t craved coffee.  This is something that hasn’t happened in two decades, including two pregnancies.  I also haven’t craved anything sweet.

Was it worth it?  I can’t say.  But I did give the third, unused day of my cleanse to Ronnie.

-R. Green, Mom of Two Awesome Boys

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