At some point last week, I got it into my head that I wanted to try one of those three-day juice cleanse things. And by "wanted" I mean, "wanted to spout idle Big Talk about possibly trying one of those three-day juice cleanse things, because come on."
Our time at the beach was a week-long experiment in testing the limits of just how much garbage the human body can consume. Results: A LOT. After seven days of nothing but heavily processed cheese, carbs, sugar, meat and booze, I was desperately craving a salad and felt an acute need to just...reset. (Also: the scale. FUCK YOU SCALLLLLLE.)
And so I convinced myself that a juice fast was just the fad-thing I needed to undo some of the damage and start fresh.
Three days + 18 jars of juice (plus three "shots" of beet juice and one ginger) = the weirdest and possibly dumbest impulse buy of my life.
I hauled it all home from a fancy local juice bar that I had never even set foot in before, arranged it neatly in our basement fridge...and then stared at it for awhile, while the imminent expiration dates mocked me, as there was no putting it off. We're not pasteurized, bitch! What have you gotten yourself into NOW?
Day one started out bright and full of promise. I was shocked to find that I did not hate the first juice (a blend of water, lemon, cayenne and coconut), and that it was actually a decent replacement for coffee, since it was tart and bracing. CLEARLY I WAS GOING TO ROCK AT THIS.
Juice two was a cucumber...thing, and gave me my first real inkling of what I was in for. In my puny brain, I guess I'd been envisioning something thicker and more substantial, like three days of fruit-and-vegetable smoothies.
No. It's juice, you idiot. Watery, texture-less, completely liquid juice.
"Shiiiiiit," went my puny brain.
I carefully spaced the drinks out every two hours, as instructed, and found myself in a logic war with my stomach. My "breakfast" is typically nothing more than a pot of black coffee, and I don't usually eat lunch until well after noon, after the kids are done with theirs and the sitter leaves. So it wasn't like I was replacing a daily smorgasbord of pancakes and eggs benedict with juices. And yet after two juices I was STARVING. I mean, I wasn't really, but I was OBSESSING.
"Lunch" was a carrot juice, which was thankfully thicker than the first two but still woefully lacking in TEXTURE to CHEW. It was filling, at least, but my stomach just felt...bored. GIVE ME SOMETHING TO DO!, it seemed to growl. I HAVE NOTHING TO NOM! THIS IS BULLSHIT!
I tried to focus on work but felt kind of sluggish and spongy, mostly because I was only half a day in and already discouraged that there was no way I'd ever make it three days without bailing. I didn't feel pure and natural and pumped full of raw, accessible vitamins — I felt cranky and hungry and wanted to be left alone with a goddamn bag of string cheese.
I hit the lowest point around 3 pm. The sitter had left around 1, I was still trying to finish work I'd been unable to complete that morning thanks to my brain fog, and the kids were all lively and awake and demanding entertainment. I started to feel a little lightheaded and in desperate need for a nap, and juice number four was coconut water and I learned that I FUCKING HATE COCONUT WATER. It was the first one that I honestly had a hard time getting down. You people, with the coconut water? With the VOLUNTARY coconut water? I do not get you, you people.
After awhile I stuck it back in the fridge and switched to regular water, then made some sad, cleanse-friendly "tea." Hot water, a little lemon and a small bit of the ginger shot. At this point I was so desperate for ANY variety of ANY kind that even the switch to hot water was like, total amazeballs. And I found if I added enough ginger juice it became super spicy, which made my bored-as-hell tastebuds happy. YOU GOT US SOME WATER SALSA YAAAAYYYYY!
But basically, the hours of 3-5 pm on day one were the worst. I wasn't experiencing any of the "detox" symptoms I'd braced myself for (especially since I'd done NOTHING to prepare for the cleanse, like eliminating caffeine/meat/dairy/alcohol in the days prior, but leapt right in the morning after indulging in chocolate-chip cookies and red wine the night before, because I am a winner)...I was just hungry. So very, very hungry. And NOT in the mood for juice number five, some bright green thing full of kale and romaine and celery and stuff.
Specifically, the lowest, worst moment was when Jason came home from work and the reality hit me: I was going to have to sit there sipping juice while my asshole family got to eat real, actual food right in front of me.
Jason stuck a pizza in the oven for the boys and — upon seeing my pale, frantic face and hearing my near-weeping over this voluntary thing that I had voluntarily signed up for — opted to only eat a salad for dinner.
"BUT YOU STILL GET TO CHEWWWWW!" I practically wailed at him, then hid in the living room to escape the amazing, delicious smell of shitty frozen pizza warming up in the oven.
I thought about quitting, yes. I tried to talk myself into a revised plan of drinking the juices during the day and then eating a "sensible" small dinner at night. I'd made a huge mistake, clearly. I should have worked up to this more slowly, getting back into better eating habits post-vacation for awhile and OH MY GOD I WOULD EAT MY SOFA RIGHT NOW BRING ME SOME KETCHUP.
I started in on the green juice and took a shot of the beet juice. Both of them were...surprisingly good, if texture-less. That was still the biggest issue — I liked and appreciated the fresh taste of all the vegetable juices, but missed the satisfaction and satiated feeling that comes with you know, EATING those vegetables.
Then I made the mistake of going into the kitchen to check on my children. Noah had done his patented trick of flipping the pizza upside down, then carefully eating every bite of crust and sauce while leaving the cheese behind. (He loves cheese, just not melted cheese. And yet he insists pizza is his favorite. I don't know. I don't even bother trying to figure it out anymore.) I picked up his plate and walked towards the sink and...
That cheese. That disgusting, leftover slab of sub-par mozzarella that my child had meticulously separated from his pizza slice...
...was suddenly the most irresistible piece of food I have ever encountered in my entire life.
So I ate it. I cheated on my fancy three-day juice cleanse with a hunk of cold cheese from a boxed frozen pizza.
And it was DELICIOUS. Oh, my GOD it tasted so good. Like grease tinged with regret.
And then I finished my salad-juice and finally felt...full. So much that I considered skipping the final drink of the day — a raw vanilla almond milk — but then decided to have it before bed. It was absolutely goddamned delicious and proteinariffic, like some kind of glorious vegan milkshake I never would have liked before but now! NOW! Oh, God bless you, almond milk, for being Not Juice and for having wee tiny flecks of almonds in you that I can FEEL with my TONGUE and gaaahhhhslobberdrool.
I realized if I'd started the final two juices sooner, I possibly could have avoided the worst of the out-of-my-mind-with-hunger pangs, because I went to bed completely full and satisfied and slept like a rock. Maybe I could actually do this.
Or maybe it was just Stockholm Syndrome brought on by the almond milk.
Next: Day two brings it on, in a brought-en-est z-snap fashion