I never thought I’d be one of those girls who juiced. I’ve never believed in dieting, certainly never did a regimented cleanse before…they seemed gimmicky, rigid, and not very healthy. So why would I ever consider a juice cleanse?
The whole juicing trend intrigued me, and seemed to be winning over fellow food bloggers by the masses. Joy the Baker loves cheeseburgers just like me, and she did it. Tracy Shutterbean broke it down for me and it seemed less intimidating. And Sylvie at Gourmande in the Kitchen made juicing for health sound downright delicious. The idea behind juicing is that it allows your body to quickly absorb high levels of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, while giving your digestive track a much needed break.
Back in December (for the record, probably the worst time ever to embark in a cleanse when holiday cookies are tempting you at every turn), I decided to give the BluePrint Cleanse a shot. Three days leading up to the cleanse, BPC recommends that you wean yourself off coffee, sugar, meat, and dairy. Psychologically, this may have been harder than the cleanse itself. Day one of weaning, I made a healthy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup…but while the veggies were roasting, I had a bunch of Wheat Thins and a slice of cheese. The cleanse hadn’t even started yet and I was cheating! I’m so weak. Cheese, I can’t quit you.
I pulled myself together and embarked on BluePrint’s three-day Foundation Cleanse which involved six juices a day: 3 Green Juices, 1 Pineapple-Apple-Mint, 1 Spicy Lemonade, and 1 Cashew Milk.
The Green Juice -- comprised of romaine, celery, cucumber, apple, spinach, kale, parsley, and lemon -- actually wasn’t bad. It tasted fresh and vegetal, and by day three it strangely reminded me of a Bloody Mary (this could have been wishful delusion however). The P.A.M was my favorite of the juices. Sweet, tart, and tasty, this was the sweet highlight of my day during the cleanse. The Spicy Lemonade was like watered down lemonade with a subtle kick of cayenne. And the Cashew Milk was chunkier than I would have liked, but I enjoyed the vanilla bean and cinnamon in it, and it was as close to a creamy dessert as I would get so I tried to savor it.
Overall, my BluePrint experience was challenging. Three days felt like an eternity. I hated the rigidity of having to drink the same thing each day. It was borderline ridiculous when I went to the movies with three juices crammed into my purse because I wasn’t sure when I’d be home again. And I missed the social aspects of sharing a meal, especially when my husband would come home with pepperoni pizza. Evil.
On the flip side, at the end of the cleanse I did feel good. Would I shell out the substantial amount of dough to do BluePrint again? No, but I would consider juicing myself. A few months ago I saw the documentary, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. The movie follows the journey of two men who turn around their lives through a 60-day juice cleanse. Granted, their story is extreme, but it was convincing.
I splurged on a fancy juicer and have been plowing through the veggies ever since. It is incredibly satisfying seeing my fridge brimming with fruits and vegetables, knowing that I am consuming all of it. It’s also really fun throwing entire bunches of greens and whole celery stalks into the juicer and watching them get pulverized in seconds. You’ll want to throw everything in your kitchen into that juicer, kind of like how little kids love throwing stuff down the toilet. You’ll see.
Why is this kind of juicing fun and enjoyable while the other kind was so painful? Balance? Moderation? Flexibility? I make a green juice almost every morning now, and feel so good about this commitment to health that I tend to eat healthier for the rest of the day. Sometimes the juice is breakfast and/or lunch. Sometimes it’s a supplement to a meal. It all depends on how I feel. For me, the flexibility of this approach to juicing is what makes it a sustainable practice. It is no longer something I’m making myself do. It is something I want to do.
I’ve found that the rush of energy I get from the juice alleviates my caffeine and sugar cravings. Plus, it is delicious. I crave my Mean Green Juice. The lurid color of beet juice is enthralling. I’ve heard that reduced red pepper juice makes a lovely glaze. And straight up orange juice is a frothy, creamy dream. I’m a little obsessed.
Are you a juicing convert? What are some of your favorite combinations?
Mean Green Juice
My go-to green juice with kale and spinach. You’ll find yourself craving this juice and the awesome energy boost it gives you. Adapted from Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1 liter (about 4 cups) of juice; about 3 servings
1 big handful kale (about 8 leaves)
1 big handful spinach
4 celery stalks
2 apples, quartered
1 orange, peel removed
1/2 lemon, peel removed
1/2-inch slice of ginger
- Wash all the ingredients.
- Start by juicing the kale and spinach first, then continue with the rest of the ingredients. The juice of the other fruits and veggies will help flush out more of the juice from the greens.
- Clean the juicer right away. I find that soaking the mesh disc in a bowl of warm water and using the cleaning brush while it’s submerged works well.
- Enjoy that mean green high.