By Victoria Derr Valencia
Coming at you from the other side of a juice cleanse – I’ve survived. Two days, twelve juices, and only three hours spent Google searching “onigiri restaurants near me.” It was this morning that I finally got to Google search the keywords of liberation: “what to eat after a juice cleanse.”
For the record, I ate a banana and drank ginger tea. But, I’ll indulge more on what to do post-cleanse after I divulge on my experience with a juice cleanse.
First: what is a juice cleanse?
A juice cleanse, also known as a juice fast, is a period of time where you replace solid foods with only liquid foods. The word “fast” can be a bit deceiving, because you’re still eating (uh….drinking) all your recommended vitamins and minerals, just not exactly chewing and swallowing as you normally would.
It’s like a reset button on your digestion. To clear out the clogged plumbing, giving your tummy a break from being in a constant state of eat/digest, eat/digest, eat/digest. Your body should easily absorb liquid nutrients, without spending energy on digestion.
That was my main appeal – if my energy wasn’t going towards digestion, where else would it go?
To find out, I did the OG Renovation cleanse from BluePrint.
The first morning went smoothly – just a few tummy grumbles. Nothing so different from skipping breakfast, or attempting intermittent fasting, or waiting until 4pm to eat an actual meal (tried these all – don’t recommend).
It wasn’t until lunchtime that the real panic hit. For me, lunch is a midday treat – a moment to stop, munch, take in your surroundings, breathe, and all that other mindfulness jazz. But without focusing my lunchtime ritual on a meal, my foggy brain began to panic.
Play it cool Vic, I told myself. I can still have a ritual without solid foods. So, with juice as my lunch, the ritual went on.
It was that afternoon where things took a turn; I was sprawled on my couch, my laptop on my belly. A pretty unsightly pose for only 2pm in the afternoon (this is more of an evening time pose for me). I had hours of copy editing to do, an article to write, an Astrology class video pending, dozens of unanswered emails. My to do list was looming over my foggy brain; I could hardly muster the energy to pick up the peppermint tea I had spilled all over the floor.
My cat kept me company in my misery. I drank more juice, stared out the window, admitting defeat from being productive. Instead, I found entertainment in light patterns on the wall. Read a bit of a social media strategy book. Took a nap. Played with my cat. Did maybe an hour of editing. Then just sat and stared into space for a while before I called it a day.
For dinner, I warmed up the Nut & Bolt juice in the microwave. A creamy cashew milk turned warm filled my tummy with 7 grams of protein, and knocked me out at 9pm.
I slept ten hours that night.
The next day, I woke up freezing. Freezing, yet, extremely well-rested after 10 hours of sleep.
Here’s something I hadn’t mentioned: the two days I decided to juice cleanse, a cold front blew through San Diego. The temperature dropped ten degrees (I’m not complaining, it was still in the high 50s) and a turbulent rain storm blew in from the Pacific. My coastal desert body was not used to the cold and the wet, and was working overtime to keep me warm. The (cold) juices weren’t cutting it.
Bundled up in fleece-lined leggings, a turtleneck, a sweater, and fuzzy socks, I left the house. The next four juices for the day came with me in a re-usable, cooler bag.
That day, I felt no hunger. I felt no pain. I even felt way less of the brain fog from the day before – in fact, quite the opposite. My brain felt razor sharp, and my focus streamlined…borderline obsessive perhaps, but quite a lot of work was done in the four hours I spent furiously typing at Hawthorn Coffee (see our coffee guide for our favorite NTCH workspaces). And, I didn’t spend a single moment of those four hours Googling “onigiri near me.”
A Lemon Rest, a Beet Blast, a warmed-up Nut & Bolt and I was, again, tucked in bed and fast asleep way before my normal bedtime.
THE NEXT DAY…
Sweet, sweet, solid foods.
After a cleanse, it’s recommended to eat raw fruits for breakfast, a salad for lunch and a vegetable soup for dinner (according to Google). Sticking to raw (or lightly steamed) fruits and veggies, is extremely important after a cleanse: you don’t want to shock your body by eating processed foods a.k.a. pizza.
I had a banana for breakfast, pho for lunch and a plate of fries for dinner.
Ah well… can’t do everything right.
I expected my body to go into shock after two days of only liquids, or at least, get extremely full after only a few bites of my meal. But surprisingly, my body acclimated well. We savored that morning banana. Easily digested pho. And definitely, definitely licked the salt off my fingers after splitting a plate of fries.
The second day, I felt razor focused. On a strange high. Extremely productive. Interested in my work, in my reading, in connecting with human beings around me. After the hump of the first day that initial sludge-y detox-y feeling that kept me couch locked, staring at dust motes in my living room and petting my napping cat, the juice cleanse was like using windshield wipers after letting rain drops accumulate for too long.
I would highly recommend planning for low-brain power activities during the day you juice cleanse – at least for me, it was easy to be physically active but not as easy to expend brain power on important tasks. The second day though; that’s where I felt a breakthrough moment.
All in all, I would definitely do this again. With proper planning, and proper mindset, I believe that juice cleanses can be a healthy reset button. Or at least a break from making a mess in the kitchen.
NOTE: I was drinking herbal teas during this cleanse, to keep me hydrated and warm. I opted for Peppermint tea, which aids digestion and has a slight awakening effect for me. If you decide to drink teas during a juice cleanse, I would highly recommend drinking caffeine-free.
(Be sure to consult a health practitioner, a doctor, or a nutritionist before partaking in a juice cleanse or doing a fast of your own.)