My Juicing Journey: First Juice Cleanse

It has been 2 weeks since I finished my 7 day juice cleanse  and I’ve been able to keep off the extra water weight I was carrying (around 5lbs) and the extra percent of body fat I gained from the holidays. I am back to my “normal weight and body fat percentage which is around 170lbs and 6.5%.

The one major improvement from the juice cleanse I experienced is that I am no longer dependent on caffeine throughout the day even though I am still getting about 6 hours of sleep a night. My quality of sleep is much better also which allows me to be more focused and alert during the day. I no longer have the midday slump or after meal sleepiness. I still occasional take a nap in the middle of the day but that’s usually if it’s a slow day for me and if if I have time. I still stick to my power naps of only 20-30minutes and they are always before 4pm so they don’t affect my sleep cycle. I did have an expresso one night before going out around 8pm and was wired til 4am! That’s after waking up at 7am to play beach volleyball, going out on yacht and attending a charity gala…with no nap in between!

Two weeks ago (after juicing) I shifted my workout program to a high-intensity muscle building plan so my caloric intake has increased to about 3200 calories, up from my maintenance intake of around 2800. My weight has gone up 1lb but my body fat has only gone up a fraction of a percent so most of that 1lb is muscle weight. My goal is to stay on this program for another 4 weeks then lean down for the summer in May (hopefully get under 5% body fat and stay there!). The last week of leaning down I’d like to do another juice cleanse but maybe for just 5 days. I did say that last time and it ended up being 7 days. We’ll see!

 

FIRST JUICE CLEANSE

Being a health and fitness “expert” I feel that part of my responsibility is to keep up to date with all the new trends and fads. So long as it doesn’t require anything illegal or needs to be prescribed by a doctor, I’m open-minded to trying some of them so long as they are reasonable…to me. I have no interest in a colonic so we aren’t–nobody is–going there. Period!

I’ve known about juicing (fruit and vegetable juicing, not Alex Rodriguez juicing!) for some time and although I am certain it is healthy for you to a certain extent, I have never been an advocate of juicing. Especially as a weigh loss option. There are many articles and reports that talks about the health concerns of juicing but that is not my purpose here. My purpose is to share with you my experience with juicing in hopes that it will give you a better understanding of what it’s all about and what you can expect to experience if you try it.

Most of the foods Americans eat on a regular basis is processed, engineered, packaged and/or loaded with chemicals and preservatives. Sometimes I wonder if some of the stuff I see out there was actually living at one point! Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are decent options, it’s certainly better than not having them in your diet, but ain’t nothing like the real thing…baby. A juice cleanse or detox, as they are commonly called, is designed to flush your body with a highly concentrated dose of nutrients such as a vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This abundance of nutrients cleans out your body of harmful toxins that has accumulated over time, allows nutrients to be better absorbed moving forward and improves your digestion. I have always been intrigued about doing a juice cleanse just to see how my body would respond. I never gave it seriously consideration until I saw the documentary, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. After watching that I had to try it, I was compelled! Five days without eating any food and only drinking fresh juice can’t be so bad right??

In the documentary, the narrator and creator, Joe Cross, shares his experience as he travels across the the US juicing for 60 days straight. That’s right, two months of nothing but juice! He went from 310lbs, loaded on steroids, taking multiple prescriptions and  having a debilitating autoimmune disease that doctors or traditional medicine could treat to 220lbs (that’s 82lbs in 60 days or 1.36lbs a day!) with a clean bill of health from his doctor, who he spoke with and sent his labs in regularly. Now keep in mind that he was 100lbs overweight, didn’t exercise and was also producing the documentary so he kinda had to stick with it, therefore, his results are not typical but they are still impressive none the less.

Watching the documentary it got me thinking about how my body would respond to a juice cleanse. I’m certainly not fat, I rarely get sick and I’d like to believe that I got a lot more living to do before I’m dead. Also, I felt it would be a good topic to write about and share my experience to answer some questions people may have about juicing and hopefully motivate them to try one. So, what would happen if someone such as myself who is in shape, exercises regularly and eats healthy (for the most part) did a juice cleanse? Your about to find out!

On Joe’s website, www.rebootwithjoe.com, hehas a 3, 5, 10 and 15 day juice reboot (what he calls a detox or cleanse) complete with recipes and shopping lists. I’ve been told that after 3 days is where the benefit really kicks in so I went with the 5-day plan because 10 days sounded impossible for me. At first. The 5 day reboot is 5 juices a day made up of a variety of fruits and vegetables. I added 2 almond juices  a day to get some additional protein to prevent my body from losing too much muscle, which is normal when you juice due to the calorie restriction and lower protein intake. That’s 7 juices a day plus 1 coconut water which the reboot also includes for electrolytes. That’s a LOT of juice for a day!

I was fortunate enough to have a juicer to use so I didn’t have to buy one but they generally range anywhere from $50 all the way up to over $300. The one I used was somewhere in the middle so that’s what I would recommend. If you’re interested in juicing but purchasing one is a little outside of your budget, try doing a cleanse with a few friends so that you all can split the cost of the juicer. I made my juice 3 days at a time and sealed them in mason jars to retain as much nutrients as possible. I have no idea what the recommended shelf life is for juiced juice but I would guess that within 48 hours would be fine. Just don’t quote me on that! All my ingredients were purchased at the local grocery store and when everything was said and done, it came to about $21 a day or $3 a juice. In the documentary Joe says it’s about $14 a day which was for 5 juices. I added the two almond juices so they both come out to right around the same cost per juice.

My two biggest concerns were that I was going to be deathly hungry and get intense headaches due to cutting out caffeine.  Not only were my calories going to be severely restricted (I usually take in around 3000 calories a day and with the juicing I was cutting that in half) but I also had to go 7 days without eating and chewing food. In regards to caffeine, one of the side effects of juicing is headaches which is mostly caused by caffeine withdrawal. I wouldn’t quite say I was hooked up to a coffee IV but I was a certainly close.

After 5 days of juicing I was completely shocked as to how relatively easy the process. No intense hunger pains, no headaches, no food cravings, nada! I certainly missed having food and there were a few tough moments but overall my body responded extremely well. So well, in fact, that I added two days to make it a full week! I did add fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts on the last two days but that was pretty much the solid versions of what I was juicing. Besides, Joe recommends a 5-day meal plan after you juice (page 4) to allow your body to adjust back to normal eating. After completing any diet plan it’s important to reintroduce your body to regular foods so that you get your metabolism running at a healthy level and keep the amount of weight your body puts back on to a minimum.

I started the detox, cleanse, reboot…whatever you want to call it, at 175lbs and 7.5% body fat. Both are higher than I have been in a few years but I’ve also had a few more cheat meals than I normally have…especially the weekend before. What a great weekend though! Anyways, I’m fairly in tune with my body and I know for certain that I was carrying around an additional 4-5lbs of water weight, which affect your body fat measurements. With that being said, 7 days later I dropped 9.5lbs to 165.5lbs and 1.5% body fat to 6%. I’ll most likely put back on a few pounds when I reintroduce regular foods but most of it should be just normal water weight. I normally carry around 6% body fat so that should stay the same. Hopefully.

The most remarkable thing effect juicing had on my body was to my dependency on caffeine.  As I am writing this article, I am 3 day post-cleanse and my energy  level is through the roof! It’s like I’m on a constant caffeine high without the caffeine. I’m back to my normal sleep routine and having my regular meals but I’m not having the  usual midday slumps, sugar crashes or  tired spells I used to have throughout the day. I’m actually nervous to see what would happen if I had a cup of coffee! I’d probably make this article longer. Bored yet? Get a coffee!

I had two other friends who did the 5-day cleanse and make it a  proper “experiment” and see how we would all respond. One of my friends didn’t lose any weight but felt significantly healthier and noticed a difference in her skin, particularly to her face. She did get flu like symptoms as a side effect but that’s normal. My other friend lost 5lbs and felt a boost in his energy levels but had a bad case of the runs. Also a normal side effect. My only real side effect was that I was extremely tired the first two days. The first day I had to take 2 two hour naps and the second day I took 1 two hour nap. The third and forth day I was back to (my previous) normal but still took an hour nap each day. It wasn’t until the 5th day when my energy levels hit a new level–a level which I’m still at 5 days later. It seems as though that we all got what our bodies needed from the cleanse which were very different from each other. My one friend needed the actual detox benefits as she had fallen off her healthy wagon for a few months while my other friend, who eats terrible but works out regularly, needed his…umm, pipes cleaned out. Me, I needed to lose the extra water weight I was carrying–which I knew about–but my body also needed rest, quality rest so that I could recharge.

The human body is a very efficient machine and much like any other machine it needs regular maintenance and needs to be serviced. The easiest analogy I can come up with for a juice cleanse is getting an oil change for you body. You empty out the bad oil, aka toxins, and replace it with new oil. From my experience and my friends experience, our bodies seem to know what it needs so what “oil” gets changing just depends on what needs. For some people it may be changing the brake fluid for others it may be the transmission fluid. Regardless of what it is, all our bodies need to be serviced. Is juicing the end all, be all solution? I don’t know, that question is above my pay grade. What I can tell you is that I’m now a fan and will be doing a 7-day cleanse every three months. Ok, I lied. Every six months. A guys gotta eat!

 

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