This week I tried the Blue Print Cleanse, a juice cleanse that is advertised as being a “cleanse for foodies.” Which I guess means it’s more palatable and more gourmet than your average smoothie. My motivation for trying the cleanse was simply that I’d heard quite a bit about this particular one and my friend suggested we do it together. I have been exercising more – running as part of the couch to 5K program – and I’ve also been eating better since starting back to work. So I thought a cleanse would be a good addition.
There are three different levels you can try depending on what kind of cleanse you are looking for. Some are I guess harder than others, and are made up of more of the “green” juices than the others. The renovation cleanse is their “beginner cleanse” for people who are new to juicing. The second level up is the “foundation cleanse” which is in the middle and the “excavation cleanse” jokingly promises to rid your body of the crayons you ate in first grade. My friend and I went for the “foundation cleanse.”
Basically it’s three days of nothing but juice. The bottles are sent to you in a cooler (there are a few places you can pick up if you’d prefer) and are all numbered 1-6. There’s nothing you need to do yourself except get that stuff in the fridge and actually drink the juice. Actually drinking the juice is not trivial. The green juice which, on my cleanse, I drank 3 times a day, smelled like grass clippings and tasted a bit like how the inside of your fridge smells when you’ve forgotten about a cucumber too long. I was not a fan. I have tried juicing before and have tried mostly green juices with spinach but I guess I was adding quite a bit of apple to cut the taste. This juice was pure green – celery, parsley, cucumber, kale…and I found it very difficult to get down. So difficult that by day three I skipped some of those ones. It was just too unpleasant. There is also a cashew milk (that is heavier on the protein than the others) that my friend thought was amazing and I thought tasted like a chewy cinnamon milkshake. My favorite ones were the thinner, sweeter juices – the pineapple mint and the lemon, agave and cayenne.
I lost three pounds and I trained myself (perhaps temporarily) to drink more water and cut back on caffeine almost entirely. My friend mentioned that her skin looked better and it ocurred to me that mine looked better too. Brighter. Because you are only having juice you are extremely conscious of what you were eating before the cleanse. By that I mean that when you take your kids to pizza you remember that if you weren’t on the cleanse, you’d not only have two pieces yourself but polish off the crusts from your children’s pizza. This is a good mental reminder. You actually start thinking a great deal about food and what you have been eating regularly. Another plus is that is very convenient and there’s no cooking or juicing yourself. The bottles are even numbered. It’s basically foolproof.
It’s expensive. At $60 a day, this isn’t something you’d want to do regularly. If it was something you liked you could make your own for sure. I will say that if you are someone who prizes convenience and are simply too busy to manage making all your own juices, then the cost is probably worth it. I did not find it to be terribly tasty, which I was hoping for given that it was supposedly for foodies. As I said the green juice in particular was pretty grim and if you don’t drink it quickly much of the vegetable pulp settles quickly into a kind of surface of the moon appearance. Stare too long at the moon like juice substance, and I promise you will lose your nerve. One final downside of delivery (though convenient) is that you also end up with tons of small ice packs which the cooler is packed with. At least 20. And I wasn’t sure – do I toss these? Are they reusable? My friend suggested using them to pack my kid’s lunch which is a great idea, but again, not sure if they leak or if they are for one time use or what.
One thing I learned from the cleanse is that I absolutely don’t drink enough water. It wasn’t a big shock (I’ve never been very good about staying hydrated) but I definitely had a much easier time on the cleanse on the second and third day because I started drinking much more water. That helped me feel less sluggish and less starving. Often when you think you are hungry you are actually thirsty and dehydrated. Drinking water when you think you are hungry and waiting 20 minutes will help you decide if you actually need that snack. A lot of times once I was done with the water, I didn’t feel like snacking.
I don’t think I’ll do anything as severe again, though I will be trying more green juice recipes in hopes of finding something more palatable. If you’re not up for the cost or want to sample the recipes before you commit, Mitchell at Home Fitness Manual has hacked the cleanse and provides the recipes (or close to the recipes.)