I Survived a Five-day Juice Cleanse

Looking for a fresh start? Here’s a first-person account of a five-day juice cleanse that captures the highs (and lows) of juicing

Credit: Clinton Hussey

Thinking of trying a juice cleanse? Here’s a first-timer’s account of living on a liquid diet

Psyching yourself up for a stretch of healthy living? Diet is key when you’re trying to shape up, and there’s no bigger trend right now for purifying your body than juice cleansing. Cold-pressed juicing has come to Vancouver in a big, big way, and this liquid cleanse has become the go-to way to shed pounds, restore energy and feel good about your body. Here’s a first-hand account of this fruit-filled phenomenon, in the form of a five-day cleanse.

Credit: Clinton Hussey

Day 1 & 2

Day 1

I start my day with a bang: a shot of lemon juice, ginger and cayenne pepper. It’s the equivalent of lighting a firecracker inside your mouth and definitely jolts me awake. It’s how I kick-start the following five days.

I head to work with a few bottles in tow and quickly discover a theme that reoccurs throughout the entire five days: explaining to people that I’m on a juice cleanse, answering the why and what of it. If you need a good icebreaker at a party, inform people you’re doing a juice cleanse. The combination of the unknown with the slightly masochistic nature of a cleanse seems to be enthralling, and everyone has an opinion about juicing, good or bad.

The office is usually the Grand Central Station of temptation for me, but since this is Day 1, my willpower is fairly strong. After my third juice of the day, I realize that my body isn’t craving sustenance – in fact I never feel truly hungry throughout the entire five days – but my soul is left wanting. My gaze lingers on a co-worker’s hot sandwich for longer than is appropriate. A bag of almonds looks as tempting as a bowl of Skittles. After declining a second invitation to Starbucks for a caffeine infusion, I realize how socially debilitating this cleanse is going to be. Once work is completed, I head home (a safe haven from coffee breaks and communal chocolates) and have dinner: a beet, carrot, orange, cucumber, ginger and lemon concoction.

Day 2

Today, Saturday, I feel lethargic, and I’m not sure if I should associate my lack of energy with the cleanse or with my general laziness. Whatever the reason, I spend most of the day in bed, leaving only to crack open a new bottle of juice or to go to the bathroom. Speaking of which, I’ve been going a lot, which isn’t surprising considering the amount of fluids I’ve been downing. What is surprising is that my stomach is feeling pretty settled. I had visions of a lot of time spent staring at the bathroom ceiling, but so far so good. 

Credit: Clinton Hussey

Day 3 & 4

Day 3

I feel like I’ve got this cleanse thing in the bag. My energy levels are back to normal and I’m not feeling any hunger or cravings. And I’m still enjoying the diet. I was worried that juice fatigue would set in, but they’ve all been tasty (except for some milky concoction with hemp in it – it tastes about as good as it sounds). I’m especially partial to the Kid’s Kale – a combination of kale, pineapple, green apple and mint – that even 12-year-old Michael would have enjoyed.

Everything is going swimmingly until my parents decide to drop by for a visit – with $100 worth of Memphis Blues BBQ for dinner. The air is thick with the smell of charred meat and the tangy-sweet scent of barbecue sauce. “What are we going to do with all this food?!” my mom exclaims. I have a few ideas of what she can do with it, but I keep them to myself. I go into my room and sip on my carrot juice. Tonight is tough.

Day 4

It’s the morning and I’m back on a positive path. It helps that I’m starting to look better. I check myself out in the mirror after a shower. I feel trim, with no bloat and a flat stomach. A juice cleanse will be happening before my next trip to Mexico. I spend another day in my apartment, where I can control my environment (saboteur parents not included). I’ve become somewhat of a recluse, as most social gatherings involve food in some way.

Credit: Clinton Hussey

Day 5 and Post Cleanse

Day 5

The final day of the cleanse is here and I’m a little sad. I feel oddly guilty thinking about eating solid foods again. My energy levels are high, so much so that I work out. With every bottle of juice I finish, there’s a pang of regret. How would I look and feel if this were a 10-day cleanse? I want to keep going, just to see how far I can go. I’ve lost eight pounds and feel pretty good. At 8 p.m., it’s been five days since my last bit of solid food. An hour later, I go out for a bite to eat. I have Indian food. It’s delicious, but this chewing business is a lot of work.

Post Cleanse

I found myself actually wanting to do it again. I liked knowing that everything I was putting into my body was good for me. I’ve now incorporated juice into my regular diet, and would recommend it to anyone – if not a full-blown cleanse, at least a glass here and there. It feels good and it tastes good. Except the hemp one. That was disgusting.