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December 29, 2014

On The Juice

Life is nothing without indulgences. If you want my opinion, life should be full of little treats. Even the all knowing wisdom of Tom Haverford tells us, treat yo self, and I'll admit, I like to treat myself. Especially when it comes to treats of the delicious sort.

Problem with that is, my occasional treats sometimes become a regular fixture. Being a person who has never had to worry about my weight with the word "diet" not having a place of residence in my vocabulary, if I'm to be brutally honest, I am at times reckless with my eating habits. While I know for my general health and wellness I should be more conscious about what I put into my mouth, being a very active person I have allowed myself to use that as justification for stuffing my mouth with all manner of sugar and calorie laden treats whenever I wanted it. I have over the course of this year, made some changes to my eating habits and eliminated almost all my added sugars and consumed more vegetables and it's something I want to expand on and continue into the new year.


In the lead up to Christmas and all the food offerings that the festive season offers, it was an ideal time to get myself into check and put into motion my goals to nourish my body in better ways. Undertaking the three day cleanse program from Pure Glow Cleanse was the kick starter I was looking for and surprisingly, I found the benefits to extend beyond the physical, with the mental changes it brought to be even greater than the physical benefits I continue to experience.


Offered the opportunity to take part in the cleanse on a Monday, I was a little frazzled knowing that the following day I'd be starting on my juices. I felt unprepared, as though I needed more time to psych myself up for three days of no food and all the possible consequences that I thought would flow from not eating. I really doubted myself in being able to maintain the regime and in successfully completing the cleanse; it taught me a lot about how much I can focus on something if I have enough determination and desire.


Upon picking up my box of juices, they went straight into the fridge and I prepped myself that night by having a lighter dinner. I also received a jar of a coffee body and face scrub which has been so lovely to use on my skin. I dry brushed my entire body that evening before my shower and also used the scrub, just to get myself feeling 100% ready to commence the cleanse. I used the scrub throughout the cleanse and found the scent of the coffee grounds to be quite uplifting, even though I am not a coffee drinker. It was a really nice way to perk up my senses. Speaking of senses, I found my sense of smell to be extremely heightened from the first day of the cleanse. I could smell absolutely everything with acute clarity.


Starting the first day of the cleanse with the Sunrise Elixir, I did find it difficult to get through as my very first juice. It's very acidic and tart from the lemon and being mostly filtered water without the bulk of the other juices, it was one I had to sip to avoid feeling bloated. The difficulty in getting through the Sunrise Elixir was only present on my first day, I think resulting from not eating a breakfast mid morning. My stomach was wanting more than just the juice. The following days it went down without any problems. Taste wise, it was very acidic although I do understand that it's designed to give you that zing to start your day with and in that regard, it's a good juice to get you going for the day. It's almost like the juice equivalent of starting your day with a glass of hot water and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.


Following on from the Sunrise Elixir the second juice is the Glowing Greens. Similar to the green smoothies I make myself, I looked forward to this after having my Sunrise Elixir as it gave me that bulk from the pulp of the greens. I avoid using celery in my green smoothies as I do not like celery and I feared I would not enjoy the Glowing Greens due to the inclusion of celery, but it was not a noticeable taste. Of the three 'green juices' in the cleanse, this one has the most variety of green vegetables and I feel it's a good follow up to the Sunrise Elixir.


Green Guru is the third juice of the day. Most similar to the Glowing Greens, the only difference is that the Green Guru does not contain any celery, avocado or pear and uses mint in place of parsley. The use of herbs in the juices is refreshing and in this juice, using the mint probably also beneficial to prevent any bad breath that might come about from not eating. In the scheme of my entire day, this would be my lunch time juice and it has just a little bit less body to it in comparison to the Glowing Greens.


In the afternoon, I'd take my fourth juice - the brightly coloured Good Karma. A combination of grapefruit, carrot, apple, ginger, tumeric and lemon, it was a very welcome change in flavour to the preceding juices. I welcomed the sweeter taste of this juice and found consuming it later in my afternoon to have a revitalizing effect, almost like a mid afternoon version of the Sunrise Elixir. I did find that the oils from the grapefruit and lemon did leave an odd taste and feel on my tongue which was the only unpleasant aspect of this juice.


My dinner was the Buddha Juice. I had this after finishing my workout. I'd have a quarter of it immediately following my workout, and then after showering I'd finish off the rest. Since doing the cleanse, I've actually started following all of my evening workouts with a green smoothie and even substituting dinner with a smoothie similar to the Buddha Juice. I expected at this point in the day to be starving, and if I was going to fail at all I felt it would have been at this point, but with all the juices that I had consumed throughout the day and then having the Buddha Juice as my dinner really was more than enough to keep me from feeling hungry.


I thoroughly enjoyed ending the night with my Chai Vanilla Dream nut milk. Completely different to the five other juices, the blend of nut milks with dates, chai spices and vanilla was so delicious and like a liquid dessert. I'm not sure if it's suitable to heat, but for someone doing the cleanse in winter it would be worthwhile investigating it it can be warmed up as I think the flavours would be lovely as a warm night cap. Of all the juices, my favourite was the Chai Vanilla Dream.


All the juices were enjoyable and easily drinkable. One of my main concerns was the taste factor. Consuming nothing but these juices for three days, you want to enjoy the juices and I was happy to drink all of them. The cleanse is heavy on the green juices and in that respect, I felt that having three types of green juices in a row (Sunrise Elixir, Glowing Greens and Green Guru) did leave me hanging out for a different taste come the afternoon. The cleanse is formulated in a way to ensure that each juice is best suited for a specific time of the day, so for that reason I can see why there would be three green juices in a row.


Other than the Chai Vanilla Dream, all the juices contain lemon or lime. By the end of the cleanse, I found that having so much citrus oil did leave a chalky feel in my mouth. The oils just settled on my tongue and being an oil, you can't really cut through it with water or herbal tea. This is my only real dislike about the juices. I found myself scrubbing away at my tongue when brushing my teeth just to rid myself of that residue left by the citrus oil.


Undertaking the cleanse, it was never about losing weight for me. In saying that, I was curious as to what effect it would have on my weight so I weighed myself the day before, the day after completing the cleanse and at the two week point after completion. My weight before starting the cleanse was, as expected, my usual weight which is within the healthy range for my height. After completing the cleanse, I was surprised to see a reduction of almost two kilograms and at the two week point I was still two kilograms down from my usual weight. Personally, a cleanse such as this is not something I would recommend as a means of weight loss. I feel that for such a short period of time, any weight loss is not necessarily going to be true fat loss however I do believe that it would be a good catalyst to get yourself started on a longer term and sustainable weight and fat loss regime. For myself, I would attribute this reduction in my weight to being a result of the cleansing effect and my continued efforts to be more cognizant of what I am eating. In being on this cleanse, I wanted to give my sometimes overworked digestive system a break and get a lot of 'goodness' into me and I felt I achieved this.  


Throughout the cleanse I maintained my usual routine. I went to the gym each day after work and stuck to my normal workout, which is mostly weight based. The first day I was still adjusting to starting the cleanse, and for me this first day was the most difficult, so I needed to lower my weights slightly in response to how I was physically feeling. The second and third day, I had no problems lifting and exercising with my usual weights and experienced no lack of energy. My energy levels were, to my surprise, quite high for the most part. I felt fatigued the first day and the second day I awoke with a headache, which I was told could be expected, but that headache subsided by lunch time. I drank a herbal chamomile tea which helped in easing the headache and throughout I had a lot of filtered water, which is usual for me anyway. That day I also experienced some difficulty in concentrating and find myself reading the same piece of tax legislation over and over again because my mind was off with the fairies! The cleanse allows you to take in as much herbal non-caffeinated herbal tea as you desire and while this option was available to me, I only consumed one herbal tea on day two and day three. The juices and water were sufficient to keep me going and feeling full. Thought not hungry at all, it was only the habit of eating and mindlessly snacking that I had to had to take my mind off.


For those who wondered, each day of the cleanse has a caloric value of 825 calories. This information isn't printed on the labels, although including this on the labels would be a handy addition as well as more detailed information on the ingredients, such as listing them in descending order. I'd also like to see a nutritional table on the labels, if this information is possible to compile.

Something else I experienced while cleansing and for the days following was an improvement in my sleep. I am not a morning person and most mornings I am fighting my alarm clock. It was a very strange feeling for me to wake up day two of the cleanse well ahead of my alarm clock and to actually feel refreshed and not tired. This continued the following day and the days after that. Perhaps that is the result of my body not having to process and digest solid foods. Whatever it is, that alone was enough to make me want enact real changes to how I eat and what I eat. My Pilates instructor saw me on the weekend after I finished the cleanse and told me I looked very refreshed with eyes that sparkled. Sparkling eyes - who doesn't want sparkling eyes? 

I consider myself to be well read and educated. I don't take most things at face value and will always delve deeper before forming my thoughts on something. Before cleansing, I don't know if I would have agreed that something so simple could result in so many positive outcomes or that any real and tangible benefits would be experienced. It's only after having done it, that I can genuinely attest to how I benefitted. Physically, yes I felt great and even though I did it before Christmas and New Year, I think that was an ideal time for me do it because it made me think reconsider launching on all out assault on the Christmas lunch buffet. The physical benefits were definitely present but what I got most out of the experience was the shift in my mentality; gaining a greater sense of clarity in how my body performed when I wasn't fueling it in the best way possible. This makes the decision going forward to be more mindful in my food choices much easier because I know the benefits that come from treating and eating my body good.

Coming into 2015, why not get the juices flowing for yourself? With all the Christmas parties, festive eating and New Year's Eve celebrations, there couldn't be a more perfect time to nourish your body and implement better habits. At $195 for the three day program, it's an investment worth making.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks O&P - a great read! I have been considering embarking on a juice cleanse, and I think the benefits you described have just tipped me over the edge - and the coffee scrub might be a good idea to help stave off the coffee withdrawal symptoms!

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    1. Hi aweekendchef.com! Thanks for stopping by. The coffee scrub was simply amazing. A mix of coconut oil, brown sugar and coffee grounds. It smelt delicious and left my skin so soft. If you've been considering doing a cleanse, I can't think of a better time than now. Well at least after tonight. Gotta have a champagne or two at the stroke of midnight!

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