Diary Of A Juice Cleanse

I did a three-day juice cleanse provided to LAist by The Real Juice in West Hollywood. This is the resulting diary. Observe as I lose my sense of humor, get real with myself and my thoughts, become miserably depressed and figure out what the juice cleanse is really all about.

It’s all fun and games until someone doesn’t eat for three days.

T-minus Three Days: I order the cleanse online and immediately get an email with instructions. I’m supposed to prepare my body by giving up coffee, dairy, alcohol, bread products, sugar, salt, and red meat. This is news to me. I panic. Thought I would just be giving up food for 72 hours, not slowly and painfully easing into starvation.

T-minus Two Days: It’s the afternoon and I feel I should take stock of what I’ve eaten so far today, prep-wise. I realize that my diet has consisted of peanut butter toast (crunchy; salted); three cups of coffee; two diet cokes; salad with bacon, avocado and blue cheese; and tomato soup. Should I be worried.

T-minus One Day
11:20 a.m.: Shit is starting to get real. Today is my last day of food until Monday. I’m starting to seriously question why I’m doing this.

10:20 p.m.: I get home and see that my juices have arrived. They’re a lot less intimidating than I thought they’d be. In fact, they seem overwhelming: Six juices a day, 16.9 ounces each. Some form of relief sets in and I’m immediately much less worried about getting hungry.

DAY ONE
8:10 a.m.: Kind of excited to start. I don’t have to put any thought into what I eat today, and who doesn't love juice.

8:25 a.m.: My first juice is carrot, apple, pineapple and orange. I hate to speak too soon, because I suspect I’ll be guzzling it like a dehydrated deer at the side of a sparkling river come Sunday, but this monstrosity seems like too much to drink all at once. How to even approach it? Chug? I’m sipping. Is that wrong?

9:25 a.m.: I take back what I said about this being too much juice. I’m almost done with it and just beginning to get hungry for breakfast, then feel shocked to remember that there will be no breakfast.

9:40 a.m.: Finished the first juice, one hour and fifteen minutes after starting it.

10:15 a.m.: At a café with a friend and pleasantly surprised by how not tempted I am to eat. Don’t feel particularly clear-headed but feeling confident that I’ll be able to make it through these three days OK.

12:00 p.m.: Time for juice #2. This one has kale, cucumber, celery, apple and lemon.

12:01 p.m.: Dear god this is disgusting. That’ll be the kale. I hate you kale. Tastes bitter and warm, even though it’s been sitting on ice in my portable cooler. My friend points out that cucumber is refreshing, so maybe I should focus on that.

12:09 p.m.: I think I feel energized, but I might just be turning into a victim of Stockholm syndrome.

3:23 p.m.: We head to Americana at Glendale to run some errands. I start sipping my third juice, which has carrot, beet, apple, orange and parsley. Despite all this juice I'm becoming lightheaded, hungry and irritable. Thoughts of crackers and cheese creep up on me, and make me immediately sad when I realize they can’t be fulfilled.

5:06 p.m.: Juice number four has more kale. Why.

6:00 p.m.: Drive home from Americana. Starting to get a headache. A voice in the back of my mind says something about that being the toxins leaving my body, but another voice counters that it’s actually just a headache because I haven’t eaten all day. Take some Advil and watch a repeat of “The Daily Show.”

7:30 p.m.: Give up on the kale juice.

8:03 p.m.: Meet some friends for drinks (well…watching them drink) and bring my juice with me. Feel like total douchebag sipping a carrot juice (other ingredients: apple, grapefruit, red pepper and lemon) while they toss back martinis and bar snacks.

9:15 p.m.: Walking back to my car I pass a woman eating a lobster at an outdoor table and want to fight her for it. Also, I don’t think I can physically drink another juice. Feel like Violet Beauregarde post-blueberry chew, and yet at the same time, hungry.

11:55 p.m.: Have been defeated by the juice for today. Couldn’t finish the last one, which had filtered water, cashew, date, vanilla extract and mediterranean sea salt. Too hungry to even feel pleased with myself for not going off-cleanse all day.

DAY TWO
9:00 a.m.: Upon waking up, I immediately look forward to breakfast, and then realize (again) that breakfast isn’t happening (again). Begrudgingly get out of bed and start drinking the morning juice, which is by far the best juice.

12:28 p.m.: Trying to pace myself better than I did yesterday, so have downed two juices already. Finding that they still don’t give me much energy. Feel like a waterlogged elephant seal.

1:05 p.m.: Between juices I'm starting to get depressed. Don't want to armchair analyze this but suspect it has something to do with blood sugar. Either way the timing of the juice seems to be directly linked to the timing of my moods.

2:15 p.m.: Driving up PCH to Malibu. Exceedingly pleased to be out of the house and distracted. My friends, though, want to hear all about the cleanse, only to become subsequently appalled. “So you just…drink juice all weekend?” says one. “What’s the point of it again?” says another. Gazing out the window towards the ocean, I find that I cannot provide an answer.

2:40 p.m.: We swing by a winery to pick up a few bottles. I’m still choking back this beet concoction, and it’s getting warm, and I want a sandwich.

4:55 p.m.: Finally finish juice number four. We walk over to the beach and I feel like I should have some sort of revelatory moment with the Pacific but all I feel is cold and annoyed by the empty juice container I have to carry around.

6:44 p.m.: I’m not sure I’m thinking clearly. Every text message that I send sounds angry and accusatory and includes the words “fucking juice cleanse.”

8:30 p.m.: It’s better to be with people than to be alone with my juice and my thoughts, so I’m at the Foundry. My friends are skeptical of this choice but they’re being nice, despite the fact that I’m probably the worst company they’ve ever been around.

DAY THREE
8:59 a.m.: Wake up, want to die. I have absolutely no energy, and I’m depressed and miserable. I can’t believe I have to do this for another full day.

9:07 a.m.: Call my mom for moral support. She wants to know exactly what a “toxin” is and why I think this will rid my body of them. I think that’s a good question. She thinks I should quit the cleanse and says it’s for vain people with nothing else to think about. Kind of agree with her. She also suggests that people who want to rid their bodies of toxins should probably just eat healthier.

9:15 a.m.: With my mom still on the phone, I drag ass over to the kitchen to get another juice, drink it and immediately feel better. I suspect that’s because it’s full of sugar. This shit is like heroin. I get a burst of energy and start sweeping.

11:07 a.m.: Getting ready to leave and meet a friend. The plan is to go to a shooting range to take out some anger. I wish that I could shoot bottles of juice.

11:26 a.m.: Pack up my juices. Still feeling energetic, although I keep thinking I forgot to do something, realize that something is eat breakfast, get briefly excited, then get hugely disappointed (AGAIN).

11:30 a.m.: I’m starting to feel depressed again and wondering if I’m going to last the whole day. Really not a fan of the huge mood swings this causes.

2:03 p.m.: There was an hour wait at the gun range so we leave and go to a bar. I carry my juice inside in my purse.

3:44 p.m.: Decide to go rogue and get an extra juice from somewhere. Drive to Los Feliz to what was formerly Nature Mart only to find that it’s closed on Sundays. Drive to Robeks and order what I think is a fruit juice, only to have it be made with sherbet. Hand it back over to the cashier and say, “I’m on a juice cleanse, I can’t drink this.” Feel like the most pretentious asshole in the world but don’t give a shit.

8:34 p.m.: Speak to my mom again and she has some more choice words for the cleanse. Some of them include: “Self-indulgent,” “shallow,” “way too much free time,” and “bullshit.”

9:53 p.m.: FUCKING DONE. I just want to go to bed.

Final Thoughts: Look - some people love a good juice cleanse, or a good master cleanse, but I am not one of them. I don’t believe that I helped my body, and I don’t believe that I helped my mind. The mood swings were terrible, and the hunger wasn’t worth it.

I don’t even feel particularly accomplished, or like I overcame a challenge. All I feel is skinnier, which I understand is not the point of the cleanse (although I’m hard-pressed to believe that a lot of people don’t do this to lose weight). I don’t feel good about myself, or better for having done this. I actually feel kind of stupid for having willingly starved myself for three days. And, the negative effects of the cleanse lasted: Messing around with what I ate in such a dramatic way left me feeling depressed for days.

So. It’s not that this was a bad juice cleanse, it’s that it was a juice cleanse at all. Next time I want to get healthier, I’ll just eat more vegetables and drink more water.