It was the second night of my first-ever juice fast, and my stomach was grumbling so loudly I thought maybe there was a garbage truck outside my window. I was used to feeling hungry at this point, but all the noises coming from my gut proved that my stomach wasn’t happy. It wanted solid food. It wanted something to digest. It was angry.
When we decided to write about a juice cleanse, we knew it was only proper to try one ourselves. And because I’m the office guinea pig, the story was assigned to me. Editor Katie Pollock Estes and Assistant Editor Ettie Berneking joined me for support, and Dr. Steven Loehr of Loehr Chiropractic came up with a juice cleanse that had us drinking four juice meals each day for three days.
First came shopping for our produce. Those who already know about juicing know that making even one glass of juice requires a ton of ingredients. We each had two green juices a day to gulp down, and each single green juice recipe is made with two green apples, one head of Swiss chard, one head of romaine lettuce, one head of red leaf lettuce and two cups of spinach. Imagine all of that, but for three people, in a grocery cart. That doesn’t include the ingredients for the other three juices we each had to drink. It was nuts! Also, Loehr stressed the importance of buying organic produce, so we bought as much organic as possible, and I cleaned out the grocery store shelves on several occasions. We ended up going to the store every day and spent a total of approximately $260.
Next came making the juices. Loehr recommends making juices fresh every time you drink them, especially the green juices (because they oxidize quickly). We didn’t have time for this, so we decided to just make all of the day’s juices at once every morning. On day one we used an older juicer that belongs to one of our staffers. Long story short, it was a bit past its prime. It took us from 8:30 a.m. to nearly 11 a.m. to make everything. To save us from our sorrows, Loehr let us borrow his juicer, a Breville model that costs about $450. This thing was like a shiny new Cadillac compared to the old juicer, and we cut our prep time drastically. Even with a quality juicer, it still took a lot of time to prepare the vegetables, juice everything and clean it all up. If you’re going to juice, be sure to plan for the time commitment.
The True Test
The hardest challenge was following through with the all-juice diet. Each juice was surprisingly tasty. (In fact, I still catch myself craving the morning Jitter Juice!) The hardest thing for me was breaking the habit of eating and then finding ways to get past the hunger.
We were allowed as much apple-carrot snack juice as we wanted, but at times, this wasn’t enough. I missed chewing. I missed cooking dinner. Ettie caved and ate dark chocolate each day, and Katie had some grilled Brussels sprouts on night two. But I made it the entire time, passing up an office party with tons of snacks, a free treat from an ice cream truck and even a deep-dish pepperoni pizza that was brought to my house. I went without solid food for three entire days.
It wasn’t easy. My brain was foggy, and it was killer falling asleep while I felt hungry. I was also particularly irritable. I found myself secretly angry at every staff member who said, “Oh, can I try a sip?” I’d say “sure” and pass it over with a smile, but I was inwardly cursing them for taking a few of my precious calories just to feed their curiosity.
But in the end, it was worth it. I lost 4.6 pounds (probably a lot of water weight, but it’s still nice to see the number on the scale go down). And although I had moments when my brain was hazy, it cleared up by the time I was done. Most of all, the experience gave me a great jump start on eating healthier, and I loaded my body with tons of good-for-me stuff in the process.
Nutritional Juice Cleanse diet and recipes from Dr. Stephen Loehr
7 a.m.: “Jitter Juice.” Drink this juice first thing in the morning, within the first hour of being awake. It will give you a jump-start.
11 a.m.: “The Leprechaun.” Drink this juice late morning or for lunch.
2 p.m.: “Orange you glad?” Drink this refreshing juice early afternoon
5 p.m.: “The Leprechaun.” Drink this juice again in the early evening
Note: Drink as much of each juice as you need to in order to stay full. Supplement with carrot and apple juice in between. You need to be having some kind of juice at least every 2 hours. Also, have one glass of straight orange juice every day (preferably in the morning).