I lot of my clients ask me about doing cleanses and detoxes. As a health coach, I have mixed feelings about recommending them and whether or not I believe they work or are worth trying. Since I would not recommend anything that I have not tried myself, I decided it was time to try one again.
It has been a while since I have done one. In fact, my first experience was a disaster, which is why I will not recommend one to clients who are new to eating healthy. Just when I was beginning to be interested in changing my diet, my friend Anthony opened up his first cold pressed juice store in upstate NY. (He now owns Tiny Empire in Williamsburgh, NY. If you haven’t been there, you should go! It’s awesome!) I decided it would be great idea to try a 5-day juice cleanse. Mind you, I wasn’t eating many vegetables at the time. My idea of a healthy dinner was a Caesar salad and a beer.
A coworker decided to try it with me. Ironically, she also became a health coach. There must have been something in those juices… We got our cleanses and I started immediately with no prep. Bad idea. One or two days in, I was detoxing badly. I had the worse headache and felt terribly sick. I remember calling Anthony in 911 desperation– Is this normal? What is going on? I don’t think I can keep going! Can I take Advil? What the hell is this spirilina shit???!!!– He talked me off the cliff and encouraged me to continue. He was right. By the end of the cleanse, I did feel better. Although, I still did not like the taste of spirilina, which tasted like death to a junk food eater. What I did learn from that cleanse is- I had a lot to learn about this ‘healthy’ eating thing and I need a lot less food than I thought.
Fast forward to this week and my decision to do the BluePrint Cleanse.
I have been traveling a lot the past couple of months and not eating as well as I would like to be. Although I eat pretty clean at this point in my life, I do get lazy sometimes while traveling and depend too much on processed foods. The intense travel was starting to catch up with me, and I could feel my body starting to get worn out. I know my body well enough now that when I am getting to this point, I need to pay extra attention to it and focus on self-care and rest. I could feel that my stomach needed a break. I’m still dealing with issues of having leaky gut and adrenal fatigue from this past winter.
I decided to try a mail order cleanse because many of my clients travel, work long hours, and live across the world. Time is money for business people. Who wants to mess with cleaning a juicer when someone will do the work for you? Mail order cleanses are super easy and can get delivered to either your home or work. I looked at a lot of cleanses online. The top 5 all scored about the same on various sites. I decided on the BluePrint Cleanse for the simple reason that I came across a discount program through Gilt. I don’t know about you, but I like to save money when I can. These cleanses can get pricey.
I decided to order the cleanse when I knew I would be working from home for a week. That would give me time to prep for the cleanse and be in an environment I had control over, if I wasn’t feeling well. You have to plan a few days out when ordering the juice. It is about a 3-day lead time to getting your juice from when you order it, depending where you live. See their website for details.
Leading up to receiving the cleanse, I started on a Saturday upon my return from a trip of being extra vigilant of what I was eating and drinking. I cut out alcohol and decreased my coffee consumption while aiming for 1 gallon a day of water. I started upping my vegetable intake while decreasing my meat and grains.
As a weightlifter, I always get a little tweaked out about decreasing my protein intake. The truth is, it isn’t going to kill you to do it for a week or two. It’s not going to mess with your ‘gainz’ bro! I am also always hesitant to increase my fruit intake. As a bodybuilder you are trained to think fruit is evil, but this is silly. Eating real food trumps eating supplements- always. There are different ways to eat for different outcomes. Cleanses are about giving the body and digestive track a break.
Tuesday- two days before the cleanse, I cut out all meat. I made the mistake of going out to dinner that night. I ate a salad mixed with fruit and had a side of sautéed broccoli rabe. I thought that would be ok, but I woke up in the middle of night- sick. I think the intense garlic upset my stomach. There was a LOT of garlic in that dish and I know it doesn’t always agree with me, even if I love the taste. Note to self: Don’t eat a lot of garlic when prepping your stomach for a cleanse. It’s not the type of pre-cleanse you want. Due to my lack of sleep and recovering stomach, Wednesday was pretty rough. I didn’t feel good, I was tired, I had a headache, and I was cranky. I felt like I was detoxing.
That night, I gave a live talk on Mindset to a group. It was about how negative thinking can keep you from being great. (Blog to come.) Surprisingly, I was able to get it together to give the speech. As they say, the show must go on! Afterwards, I went home and went to bed early. I woke up on Thursday feeling good and ready to start the cleanse.
Thursday, my energy was good because I had gotten a solid night’s sleep. I found that I wasn’t too hungry between juices. Just about when I was feeling the hunger pangs, it was time to have another one. I felt pretty full overall and was still trying to keep my water intake high. I had enough strength to go to the gym and lift heavy. Afterwards, I sat in the dry sauna to try sweat out as much as I could. The skin is your largest organ and will also be detoxing.
Again, I didn’t feel like I was lacking in anyway. The juices kept me full. My energy overall was a little low. The weather also happened to be overcast and on the cool side. After I was done with my work for the day, I felt that my body needed a break. Instead of working out, I took a hot bath with Epsom salt and took the evening off. I watched a good documentary on Netflix and went to bed early.
Saturday- The last and final day! I woke up full of energy. I went for a run, did a HIIT workout outside, visited friends, spent time with the BF, and cranked out a bunch of work through the evening. I didn’t even want to go to bed at night. I felt really inspired and creative. I wasn’t expecting this surge of energy, but welcomed it with open arms!
I am easing back into eating solid foods. I will start to add meat, grains, and dairy in through the week and keep my water intake high, which you should do regardless. A few things to be aware of is you may be prone to being cranky. You will find things irritate you more easily than usual at some point during the cleanse. I would not recommend making any big life decisions while juicing. Seriously, you may find yourself not acting like yourself. Since I was eating pretty clean up to the cleanse, I mostly suffered from occasional crankiness. The Wednesday night fiasco was a goof on my part. Try to stick to light foods pre cleanse. Also know, cleanses can sometimes make you a little depressed as your body detoxes. Once you make it through the detox phase, the upside is the renewed energy you may experience, bright skin, and overall wellbeing. You will learn something, such as you need a lot less food than you thought, or there are some veggies you like that you didn’t know you did.
I chose the Foundation cleanse out of the BluePrint line up. It is their middle of the road option. I did a 3 day cleanse with 6 juices per day. All the juices tasted great. They are well balanced between sweet, bitter, and heat while not being intense. I think they would appeal to a variety of palettes. My favorite flavor was PAM- Pineapple, Apple, and Mint. I rarely eat pineapple, but this was delicious! I probably liked it because it was sweet.
The bottles arrived via FedEX, well packaged. BluePrint was good about sending me emails on how to prep and go through the cleanse, in addition to instructions on what to do post cleanse. As much as you gear up for the experience, you need to wind down or you will be hurting! The only thing that wasn’t smooth was the order to delivery time. I ordered my plan last Friday and expected it to arrive Wednesday morning, but it arrived late in the afternoon. If you aren’t prepared to adjust your plan, this could leave you without food the day it arrives. Make sure you have food as back up for the expected start date of the cleanse. FedEX delivers at different times depending where you live.
Overall, I give BluePrint a high mark. It was exactly what I expected. It tasted great, and was easy to order. Just remember, to make it work properly, you have to take the time to prep your body and wind the cleanse down appropriately. If you’re new to clean eating, make sure you have a couple months under your belt before you dive into a cleanse!
UPDATE: I found that Target is now carrying BluePrint juices. Try some them out and see which ones you like.
Good luck! Let me know how your cleanse goes and which ones you like to use, in the comments below.
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