Courtesy of BluePrint Cleanse
Tester 2: Ariana, 24
During college, I was probably one of the healthiest students on campus. An average night's dinner for me consisted of grilled chicken from the Student Center, accompanied by a block of spinach from the supermarket. Fitting in two hours a day, six days a week at the gym wasn't a struggle in my super-busy schedule. Making healthy decisions in terms of food and fitness was a part of me ever since high school, thanks to my hardcore track coach.
Fast forward a few years post-college, where I live in the land of take-out. Although I have the convenience of living within a few blocks of where I work, it's a dangerous walk home that consists of passing multiple pizza parlors, Thai restaurants, and bodegas chock full of candy and chips. And as much as I enjoy cooking, there are some nights when speed-dialing my go-to Thai joint 15 minutes before I leave work is a lot more doable. Not to mention, up until a few months ago, my gym attendance had faltered.
Besides being tempted (and succumbing) to take-out, I also have a boyfriend and have most definitely fell victim to the, "Is your relationship making you fat?" bit. As you can imagine, what a 6'3" dude consumes is not what a 5'4" girl should eat. But sometimes I match him, if not bite-for-bite, then for general cuisine, which is usually a far cry from anything healthy. So, once I noticed these new eating habits were catching up to me, I dug out my running shoes, tried Spin and Pilates, and have now combined them all into a regular routine. But even with having a balance of strength-training and cardio, I still needed help in the nutrition area, since another bit I've adopted is the, "Have great workout; eat whatever one wants." With that said, my goal for this detox is to get my mind back on track to choosing healthier food options and gaining back the willpower to have portion control. Read on to see if I actually made it through, Pad Thai-free.
I should let you know that I was the editor who pitched the idea of getting 14 different staffers to try seven different detox programs and diets. So as the organizer, I had to come into this with a strong mind. It also helped that editor Colleen had started Cooler Cleanse two days before me, and seemed to be doing more than just fine. We also have a staffer on our floor who's tried BluePrintCleanse's Renovation Cleanse but told me that the beet juice "was like drinking blood." Like drinking what? No thanksI opted for BluePrintCleanse's Foundation Cleanse, which substituted the beet juice with a third green juice.
After trying multiple times to come up with a schedule that would fit in all six juices, I cracked open juice #1, Green Juice (romaine, celery, cucumber, green apple, spinach, kale, parsley, and lemon). It looked like a bottle of Naked Green Machine (which I love), but upon first sip, my spirits dipped. My taste buds were expecting sweet and fruity, and instead they got green and veggie. It took me an hour to down juice #1.
My building has an amazing cafeteria on its wide-open third floor, which you get to glance at right before you hop onto the elevator. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and I was totally bummed. But before I knew it, it was time for juice #2, Pineapple Apple Mint (PAM for short), which was sweet and tasty. I skipped out on my "lunch hour" to take a Yogalates class downstairs in our gym and felt 100 percent fine throughout. When I got back to my desk, juice #3 (another green one) was anxiously awaiting me, and this time I poured it over ice and drank it through a straw. Verdict: still not yummy. Next up was juice #4, Spicy Lemonade (filtered water, lemon, agave nectar, and cayenne), which with the tang of the lemon, didn't taste very spicy at all. At this point, it was 6:30 p.m. and I decided to take Yoga to avoid going home where there's a refrigerator that has chicken tenders inside. Now, I'm on juice #5 (the last freaking green juice of the day), and I am happy to report that I'm finally getting used to the taste. The veteran BluePrint Cleanser told me, "It's delicious! Definitely my fave out of all of them. I would start every morning with Green Juice if it were up to me." That's some testimonial, so things are looking bright.
Overall, I felt fine the entire day. I was hungry, but it was probably my mind telling my body that it was angry over the absence of its 3 p.m. sourdough pretzel bites. One thing to note is that I don't feel famished or weak, nor do I have a headache or stomachache. In fact, I do feel like I could hop on the treadmill, but I don't want my post-workout appetite to get the best of me. One of my biggest concerns going in was not being able to drink coffee, so I took care of that by cutting out my (strong) java fix over the weekend to avoid the dreaded caffeine headache.
I ended up staying at work until 9 p.m. last night, for fear that I would dig into the croutons that were tucked away in my kitchen cabinet. (I'm not even a huge fan of croutons, but I was about to get down with them.) Thankfully I was greeted by my roommate who was lounging on the couch watching TV and we chatted for awhile as I sipped juice #6, Cashew Nut (cashew nut milk, vanilla bean, cinnamon, and a touch of agave nectar). I didn't want the juice to endit was milky, nutty goodness that was refreshingly different from its cleanse counterparts. My roommate even tried it and said, "That's the bomb." I hit the hay around 12 a.m., which is a rather early night for me.
This morning I woke up feeling a little groggy and dry, and immediately vowed to drink more water during the day. Yesterday I barely drank any water and kept making unsweetened green tea, which would end up sitting untouched. I had a meeting at 9:30 a.m. and brought juice #1 (Green Juice) with me, which stemmed inquiries from the people in the room. While discussing BluePrintCleanse, I realized that I no longer was dreading the Green Juice, and was halfway through the bottle 15 minutes after I had cracked it open. And it was at this point when I realized, I was DOWN to DETOX!
The afternoon flew by, and I took Pilates during my lunch break. I was really surprised at my energy level and how happy I felt. My roommate joked that this cleanse was "miracle juice' after I told him, "I love everyone." (Not a typical string of words that comes out of my mouth everyday.) Yesterday I felt like I couldn't keep up with all the juices, and as soon as I was finished with one, my schedule told me I needed to drink a new one. I felt like my entire day was to the tune of Jay-Z's "On to the Next One" where it repeats "I'm on to the next one," fifty times in a row. Today was much more organized, and I was able to rest between juices and drink water, plus a few cups of unsweetened green tea to keep my body temperature up. Yesterday I was freezing. It felt as if an angry menopausal woman had control of the thermostat on my floor.
I'll be honest, I was still sad when I thought about the sushi station downstairs and that once again, I was not eating a spicy shrimp roll. And I was sad when I came back from Pilates and wasn't able to have a snack as a "reward" for taking a spontaneous hour-long class. This had me thinking about how often I reward myself for a workout well done, or for anything really. When did I adopt similar habits to my cousin's dog? As in, do a good thing, get a treat. Some people treat themselves to Louboutins, but since my bank account does not allow for $500 shoes, I tend to opt for the egg roll and the scallion pancake, along with my main meal.
So I'm trying to look at overzealous snacking like this: "Spin class felt fantastic and I'm happy I made it through, and although my heart rate monitor tells me I burned about 500 calories, if I eat this enormous amount of fries, it'll negate my workout progress." It's like buying THE perfect dress that you're crazy about and sat on a waiting list for a month, but then returning it. Qu'est-ce que le point? (That's French for, "What is the point?" Sometimes, I like to talk to myself in French.) This structured schedule of juices has helped me stay in tune with my body and listen to it for signs of hunger and thirst.
I'm off to finish my last two juices (Green Juice and the Cashew Milk) of the day. My stomach is now growling, probably because I just wrote about two Chinese food appetizers. :grumble grumble:
Last day! I'm typing this as I'm finishing up my #5 juice (Green Juice), and I have to admit: I'm extremely happy that there are only a few army-green sips left in my immediate future. Today I've been preoccupied with food, I think because my mind and body are getting excited about the cleanse's last day. I've never run a marathon, but I assume this is similar to what it feels like when you're single-digit miles away from the finish line. The beef of the race is behind you, and you're almost therebut not quite. Since I don't want to take you through another play-by-play of each juice (I'm sure you get it by now), here's my overall takeaway from my BluePrintCleanse experience, outlined below.
The most difficult parts of the cleanse:
- Finding things to do with friends at night. I didn't make any nighttime plans during my cleanse and had to shift my social schedule around. How miserable would it be to be wolfing down your burrito while the other person is sipping on a Spicy Lemonade?
- Not being able to eat. Like I mentioned in the past two days, I haven't exactly been hungry, weak, or sick. But I miss food.
- Getting used to the Green Juice taste. We have another woman in the office who is testing BluePrintCleanse's Renovation Cleanse (which has the beet juice in place of the Green Juice). She claims she'll take the beet over the green any day. But keep in mind that you will get used to the taste.
- Not having regular bowel movements. (TMI alert!) It's not that I felt constipated or had stomach pains, but as weird as it sounded, I kind of missed (and was intrigued) by not being so "regular," plus I didn't like the idea of any waste sitting inside of me. Today I bought Organic Smooth Move tea, and believe meit worked. I highly recommend it to help your body flush out the toxins and waste that the juices are digging up from your insides. All of the liquid detox ladies I know have tried itand swear by it.
- Crazy amounts of bathroom breaks. But at the same time, there was something refreshing about having clear pee all the time.
The easiest part of the cleanse:
- Not having to think about what I was eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. BluePrintCleanse makes it easy by numbering all of your drinks for the day. In fact, their slogan is "We think, You drink."
- All your juices delivered at once, but this only goes for the 3-day cleanse. Since the company wants the juices to be as fresh as possible, you would receive your 5-day cleanse in two installments. Some cleanse programs deliver every day, which could hinder on the time you drink your first juice of the day. This combined with the point above makes the program great for anyone with a super-packed schedule.
- Even though I've harped on the "unique" taste of the Green Juice a few times, the juices did go down very smoothly. BluePrintCleanse has done a great job in making their juices tasty enough that even the most timid palettes won't have a problem choking them down.
- The BluePrintleanse website. It has all the materials, information, and facts that you need to get on track for your cleanse. They even provide you with a "cheat sheet" along with your order because they know we're all human. (For the recordI didn't cheat once!)
Lastly, here's a few things that I learned about myself while on this cleanse:
1. My body doesn't need a ton of bread or pasta to function, so long as my diet is balanced with nutritional foods.
2. I've seen proof that my snacking habit was as a result of boredom, routine, and a reward systemnot because I was hungry.
3. Oftentimes, hunger can be mistaken for thirst. Drink up that water!
4. I still have the willpower and discipline that I had in college. Believe meseeing everyone with grilled cheese and tomato soup today was killer. But I resisted and stayed upstairs with my Green Juice. Now I know I can say no to fried chicken night.
5. Now that I've seen how positively my body and mind have reacted to a pure-juice cleanse, I'm vowing to eat more vegetables in their raw state. (Cooking diminishes the nutritional value.)
6. It's a great kick start to any new diet or weight-loss program that you're just starting. It's also great for a post-holiday refresher after you've binged on a bunch of sweets and treats.
I've lost about five pounds, but I haven't been doing BluePrintCleanse for the quick-fix weight loss. I learned in college while trying the poor-man's version of the South Beach Diet that dropping weight so quickly on account of food is never a long-term thing. I expect to see those pounds back in a a few days or so once I start eating solid food.
I would do BluePrintCleanse again, and I'd probably stick with the Foundation level. (The third level is called "Evacuation" and there's FOUR Green Juices involved.) But I would only do it again if I needed to give my sluggish body a jump start. I personally think it might be better to do it during the summer, when there's a larger abundance of healthy eating and outdoor wellness. The past few days have been below 30 degrees, which in my head calls for hot chocolate and a hefty meal.
Guess what, my last Green Juice is done! One more Cashew Nut Milk and I'm finished! I still haven't decided what I'm eating tomorrow, but I'll need to keep it to vegetables, fruits, and nothing too weighty. Tomorrow starts my "breaking of the cleanse" and BPC outlines how to do it here. Thanks for coming along for my juice journey. Be sure to check back in February when we discuss the 7 different detox diets and plans that our brave testers have trucked through, and their experiences along the way.