NOTE: I am not a doctor or dietician, and this is not intended as medical advice. This was a juice cleanse that I did and enjoyed; you should consult with your healthcare provider before proceeding.
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Want to eat healthier? Of course you do.
Well then common advice might be to slowly start replacing unhealthy foods with healthy ones. Start ordering omelettes instead of bagels. But, HELLO, that’s way easier said than done. (Who can resist a bagel!?) Your palate is used to all these delicious carb- and sugar-filled foods.
The way I learned to cut those cravings — and fast? A juice cleanse.
Why DIY Juice Cleanses Rock
Yes, it sounds like some crazy hippie/Gwyneth Paltrow thing, and it kind of is.
But when I decided to give a three-day DIY juice cleanse a try, I was stunned at how much I liked it.
As I thought more about it, I realized juice cleanses are perfect for travelers. Why? As a traveler, your routine (if you have one at all) is constantly getting disrupted, so it’s way harder for you to maintain a healthy eating pattern.
Even if you’re eating healthily at your home base, you jet off to Europe for a few weeks and come back completely unhinged. (Read: pain au chocolat.)
Also, most travelers I know are scrounging for their next plane ticket — so they can’t afford the fancy cleanses that come in pretty bottles.
What’s a traveler to do? A homemade juice cleanse.
Far cheaper than the stuff you can order, and a perfect solution to getting you back on the healthy eating wagon.
What You Need to Know About a 3-Day DIY Juice Cleanse
Nothing but juice, for three days. No Cheez-Its, no coffee, no celery. (I know; a diet that doesn’t include celery — does that even HAVE calories?! — is harsh indeed.)
But really, by juicing, you’re giving your organs a break from cleansing out all the nasty stuff you’re eating all the time.
You’re also re-training your palate to like healthy crap.
The premise is that you drink six juices a day, with as much water and green tea as you want. I know that sounds like living hell, but it isn’t.
What’s difficult is the preparation.
Let me tell you: juicing is a hell of a lot of work. It’s perfect if you work from home or can do it on a 3-day weekend. Otherwise, it’s going to be hard to find the time to cut up all the ingredients for the juice (and then clean up the damn juicer!).
Ah yes, the juicer. That’s the only shitty part. You need one to do this. And they’re not cheap.
After I realized I like juicing, I bought this BALLER juicer, which costs $99 and is a #1 seller on Amazon. But at first, I just used my parents’ ancient one (see above).
If you’re not sure you’re going to be into the whole “juicing” thing, then ask around — odds are one of your health-nut friends has one. Or, if you live near a health food store (or Whole Foods), they’ll usually make juice for you if you give them the recipes.
You can also go for one of the delivery cleanse kits, but they’re ultra expensive. Better to save your money for travel.
If you don’t own a juicer, you can conceivably blend the ingredients together and then strain out the pulp. Just remember: no solids!
My Experience With the DIY Juice Cleanse
I was shocked at how great I felt.
The only time I found it difficult was when my parents were cooking dinner, and I could smell the food they were making. Other than that, I rarely felt hungry.
I did work out while I was “juicing” (sorry, it’s really fun to say that), and I did fine. I pared down my runs by a few miles and didn’t push myself, but I didn’t feel unusually tired. Like I said, I actually had quite a lot of energy.
I enjoyed the clean and healthy feeling my body had — and my skin even cleared up.
Best of all, it set me on a good path for the next few weeks. (Which I promptly ruined by moving to Nicaragua and eating rice and beans and 40 cent ice cream like errrday.) When you haven’t chewed for a few days, the idea of eating a box of DoubleStuf Oreos just isn’t as appealing.
I was actually DRAWN to lettuce. Who thinks about lettuce? I liked it so much that I’m confident I’ll do another DIY juice fast in the future.
The ingredients cost around $50, which is expensive, but not horrifyingly so if you consider that’s your entire food and drink budget for three days straight.
Be warned: this is not a quick way to lose weight. I definitely lost some water weight and felt slimmer around the middle, but I wouldn’t do it for that sole purpose. It IS, however, a fantastic way to kickstart a healthy eating routine and feel good about yourself and your body.
Intrigued? Let’s do this!
The 3-Day DIY Juice Cleanse Recipes
Start early in the morning on the first day, and drink one juice every few hours. You’re supposed to drink the juices in this order: green juice, P.A.M., green juice, spicy lemonade, C.A.R., and almond milk.
Here was my approximate schedule: 8 am: green juice, 10 am: P.A.M., 12 pm: green juice, 3 pm: spicy lemonade, 5 pm: C.A.R., and 7 pm: almond milk.
Below are the recipes I used for my 3-day DIY juice cleanse. (These recipes are based on posts from Home Fitness Manual and Organic Beauty Talk. If you want to learn more about juicing, I’d recommend the documentary “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.”)
Stick these ingredients in the juicer, and drink away!
The first juice of the day is green juice. Though it sounds like it’d be gross, it’s not. Yes, it tastes healthy, but you can almost feel your body recharging with every sip. And the apples and lemon actually make it pretty delish.
- 6 stalks of celery
- 1 cucumber
- 2 large green apples
- 3-4 massive leaves of kale
- 3-4 massive leaves of romaine
- Healthy handful of spinach
- Less massive handful of parsley
- 1 lemon
The next juice up is Pineapple, Apple and Mint, or P.A.M. It should just be called Y.U.M. I could bathe in this stuff.
- 1/3 of a pineapple
- 2 large green apples
- A few pinches of mint (don’t add too much, or it’ll overpower the other flavors)
You’re supposed to drink “spicy lemonade” at this point. GAG. I thought this was disgusting and decided to just drink water or green tea instead. I found I was running out of time to drink all the silly juices anyways.
- 16 oz of water
- 3-4 juiced medium Lemons
- A few dashes of cayenne
- 1 tablespoon of agave/honey
In some mysterious language, C.A.R. is the acronym for apple, beet, carrot, ginger, and lemon.
- 2 large green apples
- 2 beets (green stalks and all)
- 3 large carrots
- 1.5 tablespoons of ginger
- 1 lemon
Unflavored Almond Milk
Other people recommend that you press almonds or cashews and make your own milk. Let me tell you, it is a HUGE pain in the ass. I’m ashamed to say I had enough free time to do it; Sarah, Plain and Tall would’ve been proud.
In the future, I’m just going to drink about 10-12 ounces of unsweetened almond milk. Good enough.
- Drink as much water as you want.
- No coffee. Really! Just green tea.
- No alcohol. Obvs.
- You can work out; just don’t push it.
- Try to pare down on unhealthy food for about a week beforehand. It might be too big of a shock to the system if you’re eating a lot of meat and carbs right up until you start.
- Too intense? Try eating one lean protein + steamed veggie meal in the evenings.
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