The most important thing to know about this article is that it is not actually about a juice cleanse; it’s about me. I want to make one thing clear: I am better than you. That’s right, plebeians, I just completed a three-day juice cleanse. Something about running around campus, clutching my bottle full of cold, green juice made me feel important. It was a thrill to answer the oft-repeated question, “What on earth are you drinking?” accompanied by a snide glance. My body has soaked nutrients in their purest forms from fresh-pressed juices, unencumbered by the totally unnecessary “solid” aspect of food. Some may dismiss cleanses as a new-age scam, but these people are wrong. A cleanse is about more than food, or the lack thereof. It is a lifestyle, nay, a religion. Going on a cleanse has nothing to do with losing weight and everything to do with pressing your body’s reset button.
Of course I could not go at this alone. But when choosing someone to accompany you on a cleanse, many different factors come into play. You need someone crazy enough to, well, not eat, in the active chewing sense, for three days. You need someone unafraid to excrete liquid from new and exciting places. You need someone who already knows they’re hot and who realizes that this will only make them hotter. So naturally, as soon as Stephanie Johnson ’16 and Tatiana Perez ’16 told me that they take chia seed shots (look it up) regularly, I knew that they would be the perfect companions for this crazy three-day cleanse.
The undertaking of a juice cleanse cannot be done right without some preparation, both mental and physical. We spent days looking up recipes, figuring out what ingredients we would need and where we could get them. Thanks to Chris Siemer ’16, we had access to an adequate juicer. Before going on a cleanse, you absolutely need to eat vegan food for at least one day prior to prepare your body for the extreme change in diet it is about to experience. When cleansing, it is important to keep a variety of juices constantly available. You need green juices, which can be made from kale, spinach, romaine, celery, parsley and apples, in addition to red juices, which can be made from beets, carrots, tomatoes, lemon and apples. Perhaps the most important juice we consumed was the Beyoncé-inspired lemonade, consisting of nothing but fresh-squeezed lemon juice, water and a healthy dose of cayenne pepper. I like to call that one “the flusher.”
Of course, obtaining all of the ingredients necessary to make six juices a day for three days is no simple task. Given the remote location of the College and a shortage of cars, getting to the produce section of Stop & Shop was significantly harder than an outsider might think. And once we were there, the selection was, to put it delicately, predictably limited. The good people of rural Massachusetts clearly do not have their health priorities in order; kale was nowhere to be found and do not even get me started on vanilla bean or agave nectar! And as important as our bodies are, we had no intention of spending a fortune. So, some improvisation had to occur.
Collecting enough vegetables from Mission Dining Hall to make a day’s worth of juice is a delicate process. I myself was unable to resist the urge to simply stack plate upon plate with vegetables from the salad bar: impatience got the best of me. In no time, one of the dining hall staff began chastising me. I was accused of cleaning out the supply of vegetables, and for some reason, and I truly cannot imagine why, my assurances that my vegetable hoarding was all for a juice cleanse did not seem to comfort the staff member one bit.
The difficulties did not end there. Juicing three day’s worth of meals is a serious time commitment; between shopping, finding containers and cleaning, peeling and chopping various fruits and vegetables, we barely had time to even drink the required juices.
I am not going to lie to you – hunger may occur when cleansing. But when done correctly, the 17-ounce servings of juice that you take every two hours can be surprisingly filling. The last juice of the day consists of juiced cashews, water, cinnamon and agave nectar and is basically as hearty as any late-night treat you can get at Snack Bar. But at the same time, there is no denying that hunger is a part of the cleanse. It is what makes food – any food – taste that much better when you’re finished, and it causes you to eschew the unhealthy, at least for a little while. Something about the new concave in your stomach is too dear – you just do not want to let go.
Cleanses are not for the faint of heart. They take commitment, stamina and natural good looks. But if the temple that is your body has been feeling less than stellar as of late, then you should definitely give it a try. You don’t know what you’re missing.