Friday, August 9, 2013

So I Tried a DIY Juice Cleanse (Kinda) -- Crappy Phone Pictures Abound!

Note: Because I made the juice at night and drank them throughout the day, sans-camera, these pictures suck. Also I cannot take a picture of my face without being a goof. You've been warned.

You've all heard of the Blueprint Cleanse, or one of its many incarnations, yeah? 3-4 Days, you "detox" and possibly lose weight in the process. It's all over Pinterest, and the last-ditch effort of many hoping for a quick bikini body before vacation. My boss swears by it, and she's done it at least twice that I've seen. So if she, a very active woman who probably needs hordes of energy to do the job she does, is a supporter of the cleanse, it must be legit.

Picture from

However, the Blueprint Cleanse's "beginner" option is a whopping $65 PER DAY. Too rich for my blood. So I got a-Googling and found an XOJane article titled "I'LL TRY ANYTHING ONCE: CHEAP D.I.Y. AT-HOME JUICE CLEANSE EDITION." It appeared to be a follow-up to the Cat Marnell piece, which was a frantic account of the author avoiding drugs for a week to do the actual Blueprint cleanse. It was an... interesting read. But the DIY juice recipes lined up nearly exactly to what was listed on the Blueprint bottles, too. Sounded right up my alley! And the girl had a positive experience. Bonus Points: the local discount store had a $20 juicer! It was fate. I was doing this.

As you know, I'm desperately trying to lose weight. As you also may know, my butt appears to be just as stubborn as my brain, and I've remained at my current weight, 15 pounds and two dress sizes bigger than just last year. A whole drawer of pants that won't budge past my thighs, and not much of a budget (not to mention too much stubbornness) to buy all new jeans. Nothing seemed to be working and I was stressing myself out. Three days of full-veggie juices could only help me, I thought.

No makeup, ModelFace

So, I bought the juicer. I bought the veggies. And the cost for the three days was a little more than what one day of the juice cleanse would have cost. Pricey, but a bit more affordable.

Plus I could get a good chunk of the things needed at the Farmer's Market with my Market Share, woo!

My Market Share, Kitchen Garden. Photo Credit:

Because juices are best fresh, I didn't want to make all three days' worth of juice at once. So I did each batch the night before. I skipped the "lemonade" and made the following: Green Juice, Red Juice, Yellow Juice, Cashew Milk Thing. I destroyed my kitchen, and my new juicer got a workout. Because it is a cheap juicer, I'm sure not all the juice was extracted. I even put the pulp back through twice in some cases. In the future, if I don't upgrade, I'll get some cheesecloth to put the pulp into and squeeze out any remainder.

You were supposed to drink them in that order. And, for the most part, I did. Here's how it went:

More delicious than it seems.

Juicing-Fast-Eve: I ignored the suggestion to eat a "clean" dinner before the cleanse. If I wasn't going to eat any solids for THREE DAYS I was going to make my last meal count. Fried chicken FTW. I juiced my fruits and veggies and pureed my cashews and filled my fridge with the next day's juices in mason jars.

Day 1, Part 1: I guzzled down my first green juice at around 8am and was in heaven. It was delicious! I was happy, if nothing else, I had a new breakfast drink. I would definitely make this again So fruity, with just a slight aftertaste of the leafy greens. I made myself a green tea, which is allowed (as is however much water you want), put my juices for the day in the communal fridge, and settled down at my desk to start my work day. Turns out, this day happened to be the biggest work event of the year, and soon I was rushing around, far from my juices, and I was forced to eat wherever I could from the free event food I was offered. Oops. Guess I was not starting my juice cleanse today.

It was a lovely dinner.

Day 1, Part 2: So this day I was ready. Juices in the fridge, green tea and green juice in hand, I began my day. Delicious green juice, down the hatch. Green tea, which I typically hate, providing me needed caffeine. an hour later my stomach began to turn. I was hungry again, but the juices were supposed to be taken every TWO hours. I waited. I drank tons of water. Finally, while running a work errand, I gulped down my second drink. Thank goodness I like beets, but even a beet-lover like myself was having issues with this drink. I kicked myself for not skinning the root veggies, because that "dirt" taste people talk of was certainly evident. And then, out of nowhere, I felt high. Like floaty, full of energy but nothing behind the wheel. Like when you over-caffeinate yourself but you KNOW you SHOULD be wicked tired? That's what I felt. Later, after Juice 3, the feeling subsided to feeling buzzed. Like, teetering on drunk.

Looks like TruBlood in person.

And then I went crazy. My brain was buzzing and my stomach was screaming and I began pacing, forgetting why I went into certain rooms, I left my purse at work and had to go all the way back to get it. Then I left the freezer open while I took pictures of ice cream. Once the lightheadedness began to creep in, I knew my first CHEAT was coming. I had made eggplant caponata over quiona last weekend and allowed myself about a half cup of the mixture. I immediately felt fine. The cashew milk was consumed while I was at rehearsal, and it was sadly disappointing. Not as flavorful as I'd hoped.

Beet mustache, the new Got Milk?

Day 2: I thought I'd wake up hungry, but I woke up just fine. It wasn't until I consumed my first green juice that my body started being strange. Huge stomach cramp, which ended up simply being a--ahem--a large dump. Apparently, Day 2 is "release" day. BE NEAR A BATHROOM, this is all I can say. Also I'm disappointed that concentrated beets doesn't turn your #1 any fun colors like I'd heard. Oh well. Day 2 was much easier than Day 1, but by mid-afternoon I was sick of the fruit juices. I started fantasizing about spice. So, I swapped my "dinner" juice (the cashew milk) for a homemade V8 type thing. The spiciness was a welcome change. At around 5 the "crazy" started to amp up, so I cheated again and allowed myself a tiny slice of cheese, a bit of avocado, and a tiny tomato. The crazy stayed away.

Day 3: I decided that I would break the cleanse that evening, because yesterday was my directorial debut and I knew that 1. I'd be given alcohol, and 2. I needed to be awake and active for my play. So I drank my first 3 juices throughout the day, then at 5pm I ate a bit of salmon, and an avocado and tomato salad with a little bit of cheddar cheese.

Results: I lost no real weight--I typically waft around a 2-5 pound difference every time I weigh myself, and while I started at the higher and ended at the lower I assume it was simply water weight. But I FELT a little bit thinner, and a whole lot... cleaner? My stomach wasn't bloaty or weighed-down feeling. My skin felt a bit tighter, and I noticed a little less cellulite and a little less jiggle. I saw the start of cheekbones, though that could be my eyes playing tricks on me. BUT, I did notice that when I had food cravings, I wasn't craving cheeseburgers or pizza--I was craving avocado, salads, quiona, HEALTHY things. So perhaps the influx of raw juices rewired my brain to be more healthy? Who knows.

The First Meal.

Overall, I don't know if I'd recommend the cleanse. I decided at the start that I was going to listen to my body, and if my body needed food, I'd give it some food. And I did. I also didn't follow the cleanse completely, adding my own recipe and skipping two of the cashew milks and all of the lemonades. So, maybe the cleanse would have been more effective had I followed it to a T, but maybe I also would have passed out in a puddle of beet juice or ran my car into a pole in a kale-drunk stupor, who knows.

Not a juice.
If you feel like clearing out your system (and boy, does it "clear you out"), possibly losing some water weight, and maybe tricking your body into craving better foods, maybe give it a try. Let me know how it goes!

Juices, Inspired by the xojane article. Instructions for all: juice in a juicer, store in fridge, ideally the no longer than the night before you intend on drinking them.
Note: depending on your juicer, you might need more or less of the amounts given.

Green Juice (Juice 1), makes 1 serving
2 kiwi fruits
2 green apples
handful of spinach
handful of kale
1 banana (note: mash banana separately, NOT in juicer, add and shake well)

Red Juice (Juice 2), makes 1 serving
2 medium beets
3 large carrots
2 red apples

Yellow Juice (Juice 3), makes 1 serving
1/2 pineapple
2 apples
1 small cucumber

Cashew Milk Mixture (Juice 4), makes 1 serving
1 cup cashews in one cup water
1 banana
cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste
*in a food processor, process cashews and water and slowly add water until it reaches a milk-like consistency.

Ashley's Extra Juice (V8-ish)
2 tomatoes
2 celery stalks
1/4 cucumber
2-inch section of raw ginger
2 garlic cloves
dash of hot sauce of your choice
*this would make an EXCELLENT bloody mary


  1. I've tried a cleanse before - sort of accidentally, but that's a whole other story - and it made me sort of loopy too. I'd NEVER recommend it. However, I am a huge proponent of starting the day with a juice, because you get some of the same effects (nutrients, it's easy on the digestive system first thing in the AM, and not as many sugar cravings throughout the day) without the lunacy or starvation! Just my two cents :)

    1. Yeah, it's tough. Friends are asking me all wide-eyed because they want to do it too... and all I can say is "um, it's, weird?" I can't recommend it, but I don't feel strongly enough to NOT recommend it. The lows were pretty crappy, but sometimes I felt just fine and almost more energetic. But I agree, subbing ONE meal a day might be the trick. I loved my morning juice!

  2. sounds interesting. i'd probably never do a cleanse simply because i run alot and thus feel the cleanse would set me back in my training. but what do i know? anyway i do want to get a juicer though..but have to wait til we move. our kitchen is maxed out! :)

    1. Yeah no way in hell would I run anywhere fueled on juice alone. Good thinking. Good luck in the move!

  3. I'm 99% sure I'll never do a cleanse, but kudos on the willpower girl!!! OMG lol

  4. Thanks for convincing me I never want to do a cleanse. :) I'm glad you felt healthier, though!

    1. I start my morning today with a diet coke... oh well. Hah

  5. I really enjoyed reading this. I've played with the idea of doing a cleanse off and on, but I worry about the healthiness of it. This gives me some more to think about!

  6. Very interesting! I actually did Blueprint earlier this year--I won it in a blog giveaway (yay) so I had nothing to lose. Overall I had a good experience, lost about 5 lbs, and felt like I reset my eating habits. I did 2-3 days of prep before the fast and 2 days of acclimating afterward. I felt low-grade hunger every day but nothing too gnarly. I loved some of the juice (pineapple-mint was AMAZING, cashew milk tasted like ice cream, spicy lemonade was kind of fun but nutritionally pointless) and really got to dislike the green juice, which definitely didn't contain a banana (I wish!) and basically tasted like pureed salad. I don't think I'd do Blueprint again because of the $$, but I would consider buying a juicer and DIY-ing it like you did.

    Also, I just have to give an internet fist-bump in solidarity, because I'm still trying to lose the last 15 lbs and it's crazy hard. I think dieting and food blogging is not such a great match. Stay strong sister.

    1. You did it correctly, then, haha. I would love to try the actual cleanse sometime and do it right, but it is way too pricey for me. Oh well!

      Heh, thanks. I am so freaking frustrated with this weight. Oh well...

  7. I ordered a juice cleanse online a few months ago... and it NEVER came. They randomly just refunded my money and it never shipped-- maybe a good thing, as it was like $250. I've had to do all liquid diets for medical tests before and felt amazing for days afterwards, so I'm glad to see a do-it-yourself version