This week (10th-14th october 2016), Jason Vale (aka the Juicemaster) is once again doing his Big Juice Challenge. The Big Juice Challenge is a 5-day detox program, but the awesome thing about it is that you are doing it together with people from all over the world. Also, when you sign up for the Big Juice Challenge, you get a shopping list, the juice-recipes and everyday videos (recipe videos and coaching videos) mailed to you, which just makes it a lot easier to get started.
I do juice cleanses on a semi-regular basis (with my doctor's approval, no worries). Once every few months I go on a 3-day or 5-day juice cleanse, for the simple reason that it makes me feel amazing afterwards. Don't get me wrong, I do struggle with it from time to time, I miss my snacks (CHOCOLATE!!!!), but it's all worth it at the end of it though. I feel more awake, less exhausted, my skin clears up and to be honest I do use it sometimes to get back in to a healthy lifestyle. During the program you are supposed to work out 2 times a day and you don't have any unhealthy snacks, so when the program is over, for me at least, it is easier to keep working out and to keep off the unhealthy snacks.
Since I am going to be juicing in the upcoming week, it seemed like a good idea to take you on this journey with me and keep a juicing diary where I write down my struggles, the changes in the way I feel, the ups and the downs,... So if you are interested in ever doing a juice cleanse yourself, or if you just want to see me suffer for the first few days (my love for chocolate is very profound, so I really really struggle with not eating that in the first few days and you're body is detoxing in the first few days as well), just continue reading. I have to warn you though, this is once again gonna be a pretty long post. I find that when I start talking, it's hard for me to stop (this is true in my daily life as well, to be honest), so I hope you don't mind.
First of all, let me talk a bit about the way the program is built up.
Every day you start by drinking a ginger shot, also known as the healthy espresso, 'cause believe me, this baby will definitely wake you up. I like this one a lot and actually drink one on most days, since it really does kickstart my day.
After that, you will drink four full-size drinks every day, one for breakfast, one for lunch, one at 4 o'clock and the last one as dinner. This program was made to be easy, and that's why your first and last drink of the day is always the same and the two in the middle are the same. This way you can just make a double batch of each at the start of your day, go along your day like normal and you only have to clean your juicer once a day. However, I kind of need to have the feeling that I'm cooking something in the evening, that's why most days I make my evening juice on the day that I'm drinking it, along with the breakfast, lunch and 4 o'clock juice for the next day.
One last very important thing to mention is that while you are on this detox, your body is withdrawing from all the bad things you feed it on a regular basis (in my case, caffeine and chocolate are the bad guys), that's why for the first couple of days you may experience some sings of withdrawal (like headaches, tiredness, grumpiness,...). But when you come out at the other end, let me tell you, that's what makes it worth it! The first time I did this program I didn't really believe in the whole 'juice high' thing, but damn, was I wrong! After you get over that hump, you feel so much more awake, you have ridiculous amounts of energy (yes, you really do!) and you don't crave any of the bad stuff you where putting in your body beforehand!
But better than just telling you all this and you just having to believe me, let me take you on this rollercoaster with me, day by day.
Day 1 is the easiest in some ways, yet the hardest in others.
I woke up like I usually do and took my ginger shot. I showered, got ready for school and started sipping my first juice of the program on my way to the clinic. We have an animal clinic on our campus where we have to do rotations from 8am til 10am (don't know why it has to be that early, but okay) a couple of weeks per semester. I am doing rotations this week, which means I have to get up early every morning, which also means that I'll be able to have a good view on whether waking up becomes easier of not.
The first day is the easiest in the way that you don't have any withdrawal symptoms yet. Also, you're not really feeling like you're having to give up something. Yet.
The first day is also the hardest in the way that you're having to explain to everyone why you can't go get a coffee with them or why you're not eating regular food. Besides that, you're not used to only drinking juice, which means that every now and then, without really noticing it, you will grab a snack (which you can't have) or do take a sip from someone coffee (which you can't have either). Most of the time, I can catch myself right before slipping up though and I'm proud to say that I didn't slip up once today :)!
So, I got through the first day fairly easy.
Today was a bad day, there's no denying it.
I woke up with a terrible headache, which got worse the moment I put on the lights. I threw back my ginger shot and started sipping my first juice of the day while getting ready for school. I still had to go to clinic for two hours, but after struggling through those, I went straight back to bed. I slept pretty much the entire morning and was woken up by the alert on my phone telling me I needed to start sipping the next juice. So that's what I did. I started drinking the next juice, which had the most beautiful color you could ever imagine a juice having, so that kind of cheered me up a bit.
I still didn't have the energy to do anything productive though so I stayed in bed, with the curtains drawn, watching Netflix and feeling sorry for myself, until Emilie came by to see how I was doing (and to eat all my chocolate). We talked for a while and after she went home, I crawled straight back in to bed and watched some more Netflix. I just didn't feel up to doing anything, so I didn't.
I went to bed early in the hope that my headache would be gone by the next morning.
I woke up with so much energy today, it's ridiculous. I still had a slight headache when I woke up (sadly), but it slowly faded away over the next few hours, so that wasn't too bad. Unfortunately, my energy faded away as well, but to be honest, I blame my professors for this more so than the fact that I was juicing ;).
I did have a strange hankering for something salty though. My theory is that with all these juices, I am getting some sweet, some sour and even some bitter stuff, but nothing salty though and that's why I miss it. I contemplated using my Hunger SOS (every day of the program you get one Hunger SOS, a healthy snack like a banana or an avocado with some salt and pepper, in case you really get hungry) to fulfill my salty needs, but opted against it after realising I really wasn't hungry, just craving some salt. And I have to say, I'm really proud of myself for that. It may seem really silly, but have you noticed that when you can't have something, that's the thing you want most? The thing that makes this even more ridiculous is the fact that, yes I can have anything I want, but I don't want that since I made the commitment to do this cleanse. So the only person telling you you can't have something is yourself (you wanted to do this cleanse), yet you are telling yourself you do want that one thing. Seriously, how crazy is that?
Today was the first day I had a full blown juice high. I woke up before my alarm went off, I didn't feel tired at all and the best part of it was that I stayed energized for the entire day! I didn't have any withdrawal symptoms anymore either, so today was just great all together.
Finally, the last day of the program. Don't get me wrong, I felt absolutely amazing and I really didn't crave any snacks or felt hungry at all, but I was kind of relieved to not have to clean my juicer every day anymore and I was just kind of bored with the juices. But that was before I drank my lunch juice, talk about saving the best for last! The lunch juice today was a juice with pear, parsnip and mint, and though I know this sounds like a strange combination, it tasted absolutely divine! Definitely my favorite juice of the week (it didn't look great though, kind of a weird brown color, that's why I didn't take a picture of it).
In conclusion, I can say that I'm very proud of myself for sticking with it for the full five days, and that I really do recommend juicing to anyone who wants to kickstart a healthier lifestyle, anyone who wants to stop craving unhealthy snacks or anyone who just wants to boost their energy level. Today (Day 6, saturday) I still woke up early, feeling really energized and I still don't crave any sugary snacks or coffee (I haven't even eaten any chocolate yet, although I can eat it again!). So the effects don't wear of as soon as you stop juicing. And, little added bonus, I lost almost 2kg over the last week, which means I can fit in my favorite jeans again ;).
I hope you enjoyed reading about my ups and down this week and I'll talk to you soon,
If you want more information about the program I followed or want to try it yourself or maybe are thinking about joining the Big Juice Challenge next year, here are a few links to get you started:
The Big Juice Challenge
The 5-Day Juice Plan