I fill my days with good food and wine, so every now and then I take a break from the steak and Pinot to make sure my body gets a little TLC.
As you know, I hit brunch pretty hard last weekend – there were just so many perfect vehicles for southern-style sausage gravy, and I felt compelled to try each and every one of them (some of them twice). The meal was insanely good, but after the last few weeks of traveling so much – which always makes eating well and working out tough – plus the brunch to end all brunches this past Sunday, I decided I needed a little detox in my life. Since I’m unwilling to actually detoxify my life (i.e., cut out processed foods or significantly cut back on red wine – I want to be healthy, but retain what’s left of my sanity), I headed straight to Whole Foods to purchase over-priced, cold-pressed kale, otherwise known as the BluePrint juice cleanse. I’ve done juice cleanses before, and I typically enjoy them. I always use the same brand of juice (BluePrint) and I always do the same cleanse, the Excavation Cleanse (which is their “toughest,” a/k/a greenest, least enjoyable cleanse). Though it may not sound like it, I actually really like cleansing for a few reasons: I am constantly cooking and trying new recipes, so every now and then I sort of feel like all I do is eat, eat, eat. A juice cleanse is a good way for me to kind of reset after a few months of taste-testing various stews, meats and marinades, just to name a few. I’m also a big fan of wine (and whiskey and beer and mixed drinks), so every few months I like to give my body (namely, my liver) a few days off. I know that a three-day juice cleanse can’t actually “clean out” your organs so-to-speak, but I can tell that my body enjoys a break from metabolizing all the stuff I shove into it about twice a year, so I try to cleanse once every six months or so.
The cleanse I use is a three-day cleanse (if you don’t give into temptation and head out with your mom for chips and salsa at half past five on night two – not that I would know), and you drink six juices per day (which means you’re pretty much constantly drinking). Four of the daily juices are green – like, really green. The ingredients are: kale, apple, ginger, romaine, spinach, cucumber, celery, parsley and lemon. To me, the star is the parsley, which is pretty unfortunate, because the juice would go down a whole lot smoother if it tasted mostly like apple or ginger. Drinking 16 ounces of parsley juice is just…well, it’s kinda nasty. Nowadays, having done a few cleanses over the years, I find it fairly easy to get the green juice down, but I remember the first time I tried it: I really hated it and it was a struggle to drink it before it started to get warm (which is something you really, really want to avoid – the only thing worse than 16 ounces of parsley juice is 16 ounces of warm parsley juice).
The spicy lemonade, on the other hand, I absolutely adore, and have since I first tried this juice cleanse in law school. You only get to drink one of these per day, which is the only downside to this concoction, in my opinion. The three ingredients are: lemon, cayenne and agave. I, personally, don’t think its too spicy, but I could definitely see how someone might. By the end of the bottle, your tongue will definitely be tingling.
On the opposite end of the spice spectrum is the cashew blueberry boom, which is basically the dessert of the juices and my personal fave. It’s pulverized cashews (a/k/a cashew “milk”), plus blueberry, dates, cinnamon and vanilla. I actually look forward to this juice every night, it’s sort of like a milkshake. Honestly, I’d drink this or the spicy lemonade even when I wasn’t cleansing, that’s how tasty they are.
Whenever I tell people I’m cleansing, I get the typical “don’t you get tired?” and “aren’t you hungry?” line of questions. Truthfully, I do get a bit hungry towards the end of the day, but the cashew drink typically takes care of that so I don’t go to bed hungry. As for being tired, I actually have more energy when I’m juicing than I do when I’m testing recipes and drinking wine every night…imagine that.
Overall, juicing works for me, and I find that it helps me get back on course after a few months of not so healthy habits (not to mention, I typically shed about five pounds over the course of the three day cleanse). I’ve never been the type who can cut entire food groups completely, so cleansing is a nice and temporary way for me hit the reset button and at least feel like I’m ridding my body of some of the junk I inevitably end up eating, even when I try my best to be healthy and enjoy foods in moderation. It’s likely not for everyone, but I think I’ll continue to do it a few times per year for as long as my hobbies revolve around chili and red wine, which is part of my life that I hope isn’t changing any time soon.