Madi's Memos: My Journey with Juice Cleanse
Labour Day weekend always feels like a launching pad for me. The “Back to School” vibe always makes me excited to tackle new projects - Both personally and professionally. I’ve learned that in order to do so I need to get myself into the right mental space.
I’ve been experimenting with juice cleanses for almost 10 years now. I learned that they are a very potent tool to create drastic shifts, but this took some time to sink in. When I first began learning about cleanses, the concept was daunting - The thought of only drinking juice for 3 days without any solid food was a crazy concept to me. But my curiosity peaked, as it tends to do, so I decided to try one out with inevitably led to a decade long journey with them.
Juice cleanses are a challenge. Just like weight lifting, going for a run, or dropping your body into an ice tub for 3 minutes, things that are good for your health tend to be a challenge, especially when you try it for the first time. During the process things can feel uncomfortable and difficult, but through the process your body has the ability to make shifts that will benefit you long after you’re back eating solid food again.
I was drawn to cleanses because I read that they could help mitigate food cravings. When I was a small child, one of my babysitters allowed me to eat a cup of powdered sugar with a spoon for lunch each day. When my mother found out that ended quickly but it went on long enough to allow for a severe sugar addiction to take root. Fast-forward as a teenager, I would use lunch money to purchase penny-candy from the convenience store and always reached for foods packed with sugar. As I grew up, I learned more and more about the detrimental effects of sugar which made it clear that I needed to do something about it yet no matter how often I told myself that I wasn’t going to eat foods with sugar in them - I always gave into my cravings.
The first cleanse I did was a disaster. I was not prepare to survive on water, cayenne pepper, maple syrup, and lemon for 5 days straight, let alone 48 hours. Luckily I did not let that experience deter me. I kept experimenting and found what worked for me which was a variety of different juices, high greens content, some raw shots to wake up the system, and a nut milk before bed so that I felt satiated enough before bed time.
As I was experimenting, I started to notice changes in my cravings. At the beginning it was out of sheer will - I wasn’t reaching for a bag of skittles in the cupboard because I had just spent the last 2 hours cleaning a small juicer at home so I damn-well was going to drink the green juice I made. The first few recipes I made tasted terrible, the entire situation was lacklustre at best, but after a while, I noticed that I started to enjoy the freshness of the juices. I noticed that my energy levels were skyrocketing. I no longer wanted the bag of skittles because when I did eat them they tasted cloyingly sweet and artificial.
When you start to give your body things made from whole foods, it starts to crave them because it knows what to do with them. Whole foods have information in them (ie. the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients) that our bodies know how to use and process to make decisions with (ie. support the detoxification process that our liver does day in and day out).
I learned that a juice cleanse was a way to “give” your body vital nutrients without having to make it work to break down the fibre in the whole food. It truly is a reset, both physically and mentally. When you no long have to think about what to eat for three or five days in a row, you have time to think. You have time to think about other areas of your life, the other pillars of health, and then have the time to implement new practices.
So now 10 years later - I do a three day juice cleanse when I feel like I need to make a shift in my world. This could be because I had a lot of social events over the summer which had me consuming more alcohol then I tend to drink or it could be that I find myself needing time and space to reset my mindset. A juice cleanse is now more of a mental reset than a physical reset for me (this takes time and practice to get to). I find myself doing them four times a year to reflect the shifts in mindset that I want, which is why I always love doing them after Labour Day.
I think that everyone should try a juice cleanse at some point in their adult life. There are many caveats like never doing them while pregnant or if you have a medical condition to speak with your doctor first. But something shifts inside of you when you realize that you can survive three days without solid food. Also - If you find yourself struggling with sugar cravings - Reach out to me. There are many other tools that I’ve used over the years to get myself to a place where I no have fear from eating sugar because I simply do not crave it anymore, and there is something incredibly liberating from that sentence.