My 5 Day Juice Cleanse Journey
It’s just after 8am on Saturday morning, and I’m enjoying a bowl of oatmeal with almond butter, warmed blueberries, chia seeds, and hemp seeds… This is my first meal since last Sunday evening. What a WILD thing to say… It’s been almost 7 years since I’ve done a full 5 day juice cleanse and to say that it was a journey is putting it mildly.
This year was special because we launched a “Community Cleanse” where we had over 40 clients doing a 1 day, a 3 day, or a 5 day juice cleanse alongside me. Getting to check in with everyone and receive messages about how everyone was feeling felt like such a gift because it made the whole experience feel so much more joyful. It’s so easy to feel isolated when making shifts in your patterns, especially on a cleanse, so having others to support and lean on during the difficult moments was really wonderful.
Why did I want to do a 5 Day cleanse?
I selected 5 days of our Drink Clean “Level 2” cleanse this year because I wanted to create a few shifts in myself, both physically and mentally. The past holiday seasons was a mixed bag this year for me. It was so nice being able to celebrate with everyone fully in a way that we haven’t done since the pandemic but it certainly led to a month of excess and overindulgence. Having holiday parties each weekend leading up to Christmas and then spending a week going to multiple houses and having decadent dinners each night felt like the greatest gift but it also put an enormous amount of strain on my digestive system and all around mood & health.
It’s such a privilege to get to share in holiday feasts, but I knew that once we had finished celebrating that I was going to need to put time into recalibrating my relationship to food, especially my relationship with sugar once again. I had indulged in many holiday treats and could feel my mood and sleeping habits really off as a result.
I chose to do a 5 day cleanse so that I could work towards finding a balance with my relationship to food again. I’ve been in this industry for over 10 years at this point, my profession is food, my life is food.
Each week I’m constantly researching and exploring new recipes and testing out combinations to the point that I dream about food. I celebrate life through food. Cooking soothes me, it energizes me, it allows creativity to flow through me. It’s my love language. It brings me joy. It’s my greatest passion - But it can also be my greatest crutch.
My intentions moving into this cleanse was to work on exploring new ways of self-soothing and to give my digestive system a break to recalibrate itself. Our bodies naturally detoxify every single day, the pathways work around the clock to keep us free of toxins. But sometimes we need to give our detoxification pathways a little extra support, especially for our liver and kidneys which go into battle during the holidays.
Sunday night after I got home from work, I won’t lie - I was terrified at the notion that I was eating my last meal until Saturday. I was nervous because it had been so long since I had done a 5 day cleanse that I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get through it.
Was I going to crumble and give in to my cravings?
What if I was starving by Day 2?
Was I going to be able to survive through production days in the Nook kitchen?
Was I going to die due to no caffeine?
All of these thoughts started to pop up into my head, so I got quiet with myself and asked myself one of my favourites when I am nervous about something..
“What is on the other side of momentary pain or discomfort?”
I knew that I was doing something really beneficial for my body. I knew that I was giving my organs a break after pushing them hard during the holidays. I knew that I could physically and mentally get through this. I knew that I had an entire community doing this with me, which meant that we could get through anything.
- The first day of cleanse was a day of breaking routine. It always feels really odd to not make breakfast in the morning, then lunch, and then spend time cooking dinner. I eat Nook meals Sunday-Thursday each week so there isn’t a lot of cooking involved but it still takes some time to sit, re-heat, and then eat the meal.
- I went to my normal boxing session at 7am as my last “high intensity” workout of the week and enjoyed it but knew that I was only able to go because I had a well balanced meal on Sunday evening and had enough energy stores to make it through the hour.
- I started to feel my body temperature drop around 2pm which is a side effect of juice cleanses and, in my opinion, is one of the hardest parts about doing them in the winter time so I made sure to have many cups of herbal tea in between my juices and wrapped myself up in blankets while working.
- By the end of Day 1, I wasn’t having any hunger pains until I watched my partner eat his delicious dinner, which made me immediately go into the other room. That reaction made me start to question how often I eat food because I see others doing it or because it’s the “time” to do so.
- I had a headache upon waking up on the second day, something that a lot of our clients experienced on their second day as well. One of the biggest reasons for the headache was that I decided to cut out coffee for the 5 days as well and I knew that I was having some caffeine withdrawals.
- I decided to visit the cold tub & sauna house that I frequent in the city to get out of the house, take a break from work, and escape from the kitchen for a few hours. The cold plunge felt normal and gave me a burst of energy, but I struggled in the sauna and was only able to stay in it for half the time I normally am. Once I finished, I made sure to drink extra water and turned my ginger shot into a 2 litre jug of infused water with lemon and sea salt to replenish my hydration.
- I was feeling really sluggish in the afternoon, I always find that Day 2 is the hardest day to get through on a cleanse. Luckily I had signed up for a guided meditation session in the evening to work on a different type of “self-soothing” instead of just cooking each night. It was the best way to get myself through the mental “hump” of not eating whole foods for 48 hours. I got to gather with 20 people in a beautiful space and was guided through a breathing session, voice-led meditation, sound bowl bath, and journaling prompts. It was such a beautiful experience to get to sit with strangers and open our hearts, it also took my mind off of any hunger pains and allowed me to sleep like a baby.
- I woke up on the third day with a slight headache, so I did a 16 minute breathing session which really helped to over-oxygenate my system and give me a natural boost versus relying on caffeine to do so.
- Wednesdays are one of our production days at work which meant that I was going to be in the kitchen for 7 hours. This was by far the hardest part of my week. It was incredible to see myself reaching for something to eat without even thinking about it because everything looked and smelled so good. The compulsion to eat was one of the most difficult things to not give into…It was a really good lesson for me to learn - DO NOT WORK IN THE KITCHEN ON A CLEANSE.
- I got home around 6pm that night and knew that I needed to switch up my schedule slightly so I grabbed my cashew milk, warmed it up and took it into a bath to warm up and relax from the day of overstimulating my system.
- Day 3 was the most challenging day mentally for me due to being so active in the kitchen.
- I woke up on the fourth day with a wild amount of energy. I had zero brain fog, zero headache, and wasn’t even thinking about food at this point.
- I got through the day feeling really light and clear. I did a short Yin Yoga session at lunch and enjoyed feeling into my muscles throughout the class, I felt incredible afterwards.
- At night, I had a friend over and cooked him dinner. It was a really beautiful moment of telling myself that I wasn’t going “To Die” if I didn’t eat with him and gave me a new perspective on my attachments with food. My love language is cooking for others, so being able to do something that I love while on a cleanse without turning into an angry gremlin made me really proud of myself and reminded myself that I can do hard things when I put my mind to it.
- I woke up with a giant smile on my face on the final day. I had done it… I made it to the fifth day of my juice cleanse without crumbling, or giving into my desires to eat everything in site. I took it easy during the day. I went for a walk in the beautiful snowy weather and took a few hours to reflect back on what came up for me during the past five days and what lessons I learned.
- I definitely felt physically weak at that point. Walking up a few flights of stairs had me panting like a bull dog, but it really made me appreciate my relationship with food and reminded me that food is fuel.
- By the final day, I was amazed at how good I felt. My skin and hair was glowing thanks to all of the nutrients and vitamins, and I felt like I had shed the excess bloat and inflammation that I had prior to starting thanks to over indulging over the holidays.
- At night, I “celebrated” by turning my immunity shot into an “Immunity Soda” (simply 2oz of immunity shot + 12oz of soda water) to feel like I had a special beverage to end the week and warmed up my cashew milk before bed again. I slept like a baby.
Over the next week I am going to be extremely diligent with my diet making sure that I’m staying away from any processed foods, refined sugar, and alcohol so that I can gain all of the benefits from the last 5 days. Food made from whole foods doesn’t mean that I’m missing out on any joy or flavour - It means that we actually get to taste all the flavours that nature provides for us.
I seem to forget sometimes that the food we eat fuels our bodies, which in turn fuels our lives. This 5 Day cleanse really reminded me of that and has made me appreciate what food does for my body, how it strengthens me, and how it provides me the energy needed to live the active life I want to live. We owe it to our bodies to be mindful on what type of fuel we give it - I mean, we fuel our cars with the best type of gasoline - Why don’t we have the same standard for our bodies?
So here I am, eating slowly and sipping on a delicious green tea in awe of what my body overcame this week, proud of the mental resiliency that I built up, and so incredibly grateful that I got to do this with a community of people.
I’m grateful that I gave my taste buds a rest, I’m grateful that I allowed my digestive system to focus on healing itself, and I’m really proud of myself for getting through five days. I miss salt more than ever but I can say with a GIANT smile on my face that I’m not experiencing ANY sugar cravings which is always the best part for me personally.
We can change anything we want in our lives if we remain consistent with it and build habits to support the changes we want to make. We can do hard things. Our bodies are built to do hard things.
Now.. Off to the market to get ingredients to make a magical noodle soup for tonight.