The words “cleanse” and “detox” have become such loaded words in the health and wellness world in the past 5 years, that they literally make my skin crawl. When I hear them, my mind is flooded with images of crappy marketing schemes hammering home how we’re all going to die if we don’t cleanse all the toxins out of our system in “3 easy steps.” Or I think of some cliche wellness blogger telling me about how a 3-week-retreat-juice-guru-detox cleanse completely rid her of all negativity from her life and now she’s perfectly balanced in all things.
Needless to say, I had a thick forcefield of skepticism around any mention of the word juice cleanse. But if you’ve been following my Snapchat, Instagram or read last week’s post you already know I gone went and done it anyway. You can read why in this [POST]. But today I wanted to share with you how it all went down and what I came away learning about cleansing, myself, and the all important question: would I ever do it again?
Smoothie: vega, banana, raspberries, spinach, coconut milk
I think a lot of people would (naturally) assume the juice cleanse it’s all about the juice, but personally, these five days were all about a mental “detox” if you will. For me, this was a lot less about a physical detox, because honestly, I’ve been feeling great. I’m not perfect, but I didn’t feel like I needed to overhaul what I was eating. But I definitely felt like there were toxic thought patterns building up. The juice was just a great physical reminder of what I was trying to.
Ok, so isn’t that a bit extreme to drink juice for 5 days just to clear your head?
But like I mentioned, I’m both curious and stubborn to a fault, so I really wanted to see if connecting something like a juice cleanse to a more spiritual detox could help me dive deeper into issues I’ve been trying to deal with.
Reflections From Drinking Just Juice for 5 Days
1.) I was hungry, but not that hungry
I was seriously shocked how little I thought or cared about food for 5 days. Like couldn’t believe it. Sure I definitely had moments where I was hungry, but nothing crazy. The hunger didn’t build either. It was just a low key thing buzzing in the background.
This actually really helped me deal with something I’ve felt since recovery: a fear of hunger. In my mind, I’m petrified of being hungry because I think my body instantly takes me back to days when I wouldn’t eat and was living in that starvation mode.
Barley, arugula, sweet potato, cucumber, tahini
I definitely don’t think anyone who is in recovery or struggling with disordered eating should do a juice cleanse because it could be very triggering. However, I feel really confident about my recovery, so this actually helped me a lot. In the past, I’ve let hunger carry a lot of extra emotional baggage and I think these five days helped me understand what hunger actually means and knowing I’ll survive.
2.) The Caffeine Was the Killer
Hands down my body reacted strongest to caffeine withdrawals over anything else. I’m glad that I stopped drinking coffee 3 days before the cleanse started or else I don’t think I would have made it. The first three days without coffee felt the same at the first three days of the cleanse. First, I was just tired all the time. Worse was the feeling of being foggy and groggy. I just felt slow. I’m a pretty high energy person (or so I thought). So having that piece of my identity taken away was both physically and emotionally distressing.
Since last Thursday, I’ve started waking up before my 6am alarm, which is a first for me.
Obviously I don’t want to give up coffee forever, I mean, hello, I’m not a monster, but I do want to be way more mindful in how I consume it.
Toast with nuttzo & dates + a squarebar
3.) I Love My New Morning Wellness Rituals
As part of the cleanse we were encouraged to start tongue scraping, oil pulling and drinking warm lemon water before we had our first juice. (you can click through to learn little more about each one)
I tried to go in with an open mind, but I was pretty much sure I wouldn’t oil pull. Swish melted coconut oil in your mouth for 10 minutes? How about gag me with a spoon. Until I tried it. And got hooked. It’s way easier than I thought it would be and it could just be a placebo thing but I love how I feel after I’ve done all three of these things together.
4.) It Gave Me a Chance to Slow Down
Part of the reason I decided on doing the cleanse was because the timing was right. I would not, I repeat WOULD NOT recommend this to anyone who had to be extremely or even very active during the week. This came right after our big BGB course launch (high stress) so I was able to actually take some real time to slow down and be ok with taking naps, walks and literally just listening to music and thinking, instead of trying to get 1000 things done at once. When it comes to the mind-body connection, I think the relaxing was one of the most beneficial physical things I did for my mental health.
This was one of the hardest parts of the cleanse for me.
As someone who has a 40-hour job and two businesses on the side, I don’t know how to not work. And I’m not saying that like it’s a good thing. Luckily I love everything I do, but never the less, it’s work and it takes a lot. To have a day off from the coffee shop and not spend it on blogging felt really effing weird.
I took a nap on a hammock instead listening to Harry Potter. I’ve literally never done that in my life.
I’m not hear to preach that everyone has to relax X amount of hours every day or every week or even every month. But I would encourage you to experiment with an open mind. Personally I felt really guilty napping. However, physically, I felt great after. However, I think if I practiced finding ways that I enjoyed relaxing and shutting off, I would get better at it and get more out of it.
One way I like looking at it is: relaxation is like an investment in your future productivity. If you invest in healing your mind and body now, you’ll be more productive in the future. For me this alleviates the stress that I’m “wasting time” that I could be working. If I know I can get more done on a clear mind, it’s worth clearing it.
Scrambled Eggs, Avocado Toast, Arugula
5.) I Couldn’t Use Food as An Emotional Crutch
This is definitely something that will take more than a cleanse to totally combat, but not eating solid food for five days, forced me to face some of my “emotional hunger” head on. Personally, I’m the queen of bedtime snacking (is it me or does food taste better in bed?) and stress snacking. Rather than run to chocolate or coffee, I had to sit there and ask myself why I was feeling a certain way and then choose a productive way to work through it without food. This was also really hard.
This is probably the biggest food related habit/pattern I’d like to keep working on after the cleanse. It has a lot to do with the anxiety that comes from being still and not feeling at my most productive. I have a hunch that letting myself be cool with taking actual breaks, instead of just looking at my phone for five minutes, will help me stay focused longer and not slip into “anxious hunger” mode.
6.) I Practiced Letting Go of Toxic Thought Patterns
Anyone else let a negative thought snowball out of control or repeat itself like a broken record? Hi, yup that’s me, the girl who can simultaneously be thoughtless AND overthink things. I really don’t know how I do it.
The three restorative yoga sessions throughout the cleanse were so powerful for helping these spiraling thoughts settle and untangle into clarity and finally being able to let them go. I could write a whole other post on all the “ah-ha” moments, but I’ll save it for another day.
So I could probably go on and on, but I’ll stop there.
The long story short is that this was a really interesting, positive, supported experience. I don’t think it’s for everyone, especially if you’re in a busy season of your life or have a very physically active job. I had the unique ability to do this cleanse in a group with two amazing leaders who guided us through it.
I would definitely do it again if the timing was right.
I’m a big believer that cultivating and developing your own healthy life means activity trying to connect your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health and this experience was definitely something that did all of that.
My biggest areas of focus moving forward are remembering the intentions set and lessons learned during the five days and carrying them with me daily without the pressure or judgment of trying to act on them perfectly.
- Have you ever done any kind of cleanse or reset?