I stumbled into Belmonte Raw in Toronto, hungover from hard partying at a friend’s wedding the night before. It could have been the booze, or it could have been the cheeseburger and poutine I devoured at one in the morning. My skin looked terrible and I think the aroma of vodka was following me around — and it didn’t disappear when I met Carol, the owner. Juicing and cleansing are a big fad at the moment, especially among celebrities. I chose a cleanse because my lifestyle was in need of a reset. I saw it as a kick-start to healthy living and if I knocked off a few pounds temporarily, well that wouldn’t be so bad.
I thought I would just shovel down a bunch of salad from Whole Foods and start my juice cleanse the next day, but Carol set me straight. I had already messed up the first phase, also known as the pre-cleanse, which is rather important. It primes your body and prevents your liver from going into shock. Carol recommends that you do this for two to three days before starting your cleanse and that you only eat raw food the day before.
With my jam-packed work and social schedule, I had only one day to pre-cleanse before jumping into the three-day juice cleanse (which I had cleared my schedule for). Planning and being organized is key here, especially when you’re spending around $100 per day for the cleanse. I ate 85 percent raw before I started, but I did sneak in a few pieces of sushi. Going vegan and raw in one day – my mind was in overload. I take food pretty seriously as a food blogger, and I began to stress out.
During The Cleanse
Stock up on toilet paper because living on liquids means a lot of trips to the bathroom. I felt sluggish; a little bloated from all the liquid and I couldn’t think straight. Doing a full day of work was difficult for me, so I recommend taking it easy during the days you’re on the cleanse. After drinking six juices and one elixir, I weighed in almost six pounds heavier! Needless to say, I was full but mentally I was hungry – so I took Carol’s advice and practiced chewing.
Day one felt pretty good. I didn’t leave the house, avoided television, social media, food blogging and food magazines. I sipped on the liver-cleanse tea that came with my delivery to keep me occupied. I did sneak in a couple of raw crackers that I had leftover from the pre-cleanse and let me tell you: I savoured every bite. Awesome, I can totally do this! High-fives all around.
Day two was a little different. I felt amazing after my carrot juice but then came the green drink, which pretty much put me into a coma. Detoxing is very dehydrating, which is why you’re supposed to drink 3.5L of water every day. The huge detox headache hit me around my third juice of the day – the cashew mylk. I crawled right back into bed with flu-like symptoms and took a three-hour nap. I know what hunger pains feel like and I have never had a headache this bad in my life. I couldn’t decide if I was actually detoxing or if it was because I had been living on juice. I tried pumping myself up with more water, but decided I probably needed to eat. Detoxing ends when you officially stop eating raw food and I needed this headache to go away! I figured I could transition out of this thing with a raw salad after I downed my grapefruit spirulina juice.
I barely ate half of my dinner and I could not believe how much my appetite had shrunk. I ended up going to bed early and deciding that I’d skip out on day three. Instead, I woke up the next day and drank my carrot juice and started transitioning out of my juice cleanse the same way I went in. I used the additional day of juices that I had ordered to carry me through between raw meals for a couple of days post-cleanse.
I think I was overly ambitious in thinking I could survive a three-day juice cleanse. My work and social life all revolve around food. I would definitely do this again, but would opt for a juice and raw food cleanse combination. I’m not good with deprivation — cleanse or no cleanse.
I felt healthier, cleaner and a bit more energetic. I woke up the first day and felt very calm, probably from giving my stomach and digestive system a break. The biggest thing I took away from this was a new awareness of what I was putting into my body. I am taking steps to eat cleaner and I am keeping up the habit of drinking a ½ litre of water with lemon when I wake up every day to flush my liver. After my two-day cleanse, I came out two pounds lighter but I’ve already gained it back, so really it’s not as much about weight loss as it is about a mental reset.
- Give yourself at least two days to prepare.
- Be organized and get ready with all your raw food options.
- Clear your work and social schedule.
- Hide snacks and get rid of anything tempting in your fridge.
- Avoid things that will make you crave food.
- Rent a bunch of movies, do yoga at home and chill out.
- Take it easy on your body. Transition out of your cleanse the same way you went in.
- Try to keep your new habits and self-awareness going as long as possible.
- Re-introduce foods slowly and over time, by adding dairy and meat last.
Have you ever done a juice cleanse? What was your experience like?
To learn more Belmonte Raw and their raw and organic, fresh-pressed juice cleanse – visit them online at www.belmonteraw.com.
Lisa Ng is the Editor-in-Chief of The Hip + Urban Girl’s Guide, a lifestyle website that blogs daily about food, travel, fashion and events. When she’s not chasing after the best taco or donut somewhere around the world, you can find her in Toronto sharing her finds online.