Thursday, October 27, 2011

Juice Cleanse!

I realize that I have not updated this blog in quite a while, and I apologize, but I really want to share my juice cleanse experience (and recipes) with you.  Recently, a group of my coworkers embarked on a cleanse that I, being vegan, wouldn't have benefitted much from.  Dismayed, I looked elsewhere for a cleanse that spoke to me.  And, weirdly, my answer came in the form of a Groupon the next morning: JUICE CLEANSE.

The problem?  The price.  Even on markdown, I couldn't fathom paying $100 (normally $180) for SIX juices.  And that price is for ONE day.  You're supposed to do the cleanse for 5 days!  No thank-you.

Dismayed once again, I decided to research these cleanses.  Why were people willing to fork over $30/juice for 5 days?  What magic was stirred into these colorful bottles?  I looked into the top three cleanses: the local Catalyst Cleanse, the popular BluePrintCleanse, and the celebrity Cooler Cleanse.  From there, I combined what I learned and created my own cleanse.  This is what I came up with:

Basically, you drink 6 juices/ day.  Two are essential green juices, one is an essential red juice, one is the ever-popular spicy lemonade (aka Master Cleanse), one is a cashew milk, and the last.... varied.  I loved the idea of having #4 be a choice, so as to not fall into a boring routine.  In between the juices, you drink plenty of fresh water.  Decaf tea is allowed, as well.  What isn't allowed?  EVERYTHING ELSE.  

So, without further nonsense, here are the juice recipes.  Skip to the bottom if you want to see if I am surviving.

Juice #1 & #5: Essential Green

I get bored easily, so I decided to have two options for my green juice.  However, I have found that it is easier to just make one big batch in the AM.  The flavors all go really well together, and you'll thank me once you're cleaning your juicer over and over and over.

Green #1:
- Huge handful of kale (I use about three handfuls)
- 1 cucumber
- 4 stalks celery
- 2 green apples
- 1/2 lemon
- some ginger root (about an inch-sized piece)

Green #2:
- Handful of kale
- 1 cucumber
- handful spinach
- half handful parsley
- 2 apples (I've been using Honeycrisp)
- 1/2 lemon 
- some ginger root (about an inch-sized piece)

For both of these recipes, just juice everything together! :)

Juice #2: Spicy Lemonade

I guarantee that you've heard of this one.  It's referred to as the Lemonade Diet or the Master Cleanse.  I totally hopped on that bandwagon and drank just this for three days one Summer.  But!  It is an amazing drink: yummy and so powerfully good for you.  

Spicy Lemonade:
- Juice from one lemon
- 1 tbsp (or less) agave nectar
- shakes of cayenne (as much as you can handle)
- water

For this juice, simply juice a lemon and combine with the other ingredients in a glass.

Juice #3: Essential Red

- 1 to 2 beets
- 4 carrots
- 3 stalks celery
- 1 apple
- 1/2 lemon and/or inch-sized piece of ginger to taste


Juice #4: Choice

Choice can mean anything from another green, another red, or a fruit juice.  If you're new to cleansing (or veganism or raw foodism), go for a fruit drink.  If you're vegan, raw, and/or have done this before, go for another green or red.  If you're bored, go for something different.  Three simple and delicious recipes that I love for this option (keep it simple!):

#1: Grapefruit Mojito:
- 1 red or pink grapefruit
- 1 lime
- 5-7 mint leaves
agave nectar to taste

#2: Pineapple Mint:
- 1-2 cups fresh pineapple (depending on if you add or don't add one apple)
Optional: 1 apple
- ginger (very small piece)
- mint (about 5 leaves)

#3: Watermelon Mojito:
- 2 cups watermelon
- 1 lime
- 5-7 mint leaves
agave nectar to taste

For these juices, blend everything together in a blender and enjoy!  For the grapefruit juice, juice the grapefruit and lime with a citrus juicer before blending with mint.  Same goes for any lime in the recipes.

#6: Cashew Milk

Yum.  If you don't love it, add some frozen banana pieces and blend again.  This is your reward, enjoy it.

Cashew Milk:
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 tbsp agave nectar (or less)
- 1 tsp vanilla (bean if you're rich, extract if you're not.  Obviously the bean is better.. but.. let's get real)
- Shakes cinnamon
- 1-2 cups water (to taste) 

For this one, soak the cashews for as long as possible beforehand.  An hour is great.  Then, blend everything together in a blender and enjoy.  You made it through the day!


So, how am I doing?
I'm currently on day four, two juices in.  I have to say... it's awesome.  
A) I've noticeably lost weight (!!), 
B) I'm full ALL DAY, 
C) The juices are delicious.  No joke.  My favorite is actually the green!
D) Everything cost me roughly $70-80, and I'm going to have a bunch of greens left over.

The negatives?
A) No coffee.  I'm normally a 4 cup/ day girl.  AH!
B) I'm really annoying at work, because I have to excuse myself to use the restroom QUITE a bit.
C) I'm dreaming about food.  Literally.  Whether it's dreaming about cheating and eating, or just food.. it's happening.
D) My brain is driving me crazy.  I never realized how mental eating is!  I'm full all day, yet I'm constantly dying to eat.  Dying to chew, crunch, and snack.  I couldn't possibly fit anything else into my stomach... but I totally would if I could.  All I can think about is bagels, burritos, tortilla chips and guacamole.....

Curious?  Give it a try!  Let me know how you do! :)

**Update!  I finished the cleanse, and loved it.  It really wasn't hard, I swear.  I can't believe how easily I got through the day on less than one cup of coffee!  I was always full, but it was nice to eat brunch the next morning!  My skin glowed, I looked noticeably skinnier, didn't crave sweets (amazing), and will absolutely be adding these juices to my normal routine.