I’ve always wanted to try a juice cleanse. When I was done being pregnant, and done nursing (after FOURTEEN months), I knew it was the time. I wanted to give my body a little jump-start now that I finally had it back to myself. I also wanted to see what all the hype was about. Do juice cleanses really work? Will I do one again? Will I lose weight? How fast will it come back? Should I buy a juicer?
When Cooler Cleanse offered to let me try their 3-day juice cleanse, I happily agreed, and hubs took his usual stance to my craziness. “What? Why? Whatever makes you happy.” (Probably secretly thinking, “Gosh I hope she still cooks me dinner.”)
Part of the Cooler Cleanse is eating “clean” for a few days before and after you do the cleanse. They recommend avoiding caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, red meat, wheat products, dairy products, and sugar. I sortakinda did that.
Here’s what I did for two days before the cleanse:
- I eliminated coffee and substituted it with decaf green tea: Hello headache! (It was really only bad the first day.)
- I drank a lot of water: 160 ounces each day to be exact.
- Breakfast was a whole grapefruit (no sugar!) and 1/4 cup of raw almonds.
- Lunch was a salad with spinach, red peppers, black beans, avocado, and a spritz of both lemon juice and olive oil.
- Dinner was chicken and brown rice soup loaded with veggies (onion, carrot, celery, parsnips, red pepper, kale). A clementine one night and an orange the next night.
- Snacks: Banana, more almonds. Oh and popcorn. Because
apparentlyobviously I can’t live without it. And you better believe it had butter and salt on it. And then I ate three Hershey’s kisses because after the salty I needed something sweet. Ahh! No willpower.
The morning the juice cleanse was going to start, I had a cup of unsweetened, decaffeinated green tea. The juice arrived in a big box very well chilled around 9:45 in the morning. I immediately cracked the first one open and started drinking it. My general pattern is that I began and ended my day with hot green tea. Then I started on my first juice between 8 and 10 AM and it took me around an hour to drink one juice (less for some flavors), and then I’d sip on water for the next hour (about 20 ounces between every juice). They instruct you to drink a juice every two hours, with the last one about two hours before you go to bed. I describe all the juices below as well as my thoughts. I also listed the benefits that they describe on their website. If you’re interested in nutritional info, it is also listed on their website.
Sweet Green (Drink #1, all three days)
- Ingredients: kale, parsley, spinach, watercress, apple
- Benefits according to Cooler Cleanse: “The iron in green leafy vegetables increases your oxygen-carrying blood cells, so you have more energy. Leafy green vegetables also provide more nutrients per calorie than any other food and support liver function, which is critical to good health. Apples pack a power punch of Vitamin C.”
- Thoughts: Very good. I often add spinach or kale to my smoothies so I am used to the taste of greens in my beverages. Even on the third day, I still enjoyed this one.
Grapefruit and Mint (Drink #2, Day 1)
- Ingredients: grapefruit, mint
- Benefits according to Cooler Cleanse: “Grapefruit contains fat-burning enzymes and naringin, a natural plant chemical that delivers antioxidant, anti-cancer molecules to your cells. Mint is an excellent stomach soother and digestive.”
- Thoughts: Sour with a minty aftertaste, but I love grapefruit so I really enjoyed this one.
Watermelon and Lime (Drink #2, Day 2)
- Ingredients: watermelon, lime
- Benefits according to Cooler Cleanse: “Watermelon contains the antioxidant glutathione, one of many nutrients the liver requires to process toxins successfully. And lime? Sure it’s full of Vitamin C, but mainly it tastes fantastic!”
- Thoughts: Super refreshing and very tasty. I love squeezing a lime over my watermelon in the summer, so this is reminiscent of that.
Pineapple and Ginger (Drink #2, Day 3)
- Ingredients: pineapple, ginger
- Benefits according to Cooler Cleanse: “Pineapple not only helps digestion, it contains bromelain, an anti-inflammatory agent that helps fight heart disease and arthritis, as well as the mineral manganese, essential to energy production and cell protection. Ginger stimulates the digestive system.”
- Thoughts: Very tasty. The ginger is powerful, so if you’re not a fan of ginger you might not like this one. I enjoyed it though. The second drink of the day was my favorite, all three days–by a long shot.
Essential Greens (Drink #3, all three days)
- Ingredients: cucumber, celery, parsley, spinach, kale, dandelion greens, watercress, pear, lemon, ginger
- Benefits according to Cooler Cleanse: “Dark green vegetables contain a rainbow of essential vitamins and minerals essential for the cleansing functions of the kidneys and liver. Dark, leafy greens also give the system loads of water-soluble fiber to sweep toxins out. These greens are highly alkalizing to your cells — this counters the damage done by the corrosive acidic waste products from meat, sugar, dairy and other common foods.”
- Thoughts: Not as tasty as Sweet Greens, but not terrible. They suggest pouring it over ice with a splash of lemon juice, which helped a lot.
Young Coconut Water (Drink #4, Days 1 and 3)
- Ingredients: young coconut water
- Benefits according to Cooler Cleanse: “Naturally fat-free, full of hydrating electrolytes and essential minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium, coconut water is one of nature’s great health elixirs. We use it straight from the freshly cracked nut.”
- Thoughts: My least favorite. My stomach is growling and this drink only has 90 calories. Oh boy. I think I could grow to like this but it was my first experience with coconut water.
Spicy Lemonade (Drink #4, Day 2)
- Ingredients: lemon, lime, cayenne pepper, raw agave, filtered water
- Benefits according to Cooler Cleanse: “Lemons alkalinize your body, providing healing balance to the modern acidic diet. Hot cayenne boosts your metabolism, ups circulation and causes you to burn calories faster for a spell.”
- Thoughts: Good! Not really spicy at all, until I got to the bottom where most of the cayenne had sunk to while I was drinking it. Not very sweet, but still tasty.
Essential Red (Drink #5, all three days)
- Ingredients: carrot, beet, apple, lemon
- Benefits according to Cooler Cleanse: “The high Vitamin A content of carrots rejuvenates tired-looking skin. Beets and lemons boost blood oxygenation, which radically enhances cleansing.”
- Thoughts: Tastes…like beets. This one wasn’t horrible, but did take me a little longer to get down.
Brazil Nut Milk (Drink #6, Day 1)
- Ingredients: raw Brazil nuts, dates, filtered water
- Benefits according to Cooler Cleanse: “Brazil nuts are extremely nutrient rich, packed with protein and minerals like selenium, which are essential for the liver if it is to extract toxins from the blood. We soak and sprout the brazil nuts so their nutrients are more absorbable.”
- Thoughts: Tastes nutty! This one took me a while to drink too but had a subtly sweet taste and wasn’t too bad.
Almond Nut Milk (Drink #6, Day 2)
- Ingredients: raw almonds, vanilla bean, dates, filtered water
- Benefits according to Cooler Cleanse: “Almonds nourish with necessary protein and minerals, such as copper, that support detoxification. We soak and sprout the almonds so their nutrients are more absorbable. This activates an enzyme that blocks the absorption of the nut fat-helpful, because fat slows down detoxification. A touch of dates sweetens the drink without disturbing blood sugar levels.”
- Thoughts: Delicious! Tastes like straight up vanilla bean. Didn’t take me long at all to down this baby. By far my favorite of all the “milks.”
Spicy Hemp Milk (Drink #6, Day 3)
- Ingredients: raw hemp seeds, dates, cinnamon, ginger, filtered water
- Benefits according to Cooler Cleanse: “Hemp is a high protein seed containing all twenty amino acids, including the nine essential amino acids and a high percentage of the simple proteins that help build immunity and fend off toxins. It also has high amounts of omega fatty acids and fiber as well as containing vitamin E and trace minerals.”
- Thoughts: The first taste was kind of powerful and overwhelming with a strong cinnamon flavor but it really grew on me towards the end. A good way to finish the cleanse!
This what hubs ate while I was sipping on juice: On the first night he ate our favorite—Lebanese carry-out (chicken shwarma, rice, and salad). Talk about torture! The next morning he had eggs, toast, and coffee. I was okay with that. Mornings didn’t seem to be as bad (as tempting) as evenings for me. For lunch he had a turkey sandwich and chips and cheese. CHIPS AND CHEESE, people! For dinner I made him steak fajitas with all the fixin’s. (Do I win the wife of the year award now?) I even sat with him and my daughter at the dinner table while he ate juicy steak and I drank water.
The next morning he had leftover steak with scrambled eggs, toast and coffee. Ugh! For lunch he had another sammie and more of those darn chips and cheese. For dinner I made him slow cooker salsa chicken (and boy, did it ever smell good while it was cooking!).
Verdict/General Feelings: My stomach started growling around 1:45 in the afternoon the first day, but I didn’t feel overly hungry. I felt like I wanted to eat, but not hungry. By the second day I was really fighting a little bite of anything. I even went grocery shopping. (Bad idea, fyi.) On the third day, I did feel a little light-headed while I was standing in church, but I didn’t pass out so it is all good. Been there, done that. Not in church though.
I think the best part for me was to really stop and think about my relationship with food and how sometimes I eat so mindlessly, just to fill the time, or just because I love food. This experience made me more aware of what I’m putting into my body, and how much. I hope to be more conscientious of how I eat from here on out.
I thought that I would probably have headaches and feel really lethargic, but I really felt great. I was able to do all the things I normally do and I don’t think I turned into a huge grouch, but you’ll have to ask my husband to be sure. I loved the way I looked at the end of three days, and overall it was a really good experience. I think I would definitely do it again.
If you’re curious, and I’m sure you are (I would be!), I lost about six pounds. But I’m sure it will be back. And if you’re really curious, I peed a lot. As if I was pregnant.
Husband’s take: He probably couldn’t really care less. He said I looked skinny, but he always tells me that. (He’s a keeper.) He did say, “Wow, you look really thin, maybe next time I’ll do the cleanse with you.”
What I would do differently: I’d try not to cheat on the days before the cleanse, but I think I did pretty well overall. It was a good experience and something that I would recommend to many people.
Difficulty: All of my recipes are easy, but this? This was hard. But worth it. If you have any questions at all or would like more details feel free to email me!
GIVEAWAY DETAILS: (Giveaway has CLOSED. Congrats to Amanda McConnell!)
One randomly-selected winner will receive a 3-day Cooler Cleanse. I apologize, but this is
only open to US residents (age 18 or older) due to the freshness of the juice. To Enter (REQUIRED): Go check out Cooler Cleanse’s website and pick out a juice that sounds most delicious to you. Come back here and tell me in the comments section which juice you would like to try. For Extra Entries (MAKE SURE to leave an extra comment for each or they will NOT count): 1. Subscribe to my RSS feed or add your name to my email list (please confirm when you get the email asking you to do so).
2. “Like” Not Rachael Ray on Facebook.
3. Follow @Not_RachaelRayon Twitter.
4. “Like” Cooler Cleanse on Facebook.
5. Follow @CoolerCleanse on Twitter.
6. Follow me on Pinterestand pin this post. (If you aren’t on Pinterest, let me know and I’ll send you an invite!)
7. Follow me on StumbleUpon and stumble this post. Up to 8 chances to win! Giveaway will close on the 22nd of January (Sunday) and I’ll announce the randomly chosen winner Monday morning (1/23). Winner will have 48 hours to respond before I choose another winner. Prize will be shipped by Cooler Cleanse.
Disclosure: I was provided with a free 3-day cleanse, but no other compensation. All opinions are, as always, 100% my own. Please check with your doctor before starting on any juice cleanses or initiating any major diet changes.