healthy habits #2: blueprint cleanse

welcome to my second installment of ‘healthy habits’; the first one on Skin Laundry is here. apologies for the delay in posting (I juiced back in January), and even more apologies that this post turned into a novel.

this winter I have been having some major stomach aches and pains, on top of my usual acid reflux. after the holiday food rush, wayyyy too much mexican on a ski trip in Taos, and slipping into unusually poor eating during the week (post lunch m&ms went from a treat to a daily ritual), i decided to do a three day juice cleanse.


why do one? for those unfamiliar with juice cleanses, they tout many different benefits- from clearer skin and better sleep to improved digestive health and weight loss. basically, by not eating solid food, you give your body much needed rest, while getting the calories you need for energy from easily digestible fruit and vegetable juice. they have become one of the hottest ‘health’ fads over the past few years, but you should be very skeptical about the weight loss claims; juice cleanses contain a TON of sugar and calories. unless you juice for a week or more, any initial weight loss is going to bounce back once you start eating again. cleanses aren’t for everyone, however, they can be a great way (as was in my case) to reset your body, jumpstart a new eating and exercise program, and give your willpower a little extra kick.

the program: i went with the most established juice brand, Blueprint Cleanse. many health nuts will swear by local or niche players (there are tons of options available out there), and if you can, the healthiest and lowest cost option is to make the juices yourself. i chose to do the Foundation cleanse, which is level II intensity. it consists of 6 juices per day– 3 green juices, 2 citrus juices and 1 cashew milk, plus all the water and decaffeinated tea you want. since this was my first attempt, i set my goal at what seemed like an achievable length, 3 days, and set out a plan– eat healthy monday, juice through thursday, and introduce solids friday so I could eat semi normal-ish over the weekend. when thinking about the length of cleanse you want to do, take the “start day” and “exit phase” into consideration, or you will feel REALLY sick.

the low down: my juices were delivered in a cooler bag the evening before I started and my first reaction was “wow thats a lot of juice.” 18 to be exact. for a new yorker, i actually have a fairly regular sized refrigerator, but i still ended up having to put half of them in my office fridge for storage.

day 1– day one got off to an easy start- after eating dinner the night before, i wasn’t starving and i don’t usually eat breakfast until around 9am. i made myself start the day with a glass of water and a cup of green tea. yes, green tea does have some caffeine (35-70 mgs per cup according to my bffs at google) but since i usually have 1-2 cups of coffee a day, i was trying to avoid one hell of a caffeine headache that might damage my juicing resolve.

one of the best tips Blueprint provides in their instruction booklet is to space out your juices every 2 hours and finish the last one at least an hour before bed. since i usually wake up at 7 and start my day at 8, i  concocted the following schedule:

8-10 am juice #1, 10-12 am juice #2, 12- 2 juice #3, 2-4 juice #4, 4-6 juice #5 and 6-8 juice #6

all three days i followed this schedule pretty strictly, however on the 2nd and 3rd days juice #3 always came before 12 since i got progressively hungrier for lunch, and i often was late finishing juice #5 and starting juice #6 due to an afternoon meeting or a work out (i went to yoga twice on the cleanse). only 1 of the 3 nights i even finished juice #6, mostly because i was already full of juice and ready for bed.

day 2- the second day i woke up tired and fairly hungry. this was by far the hardest day i experienced, mostly because in the evening i tortured myself with bingo at a mexican restaurant with friends. i was craving a bagel when i woke up, but my pouting only lasted about fifteen minutes while i sipped my first juice (i had broken the schedule and waited until 9:30 to start, which also probably contributed to the #hanger). around 4pm i got the same grumpy hungry feeling, but it was again, because i had waited too long to start my next juice. as long as you follow the schedule, you really never get a chance to feel hungry before you are onto the next. that night, i stared longingly at the guacamole and margaritas my friends were devouring as i sipped my cashew milk. luckily, i have rockstar friends who were intrigued by this juice challenge, and assured me the food “wasn’t even that good.” thanks gals.

day 3- before i even realized, it was the last day. i woke up feeling like i was GLOWING- my skin was so bright and clear (probably also from all the sleep) but even my roommate commented on it. as i went to work, i actually looked forward to my morning tea/juice combo. despite how freezing it was outside, the thought of something greasy and filling kind of repulsed me. the rest of my day was pretty unremarkable- my work colleagues, who had been skeptical of my challenge, were amazed i was still on track. in the spirit of full transparency on here, i had forgotten when i ordered my juices that i had a charity dinner on thursday night, and i did end up eating a half a bowl of tomato soup around 7pm (the only thing offered that somewhat appealed), but i wish i had been able to avoid this event and continued juicing until midnight to fully complete day three. however i am proud this was my only “cheat” during the process.

day 4 and beyond- for the next couple of days, the only foods i really craved were fruits and vegetables. yes, i was excited to eat again, but it wasn’t this starvation feeling where i couldn’t wait to dive into a cheeseburger. i mostly stuck to soups, fruit salad, and really simple foods like cous cous. i even picked up a few more of juices at Whole Foods and considered doing more days (i really loved how my skin looked).

while i wish i could say i stuck with the above diet for eternity, eventually i kind of morphed back into my regular routine (thankfully sans m&ms) with one exception- no dairy. going completely off dairy during the three days made me realize how much better i felt without it, and i have kept this to a minimum since. i tried to keep off coffee completely too, but then life happened and i needed my cup o’ joe back to survive– although i am now better about limiting it.

the take aways: a few things i learned in the process, in no particular order…

#1 you can do anything you put your mind to- a juice cleanse really is mind over matter. your body is not starving, you are not starving (usually you are bored), and sticking to it, at least for 72 hours, is completely achievable.

#2 juice cleanses are harder when its cold out- when it’s <30 degrees, i look to food for warmth. i eat a lot of soups, hot coffees/teas, oatmeal, etc. it would be 10x easier to do a juice cleanse in the spring when cold fruit juice and smoothies sound refreshing.

#3 your body needs less than you think- similar to number 1, i realized how much food i consume in a day purely because i feel like it.

#4 stay busy- boredom = fake hunger. the times i wanted to cheat were because i was either sitting at my desk or watching tv and didn’t have enough to do. when i was in meetings or running errands, the juice cleanse didn’t even cross my mind.

#5 i don’t drink enough fluids- i thought i was an avid water drinker before, but drinking six 16 oz juices + 2 teas a day made me realize how wrong i was. i have never felt more hydrated (yes, you pee a LOT).

#6 it’s near impossible to maintain a social life while cleansing. carve out a week when you don’t have a lot going on and can go to bed early. my saddest times were when i was forced to be around people eating and drinking, and it gets old to explain your weird “juice thing”  to your boss, your friends, and random people at a party. the bright side of skipping activities is catching lots of Zzzzs.

#7 plant-based is better- it wasn’t until i juiced that i realized how many drying, processed foods i was eating. the reality is that my skin got better because it was being properly hydrated, which is what a fresh, plant-based diet does for you.

#8 i will 100% do it again


Has anyone else ever done a juice cleanse? I would love to hear your stories! and if anyone has questions I didn’t answer, feel free to post them or email me! THANK YOU FOR READING. Xx JL

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