What a Juice Cleanse is Really Like

So, what is a juice cleanse really like?

In a word, hungry.

Yes, I did get a kick out of feeling virtuous, smug and a little bit Gwyneth Paltrow as I chugged at my giant bottle of pond-scum coloured nutrients, but frankly, I was just hungry. And being hungry makes me miserable, and I don’t think self-inflicted misery is a super healthy choice, regardless of what it might do for my liver

The thing with juice cleanses is it all seems a bit of hype and half of what I read about them seems to be written by someone who hasn’t had a solid meal in far too long to make any sense; it all just sounds like the kind of nonsense workout fanatics talk about ‘toning’ and ‘lengthening’ muscles (heads up – you can’t do either. If you did lengthen your muscles, your joints wouldn’t work and you’d be a human jellyfish, and ‘toning’ is a just silly way of saying muscle is visible). Our organs are incredibly sophisticated instruments and although it’s not a bad idea to lay off the booze and potato wedges sometimes, cutting out everything bar kale juice is plain madness.

Frankly, I don’t like being hungry. My stomach rumbles, my head aches – it’s just generally unpleasant, and at this point I was only on day one. By day two I had cracked it completely. I became outraged that I was, for no real purpose, making myself hungry and angry (or ‘hangry’ as the boyfriend put it).  And these kind of diet fads seem all too prevalent lately; I have a friend that strictly gave up carbs because she thought it would be a good idea – the result? She was famished and miserable for no good reason.

I found myself daydreaming about food. Now I’ve heard people say, ‘Oh you just need to get used to it,’ which sounds like a fair point, but I have no idea why I would want to get used to something awful when I could accomplish the same results with the right food. The juices were delicious, but it just wasn’t enough. So I stopped. I stuck with the juice, and I didn’t start counting Bloody Marys as an equal substitute, but I did start eating. Because a human body needs to eat. The nice thing was I didn’t find myself wanting to dive face first into a packet of chips. My palate seemed to have become accustomed to the light, fresh tastes leaving me fancying salmon and salad over steak and chips. And because I had just spent an afternoon blitzing and bottling a ridiculous amount of veg, I was able to prolong how long I was eating well and drinking juice, rather than just throwing the lot away because of my hunger-fuelled fury. So perhaps in a roundabout way it did help me start eating more healthily. I guess it all boils down to what my mother always said, ‘Everything in moderation’ – who knew this included healthy stuff?

Kate Jones blogs about writing and pop culture at Calvicle Capitalism.

January 2, 2014