Funny story. I decided to try the Jus by Julie 3 day cleanse shortly before New Year’s Day, after seeing a former student rave about her experience on Facebook. I’ve never done a juice cleanse (I’m fairly skeptical of the notion of our body needing to be “rid” of toxins by cleansing versus day to day healthy eating and exercise), but I thought in honor of a brand new year, I’d get a little crazy. Go outside my comfort zone. I read many positive reviews on-line, and hunted for several days for the best price. I found a groupon for a hefty discount (warning: the cleanse is not cheap, but you can find many discount codes on the internet), and ordered just after New Year’s, with a delivery date for Friday, January 9th.
At that point, I had no idea just how “toxic” the first week of 2015 would be. If there was ever a time for trying any experimental voodoo, New Age, ridding of the bad spirits, no matter how farfetched, now was the time. You know what they say: the universe closes a door of stress eating and opens a window of incredibly overpriced Fed Ex-ed containers of smashed fruit and veggies.
Or something like that.
The following is my journal of the cleanse experience.
Friday 4:55pm: Arrive home from work to find a large box from Jus by Julie waiting on my doorstep. 18 bottles of brightly colored (disconcertingly so) juice are packed neatly in an insulated bag (perfect for grocery trips when I’m allowed to eat again…). I read the enclosed brochure carefully, and decide to store day 3 in the freezer, and put the other 2 in the fridge for this weekend’s consumption.
even the dog was dubious about green juice
Saturday 6:45am: I’m up relatively early (for a weekend) to do my weekly long run. I’m a little anxious how the whole “not eating for 3 days” will work with burning over 1000 calories at the outset on a 10 mile run, but I’m sure I’ll survive (and if you’re reading this, I did). I make the decision that, cleanse or no cleanse, I still need to fuel for my 10 miles like usual. As such, I technically break the rules of my cleanse by having 2 belVita biscuits before running, and then Clif Blok Shots during my run. I’m fairly confident that running for almost 2 hours will “flush out” both the couple hundred calories I’m ingesting, and any “toxins” from the food. I’m not counting this as cheating, but survival.
Saturday 10am: Home from my run, it’s time for my first juice! The “Morning Glory” contains: romaine, kale, spinach, apple, celery, banana, strawberry and water. It tastes about as good as it sounds, which is to say, like a salad. It’s a little … pulpy. Jus by Julie touts itself as one of the few companies that blends the ingredients instead of pressing them, leading to a thicker, more natural, state. It’s disconcerting. The consistency mirrors the taste – I feel like I’m drinking pureed vegetables. That said, I’m able to drink it without gagging, which is saying something for me. It’s not bad, just not something I would voluntarily choose. I give it a 6 out of 10.
Saturday 12pm: There’s a window of a couple hours immediately following long runs when I’m not hungry at all; I usually have to force myself to eat post-run nutrition. So, I’m still not feeling particularly hungry, but the nausea is hitting me hard. I think it’s probably the combination of running for 2 hours, the green juice, and no solid food. I’m hoping the next juice will help. Number 2 for the day is “Spicy Lemonade“, containing: lemon, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. It’s okay. I’m not a big lemonade drinker, and the kick of the cayenne pepper is a little weird for me, but it’s definitely better than Morning Glory. I give it an 8 out of 10.
Saturday 3pm: I suppose since it’s mid-afternoon, and I’ve only consumed 2 (of 6) juices, I need to drink another one. But I’m going to be honest – I’m staring down another green juice. And I don’t want to. But (big inhale. Internal pep talk. I can do this!), number 3 is “Sweet Spin“, containing: spinach, kale, pineapple, banana, mango and water. I think the “sweet” is misleading. You know what’s sweet? Cupcakes (my kingdom for a cupcake!). This is sweeter than the salad-in-a-bottle from this morning, but it’s not sweet. It’s palatable. As my 14 year old said, “drinkable. I guess”. Admittedly, I’m probably a tougher critic right now, since, you know, I ran 10 miles this morning and WANT A BAGEL, but instead I’m drinking spinach and kale. I give it a 7 out of 10.
Saturday 4:45pm: The 14.46 miles I’ve covered today (according to my Garmin) is hitting. I’ve taken in roughly 500-600 calories of juice, and burned approximately eleventy gajillion calories. I want food. For some strange reason, I’m craving matzoh ball soup from a local New York deli. Instead, I’ll have juice number 4, “Chia-Berry“, containing: strawberries, chia seeds, lemon, pomegranate, and water. Finally! This is the flavor and experience I envisioned when deciding to try a juice cleanse. It tastes like a light smoothie, albeit with a slightly weird crunch from the chia seeds. It’s not enough to bother me, it’s just a little … weird. But the taste is great. I give it a 9 out of 10 (docking a point for the chia crunch).
Saturday 7:15pm: After a 2 hour nap (I think I passed out), I wake to find my wonderful husband has ordered pizza for the kids (and sleepover friend) and taken care of dinner, so that I am spared the
agony experience of sitting at the dinner table, watching (and smelling) them eat food. Even though I’m not hungry (I think my body has lost the will to eat), I know it’s time to consume juice number 5, “Choco-Nana“, containing: chocolate, banana, strawberries, and water. I’m actually pretty excited about this one – it’s not green, it has chocolate, and it’s not green. Sadly, I found it to have a weird strawberry aftertaste (and I like strawberries). It didn’t go well with the chocolate. In the interest of fairness, I asked my husband to try it, and he agreed – the strawberry is a funky addition. I give it an 8 out of 10.
Saturday 9:15pm: The last juice sits on my nightstand as we watch a movie. I can see it’s glowing green-ness in my peripheral vision, taunting me. I know I’m supposed to drink it. I know I should drink it. But oh good GOD, I don’t want to. The last juice of the day is “X-Treme Greens” (no, I’m not making this up. It’s a green drink TO THE EXTREME), containing: kale, spinach, lime, pineapple, orange, hemp seeds, and water. It’s not bad, to be honest. It’s definitely better than Morning Glory, and I’m pretty sure it’s better than Sweet Spin, although honestly, it’s hard to tell at this point because I think my cognitive skills are compromised. It’s just that it’s the end of the day and I don’t want to drink anymore and I’m sick of juice. In the interest of full disclosure and an honest review, I’ll admit I only was able to drink about 1/3 of it. I’m tentatively giving it a 7.5 out of 10, but I’ll revisit that score tomorrow. When I have to drink it again.
Sunday 7:45am: I’m up early to get to Trader Joe’s before the crowds hit, and pick up Dunkin Donuts for the kids. I think there’s a special place in heaven for mothers that buy their children donuts while on a juice cleanse, but I digress. I slept really well (the best I have in a long time), but I’m not sure if that’s from all those healthy nutrients, or my body going into semi-hibernation from lack of food. I’m not hungry at all, and feel empty, thin and a tad light-headed. I decide to just have a cup of coffee (allowed!), and save the “glory” of Morning Glory for when I get back. I tell my husband I would rather fast all day than drink 6 more juices. He looks sympathetic. Or maybe scared. I’m not really sure.
Sunday 9:45am: Back from the grocery and donut run, I have unloaded all the groceries, put a load of laundry in, and overseen breakfast. There’s not putting it off any longer – I have to have my first drink. I begrudgingly imbibe the Morning Glory. If I was rating it today, I would downgrade the 6 to a 5. I don’t want to drink salad. I want some oatmeal. Or eggs. Or a bagel.
Sunday 11:45am: At nearly halfway through the day, I’m still not feeling hungry, but I do miss eating. I thought doing the majority of the cleanse on a weekend instead of a work day was wiser, since I’m a teacher and my children and husband might be more forgiving than my students of any food-deprived rage outbursts, but the downside is that I’m around food all day, and less busy. I’ve avoided the nausea and headaches, but I still feel light-headed and somewhat weak. Today’s second juice is “Spicy Pome-nade”, containing: pomegranate, lemon, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. It’s not green, so that right there earns points. It’s fine – it tastes like a regular juice, with the exception of the weird spiciness from the cayenne pepper (similar to yesterday’s lemonade). I’m sure there’s a physiological benefit to the cayenne pepper, but taste-wise, it’s not helpful. I give it an 8 out of 10.
Sunday 1:15pm: Time for another “Sweet Spin”. Mood: dour.
Sunday 3:15pm: Juice 4 is, again, “Chia-Berry”. I know I like it (ish), but I’m surprised at the lack of variety, given how many flavors they have on their website. I guess better safe than sorry (at least I know what I’m in for), but it seems like a more diversified cleanse could have been sent, given what is available. Or maybe I’m just bitter because my husband and son are snacking on chips and popcorn and mexican dip while watching the Cowboys game, while I’m drinking juice. Again. Also? My sense of smell, normally strong, has taken on superhuman proportions. I thought I was weird until I googled it, and apparently it’s not unusual during a juice cleanse. Perhaps when your taste buds die, all their power goes to the nostrils.
Sunday 6:15pm: Unlike last night’s pizza-nap combo, tonight I have to make dinner for the family (and I suppose I should sit with them as well). Fortunately, Juice 5 is the one that looks the most appealing to me in the entire cleanse, “Not So Chunky“, containing: peanut butter, banana and water. C’mon, I HAVE to like this one. Peanut butter? Good. Banana? Good. Water? Sure. Tragically, it was a tremendous letdown. It tasted like watery peanut banana mush. Just … not appealing. I give it a 7 out of 10, with extra cranky deductions for getting my hopes up.
Sunday 8:10pm: Watching the Golden Globes, my husband has a beer and some Pepperidge Farm cookies; it’s time for me to drink the last juice of the day, another X-Treme Greens (again, could we not mix this cleanse up more? There’s a LOT more than 10 flavors on the website). Half curious, half empathetic, my daughter decides to try a sip.
She’s not a fan. I do manage to finish the entire bottle this time (unlike last night’s 1/3 consumption).
Monday 5:50am: The last day of the cleanse! Hoping that the euphoria of the cleanse being almost done carries me through the challenge of teaching. I slept well again last night, although I had very weird and vivid dreams. I’m not hungry at all – I wake up feeling empty and light. I’ve been asked by several people if I’ve suffered from typical “cleanse” symptoms like nausea, headaches, stomach pains, and I can honestly say that with the exception of a rough patch on Saturday (which I chalk up to the 10 miles with no recovery food), I’ve physically felt better than I *thought* I would. I decide to interpret that phenomenon as validation that I am usually a rock star healthy eater, and my body is not unduly shocked by the cleanse.
With that said, I’m a bit nervous about teaching all day with this to sustain me for 9 hours.
Monday 8:15am: I drink my third, and final, Morning Glory. I tell myself that it is the last time I ever have to drink one, and it goes down more easily than the previous two days. I can confidently, and happily, say I will never drink this concoction again. My morning 2 blocks are prep periods, so no physical or mental exertion yet.
Monday 10:15am: Juice number 2 today is, again, “Spicy Pom-enade”. Not offensive, but not exciting. I am noticing that it’s harder for me to sustain concentration – I find myself having to re-read the same sentence as I prepare for class. I’m not hungry, but I’m not feeling wonderful, that’s for sure.
Monday 12:15pm: the only good thing I can say about having to drink another “Sweet Spin” is that I had to drink it while doing grade checks with my advisees, so I was distracted from the fact that I was, again, drinking a green juice.
Monday 2:45pm: As I taught 3rd and 4th blocks, I sipped my way through juice #4, “Acai Blend“, containing: acai berries, strawberries, banana and water. Not as good as “Chia Berry”, which is weird, because you would think with the ingredients and without the seed “crunch”, it would be even better. But it had a weird consistency that didn’t match the flavor – a thick pulpiness with seeds, only not crunchy seeds. It’s hard to explain, but I didn’t like it. I give it an 8 out of 10. But I do congratulate myself on still acting peppy and kind (I think) to my students, even though I’m so. sick. of. this. cleanse.
Monday 4:45pm: Home. For the first time since Saturday, I feel negative physical effects from the cleanse. Working all day after not eating since Friday has left me hungry, weak, and slightly nauseous and head-achy. I’m over it. Two more juices and then tomorrow I get oatmeal. And matzoh ball soup. I’m having both, I don’t care if I do have to leave campus for lunch.
Monday 6:15pm: Oh good, “Island Coconut“, containing: coconut meat, date, cinnamon and water. Considering that I don’t like coconut, not even with rum in it, I’m not enthusiastic. It tastes better than I anticipated (you know what they say – expectation is the root of all heartache), and it’s not quite as painful to sit with my family at the dinner table as it was last night. I give it a 9 out of 10.
Monday 8:30pm: I briefly contemplate skipping the last installment of “X-Treme Greens”, but decide that I’ve made it this far, it’s the last one, and I want my review of the cleanse to have the fewest holes in authenticity as possible. I chug 2/3 of it before bed.
Tuesday morning: I did it! I finished the cleanse! With the exception of my 10 mile fuel on Saturday morning, I followed the rules. I did not eat anything, only drank 1-2 cups of coffee in the morning (sans sweetener, which I never use anyway), and consumed nearly all of the 18 juices.
I took before and after photos to see if there would be a visible change. Photos on the left were taken Saturday morning before my run, photos on the right were taken this morning, upon finishing the cleanse. Same time of day, same clothes, same lighting/room.
I don’t think you can see it in the photos, but my skin does look better.
Less bloated? I can’t tell. I don’t think so.
Jus by Julie 3 day cleanse review:
- My skin does look better. I normally battle rosacea on my nose, and I have noticed less redness than usual. My skin looks younger and brighter. I don’t think you can tell in the pictures above, but I see it.
- Weight loss: 3 pounds. I did not do this cleanse to lose weight (juice cleanses are not an effective weight loss tool, since it’s mostly water weight loss), since I’m a healthy weight to begin with, but I did lose the few pounds I gained over the holidays. Through my unofficial internet research, I see that my weight loss is in the realm of average (most people seem to lose 2-4 pounds on a 3 day cleanse).
- Kicked my sweet tooth. While I’m normally a very healthy, clean eater to begin with, I got in the habit over the holidays of eating dessert again, drinking alcohol, and grazing more than usual. I do feel this was a “reset”. I have no cravings for sweets or alcohol – my strongest cravings for today are oatmeal and matzoh ball soup!
- Very minimal physical side effects. I really didn’t have much discomfort, or even hunger, on this cleanse. I was rarely hungry, and with the exception of a few bouts of mild nausea, one or two short-lived headaches, and some weariness (but I did run 10 miles. And I’m usually tired after working.), it wasn’t anything overly taxing or uncomfortable. I expected some bathroom issues or stomach pains, but there was none. I take this to mean that my system wasn’t that “dirty” to begin with.
- I missed eating. A lot. You don’t realize how emotional food is (or maybe you do) until you can’t do it at all. It was really hard to prepare food for my family and grocery shop while not being able to eat. Again, I wasn’t really that hungry, I just missed the enjoyment of eating.
- Limited variety of juices. I don’t understand why my cleanse contained so little diversity in flavors when there are so many on the website. I had to drink the same 3 green juices every single day, with little rotation in the fruity juices.
- The cost. The cleanse is not cheap, even with the discount.
- Drinking all the time. It was hard to consume that much juice. I live by the mantra “don’t drink your calories”, so my usual diet consists almost solely of plain water, sparkly water, or coffee. Suddenly I had to drink thick liquid every 2 hours. Which brings me to …
- The taste. Okay, let me say at the outset (and hopefully reduce the chances of Jus by Julie coming after me with a lawsuit) that I am a notoriously picky eater. My palate is narrow, to say the least. So, take this part of the review with a grain of salt. But I did not enjoy the juices.
Will I do a juice cleanse again? Well, never say never, but I don’t foresee a 3 day Jus by Julie cleanse again. I really wanted to feel totally awesome today – clean, light, magical. And I do feel pretty darn euphoric, but I think that’s the oatmeal endorphins rather than the cleanse.