Health and beauty magazines are filled with different types of diets and cleanses, all offering to help you fit into your favourite pair of jeans that you bought in 1998. The Best You Deputy Editor Zoë Henry took on a three-day juice challenge to find out what all the fuss was about.
I’ve never been much of a dieter. I like food too much, and not the good kinds. I crave pizzas, burgers and French fries. That’s not to say I don’t get my daily allowance of fresh fruit and vegetables. I enjoy a bit of steamed broccoli, but I need the junk too. So when I was challenged to a three-day juice cleanse, I thought, “Why not?” Perhaps it will help me get over my deep and abiding love for the perfect cheeseburger.
As much as I like food, I’ve never been much of a breakfast girl. I just don’t have an appetite in the morning. So on the first morning of my juice cleanse, I am ready to go, armed with a lemon and cayenne pepper infusion instead of my usual cuppa Joe. By 10am I’m starting to get a little hungry, but, luckily, it’s time for my next juice of the day, which is one of those green super juices packed with all the goodness of apple, spinach, cucumber, kale, mint and wheatgrass. It’s actually quite delicious, and, more importantly, it satisfies my hunger. For lunch it’s a juice made of roots: beetroot, carrot, cucumber and orange. I’m still feeling good and not at all envious of my colleague who is warming up her spaghetti and meatballs for lunch. But at 4:30pm it’s time for another juice, and I’m not feeling it. I’m a bit juiced and feeling a bit pickled from all the acid. But I drink my Zest For Life, an orange, apple, carrot, lemon and ginger concoction, which is unfortunately the most acidic of the lot. The work day ends, and I make my way home, weary and dreaming of steak, but I know that all there is for me tonight is a mix of raspberry, blueberry, cucumber and mint. I’m weak and tired by bedtime and not feeling great.
I struggle to wake up and am resentful that I can’t have a cup of coffee. The juice flavours are the same for all three days, and the only one I’m looking forward to is the green super juice. Why did I decide to do this again? Why would someone who loves food as much as me do this? In the name of journalism, I plough onward, looking at my juice-filled day with fatigue. I am so hungry that I can’t concentrate on my work. Steak! I want steak! Now! My mind is steeped with images of everything that’s bad for me, and the hungrier I get, the more I crave the saturated fats that are dancing like sugarplums in my head. By the time I get home, I am in a foul mood, which isn’t helped by the fact that my flatmate has decided to make mac and cheese for dinner. The smell of it is agonising. This is what it must be like to live under a torturous regime.
My second wind has arrived! This cleanse is great! I have more energy and am looking forward to my Kick Start Lemonade to begin my day. Once again the green super juice is the highlight of my day, and once again the acidity of the Zest For Life makes me feel all pickly. But it’s almost over, and there is a bizarre sense of accomplishment that comes with depriving yourself of something you love for three days.