Friday, October 28, 2011

cleaning up with the blue print cleanse

For about 3 months before the wedding, Josh and I tried our hardest to eat as healthy as possible and to get to the gym at least 5 days a week. Yes, we were in the best shapes of our lives, but I don't think I could ever commit to that diligence again.

And then the wedding came and went (and it was wonderful!!), and we rediscovered some of our favorite indulgences. I swear I had forgotten how good pizza and fried food and beer tasted. And french fries...well, they taste infinitely better with cheese and chili and sour cream.

Anywaysss, you get the picture. We fell off the wagon, in a really big way. It wasn't even a weight thing for us. We just both felt...gross. We needed something to jump start us back into making healthy food decisions again.

We talked to some friends who had done a local Los Angeles juice cleanse. So we did the obvious next step: googled "juice cleanses" endlessly, read about all our options, and decided Blue Print Cleanse was the one for us.

They ship anywhere in the US, but it's a bit cheaper in NY and LA where they have their 2 juice press locations. You can do a cleanse for as many days as you please, but it seems like the standard is 3-day or 6-day. (We both went for the 3-day.) There's 6 juices a day, and they're pre-numbered so they literally make it as easy as possible.

Josh and I are about as physically different as a couple can get. He's 6 foot 5 inches and 200 pounds. And I'm 5 foot 2 inches and about half his weight. I'm usually a really healthy eater - I love a simply cooked fish with a side of veggies. But I indulge in ice cream pretty frequently. Josh can eat 2-3 times of my portion size and would do anything for a Chipotle steak, rice, and cheese burrito with chips and guac. We thought it would be interesting to document our experiences and see how it varied between the two of us.

So here it goes. The Blue Print Cleanse from Heather and Josh's points of view.

Heather: one of cleanse...

I wake up and make myself a mug of warm water with lemon. I open the fridge and pull out bottle number one - romaine, celery, cucumber, apple, spinach, kale, parsley, lemon, ginger. I'm pretty nervous about this green juice. The vegetables have sunk to the bottom of the bottle leaving a separation between greenery and water. I shake it up and hope for the best, convincing myself that I could always just plug my nose if it's really that bad. I'm pleasantly surprised! The strongest flavor of the juice is actually the apple giving it a sweet note. I drink it down, along with two glasses of water.

I wait thirty minutes and am still starving (I usually wake up pretty hungry). Josh convinces me to wait a full hour before my next juice.

After the full hour, I tear into bottle number two - pineapple, apple, mint. Um, this is delicious. I would choose to drink this any day. I finally feel full after finishing this bottle, which is perfect timing because I have plans from 10:30 - 1:00 that won't allow me to bring in any food or drink.

At 1:00, I'm more thirsty than anything. I chug a bottle of water and feel much better. I head over to Panera with Josh and my mom and order a hot green tea. By the end of lunch, I'm starving and can't wait to get home to get to bottle number three - another green juice.

By 4:00, I'm feeling noticeably low. I break into bottle number four - lemon, agave, cayenne. It's delicious and gives me a little "pick-me-up," but doesn't exactly fill me up so at 5:30 I drink bottle number five - beet juice, apple, carrot, lemon, ginger. I'm typically not a fan of the taste of ginger, but it blends well with the beet flavor.

I make myself a cup of chamomile tea and play on Pinterest to try to keep my mind off the hunger pains. At 7:30 I finally give in and open up the final bottle of the day - cashews, vanilla, agave, cinnamon. There's actual texture to this drink (bits of cashews) so I feel like I'm eating more so than drinking. I remember reading on the BPC site that I should try to "chew" my juices. I chew my way through the cashew milk, which convinces my body I've eaten dinner.

About an hour later, I feel completely uncomfortable. I can't sit still. I'm not hungry, but my stomach feels sort of empty. And I'm really cold. So I go take a long, hot shower and exfoliate (you're supposed to be getting rid of all the toxins your excreting). After I lather up with lotion, I sit down and relax with another hot cup of tea.

I think all the juice has finally settled. I'm feeling relaxed and satiated. two of cleanse...

I wake up with no appetite, which is pretty unusual for me. Especially considering the lack of solid foods in my diet from the day before. I grab my green juice to go and am off to the Rose Bowl Flea Market. I bring a bottle of water, so I can stay hydrated, and I shop around for over 2 hours. I'm not hungry whatsoever and I feel pretty great.

I head home and drink bottles number 2 and 3 before I meet up with some friends for a late brunch. I feel like I'm on speed! (Note: I have never tried said speed, but I would imagine this is what it feels like). I haven't had this much energy in forever. My smile is glued to my face and I'm bubbly and enthusiastic and hardly even notice the plates of benedicts and endless mimosas all around me. I stick to my sparkling water.

I get home and wash off my makeup. I notice that my face feels significantly more hydrated and smoother than usual. It's amazing what a day and half of fruits, veggies, and plenty of hydration can do for your body.

Later that evening, we have friends over for dessert -- homemade souffles. I have a pretty impressive sweet tooth, and I don't crave any of the dessert. My decaf herbal tea is treating me just fine. three of cleanse...

It's Monday, so I bring my juices to work. I'm nervous to be around all the bad snack influences, but it ends up being the easiest day yet. With my mind preoccupied by work, I have to remind myself to keep grabbing juices out of the fridge.

Lunch is a bit more difficult. Not because I'm hungry, but simply because my team is skeptical of the juice cleanse. I explain how easy it is to stay on track and each of my coworkers comments on all the energy I have, especially given the lower level of calories I've been intaking. One of my coworkers at the lunch table decides to sign up for the cleanse. Success!

I finish out the day of juices. I'm feeling good about how the 3-day cleanse went, but am looking forward to chewing some food tomorrow. The cleanse gave me back exactly what I wanted: a better outlook on food, cravings for fruits and veggies, and a 3-day period where I could "reset" my stomach. And I lost 6 pounds. I'm sure it's mostly water weight, but it's definitely a boost in confidence!


My cleanse had the same benefits as Heather, but my struggles definitely came at different times. So part of the cleansing process is the "pre" and "post" periods where you need to ease your system off of and back onto solid foods. The pre-period involves a step down process: 3 days out you reduce meats, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol; 2 days out you focus on increasing the amount of veggies and cutting out processed foods; 1 day out you stick to pretty much fruits and veggies in the form of soups, salads, and smoothies. These three days were definitely tough because I had to cut down my appetite AND make healthy decisions for every meal of the day when all I was craving was meat and cheese. The main thing that kept me committed to the step down was the thought of going off solid foods cold turkey, no thank you!

I started my three day cleanse on a Thursday when my work week was at full speed. Once the juices arrived, I took the first 5 to work with me and just drank by numbers. For my first two days, I spaced out my juices every 1.5 to 2 hours depending on meetings and how my appetite was doing. To my surprise, I found that I was super productive during the day because I stopped worrying about grabbing my next snack or meal, and I never experienced the afternoon crash around 3pm. By the time I got home around 7:30, I was ready for my "night cap," the cashew almond milk, and I didn't any experience late night hunger. On my last day, I was well accustomed to the juices and on an all time high from my energy and general happiness. Honestly, the worst part of the cleanse for me was the first day off, but before I get to that, here are my juice thoughts:

Drink 1: Green Drink - This veggie heavy mix is cut nicely by the green apple flavor and really kept me full longer than most breakfasts. Apparently BPC fits 6 lbs. of produce into each bottle! This type of juice is exactly what I expected from the juice cleanse: healthy tasting and satisfying, but not exactly decadence in a bottle.

Drink 2: Pineapple Apple Mint (PAM) - Whoa! Is it cocktail time already? The familiar, yet complex mix of fruit juices with a refreshing touch of mint instantly made me think of a poolside cocktail. This is probably an unintended side effect, but I can't wait to make a real cocktail using this as the inspiration.

Drink 3: Green Drink - Back to the heavy hitter. Always went down faster the second time of the day.

Drink 4: Spicy Lemonade - The so-called "Master Cleanse." I was skeptical when I heard about this mix of lemon juice, cayenne, and agave, but I soon learned that I had nothing to worry about. This was a huge surprise taste wise; super refreshing, perfectly balanced flavors with just a hint of heat at the end to keep you guessing. And I know why they put this forth: afternoon slumps! This burst of natural fructose and agave gave me a huge boost every afternoon.

Drink 5: Carrot Apple Beet (CAB) - I admittedly thought this was going to taste like raspberries and rainbows given the bright red color. Not until a ginger beet flavor hit my lips did I realize that I had made a mistake not reading the label. This drink was definitely heavy on the beet flavor, so the clean taste of ginger and apple were appreciated. CAB was my least favorite on day 1, but it grew on me over time.

Drink 6: Cashew Almond Milk - This should just be called Nectar of the Gods. By far my favorite drink, which was evident when I took thirty minutes to drink each bottle because I wanted to cherish each milky drop. Maybe I'm just partial because I couldn't have dairy growing up, but this tasted like homemade horchata meets melted ice cream.

Once it was all said and done, the hardest part for me was facing reality again. In a matter of three days, I had never felt better and lost 9 lbs! When I started my post-period, it was honestly difficult to walk into a restaurant and try to pick something from the menu. It had to be healthy and veggie heavy, but most likely wouldn't deliver nearly as much flavor and satisfaction as the juices. But after my three day re-entrance into society, I am happy to say that my eating habits have changed significantly. I find myself choosing veggie options much more and I still crave fruits and veggies over sweets, even one month out! And as Heather said at the beginning, we didn't do this for weight loss, but keeping the weight off thanks to a realigned appetite is a pretty sweet bonus.

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