Although I am a mostly clean eater who is hyperaware of food on a holistic and nutritional level, I’ve been letting loose a little too often lately. Summer fun means blowing off the gym for social activities in the sun, usually involving BBQ treats and a few cocktails.
Because of this, I decided to embark on a juice journey by doing a three day Belmonte Raw juice cleanse to get my habits in check, but it’s going to be hard; my fiancé is classically trained in cooking French cuisine, which means lots of romantic, decadent dinners and truly enjoyable time spent together cooking. I am also a diehard protein junkie — it’s in my DNA and the way my body runs.
Perfect examples? For my 25th birthday, my aforementioned food-lover fiancé planned an incredible pig roast with all the trimmings, and this year, I was deliriously happy gnawing the meat off a 40-day dry-aged bone-in 32 oz ribeye. With his company and a bottle of Bordeaux, this is my idea of heaven. For a vegan, a juice cleanse might be a smooth transition. For me, I’m determined but sure it’s going to require a bit more dedication.
Belmonte Raw wastes no time prepping you for the cleanse. The pre-cleanse period is a recommended 1-2 days for someone with clean habits, and longer for those who are a little further off the map. This period restricts intake of processed foods, soda, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, sugar, nicotine and animal products and states you should be consuming 95% raw fruits and vegetables. My absolute favourite evening snack of fresh popped popcorn doesn’t fit into this category and is already making me aware of mindless snacking habits. Nonetheless, here we go…
With the cleanse looming in four days time, I try and get it all in while I can. Favoured date spot 416 Snack Bar serves our favourite tartare: warm, crispy thinly sliced baguette holds perfectly seasoned and chilled tartare that boasts a delicious taste and texture and gorgeous mouth feel. Satisfaction is followed by slight guilt and nervousness, knowing I’m about to cut this stuff out for a while.
It’s Ditch Friday at Cabana Pool Bar, but since I’m pre cleansing, no nachos, no booze… Ok, booze, but not too much. A smoothie breakfast and soy protein bar lunch make it ok, right?
While tanning and sangria sipping poolside (toxic, I know! Detox to follow) I read an Into The Gloss article entitled, “Juice Cleanse, Followed by Big Mac”. Outlining the importance of balance, Grass Roots Juicery owner Sabrina Linnette Diaz says living a balanced life means you “cleanse for a few days; enjoy with a Shake Shack burger. Detox; retox.” Supermodels chime in on their idea of balance: for Erin Wassoon, it’s cigarettes and plasma face masks; for Ali Michael, it’s French fries and green juice.
Byrdie posts a similar piece hours later: “5 Juice Cleanse Alternatives To Help You Detox (And Stay Full)”. Pointing out juice cleanses are an extreme and supremely difficult way to detox, they found some alternatives, outlining the “best cleanses that allow you to detox and you know, actually eat.” Serious food for thought…
SATURDAY & SUNDAY
A mix of strictly clean eating and leniency; I did 80% well, only sneaking in one small bowl of popcorn, enjoyed with one last glass of red wine.
Day One! I skip down to my concierge to collect my days’ worth of juices, which are delivered to your door (or doorman) every morning between 5am – 9am. A sturdy black bag housing seven juices awaits me, complete with numbered lids, an instruction sheet outlining what each juice does for you (detox cells, energy shot, etc.), a schedule of when to consume each juice, and a bag of liver detox tea. Easy and convenient!
Each juice is to be consumed approximately two hours apart. As well, the tea (which is steeped in 3 cups of water) and an additional litre of lemon water upon rising and another 2-3 litres throughout the day is to be drank. This seems like a LOT of liquid, no?
After my litre of lemon water and two hours later, I crack my first juice, which is a blend of carrot, lemon and ginger. Not typical breakfast flavours but surprisingly tasty.
Not even an hour later, I’m already dying for my second juice; I'm really hungry. My stomach is growling loudly. Is it time yet?!
Juice number two is a spinach, cucumber, parsley, apple, lemon and ginger blend. It’s pretty good and surprisingly filling… for now.
My fiancé comes home from work and tells me he had a meeting with rare and extravagantly expensive beluga caviar and Veuve Cliquot. I’m immediately jealous, then not, thinking how good I'm doing my body.
Although typical detox symptoms can include breakouts, feeling sluggish, sore muscles, headaches, or cold-like symptoms, I am lucky to experience none of the above with the exception of a slight afternoon headache.
After an energy shot, my next juice is actually not a juice, but a “milk” made from cashews, dates, vanilla, Himalayan salt and is a creamy, delicious midday treat and definitely my favourite.
I’m really struggling with timing: consuming the juice, tea and water is complicated as you cannot drink tea or water 20 minutes before or after each juice, which as mentioned, it spaced two hours apart. I’m constantly looking at the clock and counting juice/water/tea minutes. Although difficult at first (I did get the hang of it) it’s very important to follow the schedule in order to ensure proper digestion. Because they are cold pressed, raw, and 90-100% organic, there is no fiber in the juices. Kelly Boyer, owner of another juicery, explains: “Fiber is great for us, but the reason for these cold-pressed detoxes is to remove the fiber so your body can rest. Eighty percent of our energy is spent on digestion, but by taking that away it allows those vital nutrients in the drinks to hyper-absorb into your body.”
Juice #5 is a detox juice made of lemon, cayenne and agave. It’s tart, tastes lemonade-like and I’m pleasantly surprised as it was the one I was most dreading.
Juice six and seven are the same as juices one and two, meaning you get two carrot and two green juices per day. Honestly, I feel really great. All those nutrients must be seriously flooding my body, boosting my mood and energy. I go to bed feeling optimistic and happy.
I’m down 2 pounds (it must be water weight) and my tummy is flat as the plains!
Today, the litre of lemon water hard to choke down first thing. As soon as I’m done drinking it, my tummy’s not flat anymore.
Upon picking up my black bag this morning, I am delighted to discover there are slightly different flavoured juices — there are still two carrot, two green, one “milk”, one shot and one refresher, but they are varied from yesterday.
Midday I’m seriously struggling… my tummy feels too full of liquid, I’m grouchy, I want real food… NO MORE JUICE PLEASE!
After snapping at my loving and patient fiancé, I feel guilty and ashamed and like I should be more positive. This is a good thing to do as he keeps encouraging and reminding me.
Later in the evening, I forfeit a blowout and mani and go for a steam. During your cleanse, it’s recommended you participate in activities that encourage the elimination of toxins such as yoga, going to the sauna, doing colonics and going for a vitamin drip. The least invasive, I can at least commit to a steamy sauna. In the fog, I dream of chewing a crunchy salad and feel guilty for thinking of food SO MUCH; I honestly have been thinking of food almost every minute of the day. Then I overhear two girls in shower room saying they can't lose weight and get healthy since Tim Horton’s opened next door and doughnuts beckon 24/7. I resonate with this and feel less guilty for dreaming of spinach.
Overall, I feel good: the juices are tasty and I’m being optimistic about the great things I’m doing for my body.
I woke up in the middle of the night and bright and early thinking about juice and the schedule… it’s exhausting and taking over my life but I feel energized upon rising.
I’m down another pound but confusingly, my tummy doesn't look as flat as yesterday morning.
I drink the litre of lemon water and immediately get a tummy ache.
Real talk: I use the bathroom and I feel better. Probiotics are HIGHLY recommended during your cleanse. As the juices include zero fibre, constipation is a common side effect, contrary to people thinking juice cleanses cause constant bathroom trips.
I’m going back and forth between hangry and enlightened. I’m trying to stay positive as I’m almost done and my body feels great from all the super potent nutritents "hyper absorbing".
CLEANSE BREAKING DAY! I do so with a recommended “chewy” smoothie, meaning nut butter and fresh fruit should be blended and chewed to kick-start digestion.
Also recommended for the first two days post-cleanse is a diet of raw fruits and vegetables, much like the pre cleanse. On day three and four, lightly steamed veggies, tofu and quinoa can be introduced, but no animal products for five to six days.
For lunch, I eat a Fresh and Wild sprout and legume salad and feel EXTREMELY full but very happy and toxin-free.
Dinner is a quinoa, apple and kale salad at new place where everything is five bucks. Even with temptation everywhere, I don’t even look twice at the nachos. Again, I feel REALLY full from salad (!) and happy for making good choices.
For the first time ever, I don’t have massive dessert craving after dinner, which is surprising and extremely uncharacteristic for me.
Late night at Gusto 101, I cave and eat a slice of pizza and have a glass of wine (at least it’s all-natural!). I feel totally harmonized, at peace and aware of my body and its cravings. Balance acheived!