In the pursuit of that ever-so desirable summer beach bod, I found myself committed to trying the 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse by JJ Smith. The cleanse is a 10-day detox of processed foods, dairy, meat, and caffeine to give your body a much needed “break” and allow it to work on others things AKA burn fat.
More substantial than a juice cleanse, the green smoothies are based with kale, spinach and other leafy greens and are then mixed with various fruit combinations, which make the smoothies quite yummy unlike their bright green appearance. The best part of the cleanse is that is not a starvation diet. In fact, it is encouraged that you snack between the smoothies when you are hungry. Some allowed snacks include crunchy vegetables like carrots, celery, cucumbers, apples, raw unsalted nuts, peanut butter, hard boiled eggs, and plain greek yogurt.
This 10-day adventure was said to be a challenge and one of the hardest things you can do. The benefits are not even going to show up until after the first three days on the cleanse. However after that hump, you’re promised to feel more energized, sleep better, have less cravings and bloating, and of course, shed some pounds. JJ clearly states that this is not an end all solution. The cleanse is meant to reset your body and encourages you to continue eating healthy by incorporating smoothies into your daily routine. Read on to hear about my experience.
My plan is to make about 72 oz. of green smoothie every day and drink some every 3-4 hours starting at 7:30 am. In between, I will snack on celery, carrots, and cucumbers and try to drink as much water as possible.
Prep Day. I set out to buy the ingredients for the first five days. Luckily the cleanse includes a shopping list because I would be close to hopeless without one. Finding all the vegetables and frozen fruits was fun, but 70 dollars? I almost cringed as I used up my week’s worth of grocery funds.
I wake up starving. To ease the deep hunger in my stomach, I chug two bottles of water and sip on green tea before I even think about making my smoothie. The prep for the smoothies isn’t bad. I’m actually leaving for work twenty minutes earlier than normal. Drinking my first smoothie, I’m pleasantly surprised by how good it tastes. As the day goes on, it feels weird to be only drinking my meals, but I’m confident I can do this.
It’s hard to go without caffeine. I’m very distracted at work and can’t seem to focus on what I actually need to do. Someone walked by my desk and asked me what I was drinking. He said it looked like I bottled up swampy lake water. Gross. I could tell this was going to be a long day. On top of that, the cravings start rolling in. I want everything from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to spicy Thai food.
Note to self: Do not go into Target hungry. As a girl who loves snacks, it was hard not to drop 20 bucks on trail mix right there. Realizing I could only have unsalted nuts for the next week, I reluctantly put everything back, except the raw almonds, which I started eating in the parking lot.
I’m feeling optimistic today, but I feel weak in my workouts. After my usual 2 miles on the treadmill, I’m especially exhausted. I couldn’t focus in my yoga class either. These must be the detox symptoms I read about. I end up having a bit of an episode and call my dad crying that I’m too tired to do anything. I think I’m passed out and sleeping by 9 pm.
I have a change of mood and feel strong. The wonders of sleep, I guess? I feel thinner and my weight is starting to drop. I’m more alert and focused today and generally happier. I reconsider that this cleanse was actually a good idea.
Note to self: Go easy on the sweetener. Some recipes call for vanilla extract or stevia, but adding too much makes the smoothies taste oddly sugary.
I’ve reached the halfway point. Yay! Today’s smoothie, called romaine berry, is my favorite so far. The refreshing blend mixes spinach, peaches, and a variety of berries together. I make my way to the grocery store to pick up the next five days’ supplies and find myself looking at the sweets section – big mistake. I end up taking home some cookie dough, but later regain self-control and put it in the freezer.
My dad comes to town to visit me, leaving me the choice to be that girl with a strict diet or to break the cleanse. I’m sorry, smoothie cleanse, but I can’t resist a cheat meal. I drink smoothies throughout the day, but treat myself to pizza for dinner. The pizza is vegetarian, so I’m kind of sticking to the diet, right?
I’m back on the cleanse and I feel refreshed. I decide to officially commit to no caffeine for the next four days. I eliminate drinking green tea and replace it with hot water and lemon. I make another change in my strategy because the first week left me too hungry and with too many cravings in between smoothies. I decide to eat a half of a baked sweet potato at lunch and 3.5 oz. greek yogurt at dinner in addition to my normal smoothies. This seems to be working because my hunger has subsided and I feel more energized during workouts.
I’m liking my new strategy with the added food. The smoothies have more tropical flavors because the recipes call for pineapple and mango. I can’t complain about the taste, but drinking smoothies is beginning to get boring. I resort to making my smoothies into smoothies bowls for dinner to spice it up.
I feel like I’ve got this smoothie thing figured out now and almost enjoy it. I feel awake in the mornings without any caffeine and I almost don’t want to go back to drinking coffee when this ends. I definitely think my body is benefitting from this cleanse.
The last day, yay! I feel good and have noticed changes in how I look and feel. I like how healthy I feel, but I’m also relieved that I can start eating real food again. It turns out I lost about 6 pounds and I do agree that I slept better and had more energy in the mornings. I have no regrets and feel optimistic on keeping up with a healthy lifestyle this summer.
Key Takeaways and Some Helpful Tips:
- You have to be committed for a long-term change or else your body will go right back to the way it was before. Like JJ Smith said, this is not an end all solution, it’s a lifestyle change.
- There is no reason to add sweetener to the smoothies. The fruit actually makes it sweet enough to drink.
- Make sure you keep track of your fresh food or else it will rot. In other words, do not start your cleanse when you have a fridge full of other food because it will go bad and you will have to throw it away.
- Drink lots of water! You need to hydrate your body to flush out toxins.
- Just be honest and tell people you’re on a cleanse. It makes your life easier and less awkward when they want to know why you can’t eat out with them.