As New Years Eve quickly approached following the inevitable weight gain of the holidays, I realized I had one week to get myself in shape for the dress I would be debuting. Now I usually am quite realistic about healthy dieting and exercising – I yell at my friends who try to cut carbs out completely and I stress the importance of adding weight-lifting to your cardio workouts and targeting different muscle groups each day at the gym. However, in times of desperation after countless Christmas cookies, pies, and glasses of wine, I decided a quick fix would have to do.

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Most of us have heard of the juice cleanse trend by now and, after some Googling, I found a girl who did it and lost three pounds in three days, which seemed acceptable by my standards. Also, since the cleanses claim to supplement your body with all the nutrition it really needs, it seemed like a moderately healthy option compared to some others (yes, I did consider the taco cleanse). However, I also found that 3-day juice cleanse programs run anywhere from $140–$200. Being the broke college student that I am, I decided I would do the 3-day juice cleanse by making them myself.

I decided I wanted to try BluePrint’s Renovation Cleanse program and found copycat recipes for all the juices they offer online. BluePrint’s 3-day cleanse costs $195.00; I got all of the groceries I needed from Trader Joe’s for $35, and they lasted me for the entire 3 days with some to spare.

The only real difference between my DIY cleanse and BluePrint’s was that I had a blender and there was no way to create a “cold-pressed juice” out of my ingredients. I was honestly a little nervous it wouldn’t yield the same results, but figured not eating anything except for ground up kale, celery, and beets couldn’t hurt.

Day 1

juice cleanse

Photo by Jessica Kelly

The first juice (breakfast?) was the “green juice” which was basically spinach, kale, apples, and cucumber. I do have to admit that the preparation for making your own juices does take some time between peeling the apples, washing the vegetables, blending everything, etc.

This wasn’t really a problem for me since I was home on winter break and didn’t have that much else to do, but if you try it with a job or during school, I would suggest making them all at once and the packaging them for when you need them because who really has 15 minutes to take out six times a day to blend vegetables?

juice cleanse

Photo by Hannah Lin

I really didn’t mind the first juice, I even liked it. It tasted exactly as I imagined it would, but I’ll go to the grocery store to pick up green juices to drink just because, so it was in my taste. The second juice was pineapple, mint, and apples (you need a LOT of apples for this cleanse). This was by far my favorite juice, I’m assuming because it contained the most sugar.

juice cleanse

Photo by Amanda Gajdosik

It was between this juice and the third juice (another green juice) that the hanger started kicking in. It was most likely worsened by the smells from all the restaurants I was around, but all I could think about was all the carbs I wanted to be eating. My mom was a real champ about letting me complain, at least. My only real worry was that I would be homicidal by day three (New Year’s Eve eve) when I returned to my apartment with my six roommates.

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I moved onto the fourth juice which was the Spicy Lemonade. This was the one that I could actually make as a juice since it was just water, three squeezed lemons, agave nectar, and cayenne pepper. Unfortunately, I underestimated how spicy cayenne pepper was and put way too much in. It took me about two hours to drink the Spicy Lemonade because every time I took a sip, I needed a 10-minute break from how hot it was.

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The next juice was the “C.A.R” and I still don’t know what that stands for, but it had beets, carrots, ginger, and more apples. Unsurprisingly, I put too much ginger in this one, so it was really hard to drink too. I don’t even think I finished this one, and I probably spent half of my day just trying to get down two of these juices. It was definitely my least favorite, especially considering I don’t like beets.

According to BluePrint, there’s supposed to be a sixth cashew milk, but I’m allergic to cashews, so I didn’t make this one. I also read that across the board people agree the cashew juice is the best tasting one, which is typical of my luck in general and failed to surprise me. BluePrint usually switches out the Cashew Milk for another Spicy Lemonade, but I couldn’t put myself through that again, so I just skipped it.

Day 2

juice cleanse

Photo by Yonatan Soler

I woke up not starving and actually feeling good about myself. I survived one day of juicing. I could do this. Besides dreading the preparation, I drank my green juice happily as I watched the morning news. The good thing about doing these at home, and maybe it was because I was making smoothies and not juices, was that I had a lot of leftover juice every time I followed the recipe, so I’d just stick the juices in the fridge for later.

Around the same time as yesterday, between the Spicy Lemonade and the second Green Juice, I became hangry again. I knew it was just something I had to wait out like a food craving, but the hunger was lasting much longer than the day before, and the Green Juice just wasn’t cutting it.

BluePrint does have a “cheat sheet” on their website with celery, cucumber, avocado, and black coffee. I decided since I was a first-timer, I would treat myself to a half of an avocado. I figured it was something that I could throw in a juice anyway if I really wanted to, and the last thing I wanted was more celery and cucumber.

juice cleanse

Photo by Samantha Thayer

The fact that black coffee was considered a snack to me was seriously a joke, and I can’t even talk about it. I never thought I would say this after a day and a half of not eating solid food, but that half an avocado was very satisfying. It was exactly what I needed to help me pull through, and I happily made my Spicy Lemonade being very careful with how much cayenne pepper I put in. I ended up quite enjoying the lemonade now that it wasn’t burning my throat and stomach. Unfortunately, I still had to suffer through a glass of the “C.A.R.” drink before having another lemonade.

Day 3

juice cleanse

Photo by Kathryn Stouffer

At this point, I was very excited that it was my last day of just drinking juices. Honestly, I felt the best out of the three days. Today was the day that I drove back to my apartment in Boston, so I had my first two juices in the morning and prepared the other three beforehand by bottling them for the car ride. I don’t know if it was because today was my busiest day or because I had already gone two days just drinking the juices, but I really had no hunger cravings and even skipped the beet juice because I hated it so much.

The hardest part of the last day was that when I got back, my roommates had some friends over to drink. I kindly had to decline because I was still on my juice cleanse. It was the first time I got to be the mom of the group, and I wasn’t a fan watching all my friends play drinking games while I sipped my last Spicy Lemonade.

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I was, however, proud of how well I did with my cleanse. I made it through all three days with only one “cheat” item, and I tried my best to not let hanger get the best of me. As an avid food lover, it took a lot of determination to last through it all. That night, I went to bed dreaming of breakfast food.

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First and foremost, I lost four pounds! Now I don’t know how excited I should have been about this considering that I read that often the weight loss is just water weight, but I figured that four pounds would have made some difference, if nothing more than for just my confidence. And I was right. I’m sure I wouldn’t have looked much different on New Year’s Eve if I hadn’t done the cleanse, but I felt like I looked good, and my friend said that I did too, so I’ll take it.

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Obviously my version of BluePrint’s cleanse is not going to be exactly the same. You have to peel around 15 apples in the course of three days and no cold-pressed juices are delivered to your door. But if you have the time, and Tupperware for it, I do think it’s a great alternative to the popular $195 cleanse if you want to save some money.