I’m sure you’re thinking ‘what the hell does a juice cleanse have to do with women’s history?’ Truth? Nothing. BUT if you’ve been keeping up with the last few blog posts, you’ve learned that I (Lauren) practice a nightly Korean skincare ritual and Irina has had major gains in self-care. These are the ways we take care of ourselves and as women, THAT is important. In this post, which is the final in our Self Care series, you’ll learn how the both of us successfully (!) completed a green smoothie cleanse. Did you just roll your eyes? It’s cool because two months ago I totally would have too. I get it. Listen, I’ve never been like, the healthiest of people. I really love terrible food and I really love eating terrible food late at night.
But seriously. Both Irina and I followed the same program, just in slightly different ways. Below, the both of us will walk you through what it was like (the good, the bad and the ugly) to follow this cleanse. To make this as easy as possible to follow and so you know exactly who’s talking, Irina will be this color and Lauren will be this color.
First Things First
What you need to know before you continue.
- Both Irina and I followed a green smoothie cleanse developed by a woman named J.J. Smith.
- Irina followed her 10-day green smoothie cleanse and I followed her 30-day smoothie cleanse.
- J.J. Smith is a certified nutritionist and weight management expert. Her books have landed her on the New York Times bestseller list.
Like most things these days, it began with a text. The holidays were over and the seasonal depression had kicked in. Sweatpants were literally the only thing I felt comfortable in. My “comfy” jeans had become my go-to jeans. I sent a text to Irina to vent and complain and much to my delight, she was having all the same feels.
Naturally, Irina had already taken steps to battle the bloat where I was content complaining and crying into a bowl of ice cream. She had just started a 10-day juice cleanse. I was intrigued and jealous af.
CHAPTER 1: The Bibles
The 10-day guide does an amazing job laying out all the information we need to understand the benefits of this cleanse. J.J. talks about how she got into green smoothies, how it’s helped improve her health and why it actually works. She gives detailed instructions about the correct way to follow this plan and explains everything you should expect to feel while going through the cleanse. She lays out two 5-day grocery lists and tells you which smoothie to drink everyday for 10 days.
Pretty fool proof! I think at this point in life we all know that preparation is the key to success and she makes it so damn easy that there’s barely anything to prepare. All you need to do is make one large batch of smoothie everyday, have healthy snacks on hand and water near you at all times.
All of what Irina just said abuot the 10-day is true about the 30-day book. Before I started, I knew I wanted a tangible book that would be “my bible”. Something I could always reference and re-read. A book that not just guided but blatantly said eat this not that, buy this not that. J.J. really made her books super user friendly. The 30-day also includes grocery lists, snacks you can have, healthy dinner options with recipes and day 1-30 green smoothie recipes.
CHAPTER 2: The Differences Between 10-day + 30-day
(besides those pesky 20 days)
- 10-day: You have 3 smoothies per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
- 30-day: You have 2 smoothies per day (breakfast and lunch) and a sensible, healthy dinner.
What you can eat/drink
* both the 10 and 30-day cleanse
- the daily green smoothie*
- raw fruits and veggies*
- mixed raw, unsalted nuts*
- hard boiled eggs*
- unsalted nut butter*
- unsalted canned tuna in water
- plant-based protein powder*
- unsalted seasoning (like Mrs. Dash)
- green tea, herbal tea, detox tea*
- water* lots and lots of water!
- lightly salted popcorn
- protein bars (non-dairy)
What you can’t eat/drink
- everything else… yes, that means no coffee! And Redbull!
CHAPTER 3: Experiences In Real Time
DAY 1: Woo!! Let’s go! Woke up with the excitement of starting the cleanse. Making the smoothie was pretty easy (I use a full size blender) and it doesn’t taste bad so that’s a plus. Wrote this on my living room chalkboard: “10 days will pass no matter what I do. Or don’t do. So… 11 days from now, do I celebrate or regret?” – wellchickproject.com
DAY 1: What the fuck did I get myself into. Why did I have to brag to everyone that I was starting a cleanse? Now I have to actually follow through or I’ll look like a dick. I also hate everyone and if another person asks me what I’m drinking I swear to god I’ll rip their head off. Oh but hey, this smoothie is actually pretty yummy…But what should I have for dinner?
DAY 2: OK, yesterday was totally do-able and I wasn’t hungry at all. Let’s go day 2! My husband, who’s doing this with me, comes home from work dying for a filling snack. Who am I kidding? I’d love a snack right now too. We make poached eggs with avocado. Mmm, so yummy….are poached eggs allowed? Evening: detox symptoms set in. So bloated, mild headache and fatigue. Tea in bed by 8pm. goodnight.
DAY 3: So. Bloated. Ugh. I thought this was supposed to make me feel better? Damn detox symptoms. I need something to make me happy so per another green smoothie cleanse blog I suggest my husband and I go to Chipotle and get guacamole as a “treat”. Employees think we’re weird for ordering 4 sides of guac and nothing else. We get home and IMMEDIATELY start eating. first with celery and carrots and then straight up with a spoon. Ohh that was good.
DAYS 2-5: Holy fucking shit I have the worst migraine of my entire life. Going from at least two cups of coffee and one Redbull per day to none per day is making my head want to explode. On the bright side I keep waking up BEFORE my alarm and come to think of it, I fell asleep super easy the last few nights.
DAY 4: wtf. When will I start feeling better like everyone says they do?! Still so bloated. I don’t think I’m drinking enough water, which is my usual life struggle. Blaahhhh. Ordered Mag O7 per JJ’s suggestion. Hating detox symptoms. Craving everything. Staring at my chalkboard for inspiration… 7 days from now do I celebrate or regret?
DAY 5: Woke up feeling amazing. Woke up earlier than usual without the help of an alarm and felt alert rather than my usual groggy. It was an unseasonably gorgeous winter Friday so the windows were open all day. Everything was perfect– until our neighbors started BBQing. Closed our windows to stop the torture. Evening: cheers to a green smoothie Friday night ::rolling eyes::. Made surprisingly delicious cashew dip as a snack with raw veggies. Giving me life rn.
DAY 6: This smoothie is BOMB (image left). Bloating, cravings and most other unpleasant symptoms are gone. Unfortunately a long standing plan to have our [very late] company holiday party was today. I massively cheated by eating a grilled chicken sandwich with LT & guacamole and sweet potato fries. I’m happy that I made the better choice from the menu options, but my stomach will pay for this later.
DAYS 6-10: Why do I feel like I have the flu? My bones are aching and I honestly feel kind of feverish. I better not be getting fucking sick. Wait, J.J. says this is normal, phew. I’m feeling the symptoms of sugar withdrawals?! My body is literally detoxing. But omg, my pants are not only fitting better – there’s room to spare!
DAY 7: Went to my mom’s for a family lunch and felt guilty she made a whole spread and I couldn’t eat much. I stuck to the raw veggies and mustered up the will power to pass up my favorite dish of sauteed mini bell peppers with garlic (lots of oil and salt). Had chicken broth from the soup she made, which I think technically isn’t allowed cause it’s meat based, but whatever, it’s hydrating. And I can’t be rude, right?
DAY 8: Back to being 100% on track. My husband deals with the restrictions of this cleanse by openly complaining, talking about everything he’s craving and joking about calling it quits early. I firmly tell him that his negative vibes have no place in this cleanse. Realistically though, I can’t blame him. He’s doing this in solidarity for the most part. I’m not as cynical because I’m embracing all the positive side effects of this cleanse: alert, energetic, brighter skin tone, less breakouts, not bloated, cravings are extinct, feeling slimmer.
DAY 9: My smoothie preparation is getting sloppy because I’m nearing the end. Ran out of bananas so I subtracted them from the recipe and added more of the other fruit. I don’t think you’re technically supposed to do this, but I’m so close to finishing that I don’t care.
DAY 10: Jumping for joy… and thinking about what I’m gonna eat tomorrow 🙂
DAYS 11-18: I’m obsessed with making my smoothies. It’s become a nightly ritual that I look forward to every night. It’s almost therapeutic, knowing that I’m preparing something for myself that makes me feel better on the inside and the outside.
DAY 11: I’M FREEEEEEE and feel amazing, honestly! I lost 8.6 lbs, a total of 5″ and my jeans fit better than normal. I’m excited to start incorporating other whole foods back into my diet. I hope to maintain some level of smoothie drinking in my day to day, but it’s uncertain how successful I’ll be.
DAYS 19-25: I’ve now recruited my sister and two of her friends to get on the green smoothie train. Our group text support group is GREEN SMOOTHIES 4 LIFE. I should probably be exercising more, but this New England weather is really dragging me down and it’s been below zero for over a week. I can’t wait until Spring and we can start our walking club again.
DAYS 26-30: I’m having a bit of anxiety as I reach the end of my cleanse. I’m not prepared to go back into the real world. Is this how prisoners feel just before they are released? I’ve lost just about 14 pounds.
CHAPTER 4: The Aftermath
37 Days Later
I’ve managed to maintain my weight (+/- the usual daily fluctuation) since the cleanse ended. I don’t usually make it a point to weigh myself, but I’ve been really curious lately. What’s most shocking is that most days I don’t feel any bloat. Do you know how good it feels to not be bloated all the time? Now I do! I honestly haven’t felt this good since my pre-wedding nutrition lifestyle.
I don’t have smoothies nearly as much as I’d hoped, but that’s mostly because I keep forgetting to buy frozen fruit and bananas… and laziness. Preparedness is key and I’m not nearly as prepared right now. I’ve been substituting meals with a smoothie when I know I’m going to have an indulgent dinner or after an indulgent day. I feel like it does a good job of mentally making me feel better and it seems to regulate my bloat. Most of my pre-cleanse cravings have been neutralized. Things I used to crave on weekend nights in, like candy, doesn’t happen anymore. Instead I’m happy with popcorn and/or green tea. (I’ve had a pint of Halo mocha chip ice cream sitting in my freezer for over a week now. If that’s not self control, I don’t know what is.)
Sooo, I wasn’t at all prepared to end my cleanse. I just felt like I wasn’t done with it yet, ya know? So I just started it over. Back to day #1, or as I call it day #31. Don’t forget, I have issues with closure.
I feel like the marketing angle for this is the 10-15 lb weight loss, but when you get down to it, this cleanse is about resetting your digestive system and mental state. I definitely wanted to shed some post holiday pounds that were lingering around for far too long, but I was most excited for this to be my jumping off point to a better place. I’m happy to report I’ve been able to maintain things and I can’t wait for Spring to actually arrive so I can be active outside!
Ditto. Whenever someone asks me about the cleanse they automatically ask how much weight I’ve lost. YES, that’s a huge benefit but honestly, it wasn’t about that when I started and it’s not about that now. It’s about feeling better on the inside and when that happens you feel and look better on the outside. I sleep better, I wake up better, I make healthier choices. I realize now just how irritable I was, especially now, after people comment on how pleasant I’ve become. Listen, I had a rough few months post-election. Sue me.
Until Next Time!
xo Lauren & Irina