When I was 20 years old and in college, I was practicing some pretty horrible eating habits consisting of things called “rolletos” (basically, a rolled up pizza packed with cheese and whatever topping you want) and “mashed potato bowls” (exactly what it sounds like—just add popcorn chicken, gravy, cheese and corn). I started to see my poor eating choices reflect on my skin. I was breaking out like never before and felt as though I had lost my “glow.”
While flipping through a copy of Glamour Magazine, there was a page outlining easy swaps for better skin. My prayers had been answered! I immediately adapted their tips to my lifestyle. I drained the dairy milk in my fridge and replaced it with almond milk, I threw out the white bread in my cabinet and swapped it for whole wheat and I started chugging fruit-infused water constantly. Seriously, I went whole-grain every-thang, trying to cut processed carbs and refined sugars. I still didn’t know if I was making the best choices, but at least they were better. Oh and my skin? It got its glow back eventually. I can still tell the difference when I veer off course into junk food land. A pimple always pops up.
I’ve continued eating this way ever since. No matter where I go, I opt for whole wheat—that means at bagel shops, Italian restaurants, you name it. I stick to water and seltzer. I stay away from my main vice—chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. I like to think I make smart eating choices. But never have I ever done anything as extreme as a full-on juice cleanse. Three days of nothing but juice? I was intimidated, but I was also really excited about the idea of cleansing my entire system for the New Year.
Prior to this cleanse, I had tried a few of the Greenmouth juices. “Detoxify” was a favorite of mine—made up of kale, apple, romaine lettuce, celery, parsley, lemon and ginger. I had also tried the “Immunize”—made of carrot, orange, romaine lettuce, lemon and ginger. I liked what I tried, although, I had always drank them with food. Still, mentally, I was ready. And thankfully, one of our sales reps, Pam Taylor, was as well.
We conquered the three-day Greenmouth juice cleanse. Here’s how it went.
On Wednesday, the start of the cleanse, I woke up extra early so I could arrive at Greenmouth by 7:30 a.m. I knew that the first official juice started at 8 a.m., and with five more scheduled throughout the day, there was no time to waste.
The first thing you are supposed to do upon waking up is drink the “morning tonic,” a mixture of lemon, Bragg apple cider vinegar, raw honey and hot water. I made sure to down this as soon as I got to the office. As I sipped, I pretended it was my usual Grande Caramel Latte from Starbucks. It wasn’t, but I’d been missing my caffeine for days already, as you are instructed to avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugar, processed foods, dairy, red meat and gluten in the days leading up to your cleanse.
Pam was concerned about the acidity of apple cider vinegar, so she skipped that step altogether.
Next, at 8 a.m., we had our first juice, “Alkalize.” This one’s made of cucumber, celery, fennel, apple, lemon and ginger. Nothing about those ingredients worried me. It tasted green and refreshing—totally easy for me to get down. Unfortunately, Pam’s aversion to fennel made this tougher for her to swallow. Nonetheless, she did it in the allotted hour.
By 10 a.m., we were ready for our next 16 ounces, named the “Electrolyte Lemonade,” made with lemon, cayenne pepper, grapeseed oil, maple syrup and Himalayan sea salt. This combination worried me, especially when I heard Pam coughing after her first sip. That cayenne pepper packs a punch! It didn’t affect me too much though. I thought it resembled a creamsicle flavor, but for Pam, “sushi” came to mind.
Midway through our EL, Another Style staffer Tom Körp walked over to our desks claiming to smell dough or pastry. Trust us, we weren’t hoarding any treats! Laughing, he tried to lure us to the design room for bagels. We declined, albeit, a little bitterly.
Okay, that last sip had some serious kick to it.
Still missing my latte, I was excited for the next beverage called “Energize.” This one was a dark magenta color, reminding me that I was in for some beets. I started to wonder if I’d ever had a beet before and was pretty sure I hadn’t. The other ingredients were familiar: apple, romaine lettuce, celery, carrot, orange and ginger. Honestly, I was getting a little hungry, and it was at this moment that Pam and I began swapping emails questioning our choice of a three-day cleanse. We powered on.
I was excited for the next two drinks, because, as I had previously mentioned, I had tried them before. At 2 p.m., I drank the “Immunize.” It was a bright orange color and, for the most part, tasted like orange juice—really, really fresh orange juice. The label on the bottle reminded me that with every 16-ounce jar, I was consuming 2–3 pounds of chemical free vegetables and fruit. The juice is also 100 percent raw, vegan, GMO free, gluten free and has no added sugar. Greenmouth for the win!
TIP: I suggest stocking up on straws before juicing. I think it makes the sipping process all the more manageable.
I left the office at 4 p.m. and on the ride home, I drank the “Detoxify.” I told you this was my former favorite, and that still stands.
I found that whenever I started to get hungry, it was time for another juice, which totally curved my cravings. Everything was tasting good, but I still found myself wanting some real food. I could live on pasta, so yes, I could have gone for a bowl of noodles the size of my head right about then.
That night I went straight home. Typically, my evenings include a spin, barre or yoga class, but Greenmouth recommends you limit yourself to light exercise while cleansing. They suggest journaling, meditation, walking in nature and listening to gentle music. I did the next best thing: curled up on the couch and caught up on the season premiere of The Bachelor. I was feeling zen as I drank my last juice of the day, “Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Milk,” which is exactly what it sounds like. You get two hours to drink this one, as opposed to the one-hour increments of the others. I am an almond milk lover, so this was easy for me—it was made with almonds, water, dates, vanilla, cinnamon and Himalayan sea salt.
I felt refreshed and full of energy. I was ready for day two.
I slept wonderfully but woke up with a slight headache. From all that I’ve read about juice cleanses, this is to be expected at some point throughout the journey. It passed quickly and I prepped my Morning Tonic. I sipped it as I did my hair and makeup for the day. The fact that it was mixed with hot water made it a comforting drink to wake up to—almost like tea.
You are instructed to drink the tonic upon waking up, which for most people is probably around 6 a.m. I roll out of bed around 7:30 a.m. (at best), so I was a little behind schedule. I planned to drink the next juice on my way to work, but at 8:30 a.m. it was about 23 degrees outside, which meant cold juice, cold car, cold hands.
(I ran out of disposable straws at this point and decided to grab one from the CamelBak® in my pantry.)
I got to work and “cheers’ed” Pam on the way to my desk. We compared notes of our evenings and, basically, we were both missing food, but today was already easier.
Going into to it, I thought the process would become harder as time progressed, but I was quickly finding the opposite. As I sipped my Electrolyte Lemonade while proofing our February issue, I didn’t even find myself craving the oatmeal I’d typically be eating at that time. I was officially in the zone.
By noon, it was time for the beet juice, which Pam and I had both agreed was our least favorite. Beets are the worst, am I right?
The juice also stained my hands a bit, so I recommend not wearing white while sipping.
We were halfway through our daily juices. I knew Immunize and Detoxify would be a piece of cake—wait, stop thinking about cake—but I was stressing about the last one, Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Milk, not because of how it would taste but rather where I would be tasting it.
My sister got the family tickets to see the Lafayette men’s basketball team play that evening. A few things about this worried me. One: I typically eat soft pretzels and ice cream at sporting events, and two: it would be a very energetic evening and seemed like the exact environment I had been told to stay away from. Greenmouth had instructed us to avoid places with loud noise and lots of activity due to the fact that people are more sensitive on the cleanse. Thankfully, I felt totally fine at the game and my family was nice enough to eat their hot dogs away from me. Still, I understand why one would want to avoid a place with that kind of temptation. (Oh yeah, Lafayette won—go Leopards!)
I woke up on day three with tons of energy. Sure, maybe the fact that it was Friday, snowing and it was the last day of my cleanse could have had something to do with my good mood, but I felt great and so did Pam. We both agreed that our energy levels had gone up and we were sleeping wonderfully. I was definitely not missing my latte. (Should I be starting every day with a green juice instead?) I also felt like I had zero bloating, which, come on, is never a bad thing!
Throughout the process, I felt like I wanted to quit, several times, but I never did. I also questioned why I was doing this to myself. It’s not like I was being forced to do this—I chose to. I wasn’t trying to transform into Gigi Hadid in a mere three days—although I wouldn’t have said no—and it wasn’t because I felt that I was erratically unhealthy. I was doing it because I wanted a fresh start, I wanted to accomplish something and I wanted to look at food in a whole new light. During the cleanse, I wanted to eat everything in sight, of course. I dreamt of platters of chicken fingers, fettuccine alfredo and super cheesy garlic bread. But after successfully finishing the cleanse, my relationship with food had changed. I wanted to taste my food, not inhale it, and I wanted to be mindful of what I putting in my body.
Would I do it again? For one day, absolutely. For three? I plead the fifth.