By now everyone has heard of, or perhaps even tried, a juice cleanse.
I hadn't yet tried this latest lifestyle craze so I thought I'd give it a go at popular Cape Town juice bar, Orchard on Long. Now these aren't just any old juices. These bad boys are packed with 1kg of produce in each 500ml bottle! And they're hydraulically cold pressed using imported Norwalk juicers that extract as much nutrients as possible (the leftover pulp is bone dry!). Owner and juice fanatic, Tim, was on hand to deliver not only the freshest juices that are made to perfection, but also some much needed support. Six juices per day every two hours? Yeah, I was going to need support.
Let me be frank: It's not for everyone and yes I struggled, but the results were worth it. No, I didn't shed a ton of weight or miraculously cure all my niggly ailments, but I did feel refreshed and thoroughly cleansed.
Want the details? Here's how my three day juice Activation Cleanse went:
9am: I start the day off with some hot water and lemon, as Tim suggested, to get my digestive system ready. The first juice of the day is the Sunflower Special: sunflower greens, wheatgrass, kale, celery, lemon and apple. I really struggled straight off the bat with this one. A ton of greens isn't expected to taste phenomenal, but it certainly tastes healthy. As Tim warned, a mild headache followed my missing my usual morning tea and breakfast, but I am resolute!
11am: Next up was the Dr Ozzy's Lemonade (lemon, organic apple cider vinegar, apple, cayene pepper). Now this is more like it! Refreshing, delicious and clear. My kinda stuff! The headache is subsiding at this point, and I'm surprisingly not at all hungry.
1pm: The Panda follows; a thick smoothie of lime, avocado, pineapple, spirulina, spinach, celery, cucumber, apple and ginger. Delicious too, but I'm getting pretty full at this point and craving the chewing sensation. Major headache.
3pm: My favourite of the day, Beetroot Buzz, helps ease my headache. A shiny red juice of beetroot, cucumber, lemon, apple and mint, this one's pretty easy to finish every last drop.
5pm: This next one is trying to kill me. The Mumba is not my friend. Cucumber, kale, apple, romaine, pear, lemon and apple cider vinegar were enough to send me over the edge. Physically I'm so full I can't finish the drink, but mentally I'm starving for solid food.
7pm: Salvation! Dinner was the almost decadent Almond Milk. I LOVE this one! It feels like a reward after a long day of detoxing. Delicious almonds, vanilla, Himalayan salt, dates and coconut oil were like dessert. And that's me for the day. Finished. Grumpy. Hate everything. Off to bed.
9am: Today, since I know what's coming, I feel better prepared. I have decided to think of today's juices as food and not juice. This makes it easier to get through the Sunflower Special again.
11am: This next one is the most delicious juice I've ever tasted in my life. If I could marry the Tahiti, I would! SO YUM! Pineapple, coconut water, mint, lime and apple! I have zero headache, a ton of energy and getting a lot done at work. Devastated when it's finished.
1pm: The Panda again. I'm actually pretty hungry so I gulp it down. It's lovely and thick and feels the most like food.
3pm: Beetroot Buzz feels like an old friend and I'm feeling pretty good about life in general. Woohoo! I can do this!
5pm: And the party's over. My sworn enemy, The Mumba, is back. I'm determined now and I won't let some kale come between me and the finish line. I cheat though and give half of it to my colleague because I. just. can't.
7pm: I'm exhausted from this day, my stomach is pretty damn confused and I'm happy to just have the Almond Milk and go to sleep early again.
9am: It's here! The last day! I'm so amped! Sunflower Special goes down quick (not mad about that taste...) because I know what's next!
11am: Tahiti, you beautiful thing! I offer my colleague a taste so she can see how good it is and I immediately regret losing that one little drop of heaven. It's finished way too fast.
1pm: Panda. I'm doing good. My skin is glowing! But I am very excited to chew again.
3pm: I'm so full by the time Beetroot Buzz comes along it takes me virtually two hours to finish it. Almost there! The end is in sight! Only two to go!
5pm: I've decided to defeat The Mumba (sort of... not really) by swigging it back. I manage a few sips and I honestly have no more space.
7pm: Dinner is the yummy Almond Milk and it goes down nice and smooth. And that's it! I did it! I'm done! WOOOOHOOOO!
The next day, and the few days after that, I really do feel awakened, energised and refreshed. It was definitely a steep uphill climb but the result is clear. Would I do it again? Hmmmm... I do love my solids. But I'll definitely be more mindful of what goes into my body and how I can care for it. Oh, and I'll definitely be stopping by the shop every now and then to visit my number one love, the Tahiti.