When I read Cat Marnell’s post on xoJane about going on the Ritual Cleanse three day juice fast, I thought “Hey! I can do that! Why don’t I try it?!” Even though I’m ordinarily obsessed with food and actually look forward to the moment I’m hungry just so I can eat again, I also like to test myself. But when I told my roommate Caitie I was thinking about doing a three day juice fast, she totally laughed at me!
” You don’t think I can do it? I’m serious!” I screamed, probably while eating some pasta.
“I think you can do it for like half a day,” She said, rolling her eyes. “Then you’ll get too bitchy and cave.”
As much as I hated to admit it, she was right. I suffer from a serious case of hangry — getting really irritated and mean when I haven’t eaten in awhile. But despite my starvation-induced moodiness, I was determined to try this. So far, 2012 has been all about quitting bad habits and pushing myself toward living a healthier lifestyle. I had already been successful in the few things I’ve sought out to do, so I figured a juice cleanse would be the logical final step toward becoming a healthier me!
I ordered the juices and prepared to detox by cutting out meat and most dairy. I started to drink green juices and snacked on healthy food throughout the day. I even cut out booze! I knew that if I didn’t take these necessary steps, my body would be in serious shock when I started the cleanse. I mean, I’m basically made of white wine and Nutella, for god’s sake! When I told my best friend I was doing this, she was like, “Good for you! But Ryan, I’m not saying you eat unhealthy but… you don’t even like organic food!” Okay, first of all, I love organic! My favorite saying is “Don’t panic, it’s organic!” Second of all, does anyone have ANY faith in me?! I don’t blame them for being skeptical but Jesus. They’re making me feel like John Candy at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I’m not that bad!
The day the juices came, I was excited. I had already spent the last week sober and starving, so why not just go all the way?
Ritual Cleanse works like this: you get six cold-pressed raw juices to drink a day and they ALL taste amazing. That’s not even a joke. I didn’t get this stuff for free, so trust me when I say that every juice was pure deliciousness. Most of them are some combination of kale, romaine, lemon and ginger. Throw in the occasional green apple for diversity. One juice is lemon, water, and cayenne pepper which reminds me of The Master Cleanse, and another one is made of cashews, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It tasted so good. Like a healthy milkshake. They were smart to put that drink last because it serves as good incentive to make it through the day.
I’m not gonna lie. The first day was a damn nightmare. I felt woozy and had a headache. Most importantly, I WAS STARVING. I looked at all of Ritual Cleanse’s reviews on Yelp and everyone was just like “OMG, YOU NEVER GO HUNGRY! THE JUICES ARE SO FILLING!” Um, yeah right. Liar, liar, organic cotton pants on fire! If you drink nothing but juice, you’re going to be hungry. Unless you’re a person who subsists on nuts and grapefruit, a juice cleanse will be a shock to your appetite and all of a sudden you’ll find yourself wanting to eat your La Mer eye cream before bed just like I did!
That being said, if you make it through day one, the worst is over. I woke up the next morning feeling a lot better. The hunger I felt subsided and became just a dull ache (#dark). That day I sprinted off to Brooklyn to go to the office with my juices in tow, ready to take on life! And my stomach felt really flat. Have you ever not eaten anything for 24 hours? Your stomach practically becomes concave. It’s crazy! (And probably scary.)
Here’s one thing you should all know though. Writing on a semi-empty stomach is a really hard thing to do. Whenever I would try to come up with articles ideas, they would be something weird like “5 Things You Should Do With Your Ex Who Resembles Spaghetti” or “How To Be Full Off Of Eating Wonderful Amazing Food.” My focus was a little bit off. My energy was fine, my hunger was manageable, but focusing was difficult. It also didn’t help that Stephanie Georgopulos was sitting next to me hungover and ordering a giant burrito.
At around 5 PM, I felt my resolve start to weaken. I wanted to eat. Not because I was particularly hungry but because I just wanted to. I didn’t want to cave though because that would mean I failed. In the last two months, I’ve made such positive changes in my life and if I quit this cleanse, I felt like it would all come crashing down. It’s irrational, I know. But it’s how I felt.
Screw it, I thought. I’m going to eat.
So I did. I ate a salad. I mean, I wasn’t going to totally throw it all away by eating a burger — my body didn’t even want that — but I was going to cheat. After I wolfed it down, I immediately felt this mixture of relief and shame. I thought about all the people who wrote about doing this cleanse like it was NBD. All of the people who weren’t hungry and found it invigorating. And here I was, cheating halfway through day two. What the hell was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I do something that everyone else did seemingly without a hitch?
I left work in a serious shame spiral and with a stomachache to boot. My body was FLIPPING OUT about the fact that there was food in it and I felt stupid for essentially making myself sick. I drank the rest of my juice that day and passed out at 10 PM. I wanted to continue on the cleanse. I didn’t want to quit but I also knew that the saying “Once a cheater, always a cheater” applied to cleanses as well. I knew there would be a second time. There was no way I was making it through without another relapse.
The next day, I woke up feeling energetic. Whatever stomachache I had the night before appeared to have left me. My body had started to crave a green juice in the morning which was an amazing feeling. So I drank one and went to work in high spirits ready to conquer my last day on the cleanse. I got this, honey!
Or… maybe I don’t. Smash cut to later that day: Me at Five Leaves chowing down on a kale salad. Oops! At this point, I had stopped feeling guilty about the cheating. What was the point? All it did was make me wanna eat more. I accepted it for what it was and let go of any shame.
After my cleanse ended, I didn’t know if I wanted to write about it. It was, in many ways, a failure. I ate food. Twice. I broke the rules, dirtied up my digestive tract again, and found myself back at square one. But then I realized that I had to write about this. Because whenever someone writes about doing a juice cleanse, I don’t think they’re being entirely honest about how hard it is to not eat. Even on Ritual Cleanse, which has the most delicious juices I’ve ever tasted, it was super difficult. I can’t be the only one who had a experience like this on a cleanse, right? There are other people who relapse. They just must not talk about it. Well, here I am! I’m going on record to say that going without food for three days is really, really hard. And if you cheat, it doesn’t make you Kirstie Alley. It just makes you human.
Despite my infidelities with food, I still consider my experience with Ritual Cleanse to be an overall success. Since its ended, my cravings have changed. Instead of drinking coffee, I drink a green juice every morning and have 10x more energy. I don’t need sweets like I used to. As a cruel joke, my mom Fed Ex’d me Girl Scout cookies the day I went off the cleanse. Under normal circumstances, that stuff would’ve been GONE in two days but thanks to the cleanse, I’ve only been able to eat a few cookies over the course of a week. Sugary processed foods hit my stomach like a brick now. They’re not as fun to consume anymore. On top of having healthy food cravings, I’ve also had the most amazing sleep in the past week which I’ve heard can be a direct result from going on a juice cleanse.
Would I recommend that you go on the Ritual Cleanse? Yeah, I would. It’s fun to challenge yourself and see what you’re capable of. It feels good to drink yummy juices all day long and watch your body start to crave fruits and veggies instead of just crap. Even though I fell off the wagon, I’m still feeling the benefits from it. If you do choose to go on it though, be prepared for how difficult it can be. I mean, everyone is different. For some, going on a juice cleanse might be super easy but it’s not like that for others. For me, it was a total bitch. This is just my experience. Juice carefully, y’all!