I have an early childhood memory of my grandma making mashed potatoes out of cauliflower in a blender. She then applied a healthy layer of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray. This was a recipe straight out of the early 2000’s popular diet: The South Beach Diet.
After seeing my grandparents calling cauliflower potatoes because of a turquoise book, I never thought that I would be taking part in a trendy restrictive diet or event a 10 day detoxifying cleanse. First off, I have a pretty slender build, so major weight loss is usually not in the cards for me. Secondly (and more importantly), I love food. I crave flavor, texture, temperature, and overall variety. My deepest desires include breaking soft yolks, crunching on savory kettle-cooked potato chips, and melting dark chocolate slowly on my tongue.
For the past 10 days, I pushed back my desires in favor of a 10 day green smoothie cleanse as curated by celebrity nutritionist JJ Smith. To give you the gist of the cleanse, it involved:
- Drinking 3 green smoothies a day consisting of leafy greens, fruit, flax seeds (major key), and water
- Snacking on crunchy vegetables, hard boiled eggs, peanut butter, seeds, and nuts
- Hydrating with 64 oz of water/detox tea daily
- Keeping away from complex sugars, carbs, caffeine, and donuts
- Reading her book, 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse
I tried this once before in February 2015 when I was still in college in D.C. with a few of my closest friends. We painstakingly made it to Day 8 until I caved after a passionate love affair with a peanut butter cookie at 9:30 a.m. I was feeling drained and generally distraught.
**Flash forward two years**
I am now living in Minneapolis with the new year’s resolution of giving the cleanse another shot. Why did I want to subject myself to this brutal fad diet for a second time? A few reasons: I felt like I could use a nutritional restart. I felt like I should focus on nutrition as I have been neglecting it for a while. I felt like I needed a test of willpower, especially as I had time on my hands due to my flexible work schedule. Ah, and I got a NutriBullet for Christmas.
Oh and the best part: My roommates were in for the challenge as well. I was ready to do it myself, but, looking back, I don’t know if I would’ve made it through without their dedication to the cause as well.
I could probably write a whole book (well… probably not… that would be a pretty boring book) about my feelings over the past ten days, but I will give you a snapshot:
- Day 1: Made it through, but hungry all day for something that wasn’t a green smoothie
- Day 2: Stayed generally busy with work, trying to push hunger to the back of my head
- Day 3: Got firmly in my own head about being hungry, snacking hard most of the day
- Day 4: Stopped being hungry, filling that desire, with a thirst for flavor other than kale and fruits
- Day 5: Struggled to stay in a positive mindset, almost quitting, after staring myself in the mirror for 20 minutes
- Day 6: Moved back on track, while having an unimaginable craving for salt on my first completely work-free day of the cleanse
- Day 7: Changed my outlook on the cleanse as a whole as a flexible guideline for success rather than a schedule for misery
- Day 8: Felt my stomach size shrinking as I could’ve only eaten 2 smoothies and a handful of seeds for the whole day
- Day 9: Became emotional after making it past Day 8 and my struggles with the last cleanse due to my newfound mindset
- Day 10: Today, happy to be finished with the cleanse and thankful for JJ
I had a lot of takeaways from this cleanse. The biggest thing that came to me after a discussion with my roommate on Day 7. Diets and cleanses are not one size fits all. We all have our own goals and our own reasons for partaking. You have to listen to your body and your own personal research to find what will work for you. Fad cleanses are just a guideline. Try not to let a book by JJ Smith completely control your life.
I went into this cleanse as a by the book kind of guy, but I am leaving it preaching flexibility. If you want to add chia or hemp seeds to your smoothie because you want to? GO FOR IT! Why not? it’s all good for you. If your best friend wants to take you out to dinner? LET THEM! Why not? Order something light or a salad! YOU ARE THE CAPTAIN OF YOUR OWN LIFE’S PATH IN THE WATER (OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT)!
Those are my thoughts! Thank you for reading this long post. In the comments: Have you ever done one of these cleanses? What did you learn from it?
And to give you a quick disclosure: I am not a nutritionist or a doctor or someone who took more than the required two science classes in college. In this post I am just sharing my experiences with a fad cleanse. If you have any medical questions about this you should 100% talk to your doctor.