A few weeks ago, I got an email from Organic Avenue, asking me if I wanted to do a partnership with them. I have to say, of all the partnerships I’ve ever done, I think this is the one that makes me the happiest. Organic Avenue is an ethical vegan food company with juices, cold and hot raw and vegan fare that I frequent often. I discovered the store after a Flywheel class, just out of the post-workout high and realized that I didn’t get a healthy snack soon I would pretty much eat the next thing I saw, like French fries. And there it was, like a beacon of light saying, “Please don’t wreck your diet.” And I didn’t. So, when the company approached me about talking to you about healthy foods and how to eat better, I jumped at the chance.
And when they asked what I’d like to do first, I said I wanted to do a three-day cleanse to help jump start a new focus on clean eating. Oh wait, and that my boyfriend wanted to do it with me.
And they said yes. So, we had a meeting with the awesome Tiye Massey, one of their Wellness Concierges (which, if you’re ever in New York and want to meet with someone who will literally change your life and the way you eat without shaming or pushing you, she’s your girl) and after a long session about the way both of us ate, we were off with individualized eating plans for our individual needs. Lucky Guy’s directives were to add more water and lower his intake of acidic foods. My directive was to drink a lot more water than I ever thought I could hold and to prepare my food in advance so I didn’t eat poorly when I had no time. It was good advice. When I’m on deadline, I eat whatever’s handy in the fridge. If it’s healthy, that’s awesome. If not, oops.
On a bright Sunday morning, our juice cleanses arrived via a sweet, lovely courier who helped get them up my stairs (I live on a third-floor walk-up, so he’s a brave and fit soul,) and we were off. Now, let’s be clear about what the cleanse was and what was required. We were to drink six juices throughout the day and start the day off with a live shot of either e3 or wheatgrass. Over the few days before the cleanse, we were to try and hydrate as much as possible, skip dairy, slow down on the coffee and avoid processed foods. Food isn’t recommended on the cleanse because you’re trying to give your system a break, but if you were dying, you could do a healthy kale salad. As long as the food was clean, you were good to go, but the goal of the cleanse is to rid your body of the toxins, metals and impurities you take in. But no food, no caffeine, nothing. That means no coffee.
I am a coffee addict. I feel this is important to explain up front.
As part of our journey, I asked Lucky Guy to keep a journal of his journey with me of his account of the cleanse. I would also like to clarify that my boyfriend did NOT give up caffeine on this cleanse and ate tofu with vegetables for lunch one day and salads on the consecutive two days. I went full on cleanse. Let’s hop to it, shall we? Here’s the He Said/She Said of the Love Deep cleanse:
Kristin, Day 1: I had my Wheatgrass shot in the morning and felt pretty good until about 12 pm, which is when the headaches started. Around 1 pm, I was having a hard time concentrating, but the Master Tonic really helped. My stomach sort of felt like it was just processing water. I started to sweat a little on the tops of my hands around 4. The coconut water in the Green Coco juice (which is one of my favorites of all time) was amazing. The headaches turned into low-level migraine territory by 7. I had my final juice, sank into an epsom salt bath and started to feel human. But the headaches were so bad, I went to bed around 9 pm, dreaming of a large, foamy latte.
Lucky Guy, Day 1: I died. The End. I’m kidding.
Seriously though, today’s been a non-issue for a variety of factors.
1. I had a cup of coffee this morning.
2. I was in my office all day.
With these 2 mandatories in place, Organic Avenue just seemed like I’m having a lot of juice (and a little more water) throughout the day. For “Lunch” I had some cashews, and meant to order a salad from Seamless, but forgot until I got really, REALLY hungry at around 5, so I ordered my abandoned lunch salad then, and just ate a few moments ago.
So, it’s not feeling so extreme… yet. Now, tomorrow, when I have 4 appointments outside the office and I’m walking around with a tote bag(!) full of juices, well, we’ll finally have the rubber meet the road. Pray for me.
Kristin, Day 2: I woke up with the headache I had the night before. I could barely finish the Grapefruit Juice at 9 am. I also had a full day of meetings, so I wound up packing the cooler they provided with five juices that I drank while running up and down the subway six times and across the city for nine hours. By the time 1:45 pm came, I crawled into an Organic Avenue nauseous and ready to stop. What was I doing this for? I emailed Tiye who explained that I was having the reactions of my body detoxing from all the horrible stuff I eat, that a kale salad and coconut water (and really, as much water as I could stand) would help me over the hump. I have a Kombucha from their store with a coconut water while catching up with a friend. I break through the wall. Suddenly, the headaches and nausea are gone. I feel amazing. I have energy. Green Coco and I are now lifelong friends. I vow never to eat things again that will make me that sick. But I’ve not been hungry on the cleanse once. That sort of surprises me.
Lucky Guy, Day 2: I think the biggest inconvenience today was walking around with all my juices in an orange tote bag (though I might use it in the future to carry cigars in, and cut down on the dirty looks). Other than that, it’s not really a big deal so far. Again, I’m having coffee (just one, in the AM), and we’re not on a pure liquid cleanse. I likened it to just having a giant load of juice in addition to whatever’s for lunch and dinner.
In fact, I ordered tofu for the first time since I was a vegetarian back in 1999 (over the course of 7 years, I degenerated from health nut to ‘white flour/white sugar/white trash vegetarian, but that’s a story for another time). It’s still… tofu, but I’m not mad at it. It’s just interesting to take a few days and really look at what I’m eating, and trying some healthier options to crowd out some of my habitual (and sub-optimal) fare.
As for the juices themselves, and the regimented order of the cleanse. I think I’m noticing a trend. I like the spicy drinks most (Royal Red, Tumeric Tonic, Master Tonic), followed by the Green juices (Sweet Greens, Green Love), while the nut milks aren’t quite hitting the spot for me. Perhaps I’d love them more if I couldn’t remember what butter tastes like…
Kristin, Day 3: I’ve overcome the worst part and I feel like I have more energy than I’ve ever had. I have one of the best yoga classes of my life. I smile so much and feel so perky I’m sure I’m annoying people. The caffeine headaches are gone, the sour stomach is over. I feel like I have a new body. I discover the dessert-like aspects of Coconut Mylk can replace my usual nighttime sugar cravings. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’ve lost 2 lbs. and I feel lighter and happier. My skin evidently looks radiant and I’m so excited I run by Organic Avenue and buy enough juices to extend the cleanse another day.
Lucky Guy, Day 3/Cleanse Conclusion: So, what were my takeaways after a 3-day cleanse?
Before the cleanse, I was eating too much — it’s weird to reflect that I’ve let my portions creep upward, but that’s definitely happened over the years. Subsisting on just juice for 3 days (with a salad at lunchtime or dinnertime, but only really 1 solid food meal a day) helped me reset both my expectations of what I really need to consume in a given day.
Veggies are the centerpiece of my meals again — I’ll admit it, last night was BBQ night, but my order (and my meal) started with orders of Brussel Sprouts, collard greens, string beans and okra as the basis, and then I got around to picking a protien — it was an afterthought.
Cleanses definitely do *something* — When compared to Kristin’s ‘cleanse crash’ of a constant low-grade headache, irritability (her word, not mine), distractedness, and low energy levels followed by breaking through a wall and feeling great by the evening of Day 2, I was more even-tempered in my reaction. I had the same headaches, but also felt great by turns a part of every day, like my cleanse was affecting me in spurts in comparison.
Would I do it again? Sure, but not without some thought and planning beforehand.
Kristin, Bonus Day/Cleanse Conclusion: I finally had a sip of coffee this morning, and it was like the nectar of the gods, but I can only have a couple of sips before it makes me jittery. Turmeric Tonic and Green Coco and I are buddies, we’re going to live forever together in a long-term relationship. I make it through SoulCycle without feeling faded or tired. I’m feeling awesome. I have a kale salad to celebrate, and I want to eat clean as much as I can. I’m suddenly very careful about what I eat. I start watching out for chemicals and sugar. I want to keep this feeling as long as I can. I’ve realized I was also eating too much food, that I’m feeling really
So, the final result of our cleanses are interesting. My boyfriend is determined to return to a Atkins-style diet and I’m moving toward a raw/pescavegetarian route that includes a considerable amount of juice and unprocessed foods. Will we do another cleanse? Probably after the holidays, so stay tuned. But I’m determined to eat clean and continue this path of better eating through the holidays. We’ll see how I do, but with Organic Avenue around, I’ve got much better chances of reaching that goal.
FTC Full Disclosure: I’m a Brand Ambassador for Organic Avenue, but the opinions expressed within are strictly my own.