The weekend’s casual drinking was fun but it’s now etched across my face – dehydrated skin, puffy eyes and angry spots; this certainly feels like the ideal day to start this cleanse. Juice Revolution’s info pack is bright, cheerful and idiot-proof, thanks to its timetable that details the name, number and drinking time of each juice and its specific supplements. Juice one, with its refreshing lime, apple, pineapple, cucumber and avocado blend, is delicious – so far so good. At work I follow the daily tips and attempt to ‘chew’ each mouthful of juice two, hoping my colleagues don’t notice my cheeks bulging like a chipmunk’s with each gulp. Later, I nosedive into an afternoon slump, bombarded by a constant headache.The tips explain that I’m not ‘detoxing’ (which the body does naturally all the time), but ‘withdrawing’, mainly from sugar and caffeine. Although the smell of my partner’s roast chicken is torturous, I sip my Hot ‘n Spicy tea – a warm apple and cinnamon ‘soup’ – curled up on the sofa, content that I made it through the first day.
I peel myself out of bed early, into my trainers and off for a run. Surprisingly, I have the energy to jog for 30 minutes and feel motivated afterwards. This morning’s exercise and juices have really increased my natural energy levels and concentration. It’s both strange and convenient not to have to organise meals during the day. However, by the afternoon I plunge into irritability and, despite drinking water, juice and tea all day, struggle with another headache. Thankfully, as soon as I begin to feel hungry, it’s time for the next juice – each ensures my blood-sugar levels don’t crash. While queueing in the supermarket, I am aware that the checkout temptation aisle is attempting to erode my willpower, but I stay strong. I haven’t actually been physically hungry for two days – it’s my ‘mind hunger’, as the daily tips inform me. They also explain that I’m feeling lethargic not because I am on the juices, but because I ate the junk. Fiona’s words remind me to stop moaning, get on with it, drink the Hot ‘n Spicy tea, sleep and let my body repair.Yes, Ma’am!
I haul myself out of bed for another 30-minute run during which I feel the endorphins and bask in the morning sunshine. Getting ready for work, I notice my skin is glowing for the first time in weeks and the recent flare-up is significantly fading. Encouraged, I start the day with a more positive mindset and forget my usual desire for a morning caffeine fix. Today, a new banana, pineapple, lime and yoghurt juice is introduced and the thickness of its texture is a welcome change. During the day, I feel calmer and less reactive in stressful situations and by the afternoon my energy slump and headaches aren’t as severe. Relinquishing all social obligations due to ‘the cleanse’, I enjoy another quiet evening in. While sipping my evening juices, I read over my day three tips for inspiration, one of which focuses on developing an ‘attitude of gratitude’ when considering that we live in ‘a world of abundance with an attitude of lack’. I must put my ‘stress’ into perspective, as Fiona so neatly puts it, and remember that I am ‘too blessed to be stressed’.
I bounce out of bed and actually want to go for my morning run. Arriving at work, I don’t even think about breakfast and focus on my work with surprising clarity. Today’s juices are greener, introducing ingredients like parsley and kale. By 5pm I’m flagging, so I consult my day four tips, which tell me not to put every little thing – like feeling tired or getting a headache – down to the ‘detox’. ‘How many times have you felt tired in the afternoon?’ Fiona asks, so I try not to overanalyse the process. By evening, I stumble at the crucial mid-week hurdle and join friends at a tapas restaurant.The smell of their grilled cheese and meat dishes torments me and for the first time this week I want to throw in the towel. But I don’t. I just tell myself to try avoiding these tempting situations.
Within minutes of waking, my stomach is growling and I’m too tired to run. But, to my utter delight, my acne is disappearing with no further signs of the sore, recurring pimples I’ve come to expect. My skin doesn’t even require foundation, so I use a BB cream.Yet, despite the post-cleansing euphoria, I begin what is undoubtedly the hardest day of the cleanse. Physically, my dissatisfied stomach grumbles all day, despite drinking the juices on time. Mentally, I’m so irritable I want to throw my juice bottle at someone and end up lying down on the office sofa, trying my hardest not to whinge, yawn or eat. Later, at a dinner party, I have to SMS Fiona for support and announce to friends that after five cheat-free days I’ve proven my point and that tomorrow I am eating again.
Thank goodness it’s the weekend. I’m now over the worst and feeling incredibly fresh for a Saturday morning (while my partner deals with a hangover). This morning’s juices contain both banana and yoghurt, a more substantial and satisfying texture than yesterday’s watery green blends. My energy levels are back to normal, even after a two-hour browse round the shops and, unlike yesterday’s near-meltdown, I feel mentally stronger, haven’t felt hungry and (thankfully) have been in a great mood – my ‘juice high day’ as the daily tips describe it. With brighter, blemish-free skin, I manage to leave the house wearing only tinted moisturiser and a coat of mascara – a rare occurrence thanks to my increased confidence – and my partner notices my fresher look.
I’m so thrilled by the clarity and smoothness of my skin, I gawp at both my cheeks, struggling to recall the last time I washed my face without feeling at least one sore pimple. Despite the wind outside, I lace up my trainers and set off on a run to get some fresh air. My body feels light and energised and I feel upbeat and happy all day. Having eliminated artificial stimulants and processed foods from my diet for a week it is amazing how much I appreciate the flavours in each nutrient-rich sip.As the cleanse comes to an end, I am proud of myself for demonstrating impressive willpower despite some challenging moments. I feel a sense of achievement from having made it through the full programme and begin envisaging the foods I’m going to enjoy as I enter a new week.