My Liquid Diet: The Finish Line

I am now at the end of day three. Today was much easier than I thought it would be. Day two seemed to be kind of a transition between solid foods and liquids. I think my body had some time there when it was right in between the two and a bit confused—that’s why I felt such malaise yesterday. But when I woke up this morning I felt fine, energized even. And that lasted for most of the day, until late afternoon when I started to wear down. After coming home and having my final two juices of the day, I’m still feeling pretty good. Definitely ready for bed though.

Overall, this has been a great experience. I’m really glad I kept going after hitting the wall yesterday. After three days I feel really good and I’m down, I think, about eight pounds. One thing is for sure though: I cannot wait to put solid food into my body again. i didn’t miss it at all today. But now, late at night, I’m starting to feel pangs of hunger in my stomach and I’m craving something solid. Another reason is because, despite how healthy I feel after this cleanse, it did some weird things to my insides. Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that what goes in is what comes out. And I’ll be happy to take in some solids again. That’s one weird downside to the last three days. The only one, really. I feel healthier and happier after going through this.

If you’re considering a juice cleanse, I really encourage you to try it. There are bumps in the road along the way, but the payoff is well worth it. So, do some research—I’m including my recipes below—and prepare yourself mentally for a few days, and then go for it. You’ll be glad you did when it’s over.

RECIPES:

Ginger-Lemon Cleanse
Ingredients:
1-inch slice Fresh Ginger Root
1 Fresh Lemon
6 Carrots with tops
Apple
Water

Skin Cleanser
Ingredients:
1 Cucumber with skin
1/2 bunch Fresh Parsley
1 4-oz. tub Alfalfa Sprouts
4 Sprigs Fresh Mint
Water

Blood Builder (Iron Rich)
Ingredients:
2 bunches Grapes
6 Oranges
8 Lemons peeled
1/4 cup Agave Nectar
Water

Healing Juice
Ingredients:
3-4 Carrots
125g Fresh Spinach
Handful of Flat Leaf Parsley
2-3 Sticks of Celery
Water

Mean Green Juice (from the film, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead)
Ingredients:
6 Kale Leaves
1 Cucumber
4 Celery Stalks
2 Green Apples
1/2 Lemon
1 piece of ginger

Hawaiian Sunrise
Ingredients:
6 Oranges
1/2 Pineapple
2 Lemons peeled
Water

Master Cleanse
Ingredients:
8 Lemons peeled
6 Limes peeled
1/4 cup Agave Nectar
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
Water

 
 

My Liquid Diet: Day Two

Today wasn’t as easy as yesterday was. I felt pretty worn out early in the day and nearly fell asleep on the train this morning. Of course, this could be from foolishly thinking that running last night was a good idea. Or it could be because our noisy neighbors woke me up at 3AM with their loud, drunken nonsense (Though despite their noise, I had a very restful sleep, I think, because of the cleanse. We’ll see if tonight is just as good). But I think the cleanse had something to do with it too.

After having two of my morning juices, I felt slightly better. But by the afternoon, it seemed like I was in a weird haze where I couldn’t really think clearly. This resulted in not being able to properly communicate when I needed to. Luckily, I don’t talk to anyone for most of the day. And my energy was incredibly low—almost to the point where I fell over at Barnes & Noble on my lunch break. It was then that I considered turning this into a two-day cleanse.

My girlfriend got out of work early, which I consider to be some sort of sign from above, because she is doing the cleanse too, and being able to ride the train home with her really gave me the comradery that I needed to keep going.

At home, we had our final juice of the day, along with some vegetable broth. This put a little bit of spring back into my step, and any doubt I had about toughing it out through tomorrow is now gone. I spent the evening replenishing our juices for tomorrow (As tough as it is to do a juice cleanse, it’s even harder to actually prep all the fruits and vegetables and actually do the juicing. It almost makes paying three times the cost worthwhile the next time around.), and now I have to call it a night and we’ll see what tomorrow morning holds.

Current juice levels:

 
 

My Liquid Diet

No, this isn’t the Mad Men liquid diet of only brown liquor. I recently decided to do a three-day juice cleanse. One reason is to lose weight for some upcoming events I have to attend where I’ll need to wear a suit and would prefer not to be bloated and gross. And the other reason is just to do some spring cleaning. It feels like a good time to detoxify and start fresh for the warm months. I’ve tried the Master Cleanse before, but quickly gave up on it. It wasn’t that it didn’t do what it was supposed to do, but I think I just need more ingredients in my juice to sustain for more than one day. I’d looked into a few professional cleanses around NYC—the Blue Print Cleanse, Organic Avenue, Terri (one of my favorite vegan go-to places for lunch)—and they were all out of my price range, coming it at between $65-$75 per day. So after doing a good deal of research, I found (or, compiled, really) a plan that seems to achieve a lot of what those other cleanses do. And at a fraction of the cost. To buy all the vegetables I needed I only spent about $60 (and this is for two people, as my girlfriend is also doing the cleanse with me. So I really only spent about $30). I’d love to be able to afford one of those other cleanses so I don’t have to do all the actual juicing myself—but I think most of the ingredients are very comparable and will provide everything I need.

My regimen consists of six juice concoctions throughout the day. One every three or four hours. They mostly consist of things like lemons, kale, celery, cucumbers, and limes. But full recipes will come later. Thank god my parents gave me a juicer for Christmas several years ago. I will post the full recipes after day three, when I have time to gather them up.

Now, onto the cleanse:

 
 

DAY ONE

This one was a breeze, I’m guessing, because my body was still living off the nutrients from the solid food I’d eaten in previous days. This was yesterday and I had no problems at all. I was energetic and clear all day long. I even went for a half-hour run in the evening. It wasn’t until later at night that I started to get a bit hungry. But then I went to bed and it didn’t really bother me anyway. I also lost 2-3 pound of what I assume is pure water weight.

 
 

I’m (Going to Be) A Runner

One of the items on my bucket list (yes, I actually have one) is to run a marathon. I think a lot of people aspire to do this. My girlfriend asked me why I think running a marathon is such a benchmark for people, and my guess is that it’s because the marathon is a running pinnacle. There are triathlons, decathlons and all that, but when it comes to just running, it seems like the marathon is a recognizable benchmark and a reasonable goal. When you’re not a runner, this is what you strive for.

To me, though, it’s a little more. I haven’t been a runner up until now not because I didn’t want to be–it’s because I couldn’t be. My whole life I’ve had terrible asthma. I’ve been hospitalized because of it; I’ve refrained from participating in sports because of it; I’ve even avoided leaving the house in winter because of it. As a teenager I tried to fight this. With the proper medication–shots, pills, inhalers–I was able to stay active, and did a lot of things like skateboard and play basketball. Then, as I got older and started moving around to different cities, I got lazier and the strength I had built up in my lungs slowly went away. I didn’t pay much attention until I started to gain weight and just feel awful about myself. It was basically my metabolism slowing down and my age catching up to me.

When I realized what was happening to me, I started to get very concerned about my health. I began a regimen of yoga and adopted a plant-based diet and felt a little bit better. But what I was hoping to get from yoga didn’t really come. As much as I was trying to do it for my physical health, I was also hoping to find a bit of spiritual health. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t stick with it long enough or if it’s because I did it on my own without a teacher or a class, but it just wasn’t doing the trick. The diet, however, is amazing and it is how I’ll live for the rest of my life. But I needed to find a replacement for the yoga.

Really heavy physical activity was out of the question. I didn’t have health insurance, so I wasn’t able to get the preventative and rescue inhalers I needed to make intensive exercising an actual possibility. Recently, that changed though. I now have health insurance and am able to get the meds I need in order to live a relatively normal life again. And, thank goodness, exercise.

Back when I was younger and more active, I ran fairly regularly. And I’ve been thinking about it a lot for the past year or so. And lately I feel like I’ve seen some signs that are telling me it’s time to do it.

Several people I know are runners, and while I don’t talk to them about it, it’s in my peripheral and I’ve been paying attention. I also got a copy of Haruki Murikami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (which includes a beautiful cover by the great John Gall), which is next on my list to read. I figure if anyone can write a book about running that I would really enjoy, it’d be him. I also found two videos last night at the Runners World website, where two people who I really admire as creatives–musicians in both cases–discuss their lives as runners: Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers. Flea, in particular, said something that really struck me; he said that he believes our bodies are built to run, and it’s crazy to not use your bodies as they were meant to be used. I found that to be incredibly thought-provoking. Ben Gibbard discussed how his body was so resistant to his starting to run. That, too, was very interesting to me, but mostly because it frightens me as someone who is about to go through the same things. Hearing these guys discuss running also gives me some kind of false hope that it’ll help me creatively, too. The videos are below:

So with all of these things pointing toward going for it, I’ve decided to become a runner. But it’s not as easy as just hitting the pavement. I need to learn some lung-strengthening exercises, and I’ve discovered a fantastic two-month program that eases you into it. By the end of the month, I should be able to run two miles with ease. I love the idea of that. I plan to start in two weeks, and I’m hoping the weather will be a little warmer by then. Cold air is the enemy of the asthmatic.

I’m very excited about this. I feel like even just starting is a huge step forward for me. I doubt I’ll be ready for a marathon any time soon, but if I can run for a half hour without stopping to worry about dropping dead from an inability to breathe, I’ll be just as happy as if I were running the New York Marathon.

Are any readers out there runners? I’d love to hear about how it affects your life and what you get out of it.