As a journalista, I often have to go where the hard-hitting story is. I make sacrifices, sure, in order to deliver the news about shoe trends and hot new books, but it’s all worth it in the end when I see the effects my reporting has on the public.
Which is why I tried a 3-day juice cleanse at Andy’s Pure Food.
I did it for you.
Well, I did it for you and me. I’ve always been curious about what a juice cleanse entails – will it make me sick? Will it make me skinny? Will it make me healthy? All of the above? And when Onur Ozkoc, the general manager of Andy’s in The Golden Horseshoe in Scarsdale offered to let me try it for free, I decided now was the perfect time.
Andy’s (also located in Rye and Larchmont) offers two types of 3-day cleanses, a synergy cleanse, which includes a salad and a soup in the middle of the day for beginners, and a pure juice cleanse, for those of you who can handle 72 chewless hours. Each costs $150. Onur took one look at me and decided I was a beginner. Yay, me! I got to eat soup!
Onur explained the benefits of a juice cleanse before I started, noting that all cleanses could be customized to the needs, likes, or dislikes of the participant. He said that if you eat a lot of foods that are hard to digest, like bread and steak, your body struggles through a long digestive process and uses up its energy.
All I eat are bread and steak, I thought. My body must be exhausted.
He said that, after the juice cleanse, I would feel really fantastic. He said that I would see the difference and love the feeling. Benefits include better sleep habits, more energy upon waking, glowing skin with renewed cells, weight loss, reduced allergic reactions, and, hopefully, improved eating habits moving forward. Onur explained that the cleanse makes people really conscious of what they put into their bodies.
“Coffee?” I asked. “Just one teensy, weensy cup in the morning?”
Onur shook his head sadly at me, the beginner. No toxins. No caffeine. Only water as a supplement. He looked extremely serious.
“But won’t I get a headache if I don’t drink my coffee?”
Yes!” he said. “You will!”
But I don’t like getting headaches, I thought with my headache-free head. How would I write? How would I exercise? How on earth would I drive to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, teach first graders about paintings for the Learning to Look program at our elementary school, and drive back home again…without caffeine?
Since coffee is a part of my personal brand, I decided to ignore this rule. My decision was based on a few things. I wasn’t going into this juice cleanse experiment to try and kick caffeine, for one. I only drink 2 cups a day, which is a marked improvement over the days when I drank 3-4 cups a day and smoked a pack of cigarettes to wash the coffee down. Compared to the me of 1995, I am already really healthy. Secondly, why struggle through 3 days without coffee knowing full well that I was definitely going to return to it right after the experiment was through?
I did not tell Onur about the coffee. But, knowing that I had to draw the line somewhere to really try and do my best within reason, I did give up wine for a week without a problem.
Which is why, the night before the cleanse began, I drank a lot of wine.
“Aren’t you starting that cleanse tomorrow?” My husband, Brett asked, giving me a sideways glance as I refilled my sauvignon blanc.
“Yes, which is why I thought it only fair to give my body some toxins to get rid of.”
Upon waking, I was supposed to drink the water out of a coconut. I imagined that Brett would materialize by my side like a nurse-maid, puncture the top of the coconut with a straw, and hand it to me before I had even sat up in bed. This did not occur. Instead, I walked around the house in my pajamas with a giant coconut in my hands, making beds, picking out the kids’ clothes for them, and packing snacks and lunches. The coconut does not fit into the cup holder in my SUV and that is why one must have it first thing, before leaving the house. I know this because I tried to drink from a coconut while driving my car. See picture.
Thumbs up on the coconut water. It is muy delicious. If I had put a paper umbrella in it and closed my eyes, I could have almost believed it was a tropical cocktail and that I could wear a bikini, which I haven’t done since 1989.
By the time I got to spin class at 10:30, I had already ingested the water from the coconut, a cup of coffee, and an entire green juice. I had to pee so badly during the last 5 minutes of spin class that my mind was hurting from the sheer force of mind-over-body control.
At 1:00, I ate my soup. Yummy. At 3:00, I ate my salad. Fine. And then I looked at the schedule and realized that all I had left for the rest of the day was one bottle of nut milk, to be ingested between 6-8 pm. THAT’S IT?! I thought. It was the hardest part of the day. I recalled that Onur had mentioned adding an extra, optional “meal” of steamed veggies and quinoa between 5-7, but I did not end up with that option. If you do this cleanse, ask for that, at least for the first day or two. It will help with the depression that sets in when everyone else is eating dinner and you are not.
As I made dinner for the kids and cleaned up afterwards, I realized that, many times, I was about to put something in my mouth. I became conscious of how much snacking/nibbling/grazing I do, and how those calories probably add up without me even considering that part of my food intake.
Thought I might wake up very skinny. Did not.
Put the straw in the coconut and repeated.
Headed with friends into NYC to chaperone and teach first grade class trip. Sipped juice on the way there and the way back. My friend who did not have time to eat anything but a banana had a headache by the time we got back at 2:00. I felt fine.
“It’s the electrolytes in my 10:30 lemonade!” I said. She went home to use her Vitamix to make healthy and yummy juices and soups from raw fruits and veggies.
By the end of day 2, I recognized a shift in my mindset. I realized that I usually eat for pleasure. In the case of the juice cleanse, I was eating for sustenance. Instead of a person, I felt like a car getting gassed up to drive. Food had shifted into fuel that my body needed to survive. This realization felt simultaneously liberating and sad.
Why sad? Because I like food. Okay, I LOVE food. Food is fun. Food is social. Food tastes great. Juices are fine for once in a while, but they are not a lifestyle. I like the thought of being healthier, and I did feel much less bloated and lighter as the days went on. BUT.
But even if my body felt lighter, my mind felt heavy. There is a burden that comes with thinking about and controlling everything that enters one’s body. Is it okay to eat this carb? Is it a toxin? Will this salty food make me bloated? Should I eliminate dairy completely? I understand that many people probably live this way, but I don’t want to. I like the idea of being more mindful of my choices and decisions throughout the day, but I don’t want to lose the joy that I find to be an integral part of eating. And I don’t ever want to think, “Oh, when I eat this, I’m being bad.” I don’t want my children to see me starve myself, either.
I know that the Andy’s focus is on improved habits and a cleaner, pure-food lifestyle, and I think that’s great. All in all, I enjoyed the experience and did not ever feel sick or have a headache (hmm…caffeine, anyone?). By day 3, I needed to eat for social reasons again, and so I skipped the salad given to me by Andy’s in favor of having lunch with some friends after taking an exercise class together. I ate a salad with lots of veggies on it, and I enjoyed it very much because I was laughing and chatting and chewing.
To conclude: I have since been off the cleanse for about 5 days, and have lost 3 pounds total. I have really cut down on dairy, have not eaten bread, and selected salmon instead of steak at a restaurant on Saturday night…with a glass of sauvignon blanc, naturally.
Want to get juiced?
Andy’s Pure Foods1096 Wilmot Rd, Scarsdale
46 Purchase Street, Rye
130 Chatsworth Ave, Larchmont
110 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains
Columnist and blogger Julie Gerstenblatt writes with humor and candor about her life in Scarsdale, her friends and family, and the particular demands of motherhood and wifedom in modern-day suburbia.