juicesHere’s the good news on a juice cleanse: you will not be hungry. Well, I’m going to amend that later on in the post. But in terms of physically getting enough calories, you will feel satisfied, at least on the program I chose: Urban Remedy’s 3 day juice cleanse. The juices range from 100 calories to 320 and total up to 1070 for the day. Not a lot, but not starvation. Especially given that you will — or should — not be doing anything strenuous on those days. I made that mistake yesterday. Trust me on this. NO strenuous exercise the day of your fast. Even if it’s at the start of your fast. In fact, probably you should take it easy the day before as well.

Which brings me to my ambivalence about this juice cleanse thing. The good news is that I lost 3 pounds after the first day. (Relax, it’s got to be all water since the other revelation is that this fast makes you run to the bathroom every 20 minutes.) The bad news is that this weight loss came at the expense of being able to do much of anything, or much of anything very competently. In the course of my first two days, I did a 1-1/2 hour Crossfit session, negotiated a 2-hour plus drive from San Jose to Sonoma, harvested 10 lbs. of tomatoes from my garden and made ketchup, had meetings with two different subcontractors, ran a load of old wood to the dump and managed, at least according to my FitBit, to walk 10,000 steps each day. Clearly this was way too much activity as for most of it, I was struggling to keep concentration. At one meeting, I was actually babbling and had to be helped with my words. So I would say this is not something you could do on a workday.

The jury is still out on the last juice of the day which is really cashew milk with almond and cinnamon. It tastes vaguely of chalk, but on the plus side, you can almost chew it and it has the most calories.

The jury is still out on the last juice of the day which is really cashew milk with almond and cinnamon. It tastes vaguely of chalk, but on the plus side, you can almost chew it and it has the most calories.

To be fair, I suspect many of my symptoms may have been the detox from caffeine. And the juice cleanse does seem to be cleansing that right out of my body. Yesterday, I thought I would die from the headache and had to break down and get a small cup of coffee. Today, I felt great — at least as far as that killer caffeine headache went. So let’s give that point to the juice.

Here’s my problem. Last week, I did, within the space of five days, two CrossFit sessions and two 6 mile plus hikes. By my third CrossFit session yesterday, I was doing more reps of the exercises I’d been struggling through. No weight loss, but noticeable athletic improvement in a short time. So the dilemma is: do I want to drop pounds quickly or do I want to increase fitness fast? Because you certainly can’t do both. But then, I didn’t really get into this to lose weight, but more to jump start a recalibration of my eating. However, I can guess it’s going to take several days after the cleanse — when I’m supposed to be eating lightly — to get to the point where I can do any serious exercise. By which time, I may find I’ve lost the fitness gains I made last week.

So here are the details on that “you will not be hungry” promise. You won’t be hungry because of the juices. As I mentioned, you are taking in 1070 calories and the way the juices are numbered, you go to progressively higher calorie juices as the day goes on. Here’s what will make you hungry: staying in the same routines where you usually eat. For most of the past two days, I’ve been running around in Sonoma doing chores. Tonight, I thought I’d catch up on Sons of Anarchy and Hell on Wheels. The minute I sat down and flipped on the TV, I wanted wine, chips, a cheese plate and then another glass of wine. Turns out that’s my calorie trap. I finish my day, sit down to watch my favorite show and roll out the high calorie snacks and beverages. Okay, I didn’t need a high priced cleanse to figure that one out. But it’s interesting how Pavlovian my response is to this particular situation.

Heading into the home stretch, I’d say this cleanse was worth it. Once the caffeine headache was gone, I did notice various little aches and pains were, too. So let’s give that credit to the juice. The juices at Urban Remedy truly are delicious and all the ingredients are on the label, along with helpful descriptions of what each addresses. I think even with my poor juicing skills, I’d be able to replicate them. Also, I find that if I eat something salty, I crave salty foods. If I eat a fatty meal, I crave more fat. This has been a good recalibration.

Because believe it or not, at this point, all I’m craving is juice.