So I’ve mentioned that I have quite the magazine habit. In Style, Lucky, Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar…I get them all. I look at the pretty pictures, and when I can, I read the articles. Usually they’re about how to style your hair or prevent split ends or achieve a smoky eye in less than two minutes. However, sometime last winter all the fashion magazines started extolling the virtues of expensive juice fasts and liquid detoxes and waxing enraptured about the wonders of a week without actual food.
Almost immediately this got in my head, and hung on like a dog with a bone. The next thing you know, I’ve plunked down a couple hundred in herbs, tinctures, and organic fruits and vegetables – the poor man’s juice fast. The ones I’d read about magazines involved going to a spa where they prepare everything for you or a delivery service where everything was pre-made and brought to your door. Not so much with my budget effort. It was labor intensive food deprivation. Kind of like a concentration camp you set up for yourself.
Anyway, the idea behind a juice cleanse is that it will help your body purge the toxins you build up in your system during the course of your everyday life. Someone had suggested that the fact that my pee smells like coffee after I drink coffee (apologies, as I know that’s TMI) is because my liver wasn’t working up to speed. This may or may not have any basis in reality, but it got me thinking that maybe my body was crying out for an opportunity to purge itself of all kinds of horribleness? And I started to feel for my poor liver and overstressed kidneys and ravaged colon, and a week of juice seemed like the least I could do.
There are all kinds of cleanses, but for reasons I can’t quite recall, I decided to go with “The Herb Doc” – Dr. Schulze’s American Botanical Pharmacy. I think this was in large part because I suspected I went to college with and was once quite friendly with his son, but that’s a long story for another day.
Anyway, and perhaps not surprisingly, I decided to do the liver cleanse, which took five days. They recommended doing it from Monday through Friday so that you were less likely to goof it up while at home or with friends over the weekend. Although probably sound advice, I was working from home at the time, and this turned out to be the longest five days of my life.
Right out of the gates, Dr. Schulze hits you over the head with what will be regarded until the day you die as, “The worst thing I ever drank.” It’s been almost a year, and I still regurgitate a little bit when I think about it. It’s called the Liver and Gallbladder flush, and you have a big foamy glass of the nastiness every morning. For the curious, I offer the recipe:
- 8 ounces of fresh apple and/or grape juice
- 8 ounces of Distilled Water
- 1-5 clove(s) of garlic (start with one and increase daily)
- 1-5 tablespoon(s) of organic virgin cold-pressed olive oil (start with one and increase daily )
- 1 small piece of fresh Ginger Root (about 1 inch long)
It’s bad. Baaad. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad.
There’s something about the combination of juice, raw garlic, and loads of oil that is so very, very wrong. I honestly think the ginger is in there to keep you from throwing up.
Anyway, if that weren’t horrible enough, fifteen minutes after you choke down this vile mixture, it’s time for your two dropperfuls of ‘Liver/Gallbladder Anti-Parasite tonic’. This I would put into grape juice to mask the flavor. It didn’t work. I’ve never drank poison, but I think I now know what it would taste like.
From there, you just juice it up. For breakfast you have fruit juice, and for lunch it’s diluted fresh raw vegetable juices, potassium broth (basically a boiled up drink made of stuff you would normally put into a compost bin) , and herb teas. For dinner, it’s back to fruit juice, and the sad lonely feeling that your vital organs are shriveling up.
Now in all fairness, I will admit that by Thursday I felt pretty freaking good. Kind of invigorated and energized, although maybe that was just an adrenaline rush caused by my body’s fear that I might starve to death? Regardless, in the strangest way, when Friday came around I almost wanted to keep going. Not with the gag-reflex invoking garlic oil drink, but with the juices and the teas and the ascetic lifestyle. It didn’t hurt that I’d lost a couple pounds in the process.
With Thanksgiving just days away, I can’t help but thinking about maintaining my girlish figure while knee-deep in food…and the detox came to mind. Nonetheless, although I still have enough tinctures and herbs and tea mixes left to repeat the detox this winter, I think I’ll just try to take it easy around the Christmas cookies, put down the glass of eggnog, and run a few extra miles each week. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll pig out and overindulge…just not so much so that the only way to recover involves drinking the liquified contents of a compost bin. Salud!