Editor's note: The Detox Diaries are back! After Carole completed the Benourished juice cleanse (detailed in Part 1, if you missed it), she bravely dived into cleanse #2...
During the window between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I took on the juice cleanse that started it all: BluePrintCleanse. Based out of New York, it's perhaps the best-known juice cleanse out there, as celebrities like Olivia Wilde, Blake Lively, and Jessica Szohr have all been spotted carrying BPC's signature bottles. Although the company has been around since 2007, they just started offering overnight shipping to Canada—so perfect timing for me to give this cleanse a go!
BluePrintCleanse offers three levels of juice cleanses (Renovation, Foundation and Excavation), each consisting of six 473mL bottles of juice per day. The length of the cleanses ranges from one to six days, but there’s the option to go even longer by ordering multiples (i.e. you can order three three-day cleanses for a total of nine days). Each cleansing level is slightly different in terms of the juices provided, with approximately 100 calories separating each level.
Currently, BPC ships across the U.S. and Canada, and your juices arrive sometime before 10:30am (however, if you live in a remote area, they may be delivered as late as 4:30pm). Mine showed up at 10am packed in an insulated plastic bag with reusable ice packets (there’s also the option to add a cooler bag to hold your daily allotment of juices). Although they're packed well to be kept cool, make sure to put the fresh and unpasteurized juices in the fridge immediately. For the same reason, you’ll be shipped three days’ worth of juice at a time depending how long you decide to cleanse.
Feeling brave, I took on their most difficult cleanse, the Excavation Cleanse, for three days. It focuses on juices that trigger detox and, um, elimination.
You get four Green Juices, one Spicy Lemonade and one Cashew Milk every day. Three days prior to my start date (which happened to be Christmas), I received an email outlining how to begin preparing for my cleanse, including suggestions on types of foods I should begin to eliminate in order to ease into detox mode. It was a good reminder not to cram my face with food over the next few days!
I began on an optimistic note, as ever since I completed the Benourished cleanse, I was able to avoid the temptations that lurked at every turn (leftovers, boxes of peppermint bark on sale) and maintain sensible eating habits (like loading up on veggies). In addition to the pre-cleanse prep suggestions, I received instructions for the duration of the cleanse itself, including ideas for what to snack on if I were to cave in to solid foods at any given point. I managed to get through the day mainly enjoying the Green Juice (romaine, celery, cucumber, apple, spinach, kale, parsley, lemon, ginger), which has a low sugar content and helps to remove toxic debris from the kidneys and bladder. In between my first three green juices, I waited at least an hour and also consumed a minimum of one glass of water. (BPC doesn't give you set times for when you have to drink each juice—just the recommendation of spacing each one out by at least one hour, and consuming the last drink two hours before bedtime.) The flexibility with timing was a bonus, as my busy day often had me losing track of time.
It was about mid-afternoon (when I typically burn-out and crash) when I had the Spicy Lemonade (water, lemon, agave nectar, cayenne). It gave me a boost of energy, with the added benefit of helping detoxify my liver. It was also much easier to drink down and slightly more pleasing to the palate compared to similar drinks I’ve tried in the past—there weren’t any visible red specks of cayenne that I had to choke over!
For an early dinner, I had another Green Juice, and for part two later on in the evening, it was time for the Cashew Milk (water, cashew, agave nectar, vanilla bean, cinnamon). The hint of vanilla was delicious, and the trace amounts of B complex vitamins help regulate metabolism. I got through the day without feeling like I was depriving myself, so day one couldn’t have gone any better.
The just less than 1,000-calories-a-day ceiling began to hit a bit harder on this day. I took in the same juices at around the same times of day. By around 5pm, I found myself suffering from a bit of a headache—cured by going to bed early. One thing that was particularly difficult about drinking cold juices in the winter is that I began to really, REALLY want a hot meal, whether it was a pot pie, steaming bowl of stew or even a meager cup of broth. So instead of just drinking regular water, I began to drink hot water with a squeeze of lemon or herbal teas (which are allowed) more frequently.
I woke up feeling better from my headache the night before, but did feel a little sluggish and eager to drink up the same six juices again.
In my inbox was another email, reminding me that although the light at the end of the tunnel was shining brightly, a cheeseburger or mess of poutine should NOT be in the cards. Instead, I got tips on what to eat (mainly fruits and vegetables) for the next few days to ease into eating regular foods again. The day, and thus the cleanse, went by without me cheating or caving into temptation. (Hooray!) What followed, easing into eating, was slightly more difficult, as I did want to have some dairy and lean meat right away. Thankfully I managed to abstain for fear of shocking my digestive system.
Despite the low calorie count of the Excavation Cleanse, I found it manageable for three days without feeling hungry. I didn’t feel bored with the same six juices either; rather, I got into a rhythm, becoming used to the routine of the juices. By the end of it, I did find myself actually craving—yes, craving!—a green juice and missed not having to think or plan what I had to eat next. It really does make a difference to phase out of certain things like caffeine, meat and dairy for an extreme cleanse like this one, so that you don’t go through a sudden sensation of withdrawal. BPC also recommends doing a colonic (!) during the cleanse to get rid of those toxins that may be lingering in your system if you haven’t been able to go to the bathroom. I skipped that as I *ahem* was able to remain “regular” during the three days.
The emails were also super encouraging, as they helped me feel prepared and in control of the cleanse, instead of like all the restrictions would be dictating three days of my life. I certainly would not recommend the Excavation level for the novice cleanser, but for those who have tried juice cleansing before and are looking to take it a step further, it's a good challenge. For the newbie, there’s the Renovation level, with a wider variety of juices, and for someone between, there’s the Foundation level.
All three types of juice cleanses start at $85 per day and include shipping across Canada (plans containing nuts include an additional $16 surcharge due to Canadian regulations). For more details, visit blueprintcleanse.com. And stay tuned for a third, and final, cleanse next week!
Carole Park is a Toronto-based freelance writer and beauty editor at FrontRowMag.com. She has contributed to TorontoLife.com, The Globe and Mail, BlackBookMag.com, ElleCanada.com, FASHION, Lush, Argyle and Strut. Follow her on Twitter: @carolepark.
Would you ever try this cleanse?
Do you think consuming under 1,000 calories per day for three days is too extreme?
Are you a fan of green juice?