That Time I Sort of Tried a Juice Cleanse

Have you guys been hearing about juice cleanses? Supposedly they reprogram your body so that you don’t crave bad things, you lose weight, your skin looks luminous and movie stars are suddenly knocking at your door for dates.

At least, that’s what I hear.

When I started looking into different pre-packaged cleanses out there I was SHOCKED at the prices. I mean, there is NO way I’m paying $200 to NOT eat for three days. Just saying.

Also, I know you can buy a juicer and a ton of veggies and make your own juices, but the start-up costs for that option are pretty high as well. Especially if you’re not sure if you’re going to like it.

I really wanted to try a juice cleanse though. My veggie intake has been kind of low lately and I really wanted some kind of 3-day quickie program to kick my butt back into eating healthier again. Also, I was curious whether I’d be able to stick with a juice program for three whole days.

I ended up picking up the Suja Essentials 3 day Fresh Start cleanse because it’s a Costco Exclusive that runs about $30. That’s more in my price range! Suja includes a meal plan with recipes and quicker grab-and-go meals to go with the program. Here’s their promise: At the end of the Suja Essentials 3 Day Fresh Start you will feel recharged, restored and renewed in your healthy habits. SOLD.

Suja Essentials 3 day Fresh Start juice cleanse review - Pocketful of Joules

So, how did it go?
First, let’s talk about the three juices and how I thought they tasted:

Spicy Lemon: water, maple syrup, lemon and cayenne.
The Spicy Lemon is the first juice you drink as your ‘breakfast’ juice, which will be followed by your light meal about 30 minutes later. For some reason I expected the Spicy Lemon to taste like lemonade. I have no idea why, because lemonade is pretty much all sugar and this has NO sugar in it. It actually doesn’t taste like lemonade at all, more like a glass of water with some fresh squeezed lemons and a kick of cayenne pepper at the end. It sounds weird to mix lemon with cayenne, but I really liked this one and it totally grew on me over the three days. If I saw this in the store, I’d probably grab it up to drink again.

Green Greatness: apple, celery, cucumber, kale, collard greens, lemon juice, peppermint tea, spearmint tea, spinach, ginger, spirulina, chlorella, barley grass & alfalfa grass.
The Green Greatness is the ‘lunch’ juice, which will be followed by the light lunch meal about 30 minutes later. I was most scared of this juice because it’s GREEN… but I was cautiously optimistic because I like vegetables.

Upon opening my first bottle, I leaned in to smell the juice and it smelled like grass. ACTUAL grass that someone has cut in your yard. I took a sip and immediately thought, “oh it’s not too bad… kinda lemony?” Then the aftertaste set in. OH HOLY HELL, what IS this?! It tastes like… um, is YUCK a taste? It tastes like YUCK! The first day I choked it down straight and couldn’t even FATHEM doing that the second day. The only way I got through the next two servings of Green Greatness is by gulping it down quickly and as soon as I stopped drinking I’d bite into a cheese stick. Would I buy this again? HELL to the NO.

Vanilla Nutz: water, banana, coconut, almonds, honey, cinnamon, vanilla and allspice.
The Vanilla Nutz is the last of the juices and you drink it about 30 minutes before you have your dinner. After the disgusting mess that was Green Greatness, I was expecting this to taste like a freaking milkshake. I mean, it’s white and creamy like a watery milkshake… but it doesn’t taste like one. It was pretty good though and to my taste buds it’s like a nutty banana milk. Maybe a little gritty afterwards because of the crushed almonds. I enjoyed the taste and thought it was nice and filling. I really liked having it at the end of each workday when I was starting to get hungry. With lunch around noon and dinner around 7:00, there’s quite a long time between meals, so having this around 5:00 worked out great. I would absolutely drink this again and may grab a few to keep on hand for that end-of-day slump.

Did I stick with the plan?
Kind of.

If you’re interested in checking out the provided meal plan, you can see it here. I followed it kind of loosely…

Day 1
What I drank/ate: Spicy Lemon juice, instant oatmeal, Green Greatness juice, banana and 1 ½ tablespoons of peanut butter, Vanilla Nutz juice, random Let’s Dish samples, chicken breast, green beans, water.

I wasn’t hungry at all the first day because the juices and the mini meals were spread out throughout the day. I ended up having the Vanilla Nutz drink around 4:30pm and then had to run up the road to do a session at Let’s Dish with a girlfriend. I ate some random samples there and then came home to have my dinner around 7:30pm. So, I didn’t stick with the exact schedule and diet, but I was pretty close.

How I felt: I felt okay through the day, besides having to pee about a dozen times. Other than that, there was no crazy bathroom stuff happening (Katie says people are wondering whether my stomach exploded and I can tell you that it did not). After my healthy dinner of chicken, green beans and water, I had a TERRIBLE headache. I don’t know if I can attribute it to the juicing though, because I ate a relatively normal dinner. I’m guessing it had to do with my lack of caffeine all day long, since I skipped my morning coffee, any sodas, and any chocolate.

Day 2
What I drank/ate: Homemade coffee with milk and sugar, Spicy Lemon juice, greek yogurt, Green Greatness juice, cheese stick, salad with lots of healthy stuff, 3 mini dark chocolate Hershey bars, Vanilla Nutz juice, chicken breast, green beans, water, a handful of candy corn.

I decided not to skip my coffee for the second day because I had to wake up at 5:45am for work AND didn’t want to have to fight a headache or tiredness. It was a bit harder sticking with the diet because I was at our office that has lots of temptations (mainly chocolate). I also treated myself with candy corn at the end of the day, which I’m guessing is not part of a normal person’s cleanse.

How I felt: No headaches today, so that was a total improvement. I did feel a bit bloated in the afternoon and evening though. Bathroom stuff was still totally fine and normal, nothing to see here.

Day 3
What I drank/ate: Homemade coffee with milk and sugar, Spicy Lemon juice, Green Greatness juice, cheese stick, salad with lots of healthy stuff, greek yogurt, Vanilla Nutz juice, salmon, mushrooms, homemade mac & cheese, water, handful of candy corn.

I accidentally skipped my yogurt breakfast on the third day because I was super busy and by time I noticed I forgot to have it, it was time for lunch. Of course, my lunch salad totally sucked… so I had my yogurt in the afternoon to hold me over until Vanilla Nutz time. While I was a bit sad that it was the last day of my cleanse, I was NOT sad that it was the last time I’d EVER have to drink a Green Greatness juice. You would think I’d get used to the flavor, but every gulp was a testament to the willpower to GET ‘ER DONE.

How I felt: No headaches today either, so I’m guessing it was just a caffeine withdrawal thing. Besides having to go back and forth to the bathroom to pee all the livelong day (does that count as cardio?), I felt totally normal. No bloating, even though I was wearing a slim-ish pencil skirt.

So, what did I think?
Returning back to the Suja promise, do I feel “recharged, restored and renewed” in my healthy habits? Um… kinda. I mean, I was eating like total crap before the cleanse and then ate REALLY well during the cleanse (just ignore the candy corn consumption…), it was like my system went from one extreme to another. I’m hoping that now I can recalibrate back to ‘normal’ and eat mostly healthy with a little crap thrown in there for funsies.

To be honest, I NEVER want to be the kind of person who ONLY eats healthy stuff, or who has to choke down her vegetables (juiced or otherwise). Eating is a fun and pleasurable thing for me, which I feel is the way it should be.

As I’m sure you’re curious – because I totally am when I read other peoples cleanse reviews – I did lose 2 pounds. However, I typically fluctuate a couple pounds throughout the week and I’m pretty sure that ANYONE would lose a little bit of weight when you do a low calorie diet for a few days.

I actually rather enjoyed this cleanse. Two of the three drinks were pretty darn tasty and it certainly tested my willpower to see if I could stick with it for three days. Three days was also a nice, short doable period of time to stick with light meals and salads. You know, as long as there is candy corn. I honestly don’t know if I could have done a full juice cleanse for three days (with no solid food) and I guess I never will because I’m too cheap to spend the money to do it!

I really liked having a low calorie, yet nutritious drink to have at the end of the day to keep me from overeating at dinnertime. The Vanilla Nutz was really good, but I’d like to try a few other flavors to switch it up a bit. Apparently Suja just came out with a seasonal flavor called “Call me Pumpkin” that sounds super yummy. I’d also like to try a few different veggie-based juices to see if I can find something similar to Green Greatness that tastes better.

Have you ever done a juice cleanse? If so, what did you think? Did I answer all of your juicing questions? If not, what do you want to know?


(This post is not sponsored. I paid for the Suja juices with my own money and all thoughts and opinions are my own).

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12 thoughts on “That Time I Sort of Tried a Juice Cleanse”

  1. You can also make a morning protein shake with chocolate protein powder, frozen banana, scoop of peanut butter, and vanilla or chocolate almond milk and it tastes like dessert or you can do that for lunch. My magic bullet wasnt that expensive and it saves me a lot of money and only takes a couple minutes! I also make smoothies after runs with frozen strawberries, frozen kale, greek yogurt, milk, and sometimes other frozen fruit. They’re so delicious and probably just as healthy and better tasting than juices.

    1. Sounds yummy! I’ve done smoothies for breakfast before, but prefer to have either greek yogurt or wheat frozen waffles. I really want to find a good grab-and-go alternative for the end of the day because I won’t have access to blending equipment on days that I’m working from the office. =)

  2. THANK YOU for doing a REAL review of a cleanse. People always try to tell me the juices taste good and I just knew those green ones didn’t. One time, I put almond milk, frozen berries, and kale into a blender (thanks, Pinterest) and tried to drink that. Yuck. I want to play with it more, but that just didn’t do it for me.

    Katie is right – I WAS wondering about your stomach exploding, so thanks for telling us you were fine in the bathroom.

    Do you feel like you could have worked out while on this cleanse? I don’t know how people have the energy to do that on such a low-calorie plan.

    1. According to my friend who is an awesome juicer chick, there is a big difference between blending the stuff together and using an actual juicer. Maybe that’s why your mix didn’t work out?

      Yes, I feel like I could have easily worked out during the cleanse — at no point did I feel super hungry or weak at all.

  3. I’ve actually done a 6 day and a 3 day all juice cleanse with the help of a friend that’s a naturopath His insights helped me pick which company to use. A few things that I learned may impact decisions if you decide to try again.

    1. The point of doing all juice is that when your body doesn’t have to focus on digesting fiber, it can absorb nutrients immediately and push to your cells in order to heal. Juice only is insta-vitamins so your body can focus energy on healing vs digesting. By even having 1 meal a day, you’re losing a bit of those benefits.

    2. To get the benefits your juices should be:
    – unpasturized because the process kills the enzymes in the veggies,
    – in glass (not plastic, plastic may be cheaper and easier to transport but the nutrients are more stable in glass)
    – consumed within 24 hours of production. After 24-48 hours you’ve basically lost the majority of the vitamins

    Proper juice cleanses are very very expensive and can easily cost $100+ a day. The one I decided on was a service that was delivered to my house daily. They also did an intense survey and medical background to cater the program to my specific needs. I picked that option because I figured if I was going to be hungry and grumpy I may as well get the full benefit and that meant getting the most nutrients and health impact as possible. As well as drinking juices that were specific to my needs. For me anything less than that and it’s a waste of time and money.

    I think the cleanse you did is a good intro to juicing because it wasn’t super strict but that you didn’t get as many benefits as you could have from another program. A good juice program and you can see drastic changes. I wish it was as easy as just drinking a lot of veggie juice but once you dig into the science of it, certain veggies deal with your liver or kidneys or digestive system to detox certain things from your system.

    Here’s a good example….I have super dry sometimes red/irritated skin. I’ve always treated it as a surface condition like I just have sensitive skin right? Apparently dry irritated skin can be a result of a liver imbalance. How do you detox your liver? Beets, cilantro and dandelion greens. And that’s what they put in my juices. No joke, I woke up on day 3 of the 6 day cleanse with basically a different body because all of my dry skin was GONE. Done right, any kind of detox can change your life drastically.

    Food for thought….or juice for thought.

    1. Wow, thanks for all that information! I can certainly see the benefits of doing a full juice cleanse (as you outlined), but unfortunately they do tend to be quite expensive. Obviously you get what you pay for, but it just isn’t in my budget.

      1. I did a solid month of research and talked to a Naturopath. They can be very beneficial but yeah, expensive. My 6 day one cost me just over $600 and it was a pay for 5, get an extra day free kinda deal so to pay for 6 days outright would have been expensive. But for me it was worth the benefits and worth it to find out what foods I needed and what foods I needed to avoid.

  4. just to note – the lemonade actually has more than 20g of sugar in it, in the form of maple syrup (the second most ingredient!) in fact, the three drinks have over 60 grams of sugar per day, almost 3 times the recommended amount!

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