Thursday, May 13, 2010

BluePrintCleanse Running Diary

After high school I realized that my life turned from a well thought out schedule of activities and goals into a self propelled mess of avoiding responsibility that people refer to as college. Like any 18-23 year old, I pushed the limits of my new found freedom from the droll of suburban life and indulged in my inner sloth. I quickly arranged for my weekends to start on Thursday (by senior year they started on Tuesday) and eventually got through four years of what I called a never-ending spring break with a degree, amazing. Showing up for classes only when I needed to and cramming a semester’s worth of knowledge into one night of anxiety filled study session didn’t leave much time for me to visit the Student Rec Center or consult the Student Health Center about the debilitating effects of my life style choices.

One of the major drawbacks of the freedom from living under the thumb of your parents is your food source. I luckily grew up in a family where my mother made delicious home cooked meals every night of the week, but since my freshman year my eating habits have reflected what I saw Homer Simpson eating instead of the foods I grew up with. So when I told my mother that I was doing a BluePrintCleanse, and would have nothing but nutritional juices and no solid food for three days, she was appalled.

She said, “You don’t need a cleanse. What do you have to cleanse? And why don’t you answer my emails?”

The Josh she knew from infancy to 18, who grew up on three square meals a day consisting of all the levels of the food pyramid, probably didn’t need a cleanse. If she knew the crap that I have been gulfing down for the past five years, she might feel differently.

I am by no means an unhealthy person, and to be honest I don’t usually think about what I am eating. However, I love food and started eating before I could walk. My eating habits have led me to be very skeptical that my body will be able to survive three days without high fructose corn syrup or processed meat-like products.


If I had a choice I would probably never consider the cleanse on principle, and because it sounds terrifying. However, this cleanse is a part of my training for a recent part-time gig I got with BluePrintCleanse while trying to be a starving artists in New York City. I originally got the job so I could afford groceries, and now I can’t eat food for three days. Even though I am on the BluePrintCleanse payroll, my words have not been edited by them, and the story is of my true feelings and actual events. They don't pay me nearly enough to write this epic and not tell what really went down. I do admit the end does get a bit pitchy.

This story is just an excuse to steal a classic column idea from one of my favorite writers, Bill Simmons of ESPN, and write a running diary of my experience while on the BluePrintCleanse “Three Day Renovation Cleanse” for anyone who is considering a cleanse to have an idea of what to expect.

***End of Disclaimer***

So what am I cleansing? I’m cleansing: every Halloween where I would eat pounds of candy, chicken nugget eating contests at camp, finishing pints of Ben and Jerry’s in one sitting, Girl Scout cookie season, dorm food, Little Caesar’s Hot and Ready Pizza, tailgating, 4:00 AM munchies, Double Stuffed Oreos, hot dogs, gushers, meals enjoyed at restaurants that as a kid I called “Toxic Hell” “Wackdonalds” and “Bugger King”, and the copious amounts of alcohol that I have consumed, enjoyed and regretted the next morning. It was a great run of feeding myself with flavors without consequence but for the first time in my life I’m going to actually think about what I’m eating, and I’m going to bring you along for the ride. Enjoy.

Day 1

6:30 AM – 1st Juice, Green Juice, ingredients: Romaine, Celery, Cucumber, Green Apple, Spinach, Kale, Parsley, Lemon.

According to the BPC website ( this is the most important and most difficult to swallow juice in the cleanse. It smells kind of funky, but I slam it down and don’t mind the taste. Keeping in mind this isn’t supposed to be drinking Orange Crush or Gatorade, it could be a lot worse. The website makes it seem way worse than it really is.

I’m running a little late to work so I’m drinking on the subway. If there is anything that could use a cleanse, it is the subway system. This place is grimy.

6:42 AM – I just passed a group of pigeons eating a feral looking Shit McSandwich that must have been left out on the sidewalk from the night before. Right next to them are two other pigeons poking at a bunch of jalapeno peppers (at least it is a vegetable). These city birds just don’t care what they eat; I’ve seem them eat glass. This is an encouraging image for anyone who wants to start a juice cleanse. Juice is better than eating old burgers and jalapenos even if they aren’t off the sidewalk.

7:00 AM – I’m not hungry, but I feel tired. This may have something to do with watching sports till 2:00 AM and waking up at 6:00 AM. Or it could be my body wasting away because I haven’t had solid food for eight hours!

8:15 AM – I’m starting to get a craving for some eggs and bacon. My stomach isn’t empty, and I actually feel content. It is the knowledge that I can’t eat anything that makes me want it so much more.

9:15 AM – 1st pee of cleanse! It is normal.

9:58 AM – 2nd Juice, P.A.M. Juice, ingredients: Pineapple, Apple, Mint.

This juice is great. I would drink this everyday, all day if I could. It is refreshing and sweet. I also feel like it would be a good mixer for some cocktails maybe with some rum or a spin-off mojito. Yes, I am thinking about cocktails at 10 in the morning. Does this mean I have a drinking problem?

10:45 AM – This old man sitting across from me holding a bagel sandwich has passed out in the chair. The sandwich appears to have eggs, American cheese and bacon. Not that I have been staring at it for the past 15 minutes thinking of ways to sneak over and take a bite of his sandwich… It definitely has some bacon on it, and I’m sure I could sneak a bite out of his hand without him waking up. Serenity Now!

12:20 – 3rd Juice, Green Juice.

The cravings aren’t so bad as long as I stay busy. Although, I check my watch every 10 minutes to see when I can get my next juice. No headaches or tummy rumblings, which is what usually happen to me around this time.

1:50 – Home from work (part-time work has its perks) and time for a nap. Naps are part of my regular schedule since they are in style for freelance writers and bloggers. I don’t think it is the lack of food that is making me tired, but probably the four hours of sleep I got last night.

2:50 – I Just woke up an hour later for no real reason, but I do feel a little hungry. I made some green tea, since the website said it is good to have if you are in between juices and want something other than water.

3:10 – First BM of cleanse! I’m sorry to disappoint, but there is nothing exciting to report about it. I was actually looking forward to this BM more then I usually do because the Common Questions page on the BPC website has this doosie:

Q: What should I do if my stool is bloody?

A: Is it? Or did you just drink some of our beet juice?
A: If it is, consult a doctor.

I haven’t had the beet juice yet, although it looks like the best juice. I can’t be more excited to see what my poo looks like after. I’m sure you’re excited too!

3:30 – 4th Juice, Spicy Lemonade, ingredients: Filtered Water, Lemon, Agave Nectar, Cayenne.

This juice is just about as good as it sounds. You might think the Cayenne would ruin the lemonade, but it adds a nice kick.

Even though I am not hungry. I’ve become very aware that I am not hungry, even though I think I should be.

Also, I go pee every 30 minutes. I was planning on keeping track of everything that went into and out of my body, but now it seems superfluous. Trust me, I am going pee all the time. I don’t even understand where all this liquid is coming from. They aren’t short burst either. It is more like the peeing scene from Austin Powers. Don’t worry if anything comes out weird, I’ll be sure to let you know and consult my doctor.

4:00 – I expected to be lethargic during the cleanse and cleared my schedule of any activities that I could. Now, the problem is that the opposite is true. I have crazy energy with nothing to do. I just cleaned the house, walked to the park and shot some hoops. I even went to Bed Bath and Beyond. There was enough time (Old School reference, good? No? sorry).

7:00 – 5th Juice, C.A.M. juice, ingredients: Apple, Carrot, Beet, Lemon, Ginger.

Devastating! I have been intrigued by this juice since the moment I unpacked my cleanse. The dark red color of the beet juice makes it look like the syrup they put in snow cones so the ice cream man can charge $2.50 for crushed ice. This juice would make the worst snow cone ever. Also, all the juices so far have been delicious. I might have built this juice up too much. Between the Kool-Aid inspired color and the magic poo changing abilities, I couldn’t have been more excited for this juice. This is extra disappointing since it is 1/6 of my caloric intake for the day.

10:16 – 6th Juice, Cashew Milk, ingredients: Filtered Water, Raw Cashews, Agave Nectar, Vanilla Bean, Cinnamon.

This juice totally redeems the beet juice. It is delicious. I can’t control myself and chug the entire bottle. It tastes like a milkshake, and I stick my tongue in the bottle trying to lap up every last drop of it. I’m not even a little embarrassed.

12:01 AM – Day 1 is in the books, and I have survived. My tummy is fine, and I’m excited for Day 2. I’m not even missing fourth meal as much as I thought I would.

Day 2

8:00 AM – I just woke up with a head splitting migraine and my body aches all over. My toenails have fallen out and the tips of my fingers are black. I am grabbing patches of hair out of my head and there is a strange growth coming out of my back that looks alien! When I try to stand up my knees buckle and I fall to the floor. The room is spinning, and it feels like my stomach is attempting a coup on the rest of my body.

Just messing with you! I feel great, and actually look better than I normally do this early in the morning. I’m ready for some breakfast.

8:36 AM – 7th Juice, Green Juice.

The best part about the cleanse is that it takes away three of my most difficult decisions for the day: What am I going to eat today? What am I going to drink today? What alcohol am I going to binge drink tonight? I know exactly what I am having for the rest of my day and tomorrow. Also, it is refreshing to think about alcohol in the morning when I’m not hung over. There is a lot less dry heaving involved.

Not eating food is probably better than my normal eating habits. Everyone I talked to about wanting to do the juice cleanse always seemed shocked that I would do this and thought it was not a healthy decision. However, my normal eating habits usually involve skipping breakfast, eating some kind of fried chicken or brick sized burrito and drinking too much alcohol. That is about it. Waking up and drinking some green juice starts my day off much better than normal. Even though it has been over 24 hours since I chewed something.

10:11 AM – My co-workers at my second job (not juice related) have questions:

“Have you seriously not eaten anything since Sunday?”

“Are you hungry?”

“Seriously, you haven’t eaten anything since Sunday?”

“Are you crazy?”

“Do you want a cheeseburger?”

This has been the normal reaction from my friends and family, a lot of questions about my sanity. In fact when I heard about this juice cleanse phenomena; I too thought it was the silliest new trend. However, it does make sense, and the good people at BluePrintCleanse will preach the power of digestion, toxins, alkalizing ingredients and other nutritionist lingo, which I’m sure is great. For me though, it comes down to getting what my body doesn’t get enough of like veggies and vitamins and clearing out all the bad stuff like mozzarella sticks and tatter tots in the safest and most efficient way possible.

All the food I normally eat just gets broken down into mush anyway. So drinking calories just makes it that much easier on my stomach and gives my digestive track a rest. If I am going to get all of my food in liquid form then my body doesn’t need to work as hard to break down food. Therefore my body can use that extra energy on other things, such as dunking a basketball, improving my night vision, growing an extra inch (in height you sickos), or wooing a super model. Sadly, and surprisingly, none of these things have happened.

11:48 AM – 8th Juice, P.A.M. Juice.

12:49 - One of my colleagues just brought up some Thai food to the office, and another one is eating some tofu salad combo that looks amazing. I didn’t realize that it was bring delicious smelling food for lunch day at the office.

This is one of the stranger side effects of the cleanse. My sense of smell for foods is heightened and I seem to only pass by delicious smelling restaurants. Rather then hold my nose and run by, my pace slows, and I take giant sniffs as I pass. It is very masochistic.

Here is a list of my favorite smelling foods:

Thai, Italian, pancakes, bacon, Mexican, my grandma’s cooking, popcorn, fresh baked cookies, pizza, coffee, oranges, food karts, hot wings… at this point any food smells amazing.

Worst smelling foods:

Green juice.

3:33 – 9th Juice, Green Juice.

The website says it is fine to work out and do physical activities while on the cleanse. So I’m going to head to the gym and try to see how weak I have gotten at the halfway point. Usually, my gym routine involves:

-Taking smaller weights then I should because they are easier to lift

-Skipping sets because working out is boring

-Taking water breaks

-Making excuses to not do exercises I don’t like

-Heading to the sauna after about a half hour of wandering around

It’s probably better to take it easy anyway since I haven’t eaten since Sunday and passing out at the gym is frowned upon.

My favorite part of going to the gym is the sauna. Coming from Arizona, the dry heat reminds me of home. Even more so if only they could spray dust around, set up some slot machines with Native American themes, and have an officer check people for their immigration papers when they entered the sauna.

5:15 - 10th Juice, Spicy Lemonade.

Usually after the gym I am exhausted and need to eat some food immediately. I felt fine at the gym, had plenty of energy and wasn't light headed. Although I really took it easy. Most of the time was spent waiting for old ladies to finish with their weights to do a set or two at their level. BowFlex commercial here I come!

Now, instead of a slice of pizza, I slam down my spicy lemonade. It is not that I feel bad, but there is an overwhelming sense that my body is catching on that it is not going to get any food. This may be directly related to re-reading from the Common Questions that says:

Q: What are detox symptoms? Will I get them?

A: During a cleanse, the body is essentially tearing down all of the "bad stuff" and rebuilding with new material. To make room for that new material, the "bad stuff" needs to leave; how it makes its exit is your potential crisis. For example: when the body eliminates coffee, symptoms usually include headaches, nervousness, and shakiness. When protein, meats, and fats are eliminated, you may experience skin eruptions, foul body odor, or a coated tongue.

Lucky for you, we keep Healing Crises to a minimum; BluePrintCleanse is specifically designed to your type allowing for gradual elimination.

Only now do I notice that I do have a slight shake in my arms and hands and my teeth feel funny. I think I smell normal. I haven’t noticed any skin eruptions, but I’m on the look out for them. The detox symptoms aren’t painful and don’t stop me from doing anything I want to do. It is more just a weird sensation similar to getting off a roller coaster and feeling disoriented.

7:34 – 11th Juice, Beet Juice.

The beet juice is so disappointing; the only cool thing about the beet juice is the knowledge that the Cashew Milkshake is coming up next.

10:01 – 12th Juice, Cashew Milk.

I really can’t get enough of this Cashew Milk. It is great by itself, but I can’t help thinking about how good it would be with a bowl of cereal or blended with some chocolate ice cream.

This is my last meal for Day 2, and overall I feel good about myself. I’m looking forward to my last day.

Day 3

9:45 AM – 13th Juice, Green Juice.

I’m in full cleanse mode now and going at it like a pro. I’ve accepted the cleanse at this point, and there is no more mystery or even a desire to get a bagel. I am fully confident that I will be able to make it through the day with just juice.

12:47 – 14th Juice, P.A.M. Juice.

This is the first time I just completely forgot that I was on a cleanse and didn’t even feel hungry or like I needed my juice. This is amazing considering two days ago I was checking my watch counting down the minutes to my next juice.

That is the way food is though. At one moment memorable and the next moment an unconscious habit. For example, I can remember every detail about a breakfast burrito I ate in Sante Fe nearly six years ago. It had green and red chili (christmas style), eggs, potatoes, cheese and peppers all wrapped in a flour tortilla, and I think about it more often than I like to admit. It is the standard for all breakfast burritos. On the flip side, two weeks ago I ate an entire box of Cheez-Its in one sitting without even realizing it. I actually wondered if my box was half full to begin with because that is a lot ‘its’ to consume.

The lesson I have learned from the cleanse is to think about what I am eating. It isn’t bad to indulge in guilty pleasures. I just need to be aware when I eat the same crap over and over again and try to mix in some vegetables and real food into my diet. The cleanse has been a great experience to help me realize that the foods I thought I needed aren’t necessary.

2:51 – 15th Juice, Green Juice.

When I do my next cleanse, I’ll be sure to do the BluePrintCleanse “Level Two Foundation” route. It is similar to the cleanse I am doing now, but doesn’t have the “deceitful, looks delicious but isn’t, beet juice” and replaces it with another one of the green juices.

3:04 – The ultimate test, someone just offered me a cookie, and I have to turn him down. Even though I bet the cookie is really good. He also seems confused and a little hurt that I won’t accept his offer of a sweet. What am I supposed to say to him? “Sorry dude not my style, I only drink juice.”

5:01 – 16th Juice, Spicy Lemonade.

This is my last spicy lemonade. I would say a few words, but it is just an empty bottle of juice and that would be crazy.

7:24 – 17th juice, Beet Juice.

I’ve hated on the beet juice for the past three days. It isn’t that terrible a juice, and maybe I haven’t been fair. For me, the beet juice is kind of like seeing a really pretty girl and then hearing her say something offensive and stupid. It makes you think less of her but doesn’t make her a bad person. You will probably still hang out with her too because she looks good.

10:04 – 18th juice, Cashew Milk.

The most shocking part of the cleanse has been my bathroom exploits. Since the first day, I haven’t moved my bowels, and I am a pretty regular everyday mover. I also haven’t stop peeing every 30 minutes. I must have peed between one million and ten fillion times through these three days.

Now I don’t know what to do. My juice is all gone. What am I going to eat tomorrow? And like Satan appearing in movies when the character says, “I’ll give anything for (insert desired thing)”, The KFC Double Down Sandwich commercial has just come on the TV. Colonel, you da man.


So I survived the BluePrintCleanse, and I feel pretty good about myself. This doesn’t mean I’m going to go vegan, stop drinking alcohol or switch to an all-liquid diet. It did however make me think about food in a different way. I’m confident that I can get enough nutrition from what I used to consider side dishes like vegetables and fruits. Also, I did sit on my porcelain throne the next morning, and it was a great relief. I still don’t answer my mother’s emails though.

If you are considering doing the BluePrintCleanse, I recommend you go for it. The experience isn’t as scary as it sounds and will give you plenty of energy to write a 4,000-word story about your experience.

The good people at BluePrintCleanse are also extremely helpful during the cleanse and send encouraging emails and answer any questions you may have while doing the cleanse. If you want to try a cleanse, I recommend you give them a call (212.414.5741) or go to their website and check it out. If you are a little scared about jumping into a cleanse then you might want to try some of their other options like “Juice Till Dinner” which is a program that has you drink juice for most of the day with snacks in between and a delicious vegan meal for dinner. It is also a really good way to break your cleanse. Or if you just want to try the juices you can order the "Tasting Flight" that has a sample of all the really good juices like the Lemonade, Pineapple and Cashew Milk. If you decide to make cocktails out of them (Cashew Milk White Russian!), more power to you.

No comments: