Six juices a day. Two handfuls of herbal supplements a day. Fourteen days. When Brendan Hancock, owner of the now-shuttered House of Alchemy, suggested I try a two week juice cleanse, my first thought was “yeah, right.”
I run a website and social media largely focused on food and sharing vegan eats around Las Vegas. How on earth would I be able to skimp on that responsibility and do something for me? [Story continued after the video]
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And, there was the answer: I needed to do something for me.
I’m no stranger to juice cleanses. In March 2016, I did three three-day cleanses. But, a two week juice cleanse? Is that even possible?
“Yeah, ok,” I blurt out as we sit at the community table inside the airy juice bar I love.
“Great, you’re starting on Monday.”
I leave House of Alchemy that Friday afternoon and wonder what on earth I’ve gotten myself into.
Are you looking for a juice cleanse in Las Vegas? Go Vegan Cafe, The Juice Box, The Juice Standard, Fruits & Roots, Pressed Juicery, Nekter Juice Bar and Bowlology all offer cleanses you can purchase.
The two days before the cleanse, I come to terms with not eating for two weeks. I head over to Garden Grill at Tivoli Village’s Fresh 52 market to try the breakfast croissant. I sip on a charcoal lemonade. I bring Bread for the People’s foccacia to my friend’s house to accompany our dinner of brown rice smothered in a creamy cashew and hemp seed sauce.
Sunday, I head over to House of Alchemy to meet with Brendan and get my first two days worth of juices — 12 in total.
“You’re probably going to lose about 20 pounds,” he informs me. “And, you’re going to feel incredible. You’ve got to get few the first few days though.”
So, I clear my calendar for the first day of the cleanse since I’m also cleansing parasites (did you know 85 percent of the population has parasites living in our guts? Gross.) and I’m not sure how my body will react to the herbs — a mix of Black Walnut Hull, Wormwood and Clove.
As I walk out armed with my juices, I silently hope I can make it through the two weeks. Especially since I announced I was doing it.
For my last meal, I head over to The Pasta Shop for some spinach parpardelle and bread coated in garlic and olive oil.
Then, it’s time.
Days 1 – 3
I wake up Monday morning excited. I know deep down this is the reset I need. The challenge I need. The first two cleanses I did, I was always excited, but always focused on what I wasn’t able to do (like, you know, eat). The last cleanse and this though? I’m excited for the changes I’m about to undergo. For the nutrients and pureness I’m about to put into my body. For whatever I’m about to get rid of.
The first two days are easy. Really, really easy. It’s like the other cleanses I’ve done have been preparing me for this one, and I’ve nailed it.
The third day is a bit harder — something I take full responsibility for.
I’m a gym rat. I love going to the gym. I love taking that time for me every day (five days a week) to work on my health and wellness. The only downside to this cleanse as far as I can see, is that I can’t go to the gym. So, I decide I feel up to it. Energetic. And, I wake up an hour earlier than the other days — which changes my entire juice schedule since it’s every 2.5 hours and I try to have the last one right before I go to sleep — and head to Piyo.
I can feel a difference immediately. By the second song, I’m winded. Going slower than normal. Not moving as well, but feeling tired. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea after all.
I get home to work, and I feel it immediately. I’m exhausted. With no nut milks in Days Three of Four, I’m shorter on calories. I attempt to power through the day, but it’s difficult.
Day three and I’m nervous.
I pass out early Wednesday night, despite having taken a little power nap earlier, and I promise myself I’ll listen more to my body the rest of the cleanse and not mess with depleting the energy I need to help myself to fuel my need to workout.
As you know if you read this, you know I run Vegans, Baby. You may know I also have two other websites, write for Vegas Seven and also do brand consulting and social media. With my hands in so many different pots, needless to say, it gets overwhelming and stressful from time-to-time.
Well, Day Four stress maxes me out. A little thing sent me catapulting at full-speed over the edge. I sit on the phone with my friend, crying, worrying about decisions I’ve made, investments, and my future successes.
“You’ve got to get out of this lack mentality,” she explains to me as I sob.
“This isn’t normal,” I cry. “This is because I’m detoxing.”
And, it is.
A part of cleansing the body from toxins also includes cleansing your emotions from toxins. In this case, I’ve built up a lot over the past year of being an entrepreneur and they have decided to rear their ugly heads as I launch into the cleanse.
The minor hysteria (look, I’m a little dramatic, can’t help it) lasts about an hour, and then I’m calm. Pulled back together. And on to my next juice.
The next day, I’m weary. Nervously waiting for more purging, but it doesn’t happen. Instead, I go to the gym. I power through work. I treat myself to a shopping outing to kill time between juices. I’m a little bored, but that’s because I’ve confined myself to home and away from people. Operating out of fear lands me in a boring path and I realize that for the rest of the cleanse, I need to go about my life, make plans and live like normal, just without eating.
Day Six and Seven
I thought I was over the emotional purging. I really did. But, I wasn’t. I’m not blaming this on the cleanse though. I’m blaming this on external circumstances which landed in my lap and threw a nasty little curveball to me. Had that not happened, I’m certain days six and seven would have been easier. Of course, because my emotions are heightened, that curveball took center stage.
I did, however, get out during these days, forcing myself to be social, be alive and let the juice simply fuel me versus hold me back from experiences.
Saturday night, I went to Mumford and Sons. I had my last juice before I left for the show and watched as everyone around me drank.
“I can’t believe you’re not drinking,” my friend told me as we stood inside The Joint waiting for the British band to take the stage. “Don’t you even want a water?”
“I’m good,” I responded. And, I really, really was.
The following day, I headed Downtown to Ferguson Hotel’s Market in the Alley. With a wood-burning pizza oven set up across from Bread for the People’s booth, I was surrounded my gorgeous scents wafting through the afternoon.
“Isn’t this hard for you to be here?” Another friend asked as we stood in front of the vegan bread.
“Yes, but no,” I reply.
Later, I head over to pick up another round of juices, nut milks re-introduced.
“Got to give you a little reward,” Brendan announces, smiling as he puts the juices into my bag.
Days Seven – Fourteen
The emotions, the challenges I faced during the first week vanish as I start the second. Days seven through 14 are filled with energy. Clarity like I’ve never experienced. Crisp, clear energy. I host my meet up at The Pasta Shop surrounded by homemade Italian food. I sit at Panacea as my friend sips a smoothie and another eats a wrap. I go out to dinner and drink water as my companion eats.
And none of it bothers me.
The 2.5 hours in between juices fly by. The juices become second nature. They become friends. I look forward to drinking them. To feeling the cold go down my throat and work their magic to rid my body of toxins. To give me a vitality I haven’t felt before.
I drop weight. Lots of it. My skin glows. I sleep like a baby. My dreams are vivid. But, most importantly, I feel amazing. Sensational. Productive.
The grit I went through with the necessary emotional purge makes it all worth it as I relish how incredible I feel the second week.
As I sip my last juice — a Golden Karrot — after four Vitality Greens (savory green goodness), I feel sad. But, also incredibly proud. I. Did. It. I never gave up. I powered through the challenges and saw my life with new eyes. Did the juice cleanse change my life? You bet.
The Food Relationship
We base our lives around food. Coffee. Alcohol. My days pre-cleanse were filled with coffee meetings. Lunch meetings. Wine with girlfriends at Whole Foods after a long day.
But, when on a cleanse, that all changes.
I had to make an adjustment. To learn how to operate without these things. I worked harder. I spent more genuine time with people simply sitting and talking and being in the moment versus eating or drinking (and taking photos, notes, etc.). Not eating allowed me to be fully present for two weeks, and I’ve never experienced that before.
It also changed my cravings. Funny what drinking a ton of green juice will do. All I want now is healthy, nutrient-dense, whole foods. Brown rice with veggies.Vibrant salads. Colorful plates of food that makes me feel good.
I noticed how alive I felt during these two weeks, how powerful I felt being powered simply by drinking clean and pure drinks. Sure, I will always love pizza and bread, but I also know I don’t want to put it into my body. The two weeks of being good to myself resulted in wanting a lifetime of being good to myself. Of being kind and loving. I look at the idea of eating fries now, or sugary desserts, and don’t want it.
My Relationship With Myself
That emotional detox I mentioned above? It changed me. A lot. I realized during my cleanse how apt I am to tuck things away that I don’t like. Single? Meh. Shove that right on down into the “don’t care zone.” Tight on money? No worries. That gets placed there, too.
Except, at some point, I have to deal with the things which cause a disconnect in my life. At some point, I have to see things for what they are and address them versus ignore them.
So, thanks to the cleanse, I finally acknowledged the things in my life which I’m not thrilled with and am dealing with them instead of tucking them away.
It’s a powerful thing to realize the things in life which I’d like to improve on, and finally being able to honor and accept these things makes me that much stronger of a person.
Also, let’s not forget how challenging a two-week cleanse can be mentally for a person. First, you’ve got to get over the lack mentality and thinking you’re depriving yourself. Second, there’s the constant reminder every 2.5 hours that you’re juicing. Not chewing. Not picking your meals. You’re doing something so so good for yourself, but sometimes it’s hard to see it because it is a challenge.
But, at the end of those 14 days? Wow. Completing the cleanse was one of the prouder moments of my life. I rose to the occasion, swallowed the fear of failure, and let my willpower and strength take hold. And that? That feels the best of all.
The Bottom Line
I would go through the struggles of the cleanse any day now that I’ve seen how magical and wonderful I felt after it. That last week was one of the best weeks I’ve had in a long time in terms of both mental and physical wellness. I bounded through my days. I felt incredible. I dropped around 15 pounds and will continue to drop as I eat cleaner and healthier and go back into the gym
Armed with a newfound gratitude and existence, I can’t wait to continue the hard work and kindness to myself.
Learn More about the Two Week Juice Cleanse
Brendan and I did a Facebook Live to talk about the juice cleanse experience and answer questions. Check it out!
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Diana Edelman is the founder of Vegans, Baby. She previously lived and worked in Thailand working for an elephant sanctuary and has traveled around the world speaking about the realities of elephant tourism, being a positive activist and entrepreneur at events including TBEX, SEED Food + Wine, VegFest Puerto Rico, VegFest Toronto and more. Diana is a proud partner with the James Beard Foundation and curates their Vegas Vegan Dinner series at the famous James Beard House, as well as the vegan activation, The Farm Stand, at Las Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful festival.