On the Blueprint Cleanse
On the advice of my dear acupuncturist JL, I tend to do a detox diet every spring to clean out my system and prepare my body for summer (and summer clothes). In the past, this has generally meant only whole grains, fruits and vegetables (with a little fish thrown in), but this year, having packed on an extra five pounds that just would not budge, I decided more extreme measures were in order. Enter Blueprint Cleanse, which is currently all the rage among fashion and media types. You can do it for anywhere from one to six days; testimonials boast of glowing skin, increased energy, and, yes, weight loss. The cleanse is raw, vegan, and gluten-free, and consists of six juices consumed throughout the day. There are three levels; being a fairly healthy eater, I chose three days of the second level, Foundation, but in retrospect, probably should've gone with the "easiest," the Renovation--but more on that later. If you live in NYC, you can have your cleanse delivered; I chose to pick mine up (there are multiple locations throughout the city).

I started last Thursday, and most likely due to the novelty of it all, the first day was a breeze. I started with hot water and lemon, then moved on to my first juice, a green juice. Then, throughout the day, I drank the rest of the juices: a pineapple/apple/mint (my favorite), another green juice, a "spicy lemonade" (my least favorite), another green juice, and, finally, the vanilla-cinnamon cashew milk, which, after all that green juice, tastes like manna from Heaven, also drinking lots of water and green tea in between. Thankfully, I didn't have any headaches--I drink coffee only on the weekends--and I managed to make it to my Core Fusion class on Thursday night. I was hungry at times but so full of liquid, it didn't bother me too much. Note: As you might imagine, consuming an all-liquid diet causes you to pee like crazy. Not only was I going every hour, but I felt like that scene in Austin Powers when he wakes up from the cryogenic freezing, if you know what I mean.

I woke up hungry on Friday, and that feeling pretty much stuck with me all day. I became totally obsessed with food; while on Thursday I experienced weird cravings (the strongest being for hummus and falafel), by Friday I was keeping a mental list of foods I would eat once I was done with the cleanse--everything from cheeseburgers to chicken parmesan. Whenever a coworker was eating food, I instantly got a craving for it, or I would start thinking about eating it. It's funny--I never thought I'd miss the physical act of chewing. I began berating myself for deciding to do the cleanse in the first place. By the time I got home from work, however, I was giddy, dissolving into fits of giggles at the least provocation. Friday night was also where I ran into one of my biggest temptations; I live with my boyfriend, MW, who wasn't doing the cleanse with me, and eating in front of me made him feel incredibly guilty (he ordered nasty, greasy Chinese food so as not to tempt me). Also, I hate to say it, but after a week at work, I totally look forward to coming home on Friday night (or going out with friends) and having a glass of wine (or two, or three). Not partaking in that ritual was incredibly hard; that cashew milk is tasty, but a cool glass of pinot gris it is not.

By Saturday--my third and final day--I felt like I had the flu: I was lightheaded, weak, completely out of it, and suffering from an upset stomach. In retrospect, these are obviously detox symptoms, but at the time, I was too miserable to notice. MW dragged me to brunch, and while I fully intended to sip green tea while he tore into his sandwich, I ended up caving and ordering a summer roll (which was not on Blueprint's list of sanctioned list of cheats, but I rationalized it, since it was all raw). I beat myself up a little, but since it caused me to not be hungry for the first time in three days, I let it slide. After walking around Brooklyn a bit, I came home and noticed something amazing: My face glowed like it had been artfully highlighted with Nars Copacabana, two pimples had miraculously disappeared, my forehead wrinkles had greatly diminished, and my hair even looked shiny. Perhaps this was the euphoric glow that everyone has been talking about? I was also thrilled to see my concave stomach and protuding hipbones (I know, I know, it's all water weight, but it still looks awesome). I went to sleep Saturday night after consuming my final cashew milk, with thoughts of food dancing in my head.

Of course, when you're done with the cleanse, it's not like you can go straight back to steak and martinis. Blueprint suggests starting out with fruit and watered-down juice on your first day of breaking the cleanse; I opted for a raw salad for brunch, and for a raw-vegetable lettuce wrap for dinner. Yesterday I ate all raw foods again, and today, desperate for protein, I finally had some quinoa for dinner. Tomorrow I might be adventurous and have some steamed fish. My cravings haven't gone away; to be honest, a cheeseburger still sounds pretty fantastic, but, strangely, I don't necessarily want one--at the moment, fruits and vegetables are what my body needs. I am also happy that I haven't had an alcoholic beverage in over a week, as this is probably a record for me.

If you had asked me on Saturday if I would do the Blueprint Cleanse again, my answer would've been an unequivocal no. But, much like how the mind makes the body forget the pain of childbirth, now I can't say I wouldn't do one again. Maybe not for three days--people who do the five- or six-day cleanses are insane, if you ask me--but one day would not be so bad. A nice bonus is that I've lost six pounds; as of this morning, I've gained a pound and a half back, but my stomach is still incredibly flat, and so far, I feel like my digestion has greatly improved. My hair and skin still look healthy. I have yet to experience the uptick in energy, but I expect it to come back as soon as I start eating a normal amount of protein again. I hope.

The Blueprint Cleanse is $75 for 1 day, or $65 per day for multiple-day cleanses. Learn more at Blueprintcleanse.com.


Anonymous said...

Cheryl, the lightheadedness and nausea aren't detoxing. It's low blood sugar.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for talking about your experience Cheryl. I did my first cleanse two years ago -- it was MasterCleanse, and though I didn't think I could make it 10 minutes I did it for 15 days! It was hard, but on the other hand there were days where I can honestly say I never felt better in my life. I slept so well, woke up naturally at the crack of dawn with so much energy, had perfect skin. I really didn't want to stop, but like you I really missed chewing and decided I'd had enough.

I'd suggest trying a longer cleanse next time...the first 3 days are the hardest, it really gets easier after that. And I enjoyed all of the benefits for months after the cleanse, so it seemed totally worth it.

Oh, and regarding the comment about low blood sugar -- the amazing thing about MasterCleanse (and other juice cleanses) is that you don't get blood sugar swings EVER...your blood sugar level stays constant because you are ingesting the same ratio of nutrients all the time. It is kind of genius in that way!