A few weeks ago I tried a two-day juice detox.
While juicing may be very a la mode - everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Millie Mackintosh getting in on the zeitgest - anyone who knows me would be surprised that I a) volunteered to to consume nothing but juice for 48hrs and b) actually managed to stick to it.
Because, like most 26-year-olds, I have a life. I like to eat, drink and stay up late; I only keep tabs on my wellbeing when I can remember (like on Monday morning) or can find time between work and my social life (rarely).
So it stands to reason that I would have a terrible time on the juice detox. I was certainly expecting hell. But, in fact, it was pretty damn good... and I learned a thing or two about juicing.
You don't get hungry
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that when you don't eat, you get hungry. And as someone with a fairly big appetite, the idea of consuming nothing but juice, herbal tea and water for 48 hours was kind of terrifying.
But in truth, I didn't get hungry - not once. My juice detox package included eight juices (most of which were delicious, although I still grimace at the thought of one flavour) and some psyllium husk to curb hunger pains.
Psyllium husk is essentially bark that you mix in a glass of water and swallow. It's high in fibre, forming a gelatinous substance in your stomach that expands, not only to fill you up but to cleanse your digestive tract.
I'm not going to lie, it tasted disgusting, like tiny bits of rice in water. But it is drinkable and stopped me getting hungry.
Not all juices are created equally
You only need to think of your bog standard orange juice carton to know that most juices are jam-packed with sugar. And while I don't know anyone naive enough to try detoxing on Tropicana, it is worth noting that some juices (even those marketed for cleansing) could contain more sugar than you bargained for.
It's important to get a mix of veggies and fruit in your juices. And there's a lot to be said for mixing up flavours too, even if just to add variety.
I juiced with east London juice company Blend & Press, who provided me with a cleanse package featuring the following:
Breakfast: an energy-boosting Recovery Juice - with beetroot, carrot, apple, lime, mint, aloe vera. This boosts stamina, performance and recoevery.
Lunch: Purifying Juice - with cucumber, fennel, apple, parsley, lemon, coconut water, purifying greens complex. This is packed with chlorophyll to cleanse, energise and detoxify.
Snack: Alkali Juice - with watermelon, lemon, line and mint. This is sweet, hydratying and delicious as well as helping to balance PH levels in the body.
Dinner: Hard Core Juice - with spinach, cucumber, lettuce, kale, parsley, ginger, lemon. This is pure green veggies, with no sugar. This was my least favourite, but when you know it's good for you, you manage to get it down.
Choose your days wisely
Although it may be tempting to go the whole hog and kick your juicing off with a full five day detox, you have to be realistic. Try starting off with a shorter, bite-sized plan - a two-day cleanse, for example, is completely manageable.
Once you've successfully completed the 48 hour cleanse, you'll have more confidence to work up to a three or even a five-day cleanse.
It's also important to think about what days of the week you are going to cleanse. I chose a weekend, because many people report getting a headache on day one and I didn't fancy sitting at my desk feeling unwell. I didn't get a headache on my cleanse, but I imagine if I'd been glued to a screen all day I may have.
Take it easy
The decision to juice on the weekend allowed me to take it easy, which is advisable. It's important to listen to and respond to your own body, I felt tired on the first day so I didn't push myself.
I had early nights, woke up naturally, did some gentle yoga and met friends for coffee (well, they had coffee, I had hot water).
Personally, with my hectic job, trying my first juice detox on a work day would have been pretty awful.
You'll cleanse other parts of your life, too
When you commit to something like juicing - even if just for two days. You start to evaluate your choices and lifestyle. I've resolved to exercise more, sleep better, and face up to things that aren't working or part of my master life plan - that may be facing up to a work colleague or addressing unresolved relationship issues.
In summary, my experience of juicing was that it didn't just cleanse my body but it cleansed my life.