Now that I’ve completed the 10-day green smoothie cleanse, I wanted to share with you some of the things that I learned in case you want to do a detox like this one!
10 Tips for Doing a Green Smoothie Cleanse:
1) Have enough food on hand. I ran out of apples by Day Three, and I had started out with about a dozen apples. Get plenty of smoothie ingredients and snack supplies to tide you over between smoothies!
2) Be prepared for your energy and hunger levels to fluctuate a lot. People talk all the time about traditional detox symptoms, like getting headaches or being irritable etc. I didn’t really have much in the way of traditional detox symptoms (I got a headache on Day 3, but I’m pretty sure it’s because I cut out caffeine that day)—what I did find, however, was that the amount of energy that I had changed a decent amount, especially for the first few days. One moment, I felt very tired, and the next moment I’d be feeling awesome. It’s the same with hunger: one moment, I’d be thinking oh my goodness I’M SO HUNGRY! but the next moment, I just felt good.
3) Go for a variety. I love my apple-lemon smoothie, but after drinking it for three meals a day, three days in a row, I was starting to get a little tired of it (and concerned that I was getting the exact same type of nutrients each day). So Mr Science and I went to the store and picked up some different fruits to use in smoothies. It provides new tastes and flavors, as well as new nutrients to enjoy. I wish I had stocked up on a variety of more veggies, though… I was getting a little tired of baby carrots for snacks by Day 7!
4) Enjoy the ritual component of the cleanse. Dry-brush every morning. Take pride in making your smoothies. The cleanse can be a lot of fun and feel awesome when you put care into the little rituals involved with the cleanse.
5) Figure out ways to get enough calories in. I struggled with this, and I ended up eating fewer than 1,000 calories most days. It’s not very healthy to eat less than 1,200! If I were doing this again, I’d probably want to add more (carefully portioned) nuts and seeds. After the first few days, my body seemed to adjust to the lower calories and eating some carrots and sugar snap peas was actually quite satisfying (although it still didn’t give me enough calories), but I was still fairly hungry throughout.
6) Find restful things to do. There’s a balance with doing a detox like this: you want enough things to do to keep you busy, but you also want to check in with yourself and be restful and mindful. I reduced my workload a bit during the first few days, and I gathered up a stack of books to read. I also spent my time going for walks, using my acupressure mat, writing, puttering around the house, and trying out new make-up techniques for my fashion blog. Find things to do that are enjoyable, restful, and which don’t require a ton of energy on your part.
7) Think carefully about having the occasional treat. I had a homemade organic meatball on Day 2 of the cleanse, and a glass of wine on Day 5. Towards the end of the 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse, I had a couple more bites of grass-fed beef (a spoonful of homemade sloppy joe mixture and a few pieces of stir-fried beef). I had the opportunity to have hot chocolate in the evening of Day 3, but I chose not to drink it – partly because it was already the evening, and I felt if I had made it through the day already then I might as well keep going, and partly because I decided it wasn’t worth it. One meatball for an added protein boost when I was hungry? Sure. A glass of wine at a friend’s birthday celebration? Of course. Hot chocolate “just because” from a place where I haven’t tried the hot chocolate yet so I don’t actually know how good it is and I’m not super in the mood for hot chocolate? Well… not quite worth it.
This is something I really liked about the cleanse: it helps you to consider whether or not a treat is worth it. And perhaps if it was another day, I would really really want that hot chocolate, in which case, it would be worth it. But I didn’t really really want it that day, so it was a good idea to not try it. I also had the opportunity to have a cupcake on Day 5, but since I had already planned a glass of wine, I instead froze the cupcake to have after the cleanse was complete.
8) Find things that motivate and inspire you to continue with the cleanse. If I had been presented with the cupcake on Day 3, it would have felt really rough. I feel that it really is the first half of the cleanse that you need to get through. The first couple of days are a novelty and rather enjoyable; then you’ve got a few days where you realize that you’re not even halfway through the cleanse… and that part is challenging. So I recommend finding some good books to read on topics of detoxes and that sort of thing. You might also want to seek out blogs with inspirational photos or testimonials that you can refer to for those moments when the cleanse isn’t super exciting and fun.
9) Ease out of the cleanse. I had a bag of chips the night before starting the cleanse, and I didn’t find that to be a problem. I know you’re supposed to ease into cleanses, but I’m more of a “last meal” kind of person—it makes me look forward more to the cleanse when I’ve had a guilty pleasure the day before. However! The same does not apply to easing out of the cleanse. Continue with the cleanse until dinner, and then have a healthy dinner. Do this for a couple days at least before changing your breakfast and lunch, if desired. I fully intended on doing that, but I was really tired of eating the same vegetables as snacks (and we also completely ran out of snacks and smoothie ingredients by Day 11), so I spent the weekend eating whatever I liked before going to the modified cleanse. Not the greatest idea. And this leads into my final point…
10) Remember that the point of the cleanse isn’t to drop 10 lbs and then revert back to your old way of eating. Keep that in mind! The point of the 10-day green smoothie cleanse is to retrain your taste buds and to give you a jump-start on healthy eating. That’s not to say you can never have French fries or candy ever again, but by the end of the cleanse you probably won’t have any super intense cravings for those foods. If you remember this, it will be the biggest motivator to continue with the cleanse. I let myself have some chocolate the day after the cleanse (a Friday), and on the Saturday and Sunday I had a few weird cravings–I managed to suppress them and I felt great on Monday (and haven’t had any cravings since!).
I was elated to lose weight on the green smoothie cleanse, but by far the best part was the retraining of my taste buds (and the consequential decrease in cravings).