I’m not a particularly healthy person. I don’t exercise as often as I should, I always put off gym sessions for an extra hour in bed, and I eat anything I want. I’ve never counted calories, never made sure I had veggies on my plate, and the last salad I ordered was more light brown than green (it was a potato salad).
So when I heard about the concept of a juice cleanse, I was stunned. Not eating anything but juices for days – it sounded insane to me. It made me feel starved just thinking about it. Which was exactly why I had to try it.
Being completely clueless and out of my depth, I approached Valerie, the CEO of Gorilla Press, who was happy to talk me through the process.
It All Started With A Phone Call
The Gorilla Press Co. is a superfood concept store that offers a simple and natural way of improving your well-being. They provide what they call SuperFoods – foods that have an astounding natural ability to boost your health in various ways. Their juices are also cold-pressed, which means that it is made with a hydraulic press machine that keeps the enzymes and nutrients intact in the juices, rather than centrifugal juicers that kill enzymes and nutrients due to the heat generated from the blades.
It was difficult to get hold of Gorilla Press, because most companies have a website or a Facebook page at least. However, Gorilla Press’ only social media presence is their very adorable Instagram which has an email address. After exchanging emails with the Gorilla Press Team, I finally got a number to call, which I probably dialed too enthusiastically on a public holiday. However, Gorilla Press CEO Valerie was very accomodating, and starting talking me through my juice cleanse process.
We began talking about my motivations for the press – I have a history of skin problems, and lately I’ve been feeling lethargic throughout the day but I suffer from insomnia at night. I almost saw it as a personal challenge against my own inexperience of dieting – if I could pull off a health feat as extreme as a juice cleanse, maybe I’ll be motivated to be somewhat more healthy in the way I live. She started me on a 2-day Omakase Juice Set, the recommended time frame for beginners. After time and practice, I could increase the length of the cleanse to as long as a week.
I learnt a lot from that phone call, and surprisingly she learnt a lot about me. It showed up in the juices she customized for my needs. After I mentioned that I was concerned about not being able to have my usual two cuppas a day, I was very grateful that some fresh food caffeine substitutes were added into my juices. But I’ll get to that later.
Valerie arrived early in the day to deliver the juices, and I was so surprised by how amazing the bottles looked! Juices are labeled by the order you’re supposed to drink them, and I get 6 juices a day including coconut water – 14 bottles in total. I didn’t expect the amount of details that went into its planning. The bottles were also made of glass, which gave it an unexpected classy look.
Being a huge coconut fan, I started with one of the two bottles of coconut water, which were supposed to be drunk throughout the two days. It was so yummy that I had a hard time controlling myself not to finish it all in a gulp.
They have the benefits of each juice marked out on the side, which made me feel extra healthy and it gave that extra motivational boost. It’s nice to be able to know what you’re putting into your body, which was something that became effortless during the two days. For example, my first juice, a mixture of pear, lemon, and cayenne pepper, had the listed benefits of curbing hunger, burning calories, boosts my immune system, improves eyesight, and improves alkalinity.
However, it would require you to keep the juices in the fridge until you consume them. It’s no trouble for me since I have the freedom of working from home, but it is tough for students or people working in an office without easy access to a fridge.
My main three worries at the beginning of the cleanse were: feeling hungry, having low energy levels (because I’m deprived of my usual coffee fix), and running to the toilet a lot more than usual.
Turns out my first concern had no basis whatsoever. After finishing my first juice, I felt stuffed! Each juice has different textures,: from a pure fruit juice consistency, to something thick and goopey, to a lighter drink with little chia seeds floating around, so you never really get bored. They’re also surprisingly delicious (even the one with kale in it)! Drinking a bottle every 2.5 hours also helps if I ever feel close to craving anything, because I was always so full of juice that I never had the chance to feel hungry.
In fact, I probably wouldn’t have craved food at all, if I hadn’t caught a whiff of some delicious mee goreng the next door neighbours were cooking. My mouth instantly was filled with saliva, which was strange considering the fact that I knew I wasn’t hungry. Usually craving food and hunger had an indisputable link, but after that experience I had no trouble differentiating between what I actually needed to sustain myself and what I was just plain greedy for.
While it was enlightening, it didn’t make it any easier.
It got worst when food was in front of me, and that is hard to avoid in a social setting. My friend came over to keep me company, and brought his own lunch – duck rice. The smell of the duck was intoxicating. At night, as I went to throw out some trash, I ran into a neighbour who bought too much satays and offered me some. It took me so much will power to say, “No, I’m good!” and go on my way.
I admit, I cheated and had a bite of raw cucumber, which did nothing to satisfy my cravings and only served to fill me with immense guilt.
The next day went by as a blur. If anything, I was starting to have fun with it. I had made it into a little game, like going “Hmm, I wonder what’s in the next juice?” It’s also pretty nice not to have to prepare meals, and to know exactly what’s going into my body. It’s interesting to observe how easy it is to integrate juices into my life.
Although I’m supposed to drink one whole bottle at a go every 2.5 hours, it often takes me about an hour to finish a bottle, either because I’m too full from the last bottle, or the texture is so thick it takes me a while to take it in. In fact, I wasn’t able to finish some of the juices in the allocated time of 2.5 hours per bottle. After a while, I just ended up constantly sipping on them as my day goes by.
What I found interesting about the experience was how my friends seemed to cheer me on as I whinged on social media about the temptations of food. I guess food and health are universal languages, and everyone relates to both ends of the spectrum. If you choose to do a cleanse, I would suggest trying it with someone else, for the companionship. At least your six meals (one juice every 2.5 hours) won’t be so lonely, and you can support each other in times of temptation.
Out of the three worries I had, only one came true – I did end up visiting the restroom more often than usual, but it wouldn’t really be a cleanse otherwise, would it? I was worried about my energy levels, but I felt perfectly fine. Strangely enough, I felt more tired and groggy the day after my cleanse ended. Everything I ate right after felt oily and gross, prompting me to have more clear soups and salads for once in my life.
Would I recommend it? Definitely!
The only downside of this whole experience is how pricey it is ($190 for the 2-day Omakase). You could make the juices yourself, but that would be highly tedious and tiring. I didn’t necessarily lose weight or look skinnier, but I do feel cleaner, fresher, and somewhat lighter. It made me so much more aware of the gunk we put into our bodies on a daily basis, and how little we’re able to survive on without feeling detrimental effects.
To those who still think that juice cleanses are equivalent to starving yourself – I challenge you to juice it up! I assure you, it’s plenty filling, and it’s definitely more fun than you think.