I tried a three-day juice-cleanse. Here's what I experienced
Embarking on the juice cleanse was a decision influenced by both curiosity and a desire to alleviate the lingering effects of long Covid
Before Christmas, I was invited to try Presscription, a juice-cleansing diet that involves drinking only juices for at least three days.
The fresh, raw juices, packed in simple glass bottles, arrived at my doorstep the evening before commencing the cleanse. Just looking at them, I already felt healthier. Organised by colour, they were a feast for the eyes. Never had my fridge looked so Instagrammable. I ate my dinner voraciously and went to bed in a state of great anticipation.
Day One unfolded predictably, with bouts of hunger. The cold-press elixirs, eight in total, had to be taken every two hours in a particular order. They tasted delicious with various green vegetables, root vegetables, some fruits and nuts. But the absence of solid food soon left me desperate to chew something. To keep myself busy, I had unwisely planned to review the tasting menu of The Sea The Sea. I spent my afternoon visualising each plate with a passion bordering on hallucination. By 5pm, I could barely focus on my writing. I gobbled the final juice of the day, a delicious blend of Medjool dates, almond milk and cinnamon, in a dazed state.
The following morning, I woke with a pounding headache. Painkillers couldn’t alleviate it and, by late morning, I started feeling nauseous. I cancelled a press invitation and went to bed instead. The migraine and nausea reached a peak in the afternoon; I had rarely felt so unwell in my life. Juices were brought to me, but I couldn’t finish them. In the evening, my somewhat worried husband suggested I 'stop this madness'.
On the final day of the cleanse, I surrendered to family pressure. I drank a homemade soup and half of the remaining juices. The headaches finally abated. I called a nutritionist friend, who wasn’t surprised by what I had experienced. 'Your body probably really needed the detox,’ she said. ‘But you should have prepared at least a week before, eating healthily and avoiding caffeine, and you shouldn’t have worked. Your health condition certainly didn’t help.’
I am suffering from long Covid, which translates into chronic fatigue. I had hoped that the cleanse would help. Instead, it triggered a strong reaction, leaving me utterly exhausted for several days. But it also changed my eating habits in a good way. After those three days, I couldn’t envisage drinking alcohol, tea or coffee. And although I didn’t lose weight, I longed for a healthier diet, craving vegetables and lean meat.
It is hard to assess the benefit of juice-cleansing. While some extol its virtues as a transformative experience, others dismiss it as mere marketing hype. Seeking clarity, I consulted a naturopath and a nutritionist, each offering divergent perspectives. Meanwhile, three of my friends tried Presscription in January. Two of them enjoyed it and felt re-energised after the three days. One who had caught Covid over Christmas experienced headaches and stopped midway through.
Ten weeks post-cleanse, I navigate a delicate balance between my newfound dietary preferences and the resumption of familiar habits. I still don’t drink alcohol, but I am back to having tea, and matcha lattes.
As I contemplate the possibility of revisiting the Presscription cleanse, I am acutely aware of the importance of approaching it with caution, ensuring both physical readiness and a conducive environment for healing.