Juicing: The Ultimate Challenge
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Do you ever have the feeling that you need a nutritional challenge? Yet another one! Well, this is how I felt in March and ended up doing a 28 day juice cleanse.

Although my food intake is usually fairly good, in early spring I felt like I had slipped into the wrong foods for my body type, and continuing to eat them made me feel even worse. So I thought I‘d cleanse myself from all toxins and wrongdoing.

No, I didn’t go to church— I ordered a 14-day juice cleansing plan. Whaaaat??? Oh yes! I had done this in the past but as I was scared to commit myself to the full 14 days; I ordered 7 days, then took a break for a day or 2 (cheeky, I know!), and then ordered another 7.

Don’t get me wrong, I still ended up doing an almost accurate cleanse for 16 days but this time around I wanted the consecutive 14 days— just so I can say that I did it!

So I ordered the juice plan and off I went! The cleanse consists of 4 juices, SOS bars, probiotic capsules, and morning ginger, beetroot or lemongrass shots.

Usually, with these types of cleansing you suffer the first 3 days and then it all smooths out. This time around I felt the hunger a lot stronger than the first time. I was suffering, but following my personal trainer's advice, “mind over matter” and I persevered.

The truth of the matter is that the more you go into the cleanse, the fewer juices you consume, so the 14 days ended being more like 16, simply because I had a few left.

As I was approaching the end of it, I started feeling almost an urge to continue the cleanse. I was thinking how proud I would be with myself if I was truly to take on the ultimate challenge of 28 days, which is what health gurus recommend for the champions only! And so with a bit of financial hesitation, but also secret excitement, I committed to another 14 days. The box got delivered and there I went again! This time around I ordered the version with the soups, as on the first round I had found that the juices were a bit too sweet for me. However, I found that the soups were lacking flavour and seasoning, which for someone who runs a business in hospitality is detrimental!

I ended up having the soups —had no choice really— but seasoning them before warming them up, which is not the same as a fully seasoned soup before it boils. Anyway, I did the best I could with the tools I was given and for that, I was really happy!

Twenty-eight days went by and I felt leaner, flat stomach, lighter and more awake. Mind you, my journey there was not always like that. On the first 14 days, I felt dizzy and a bit cloudy, perhaps because I tend to work endless amounts of hours and this is not recommended by the cleanse gurus out there. What is suggested is that you take down your working hours, and have bigger periods of rest, which was not going to happen with a business to run. So I thought, “well, the nutrition will have to fit into my lifestyle, not my lifestyle around the nutrition”. What a bad decision!

Now, you know with nutrition plans there is always this period of aftercare. Everyone worries about what will happen once you stop being careful, and so was I! What this taught me was that if you can feed yourself for 28 days without consuming gluten, dairy and sugar then perhaps you do not need them as much as you'd think.

Therefore, coming out of it I switched to a couple of protein smoothies a day, or a soup and perhaps one solid meal of my liking, preferably, avoiding gluten, dairy and sugar! And you know what? It still works. I still feel lean, energised and cleansed. The diet also taught me a lot to pay attention to my body and when I feel inflated (which is most of the time the case rather than gaining weight). All in all, a happy (and lean) bunny this end, and a good idea on how to move forward with my eating habits!

Michaela Pontiki