My First Juice Cleanse!

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Last week, I embarked on my first juice cleanse. Before I delve into why, let me throw out a few caveats for the hardcore purists out there. I’m calling it a juice cleanse because I drank mostly juice. I did however, have a smoothie, homemade vegetable broth, and the occasional saltine cracker when I felt a little dizzy.

Feeling sluggish, completely sick of cold weather, unmotivated, unusually negative, and just bleh, I brainstormed how to reinvigorate my spirit. Eventually, I decided to do a juice cleanse. I felt that simplifying what I put into my body would allow me to readjust, refocus, and get back in touch with my joy. In short, it did just this and more!


I cleansed for 5 days and structured it so that I would drink from the rainbow each day.  The Sunday before the cleanse started I bought a ton of fruits and veggies. I juiced half of them on Sunday night and half on Tuesday night for the rest of the week.

Here’s how I did it:

  • Water with lemon–throughout the day
  • GREEN: spinach, cucumber, celery, mint, cilantro, lime, green apple, coconut water
  • RED: beet, strawberry, red apple, ginger, coconut water
  • Mint or chamomile tea
  • SMOOTHIE: blueberries, banana, mango, pineapple, green juice (from above), ground flax seeds, ground raw oats
  • ORANGE: carrot, orange, splash of red apple, turmeric
  • BROTH: homemade vegetable broth (it wasn’t pink, I’m just trying to figure out how to work my favorite color into the mix! :D)
  • YELLOW: grapefruit, lemon, splash of lime, coconut water, raw agave


All in all, I achieved exactly what I hoped to achieve! I felt better, kinder, more compassionate, sharper,  and more insightful. I also learned a ton about my relationship with food. Things like: I like to munch, it soothes me, and I eat when I’m anxious. Particularly at work, I felt myself constantly wanting to chew–as I read email, as I worked through writers’ block, after attending a stressful meeting. I never thought of myself as a mindless eater. After all, I am pretty cognizant of what I eat. But I learned that mindless eating also encompasses when you eat. I graze–all day. What are the implications of eating all day? And psychologically how does this affect my ability (inability?) to deal with situations as they arise?


I also realized that I often mistake hunger for thirst or simple cravings (desires). There were times that I “felt hungry” but I’d have some water with lemon and within minutes would be totally fine. When my co-workers came in with chocolate croissants, my mouth literally began to water (yup, like Pavlov’s dogs!). I wanted to taste the pastries. I wasn’t hungry at all. But I wanted the flaky, chocolate goodness in my mouth. That goodness was associated with pleasure–the taste turns into a smile, smiling feels good (not to mention the physiological effects of sugar). My mouthwatering also occurred when someone in the office brought in French fries (the ultimate kryptonite on a juice cleanse) and when I joined my friend for dinner at a soul food restaurant (again, BIG mistake :D).

To my surprise, many people were pretty judgmental about my cleanse. “Don’t you get hungry?” “I like meat!” “I would never do that, I like to eat too much!” “I’d be hungry!” This definitely wasn’t everyone’s response, but I was surprised at how often it came up. The funny thing is, you get hungry even when you are eating “real” food. My juices were packed with nutrients and were pretty filling. It’s kind of interesting that people seemed to equate being “full” with being overfull, or with eating certain types of foods.


I’ve heard folks say that cleansing is easy. Well, people, I’m here to tell you that it was not easy for me. I experienced dizziness (especially on the subway) and had headaches. But most of all, there were the cravings. Feeling deprivation really jump started my introspection though and by the end of the week, it had dissipated completely–so much so, that on the day I was to break my fast, I indulged in juice for two more meals before engaging in solid food.

Will I do a juice cleanse again? Ah, absolutely, perhaps once per season! By the third day of the cleanse, I felt really good, and since it’s been over, I’ve felt great! I recognized the willpower I have (I left a package of Oreos in my cabinet just to prove to myself that I could go 5 days without eating them!) and I felt great. A couple friends even said that I was glowing ;). I’m not going to lie, it was tough, particularly tough at times, but it was completely worth it! Have you done a cleanse? Would you?

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Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!


  1. You must have lost weight! Wow!

  2. This is an awesome post! I am thinking of doing a juice cleanse for almost all the same reasons. Now the color menu you posted – is that the juices you drank every day? Is that a sample of the juices you did? Do you have any good resources of links I could look at to determine what juices I should be doing? I’ve never done this before so any help you can offer would be wonderful!! 🙂

  3. I’ve heard of these juice cleanses before and I’ve always been curious to try one I’m just concerned about how hungry I’d get!

  4. Your cleanse looks pretty intense! I’ve thought about trying something like this myself but, like previous commenters, thought I’d be feeling hungry for a whole week!

    • Yeah, a lot of people have mentioned being hungry. The thing is … you DO get hungry on a juice cleanse, but you ALSO get hungry when you’re eating “regular food” as well. On a cleanse, you’ll notice that you’re not exponentially more hungry than if you were eating solid food. You get hungry, you drink juice, you get full. Voila! 😀

  5. Pretty colours and interesting flavours, but I think I would miss the different textures of the food. Like you, I often mistake thirst for hunger so have trained myself to sip water when I get a ‘hunger’ pang and see if it goes away. Often it does. If not, it’s time to eat. Interesting post (as always!)

  6. I have been meaning to do cleansing for a while now. I’m so scared of being too tired or dizzy, and not be able to work. Now that you have posted your experience, I am going to give it a try for 5 days. I will let you know how it went.:)

  7. I’m at the tail end of a 10-day juice cleanse and I agree with everything said. You do get hungry (but nothing different than when you eat food), but once you have a juice, you feel full and satiated. I think the hardest part of me has been ensuring I have enough juice with me at all times so that I don’t cop out and eat out of desperation (I even brought my juice camping with me!) The other piece is just knowing yourself and accepting (and planning for) your weaknesses. I allowed myself a little bit of vegetable broth for lunch because it literally KILLED me to sit in my office and smell everyone’s food (so even though I was just eating broth with nothing in it, it felt like a meal… maybe because it was hot?). As the time went on though, I stopped doing this because I didn’t need it anymore. I also get very hungry over night, so I have a tiny bit of almond milk just before bed to get me through the night. If “cheating” a little helps you reach the end, I’m all for it! I feel absolutely amazing and will be cleansing regularly from here on out.