Weekend Warriors: Trying the juice cleanse at Peeled
Fresh, nourishing juice — and nothing else — for three days straight? Count us in
Peeled has quickly made a name for itself in Chicago by blending fresh, artisanal juices, smoothies and nut milks, utilizing small-batch methods to retain the highest level of nourishing vitamins, minerals and enzymes from all-natural ingredients. Sounds healthy, no? Well that’s because it is. And it’s also why we sent our writer, Leah Karabenick, and her boyfriend Jason into Peeled to try their three-day juice cleanse. If you haven’t heard of this latest trend, it’s prepared juices — and nothing else — for three days. Below are their thoughts on the experience.
Peeled is located at 1571 N. Sheffield Avenue. There is a second store in Evanston at 940 Church Street. For more information, visit www.PeeledChicago.com
Q: What led you to try the juice cleanse?
Jason: I’m a big fan of testing the extremes of the human body. Thus, living on juice for three days sounded to me like that time David Blaine spent three days encased in ice in Times Square. It was just like that, only way easier, and I came out of it feeling better, not worse. It also helped to be doing it in tandem with my girlfriend, who shared my passion for the cashew milk, which closed out each evening of juicing.
Leah: Now I’ll start by mentioning that I’ve done a few juice cleanses before. I would really love to say that I did this one to “feel revitalized” and “cleanse my system.” But, in abidance of a New Year’s resolution I once called “Honesty in 2011” (followed by “Honesty in 2012” and “2013”), I’ll admit that after five days of eating my way through a vacation in Puerto Rico, my jeans were way too tight. It was not OK. So in addition to the wonderful mind-clarifying, skin-rejuvenating effects that juice cleanses do have, I was also psyched for the quick three-pound slim down. It may just be a decrease in water weight, but I’m a firm believer in the fact that cleanses put you back on track for a healthier lifestyle. Plus, my boyfriend Jason very eagerly hopped on the drink-your-lettuce train. The buddy system is truly the way to go.
Jason: My expectations going into this experience were that I was going to be hangry, which comes from being hungry, which inevitably makes me angry. But I was pleasantly surprised by my overall optimistic mentality through the entire cleanse. It might have been the high doses of vitamins helping prevent me from going psychoglycemic because my serotonin levels seemed well intact throughout the day.
Leah: Having previously tried juices with flavors ranging from “mouthful of dirt” to Kool-Aid, I was certain that there would be a few I’d enjoy and one that I would absolutely loathe. Overall, I figured that I’d be hungry, tired and probably lash out at those closest to me (Jason) because I’m hungry and tired. I really love food, so I never expect to truly enjoy a good diet or cleanse.
So how was the experience?
Jason: Overall it was a great experience. I think I was so proud of what I was doing for my body that I was able to easily overlook how badly I wanted a glass of whiskey and a cheese pizza. One thing I noticed was how much my sense of smell improved. If you were heating up a burrito on another floor of our office, I could smell it, and it smelled delicious. I also noticed this was partly since my seasonal allergies seemed to be at bay, which I won’t say came exclusively from consuming juice but might have been the result of cutting gluten out of my diet. I have gone on to be gluten free for nearly a month now and can breathe easy through my nose, which has been a challenge for the past few years. But back to the juice: I found that when the hunger pains would give me a little nudge, it was right at the two-hour mark, which meant it was time for another juice that would curb the hunger almost entirely. To talk specifically about the juice, I did love the Green Lantern since it just tasted like a garden, and the Maroon 5 beet juice was delicious as well. I wish we had done the cleanse for a full seven days, since as soon as I got into the swing of things, we were out of juice. I think I could go a full 30 days if I didn’t have any social life and was deserted on an island. Oh, and David Blaine would be there too, trying to break the record I would be setting.
Leah: I have to say that getting through the cleanse was relatively easy with one exception — a trip to grandmother’s house. Literally. Having social obligations, in this case a birthday party, is considerably difficult while your diet is restricted. Now put some pizza, chicken wings and Nana’s birthday cake within arm’s reach, and you have yourself a challenge. Although I really wanted pizza more than beet juice, I stuck it out. After a while, temptation subsided, hunger dissipated and I enjoyed my Maroon 5. And that’s the beauty of the cleanse; as soon as you feel hungry, you have another juice to drink. The best news is that your very last drink is dessert — drinking cashew milk is the perfect way to end the day. The blend of vanilla, cinnamon and cashew is the closest thing to a milkshake that you’ll ever get to drink on a diet.
Taste aside, the health benefits I experienced were positive. While I was a bit groggy on day two and had a slight caffeine withdrawal-induced headache, on day three I was energized, felt a bit lighter and probably could have continued the cleanse for a few days (Jason claims that he could “do this forever.” I call his bluff).
What you liked most:
Jason: What I liked most about the Peeled cleanse was that three days of drinking juice has now led to 30 days of being gluten free, which has helped me get better sleep and make even healthier dietary decisions. Yes, I felt great from the experience, but the new diet built around more fruits and vegetables should help me continue to build a stronger, more successful lifestyle, which I really owe to three days of the cleanse.
Leah: What I liked most about the Peeled cleanse was that it really motivates you toward a healthier lifestyle. You’ve already gone three days on fruits and vegetables, so what’s a few more? It’s kind of like a life reset button. So many people want to diet and work out, but they just can’t get started. Taking the first step is always the hardest. While the cleanse is only a moderate adjustment, I do think it’s a good way to ease yourself into making even bigger changes and living a healthier lifestyle overall.