Friday, May 31, 2013

BluePrint Cleanse Review

You can read part one of my review here, also known as why the hell I did this to myself.

I'm not going to spend too much time reviewing the company itself or their juices, but if you're interested in reading more about that, this is my favorite BPC article. The writing is brilliant and it's pretty spot on. Although I never received any of the motivational emails before or during the cleanse that the company touts and this article discusses. 

I chose to purchase a cleanse instead of buy all the produce and make juices myself because, let's be honest people, time is not a commodity that I have an excess of and I thought that shelling out the cash would be motivation enough to keep me from cheating and/or quitting (and I was right). I opted for the Foundation cleanse because I eat pretty clean, but I'm not above leveling a bag of Tostitos just because. 

Much of the process in completing a juice cleanse involves your preparation into the cleanse itself and how you come out of it. While I only did a three day cleanse, my journey (so to speak), was closer to three weeks. Prior to cleansing I cut out coffee and caffeine of any kind, meat, and processed foods. In the days right before the cleanse I also phased out any grains and starches. And the day before the cleanse I ate only raw fruits and vegetables. Literally, as in nothing was cooked. 

I think my cleanse, on the whole, was pretty easy because I really eased into it. I didn't experience any of the side effects of cleansing like breakouts, slimy tongue, extreme fatigue. Day one of the cleanse was pretty easy. Day two was also a breeze, and I actually felt quite satiated and extremely hydrated. By day three I woke up feeling like I was going to faint and, I'm not going to lie, I ate a banana and then stuck to juices for the rest of the day.

Some people say day three is the worst day, but if you carry it out to five days you get a burst of energy. I'm not sure I believe them. I attribute much of my faintness on day three to the fact that I did a spin class and infrared sauna session on day one, I nursed through the whole cleanse, and I chase three kids daily. I was definitely expending more calories than I was taking in. 

Once the cleanse was complete I went back to eating raw for a few days and then slowly integrated cooked foods. By the end of that week I added whole grains back in. I stayed dairy free for four months following the cleanse, which I'll get to in a moment. Breaking the fast was harder than starting it for me. Chewing was just weird and things like breads tasted and felt funny in my mouth. So there you have it, a roughly 20 day program.

So, about nursing during the cleanse. Almost everything I read advised against doing this for reasons ranging from your body detoxing and passing those toxins on to the baby through your breastmilk to cleanses not being enough calories to sustain breastfeeding. The BluePrint Cleanse is roughly 1100 calories a day, but those are 1100 nutrition packed calories. So I went for it. My thinking was that she is getting any "toxins" my body had through my milk anyway, and if I needed to be cleaned out then maybe she did too.

Unlike some other juice fast reviewers, I actually liked the green juice. I thought it was really fresh and kind of citrusy. The PAM juice was fantastic, although it felt more like a treat than a cleanse thing. The nut milk (yes, you read that right) was okay. Kind of gloppy even after shaking it like crazy. I don't really like chewing my liquids, so I could have skipped this happily. The one juice that freaking sucked my will to live was the Spicy Lemonade. It didn't taste like lemonade, as in the awesome stuff that comes in a 1 gallon plastic cup at the New York State Fair. No this was some toxic acid with cayenne pepper that hit the back of your throat after each gulp and made you beg for death. If you've ever done the Master Cleanse you know what I'm talking about. Nutritionally, I didn't understand the point of this juice, or believe its claims of speeding up the metabolism. In my head it was a way they could make a profit off of lemons and water. But for $11 a bottle I wasn't about to skip it, so I drank it daily and suffered in silence. 

The effects of the cleanse were unreal. Lola has crazy eczema, had a significant case of cradle cap, and generally pretty sensitive skin. The juice fast cleared all of that up and made me realize that the kid is super sensitive to dairy, which is why I stayed dairy-free for the months following the cleanse. And it is why I am getting ready to cleanse again (I fell off the non-dairy wagon and I want to clean house for her and for me).

As for the effects on me those too were unreal. I know the thing everyone wants to know about first is how much weight I lost. The answer is four pounds over 20 days. I didn't really loose a ton of weight on the cleanse itself (a lot of bloat, not a lot of weight), but I started off being a pretty small person to begin with. I never gained a single pound back, and actually lost another five pounds in the months that followed. My skin looked great, and any dryness or blemishes cleared up. And I slept like a daddy (because we all know, babies don't really sleep, but their daddies somehow do).  And in the category of things you never wanted to know about me, all of the backend problems that I've suffered from over the years have gone away. In my life I have never been, ahem, regular. I haven't had a problem since.

Now that I have done a cleanse, I am honestly more inclined to do the whole thing myself. Here are all of the recipes for the BPC broken down for anybody interested in DIY'ing a juice fast. I plan on doing my next cleanse -- five days -- this summer. This time I'm making all of my own juices. Cleansing, for me anyway, seems to be a way to keep my health in check and to kind of regroup after a few months of frenetic, on-the-go eating. The nice part about the process is that it forces me to make a commitment to myself and my own health. Something that I'm not always good at doing.

Feel free to ask me anything about this, I'm happy to share more details or answer questions. If you are able to comment through Disqus, I ask that you do so instead of emailing so that if someone else has the same question they can see the answer too!

For anyone that is interested, here are some fun to read reviews of BPC here, here, and here. I think I'd be BFF with two of these bloggers. I bet you can guess which two...

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