You know what’s cute? Baby bellies. Aren’t pregnant women adorable?
You know what’s not so cute? Baby bellies when you’re not pregnant. I’m not making a blanket statement about the size of other women’s bodies and what I think they should or shouldn’t look like. I’m talking solely about my own.
It’s annoying. Pants don’t fit well, and forget about wearing maxi dresses without getting “the look” from others. Is she, isn’t she? When a family member put her hand on my belly and asked if I had “news,” I lost it.
What if I did a juice fast? (Or cleanse, as some might call it.) I just wanted to look not so pregnant. And I was curious. Would I have renewed energy as some claimed? Would I cure my pesky battle with constipation (thank you, hormones). Would I feel rejuvenated?
There was only one way to find out. I bought a refurbished Breville juicer on Amazon and searched the interwebs for a juicing regimen. I decided three days would be a good test. I came across the Joe Cross 3-Day Weekend Juice Cleanse, and was attracted to the simple to follow shopping/recipe sheet.
I could hear my dietitian friend’s eyes rolling as I printed it off. I know she’s not a fan of juice cleanses. Something about your body needing fiber, and protein and yadda yadda. I mean, I guess she’s kind of on to something, as this fellow dietitian agrees.
“Following a very restrictive diet that is eliminating essential nutrients can be dangerous. If you are drinking juices in place of real food, you will fall short on a number of nutrients your body needs, namely protein and fiber,” says Lauren Blake, clinical dietitian at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.
OK. I heard the critics, but I just had to see for myself. After all, it’s just fruits and vegetables, right? And just for three days, right?
As it turns out, it wasn’t the worst thing I’d ever done, but it wasn’t the best thing, either. No miracle secret energy store was found and it wasn’t a silver bullet to my ever-present tummy pooch. I did enjoy the taste of several of the recipes, and it expanded my produce palate. I even learned how to repurpose all that leftover pulp into some tasty recipes, like this Apple Carrot Chocolate Cake.
And sure, I lost weight. Seven pounds. And my belly was pretty darn flat. That felt good.
But you know what felt bad? The extreme dizziness, mental fogginess, and feeling like I just needed to eat some ever-loving turkey breast. I was never really hungry during those three days, but there were times when I felt like my body might just shut down if I didn’t have some sustenance. As for claims of reduced constipation? Try the opposite. Then again, what do you expect when you’re eating no fiber?
Oh, and let’s not forget about the expense. I spent more than $120 in produce alone. I’m sure I could have been a more savvy shopper and saved money, but still.
When it comes to juicing, I can say I came, I saw and I didn’t conquer. I’ll still have a juice every now and then, but I’ll take my protein, my fiber and my round little belly over feeling like that again.