Bounce back from bad holiday eating habits with a three-day juice cleanse.
Like most people, traveling is always my opportunity to indulge in delicious meals and cheat on my workout routine. After a fun and food filled summer, I arrived back to the UAE in desperate need of a wellness refresh. What better way to recharge than a post-travel detox?
Though my summer travels gave a much needed reprieve from the chaos of work, my body was left feeling rundown and my energy levels have certainly suffered. I’ve decided to kickstart my return to healthy habits with a detox program from Wild & The Moon, one of my favorite healthy cafes in Dubai. The best part? They deliver to Abu Dhabi as well as Dubai!
In the past, juice cleanses were synonymous with deprivation and diet extremes. However, Wild & The Moon’s takes a slightly different approach to the notorious fad with The Essential Cleanse Detox Program. Its combination of fruit and veggie juices, nut milks and gazpacho marries the best of nutrition, taste and satisfaction. It also allows for snacking in the form of nuts and raw fruits and veg — which I highly recommend to anyone doing the detox who is looking to maintain their weight and simply wants to hit a reset button on their eating habits.
Even with the snacking and nut milks, the detox program still requires some serious commitment. There were difficult moments, particularly on Day 2 of my cleanse. That being said, at the end of the program I felt energized, refreshed and bloat-free. I also noticed a huge shift in my tastebuds, which started to appreciate the flavors of things like raw veggies again.
Here is a step-by-step look at Part I of my juice cleanse journey from pre-cleanse prep through the end of Day 1:
The Countdown: Pre-Detox Prep
Instead of diving headfirst into a three-day cleanse, Wild & Moon recommends allotting a few days to prepare your body for the transition. Knowing my travel eating habits have been far from great, doing a bit of pre-cleanse prep seems in order. The instructions call to cut out gluten, meat, dairy, refined sugar, fried food, alcohol and — trickiest of all — caffeine.
Luckily, I had a few vegan and gluten-free recipes up my sleeve (if you studied at NYU and didn’t try eating vegan for a year, did you even go?).
After a couple days of clean eating, I was already starting to feel better. All of the rich meats and foods I had been consuming were swapped for lighter alternatives. Vegetables, a rarity or garnish in my meals while traveling, suddenly became the defining feature of them. My two or three cups a day of coffee habit halted (at least temporarily!) and was replaced with a delicious herbal tea instead. By the time my juice delivery arrived the evening before my detox, I was excited and ready to go.
The Action: Detox Days
If you are the kind of person who struggles to wake up in the morning like me (hence the coffee habit), then take careful note of the first step in the juice cleanse program - the "Bam Shot".
The strongest cup of coffee is no match for this lightening rod in a bottle. This ginger fueled concoction is the answer to your snooze button struggles and will have you zipping around as you get ready for work.
After successfully downing the ginger shot, it was time for my breakfast juice. The crisp veggie filled drink set the perfect tone for the rest of the morning. Although, by the time 10am rolled around, I was eagerly awaiting my next one.
I opened the next bottle a bit ahead of schedule, partially because hunger was starting to kick in and partially because I knew it was "Matcha Milk" (matcha is my weakness). I cannot say enough good words about Wild & The Moon’s selection of nut milks — not only do they come in a variety of delicious flavors, they also have just the right amount of sweetness and make for a fully satisfying snack.
Next up was a light, sweet juice with beetroot. As far as the detox program’s juices go, this was my favorite. The ratio of fruits to veggies gives the drink a refreshing and not-too-sweet taste, which I’ve found is a difficult balance to strike with vegetable juices. Plus, its name “Better than Botox” gives the juice extra points in my book.
Then it was time to up my green game with the “So Green” juice. This savory, veggie drink, with only a touch of lemon for fruit representation, made for a filling end-of-day juice.
Though I had made it to 5pm on all liquids, I was starting to feel hungry again. So, I added in one of the programs approved raw snack options, carrot sticks. It was at this point that I realized how much of an impact the detox was having. When I normally have carrot or veggie sticks, it’s nearly always accompanied with humus or some sort of dipping sauce for flavor. I'm usually less than thrilled about eating a totally raw, unseasoned vegetable, but this time around I could really appreciate all of the natural flavor. Another point for the juice cleanse.
Needless to say, I was feeling pretty good by now. When dinnertime came, I got to treat myself to another delicious nut milk — this one with activated charcoal. I’m personally a bit skeptical about the benefits of this new food trend, but I will say that the nut milk still tasted delicious even with its rocky ingredient list. I supplemented this last drink of the day with some raw pistachios for some extra calories/protein and then brewed myself a cup of calming, herbal tea.
That's a wrap for Day 1. Stay tuned for Part II of my detox journey.