I lost 3kg in nine days, but it might be due to a few vital organs falling out, writes Lee Suckling.
There are only so many times you can watch a Kardashian drink a green smoothie before you think about trying one yourself.
I have never liked blending or juicing my food. I have forever maintained that I'd rather eat fruits and vegetables raw rather than whip them into a frenzy and glug them down like Wattie's for Baby first tastes.
Watch any reality TV star or YouTuber worth their weight in contra beauty products and they'll tell you green juices are critical in their daily healthcare regimen. Given the kind of health and body advice I dole out, finally, I thought, it was time for this lifestyle columnist to put their money where their mouth is.
I had no specific goals, except maybe to lose a couple of winter kilograms. I bought the ingredients: the celery, carrot, ginger and lemon or savoury juices, the frozen blueberries, strawberries, Greek yoghurt, chia seeds, and açaí, cacao, and hemp powders for more dessert-like ones.
The juices and smoothies quickly became meal replacements. I was surprised how filling they are. Want pancakes? Throw blueberries and açaí together with a sprinkling of nuts and granola and you're satiated for the whole morning. Feel like a falafel sandwich? Blend celery and apple with some citrus and protein powder instead and your belly will be full for four hours.
I noticed my trips to the bathroom became more frequent than usual around day three. I'm a twice-daily kind of poop person, but suddenly I was on the can four, even five times a day. The smoothies were coming out the exact same way they went in.
The interwebs told me this was just my body's way of detoxing; getting used to so many healthy nutrients. I never really eat unhealthily anyway so this didn't make much sense to me, but I ploughed on, soon realising I was in the thick of a proper "juice cleanse" and should see it through.
By day three or four people were commenting on the condition of my skin, even before I noticed any real changes. I was glowing. Second-trimester-pregnancy glowing, the kind people spend $500 on La Mer for. As I've written before, compliments on your skin , are an easy way to woo anyone hurling towards their mid-thirties. I feel genuinely chuffed at these comments because good skin at this age isn't really something you just have. You have to work for it.
A week goes by and the diarrhoea doesn't abate. I consider quitting and going back to only solid foods, surmising that I was just consuming too much fibre at once. Not enough fibre and you're constipated, we're told, but too much and you have the trots.
Then I stepped on the scales. Three kilograms lost in nine days (in addition to my regular exercise). My belly, the toughest part of the body to change , was completely flat. I hadn't just achieved the six-pack, there were eight of them!
It seems Kim and Khloe and Kourtney and Kylie and Kendall know what they're doing, I
pondered. This juice cleanse stuff, when used as meal replacements, really works. With great skin and quick weight loss, it was a perfect recipe for a Hollywood bod.
The two week mark passes, but the bathroom visits don't. This is 14 days with the runs now, team. I feel like a dehydrated Jersey cow in need of fluid therapy. Nothing stays inside my body for more than two hours and I'm genuinely wondering if this weight loss is actually due to a few vital organs falling out.
Three weeks and I call it quits. Twenty-one days of worrying about proximity to hygienic toilets was making me anxious. The skin had stayed bright, but it was nothing a little rosehip oil couldn't achieve. There had been no additional weight loss beyond those first three kilograms. It was time to throw in the towel (or rather, throw away the baby wipes).
My key concern throughout this whole experience is that it would have been impossible for my body to hold onto any of the nutrients I was consuming. What's the point in spending money on superfoods when they're just in one end, and swiftly out the other? There is simply no way that diarrhoea works to promote healthy gut microbiome.
Juice cleanses like this one have other risks I didn't experience. They're wildly unsustainable, so later binge-eating is easy. Headaches are common. The excess acid can hurt your kidneys and even give you kidney stones. There's also weakness and irritability (not just of the bowel kind). They can even slow down your metabolism long-term.
I'm back on solids, and one of the three kilograms has returned. But so has my usual schedule of number twos, so I'm happy. I've decided that one or two açaí bowls a week is sufficient to feel like I'm doing my body right. Especially if it means I don't have to worry about trusting a fart.