One, Two, Juice!

Astro AWANI's Rizal Zulkapli writes about his three-day cleanse program with cold-pressed juice.

Powerhouse Green (kale, spinach, parsley, romaine, cucumber, apple, celery, lemon)- Juice no 1, to be taken in the morning, it has a nice green taste to it. | Astro Awani
We have heard it all before. ‘Eat this berry, it will help you live younger forever’, or ‘drink a teaspoon of that oil in the morning, it will help you lose weight’. To some, it may just sound like a fad. To others looking for alternative solutions to overcome a prolonged illness or ailment, these are like news of a new discovery and are greeted with open arms (and mouth).

I quit smoking, cold turkey, in March following a long debate that I had with myself while I was stuck in traffic one morning. It was the most difficult decision that I have made especially after smoking a pack a day for the past 14-15 years. Towards the end of May, my backache, which I acquired one afternoon at the gym, came back to haunt me. I was hospitalised upon the discovery of an annular tear near the bottom end of my spine. I was given muscle anti-inflammatory pills, painkillers and advised to be active.

Following the copious amount of painkillers that I consumed, the lack of proper diet, and the restricted movement due to the backache, I was beginning to feel like a very, very sick person. I looked haggard, was constantly tired and was just not in the right mood almost all the time. To make matters worse, I was eating indiscriminately, adding more pressure to my system.

On a trip to find dinner in Kuala Lumpur one evening, my friend suggested that I try the ‘3-day cleanse program with cold-pressed juice’.

“The name sounds pompous,” I said “like a mini MBA that you get in 2 weeks.”

“No, babe. My sister and I tried the programme and we felt better afterwards,” she said.

We both had butter prawn, fried rice and cold jasmine tea that evening, and at the end of dinner, I caved in and said ‘yes’ to the detox program.

On Monday, 3 days after my friend and I had the conversation, I enrolled myself on a ‘3-day cleanse programme with cold-pressed juice”. I received 18 bottles of juice in various shades of green, red and orange from Upbeat Health Bar, a modest healthy food stand in Avenue K. I was already regretting my decision at the sight of those bottles. 18 shades of I-will-torture-you-and-make-you-run-to-the-toilet-every-5-minutes.

According to my mini research, cold-pressed juice is superior to juice made using high speed, hot, rotating blades. To avoid sounding like a ‘mini cult’, cold-pressed just simply means ‘press fruit slowly and get juice’ as opposed to ‘blend fruit and get juice’.

I have to consume 6 bottles of 500 ml juices per day. Day 1, 2 and 3 went by so fast and I have to admit, the juices are not that bad. I like their names. ‘Powerhouse Green’ (kale, spinach, parsley, romaine, cucumber, apple, celery, lemon)- Juice no 1, to be taken in the morning, it has a nice ‘green’ taste to it; or ‘Red Beauty’ (kale, beat, carrot)- Juice no 5, a delicious red ‘promise’ that your face too, will soon ‘launch a thousand ship’.

detox juice

For 3 days, I consumed nothing but the juices based on the schedule provided by Upbeat. I have to admit, I was a little sceptical when I first started. Mostly because I thought I was going to be hungry and cranky (hangry). It turned out, I wasn’t feeling any of that (most of the time). Unlike water-only diet, which I have tried, the juices provided easily absorbed nutrients, soluble fibre, and let’s all agree, the goodness of salad, all in one (ok, 18) bottles.

At one point, during ‘Day 2 of Juice Cleanse’, a colleague asked me if I wanted to join him for lunch. Because he sat quite a distance away from where I was, I shouted,

“I can’t, I’m on a juice-only diet.”

I was positive the whole office thought I was obnoxious. No matter how I phrased it, telling people that I was on a cold-pressed juice-only diet only made me sound like a (healthy) douchebag.

I have to come clean. After finishing all 18 bottles, I do feel a bit lighter. My stomach and face are a tad smaller, my skin looks less haggard, and I also lost a bit of weight (1kg). I don’t have cravings for heavy fried food, just the desire to fuel my body with moderate amount of fruits and freshly made food to get more energy. Maybe it’s the juices, or maybe it’s just the fact that for 3 days, I have trained myself to get on with very little processed food in my system. Either way, I love this new sensation.

A doctor that I consulted during my 3-day cleanse told me that the body is capable of cleansing itself and getting rid of the toxin. He added, consuming vegetables and fruits is good. But with everything, it has to be done in moderation. The body requires different nutrients from different sources, and of course, the body requires exercise.

Did I reach my goal after three days? I have to admit, three days was not enough to get me physically better than how I was pre-painkiller, pre-medication and pre-30 years old. However it is a good start to train myself to eat more greens (reds and yellows), and to exercise more. Eventually, I hope, my 3-day cleanse will provide a jump start to a better life. (Continue to be) smoke free, (try to live) painkiller-free and (and make an extra effort to be) happy. Mens sana in corpore sano.

I have drank the (cold-pressed) Kool-Aid and I will continue to do so.