Not exactly the kind of "BluePrint" you would expect me, the construction and design professional, to talk about here... I'm not referring to plans of any sort. I'm talking about the 12-year-old organic juice cleanse with a cult following.
For a price ($75/day, plus $30 overnight shipping to Westfield) you can "gently rid your body of impurities, regain an alkaline balance and normalize digestion and metabolism."
The truth is, I've wanted to do a cleanse since I finished my 6 months of chemo treatment 4 years ago. In 2007, at the age of 24 and 1 year into my marriage, I was diagnosed and treated for Stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. (The Patch actually did a great on the innovative things that my family did for me to help me through the treatments. Think themes, snacks, and party favors...) All the chemo drugs in my system cured me, but they also did some crazy things to my body. In the end, I was thankful for what the chemo did for me, but I just wanted it OUT.
Fast forward 4 years: a pregnancy, a breastfeeding baby, another pregnancy, and another breastfeeding baby. Oh, and about 15 lbs. later. No time like the present for that cleanse, right?
As soon as I was finished nursing Liam, I decided to do it. It had been a long time coming, and I have a wedding in LA I've been looking forward to coming up over the long Memorial Day Weekend. Perfect.
I put the feelers out on Facebook to figure out which cleanse was right for me (is there any other way to make an important decision?), and decided on BluePrint. Their tagline, "We think. You drink." sold me. I barely have time to brush my teeth, let alone shop for and make my own juices (this is a project I'd like to take on in a few years - maybe 15 - when my kids are old enough to dress, feed, and sleep on their own). Plus, a good friend of mine who will also be at the wedding this weekend has done BluePrint before, and agreed to be my "juice buddy" for support. Apparently I was going to need it.
The cleanse consists of 6 juices. I opted for the beginner's level, aptly titled Renovation, (there are 3 to choose from) which includes 2 Green Juices (basically a salad in a bottle), a Pineapple Apple Mint juice, a Spicy Lemonade, a Red Juice (beets, carrots, apples, lemon, ginger), and a creamy cinnamony sweet cashew milk. Each juice is numbered, and you are to consume them (and only them) in numerical order. You are encouraged to drink as much water and/or tea between the juices as you can, but that's it.
I placed the order so that my juices would arrive Tuesday, and I would "juice" (juice, juice, and only juice. Yes, as a verb.) for three days, through Thursday. You can do anything for 3 days, right? Perfect timing for the commencement of the wedding festivities, aka Indian Food Gorgefest-2012, on Friday night. This wasn't going to be a light-eating weekend. I had been pre-warned about the need to "wean" yourself back onto food after the cleanse, but I figured I'd feel it out when the time came. No excuses. Now was the time.
Fast forward to this morning. BluePrint sends a cheery email welcoming you to the cleanse and reinforcing the rules. They also offer bits of helpful information (try using a straw, or pouring it over ice, or adding lemon juice) for getting through the juices if you're having trouble. I came downstairs like I do every morning, with a crying baby, ready to pass him off to Mike so I could make the morning coffee (traditionally my job). Except I couldn't.
No coffee allowed. Shoot.
I made the baby his bottle instead, and sat back down on the couch. "Where's my coffee?" Mike asked.
One delicious smelling coffee later (I smelled, but did not taste. Swear.) I started wondering when my juices would arrive. They assured me they'd arrive by 10:30 a.m. (you can nosh on fresh fruit and water until it arrives if need be), but when you wake up at 6 a.m., 10:30 is like a year away. Ugh.
When the doorbell finally rang (9:25 a.m.!) and the FedEx guy handed me the heavy, cold box that held my next three days' sustenance, I was starting to get hungry. I was excited to dive in. I opened the box and immediately squared the clean, fresh-looking bottles away in my fridge in ascending numerical order. They looked good in there. I'd be proud to saunter around downtown past Chipotle and Bovella's with my sexy, minimalist BluePrint bottle in hand. Pshah... solid food. Who needs it? You weaklings, look at me with my self control and my liquid diet and my pretty juice bottles. This is going to be fun.
That's what I thought. Until I opened my first juice - a Green Juice - and brought it close enough to my face to get a whiff of it. Vegetal. That's the word that came to mind again and again as I took a gulp, and then another, and then another. It became almost like a mantra in my head, helping me finish this bottle of greens. Romaine, celery, cucumber, apple, spinach, kale, parsley, lemon. For breakfast. Nom nom nom. Not.
Jack, my oldest, looked hopefully up at me, pointing at the bottle suggesting he'd like a sip of mommy's juice. No, Jack. No, you don't. Trust me.
Holy moly, I have to do this all day? Surely they can't all be like this. I looked at the perfectly aligned bottles again. The majority looked yummy, but I was reminded by the big number "3" bottle that I'd meet the Green juice again later today. It's the only one you do twice in one day. Ick.
I texted my juice buddy. "Green juice = vom." She offered me some support, ensuring me that this was the toughest of the bunch, and reinforced my morale. I can do this.
I went about my day, toting my next two juices around with me in an ice pack filled cooler just in case I didn't make it home in time. Baby Liam's 6 month doctor appointment (he's a whopping 21 lbs. at 6 months! Holy cheeks!), the gym (not as difficult as I thought. I still had the energy to do my typical running and weight lifting regime), drank my #2 (Pineapple Apple Mint Juice - as yummy as it sounds!), went to the dry cleaner... and then I got a call from Mike.
"Would you mind running to BJ's and Trader Joe's to stock up on stuff in the house for when you leave us this weekend? We have nothing to eat here, I'm starving. And don't forget the Elio's."
Ha. Exactly where I'd like to be while trying my darnedest not to think about food - the place where food is so big you literally need a truck to get it home, and the mecca of delicousness, the sponsor of my refrigerator (and freezer), Trader Joe's.
Being the dutiful wife and mother that I am (plus the intrinsic guilt I felt about leaving my family for the long wedding weekend ahead without ample milk, eggs, and - heaven forbid - an oversized box of Reese's Puffs) I headed to BJ's determined to be in and out in no time. Pleased, I found myself less attracted to the foods I thought I'd be lusting over. The mozzarella stick samples didn't break me, and the rotisserie chickens didn't beckon me. I did find myself spending some extra time in the vitamin and supplement aisle - what kind of "cleansing" things can you buy in bulk? Turns out not many.
I climbed back into the car after spending a record low of $83 (as most of you know this is REVOLUTIONARY at BJ's. I've never made it out of there for under $200.) due to lack of impulse buys. I think I may be on to something here. Saving calories AND saving money... I like the sound of this added perk. Good job, BluePrint.
I was on my money-saving high, until I glanced over to my passenger seat and was greeted with a familiar sinking feeling in my stomach. In the cute black "BPC" cooler that came with my juices, I knew another Green guy was lurking. If I was going to get through this day, I had to down another salad in a bottle.
There was great satisfaction in knowing I finished that juice #3. No more Greens for the rest of the day. I did it! It's smooth sailing from here. (until I got to the #5 Beet juice... that's another story)
The rest of the day and the juices went down pretty well. Spicy lemonade was refreshing. The Beet juice was, well, beety. But I downed it, knowing that if I did I would be one step closer to the delicious promised land of cinnamon vanilla cashew milk. And trust me, it delivered.
My reaction to day 1? I found that the juices really filled me up. I was surprised that I did not feel hungry throughout the day, as I thought I would. I also noticed that there were several times during the day where I nearly involuntarily threw something in my mouth for no good reason. I had to literally say out loud, "what are you doing?" while I was cutting up a pear for Jack, or about to test his macaroni and cheese. I wonder how many calories a day I squander away on bites like this that I don't even realize I'm taking?
Two specific times during the day (around 5:30 p.m. when I am making dinner for the kids, and again at around 8 p.m. after I put everyone to sleep) I almost instinctively made my way to the pantry for a snack. I realized that this was more of an emotional reaction to food, than a hunger reaction. This is a take-away that I think will help me on my long-term path to healthier eating.
Maybe that's why it's called BluePrint? The cleanse lays the groundwork for the construction ahead. Carefully designed plans for you to follow, to build a healthier you.
So far, so good. I'll report back and let you know how days 2 and 3 go. 7 more hours until my next Green Juice...
Ellie Mroz is the C.A.O. and Design Specialist for , a Westfield-based Design/Build General Contractor. http://www.MichaelRobertConstruction.com
She can be reached at Ellie@MichaelRobertConstruction.com.