Soulmatefood: starting my final Michaelmas Term with a clean plate.

So I'm back in London for my final year of the LLB. In the course of my return at the end of September, I had squeezed my schedule a little tight - I finished a bank internship on Thursday; packed, went to the doctor, and karaoke-d for four hours until 4am on Friday; took a 13.5 hour flight to London at 1pm on Saturday; and on Sunday, I had a 6 hour long photo-and-video taking session across the south bank of the Thames and in Covent Garden that started at 8am, before baking until 12am.

And we had two days of Freshers' Fayre after.

It wasn't surprising that I wound up with stomach flu on the first day of the Fayre, and spent the second day curled up in a ball. Also, the indulgences I had food-wise over the past few months have  taken a toll on my system.

The Soulmatefood Juice Cleanse sounded like a pretty good idea to try and clean up that system.

"Suitable for everyone from sedentary chair-sitters to active, busy chair-builders, the juices are designed to help give grumpy metabolisms and digestive systems a kick in the bottom." 

I started on Tuesday, with the juices delivered in the morning in a couple of boxes, still chilled with special gel packs. When I opened the boxes, I panicked at the number of juice bottles: 30 for 5 days. Woah. There are six types of juices, to be consumed by sipping slowly every two hours after waking up. Also, I am to drink 6 glasses of water and only exercise lightly, and not drink any other fluid.

Just so you know, Soulmatefood is having an Autumn promotion - £55 for a three-day cleanse, and £75 for the five-day cleanse. It's a pretty sweet deal.

More after the jump!

This is my first ever juice cleanse and I haven't been able to stick to it completely three days in.

A) When I'm back in London, my weekly schedule is haphazard with lectures, tutorials and seminars interspersed randomly through the week, in addition to ad hoc Society and charity (I'm working for London International Model United Nations) obligations - my energy levels need to stay high to keep up.

B) It's not easy to get access to the juices when I'm on the run because I'm also lugging around law textbooks and quite a few electronic devices - having my bag loaded down with juices that should stay chilled all day is not ideal. For a busy girl, even the benefit of not having to cook or wash up seems a little difficult to balance with having to drink something every two hours, like clockwork.

C) What I've found hard is the amount of sweetness in the cleanse as well - I substituted a couple of the juices with vegetable soup and some really healthy harlequin squash mash (with no dairy included and made with roasted squash brushed with a little bit of olive oil, seasoned with black pepper and red pepper flakes) instead.

3 Day Verdict

After three days, despite not sticking to the cleanse completely, I've lost a little more than three pounds, although after doing some research on juice cleanses, they eliminate a lot of water weight your body retains to help digestion. I do feel a little more energetic, though, and my skin has actually cleared and brightened slightly! And of course, my body fat content has dropped to 21.7% (the healthy range for women in their 20s is 21-33%) - comparing myself to my flatmate is depressing though, because her body fat content is 19.7%.

Soulmatefood provides excellent service, and responds super fast on Twitter whenever you need help and support. I'll be having a dinner tomorrow with my Society Treasurer and Secretary and Soulmatefood kindly advised on what I should have: "For best results we say juice but a source of lean protein e.g. chicken with veg & try to keep away from carbs eg pasta, rice etc."

Here's a detailed and very honest diary of the first three days:

Day 1

I started off well with the first three juices as I worked my way through emails at home. By 4pm as I was about to start on Juice 4 after a seminar, I received a Graze delivery. (Graze promotes healthy snacking by sending a box with four punnets of various snack foods every week - if you're interested, use my refer-a-friend code H46FTKV to get your first box free.) Well, I had forgotten to cancel this week's delivery, and there were chilli and garlic olives labelled "Eat Me, I'm Fresh!". I listened, and ate them.

All of them.

According to the nutrition table Graze kindly provided, that was 131 calories. I consumed less as I didn't guzzle the puddle of oil the olives were sitting in. I happily sipped on Juice 4 until 6pm, and proceeded to our Society AGM at 7pm, toting a massive tower of brownie squares for our members:

I assure you that the photo shown represents the halfway-mark in the baking process. The plate I brought to the AGM had more brownies. Our Secretary and I chaired the meeting, which ended at 9pm and was quite trying. My blood sugar felt like it was dangerously low, so I had a small brownie square (CARB ALERT, CARB ALERT!).

When I got home after some follow-up, I craved something salty with Juice 5 so I nibbled on tiny goan curry crackers (about 50 calories worth; CARB ALERT!).

I actually didn't have Juice 6 that night, having forgotten to drink it. Oops.

Total: 5 Juices

Day 2

I had half of the previous day's Juice 6 before a 9am lecture, and guiltily drained the rest away. Juice 1 was sipped throughout the lecture, and I had Juice 2 and 3 without incident.

Then my flatmate (V) and I decided to vacuum and mop and scrub up the entire flat properly. This was not a good idea. Post-cleaning, I was starving due to the energy expended - cleaning well definitely constitutes some vigorous activity. I had some of V's lamb doner (MEAT ALERT) and Turkish bread (CARB ALERT), trying not to eat fatty meat bits.

My friend Jess arrived in the late afternoon, asking me to teach her how to cook my adaptation of Hearty Vegetable Soup (use Korean red pepper flakes to taste, and change the kale to frozen chopped spinach; I also change the quantities of broth and vegetables disproportionate to the recipe as I don't have a large pot, so most of the soup is solid vegetable). It's now quite cold in London, so I had half a cup of soup.

After an evening meeting, I had Juice 4 while V and Jess tried to tempt me unsuccessfully with Domino's as we got ready to go out to a party at Piccadilly Institute. I was feeling full by then, so V actually drank Juice 5 for me.

I am proud, however, that all I had at Piccadilly Institute was water! I came home and promptly collapsed on my bed, Juice 6 again forgotten.

Total: half of Juice 6 + Juice 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 4.5 Juices

Day 3

This morning, I had Juice 6 when I woke up, and a cup of the vegetable soup. After heading out to run errands, I joined some friends at a bar & grill near school. I was a little sick of juice and had most of a glass bottle of diet Coke, forgetting about its caffeine content in the wake of the burgers, chips, croquettes and other meat dishes my friends happily consumed in front of me.

I sipped on Juice 1 until my 4pm lecture. Since I hadn't brought out any more juices, my stomach growled hard at the end of the two hours. I came home and had most of Juice 2 (it's not my favourite), Juice 3, and a quarter-cup of harlequin squash mash. It has been nearly 12 hours since my first juice of the day and I've only had 4 juices instead of all six.

I'm like to have half each of Juice 4 and 5 before I go to bed tonight. On the plus side, no meat or staple carbs were consumed today, only the juices and mushed up vegetables.

Juice 6 will be again relegated to morning consumption - I do find that Juice 6 tastes like a breakfast smoothie... it's not something one might crave at supper, like other breakfast-supper foods like bacon and eggs.

Total: Juice 6 + 1 + 2 + 3 + half of 4 + half of 5 = 5 Juices (not all were consumed completely)

*DAY 4 MORNING EDIT: I only had half of 4. Having half of 5 right now. Oh dear.*

Will post an update in two days after I (sort of) finish the cleanse - let's see if I can go a whole day without anything but juice and water.

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