Art Editor Sarah McGinnis has had success with the 5:2 diet - but fears a juice fast may tip her over the edge...
I’ve been a bit slack on the fasting front recently. I’ve lost about a stone and four pounds on the 5:2 diet , and with at least another half to go to reach my ideal weight I’m getting just a bit bored. I feel better than I ever have, but I just don’t know how many more carrot sticks and lettuce leaves I can eat before I lose my mind. I have no more genius meal ideas and quite frankly no desire to spend my Sundays prepping leafy food boxes for the week.
And then our beauty editor suggested I try a 5:2 juice cleanse... Erm, what? No food? Two whole days of just juice and probably a lot of visits to the bathroom? It sounded like it could tip me over the edge, but somehow I was talked into it...
The company running the 5:2 juice diet, Purifyne Cleanse, has a range of programmes that can be tailored to a specific need, including its signature cleanse, anti-ageing and fitness cleanses. Designed to help detoxify the body by providing it with fresh and nutritious cold pressed organic juices, the 5:2 cleanse is supposed to promote healthy weight loss while increasing energy levels and (it says) is the perfect way to boost your system and improve your body. All it required was for me to swap my two 500-calorie fast days for two juice days. Here’s how it went…
I wake up feeling hungry. It’s going to be a loooong day. I make myself a hot water and lemon to start the day as it is recommended in order to improve digestion, and aids weight loss by helping to fight hunger cravings. Don’t ask me why but desperate thoughts at 7am meant that on the way out of the house I crammed leftover Creme Eggs and a half-eaten Easter egg into my bag - you know, just in case.
I get to the office at 8.30am to receive my Purifyne Cleanse package. It’s impressively organised with labelled juices, supplements and information cards to ensure you are fully prepared for the two days ahead. As a juicing beginner, the information was a little confusing and a bit overwhelming but Purifyne were on hand to answer any questions I had via email or phone, so I never felt that I was stuck for too long without help.
In my package I have five juices. There is a green juice, a carrot and ginger one, a spicy lemonade and two Morning Bliss beetroot juices. Naively I thought I would get another delivery tomorrow. Lesson one: never assume. Never think there will be more juice. There wouldn’t be. This was my lot. I send a quick email to my contact at Purifyne asking if there would be another delivery. No such luck.
“You are on the 5:2 plan,” she reminds me. “It is a calorie-controlled plan so this is to last you throughout your two fasting days together.” Oh Lord, how am I going to get through this?
At 9.30am, in order to ensure you get enough nutrients throughout the cleanse, Purifyne supply you with different types of supplements. At the beginning of each day you have to take a full teaspoon of green superfoods and mix it with a glass of water. If there was ever a point in life where I wanted to question my sanity it is now. It is honestly like drinking a concoction dredged up from the garden. One of my colleagues was reeling off a list of healthy benefits of chlorophyll through her laughs in a bid to help me keep this sludge down. I sat there in a post-green grump watching everyone else munch on their morning pastries.
And that’s not the last of it; in the middle of the first morning juice I had to stir in some colosan powder and drink the rest of it. The beetroot juice was pleasant enough on its own, but having to stir in powder that made it cloudy and frothy turned it for me. It was just like being five years old again with your mother stirring in travel sickness tablets into a glass of milk.
11.30am and I’m still glugging my beetroot and colosan mix, alternating it with sips of mineral water - I never thought I would be so excited to be drinking water! In the midst of my confusion I forgot to take one of my Udo’s Choice capsules which is the size of a small balloon. I hate pills at the best of times, although I’d take these over the green powder any day.
1.00pm and the girls in the office were munching on their lovely salads. Me? I’m still finishing my first juice. However I’m not missing food yet, I feel full and am not actually tired or sluggish, although I’ve never been so excited about making a cup of herbal tea. (I have also visited the bathroom a dozen times in the past hour from the volume of liquid I was consuming.
3.00pm and I feel I need a boost so I give the ‘Deep Green’ juice a try. The Morning Bliss was surprisingly nice for one of those ‘good for you’ health drinks so I am looking forward to the next flavour which is a mix of cucumber, celery, spinach, lemon and lime. I’ve never been a fan of a green juice as I haven’t quite found one that doesn’t taste like I’m drinking liquidised grass cuttings. However hungry I felt, I’m afraid this was a no-go. As soon as I opened the lid my colleague said ‘Good god what the hell is that smell’. Ah, that would be me and my bottle of watery earth! I honestly could not stomach this juice and so have to go without.
Unfortunately there was no coconut water supplied with the cleanse, so instead I finish the afternoon with a few more cups of herbal tea and a few sips of the spicy lemonade which was so refreshing I could have drank five bottles of it.
By 6pm I feel a bit headachey, so I head home without finishing my green juice, instead having a super relaxing Epsom salts bath which quite frankly was the highlight of my day. On the 5:2 plan you are allowed a very small calorie-controlled salad in the evening before 6pm from a recipe sheet they provide. However, I am so washed out with beets and supplements I can’t imagine anything worse than eating, so instead I have a tea and am in bed by 8pm. The life of a 5:2 dieter is never easy...
I have never felt so refreshed and ready for the day ahead - a complete contrast to how groggy I felt falling into bed last night. Something must have worked yesterday as I literally hopped out of bed at the sound of my 6am alarm which is unheard of. Maybe the juice was working its magic powers after all?
I loved starting my day with a hot water and lemon and a spot of body brushing, which was also recommended to aid the detoxifying process.
As I arrive at work my colleague Ayesha tells me my skin looks amazing and glowy (she always was my favourite that one!). Oddly I am feeling a lot brighter and at this point I don’t feel any worse than I would on a regular fast day, so I crack on with my supplement concoctions in the kitchen and attempt to get through the green superfoods (which is no easier than yesterday).
11am and it’s onto my beetroot juice - I’m actually getting used to this earthy vegetable taste and am proving to myself that I can function on liquids without losing my marbles as I’d expected. After a shaky start yesterday, day two is going strong. I still have some spicy lemonade left too, which I would have everyday if I could.
12pm and my stomach won’t stop rumbling. I have my second juice of the day, which is the carrot, apple and ginger. WOW. This juice is delicious – I never thought I’d hear myself say that! I could happily sit and sip this without feeling as though I’m depriving myself; I wish I’d had this yesterday instead of the compost drink.
2pm and I’m feeling a bit sick on apple and carrots so I go and make a peppermint tea. Of course the biscuit tin is open and there are a few guys making builder’s brews. I try not to draw attention to myself as I hungrily stir my peppermint teabag while staring at the biscuits, and then some insensitive soul swoops in like a vulture and takes the last chocolate Bourbon. I give him an evil stare and realise I’m losing it a bit. I head back to my desk ready to freak out, but crack on with my afternoon and try not to think about food.
6.20pm on day two and I sin. I have a packet of popcorn. I couldn’t hack another sip of liquid, I was so hungry I felt sick and the commute home just about did me in. I could have made a salad, but I just can’t face chopping up another damn lettuce. The 5:2 plan is tough for a beginner. It’s good to know that there is room for a small salad as long as its before 6pm, but I surprised myself at how unappealing that is once you’re mid-cleanse.
Today’s juice variety, though, was so much more enjoyable. If I had to do this again (and I would consider it if I could consume more juice) then I would definitely try a signature cleanse so that there was more juice and more variety; five juices for two days was just too hardcore for me. On the plus side, Purifyne were really helpful and I now know which juices I really enjoy.
I can understand why people embark on a juice cleanse and completely see the benefits - I lost four pounds in two days. But for me, as a 5:2 dieter? Just give me another ball of lettuce and some carrot sticks, please.
Prices start from £89 for the 5:2 juice cleanse - visit Purifyne Cleanse's website for details