The (Juice) Fast and the Curious

OK, technically it’s not a fast. 

A fast means to deny oneself, conjuring up ideas of ascetic monks and hairshirts, which is not my scene at all. Examining the rainbow of juices and elixirs piled prettily in the bag with my name on it, however, I felt more like a fancy heiress than an abstemious friar—even if it was all I’d be consuming for the next three days. 

I’ve been sipping nutritious smoothies from Blend and Press Wellness Bar in Habersham Village for years and a longtime lurker of their various wellness programs designed to detox the liver and balance the gut. But I wasn’t sure I could handle the regimen. 

As I mentioned, I don’t do austerity when it comes to food. It triggers all kinds of memories from my youth, when I binged and purged and had a hateful relationship with my body, a vicious cycle ameliorated with years of therapy, kind self-talk and the empowered writings of Geneen Roth. (I know I’m not alone, and if you’re suffering from damaging body image and self-esteem issues, please know that recovery is possible.)

These days, food and exercise are sources of joy and nourishment for me, and after birthing two children and having a husband who likes to touch my tush a lot, I’ve come to understand my body as a goddamn sexy miracle. Echoing iconic queens Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion, I can say I absolutely adore everything about my body, including my sluggish thyroid and the charming little beer belly acquired over quarantine that I’ve nicknamed Potchymama. 

So the idea of drinking only juice for three days brought up some concerns. I mentioned my reservations to B+P’s founder Chelsea Dye, who nodded sympathetically. 

“Even the word ‘cleanse’ can incite an emotional reaction that makes people think of deprivation, or that it’s a quick fix,” she told me when I stopped in for a Carrot Cake smoothie. “But this is about nourishment on a deep level. It’s about resetting your mind, body and spirit.” 

Chelsea has been offering fresh juices and raw food bowls in Savannah since 2014, each year packing more nutrients into her proprietary recipes and guiding private clients to healthier pantries. She and I bonded long ago over our adoration of adaptogens, a class of herbal supplements that help protect the central nervous system from the crushing stress of everyday life. (Ashwaganda is a popular one; my fave is Holy Basil, aka tulsi.) A dedicated researcher, Chelsea has developed her own line of adaptogenic supplements and partners with local organic farmers as part of what she calls the “cycle of community.” 

“Everything we put in is sourced ethically and meant to make you feel wonderful, inside and out,” she assured me. “The whole idea is to be gentle with yourself.”

Now THAT I could get behind. I signed up for a three day Raw Reset, ready to find out how this beautiful bag of liquid jewels would make my body feel. Here’s what happened: 

Day One

6am: Upon awakening, I am greeted with my normal daily serving of dog slobber, followed by a glass of warm lemon water to boost the immune system and kickstart the metabolism. As I sleepily measure out kibble and note the familiar clink of pouring food into bowls, I remember that there will be no such sound for me for the next three days. I go back to bed.

7am: After a rousing second round of dog saliva, I’m ready for the first wellness shot of the day. Belly Boost is a bright orange color brimming with live probiotics and aloe vera to promote healthy digestion, and I toss it back like a cowboy on his first tequila after a gunfight. Yippee-ki-YAY am I awake now! I feel my eyes bulge from spicy vinegar and garlic; I’m surprised I don’t exhale fire. The dogs scurry away, as if my breath is the problem. 

8:30am: I inhale my first pressed juice of the day with the zeal of a mosquito on a bare leg. Green Detox contains enough seasonal greens to gratify a herd of oxen, and I feel my brain begin to focus on something other than not eating. Fortunately for everyone in my orbit, the program allows caffeine, so I prepare my usual voltage of strong black tea—albeit sans honey and creamer—and settle in front of the computer to get some work done. 

10am: Time for another wellness shot. The fridge lined with bottles in various sizes and hues looks like a mad scientist’s laboratory, each specimen marked in the order it’s meant to be consumed. I pull out the #3 Super Green made with spirulina and chlorella, which I expect to taste like a mowed lawn. Instead I get lip-smacking lime with hints of sweet coconut, a delightful relief after the fireball shot from earlier. 

11:30am: I’m about to eat my own hand, so I head over to Blend and Press for the midday smoothie, made fresh to order by the lovely Cynthia. This version of the Green Glow comes with heart-healthy MCT oil and pea protein along with celery, pineapple and cucumber sourced from Joseph Fields Farms, longtime vendors at Forsyth Farmers Market.

“I also added some cordyceps for an extra boost,” says Cynthia as she hands me the emerald concoction.

I blink at her. “It’s an adaptogenic mushroom,” she clarifies.

“Of course it is,” I nod. 

I look up cordyceps later and find out that not only has this parasitic fungus been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years and scientifically shown to improve kidney health and athletic stamina, it also attacks insect larvae. So, ya know, instant fan over here of the bug-marauding super ‘shrooms. 

2pm: Another big swig of spicy Belly Boost. I barely sputter this time, taking my medicine like a champ. 

3pm: I’ve been waiting all day to try the Majik Recovery Tonic, the color of a sparkling Caribbean sea thanks to an infusion of blue-green algae. My mind instantly transports to a white sand beach where I’m dancing barefoot to a steel drum band until I am interrupted from my revelry by the thought of a big plate of jerk chicken.

4:30: Just when I think I might have to sneak a piece of chocolate, there’s an afternoon snack. Housemade raw cashew “mylk” sweetened with dates and cinnamon hits the palate just right, and I think I may be getting the hang of this. 

6pm: Time to feed the dogs again. Their slobbery crunching makes me feel murderous until I realize #8 is actual food! The microgreens from Vertu Farms topped with roasted pepitas fill an entire plate, and I mix it with the savory, nutrient-rich dressing that sends happy sparks to my gustatory cortex. 

9pm: The dogs and humans gather around the TV for a nightly dose of Netflix. The herbal tea I’ve prepared to replace my usual sugary treat does not stave off the savage rage that arises from hearing the crinkle of other people’s snack bags. I end up going to bed before David and Patrick kiss, but I’ve seen this one before anyway. 

Day Two

6am: I wake up with dog tongue inside my nostrils, alerting me that my masters wish to be fed. The clink of kibble doesn’t bother me so much today, and as I’m preparing my lemon water I notice that I feel alert, calm and not hungry at all. I did have a dream about a Godzilla-type monster tossing hundreds of loaves of bread in the air, so there’s that. 

7am: I down my hotsy totsy wellness shot with nary a flinch, then chase the dogs around making Godzilla noises. 

8:30am: I receive a text from Chelsea, checking in to see how I’m faring and reminding me to drink plenty of water. I make sure I do by filling up each container with water after I’m finished with the juice and drinking it, which serves as a rinse before I put it in the recycling bin and helps me get every last little tasty drop.  

11:30am: I pick up the day’s smoothie after a fairly focused morning during which I only fantasized about huevos rancheros twice. Cynthia greets me with her million-watt smile, handing over my verdant sustenance. I stab it with my metal straw and suck it halfway down before I’m even out the door. 

“Today’s boost is maca—enjoy!” she calls after me. 

I’m already a huge fan of maca and take it daily, as it’s proven to help soothe hot flashes and other symptoms of perimenopause, like sore joints and wanting to punch people in the throat. A little extra couldn’t hurt. 

4:30: I’ve actually been in a fantastic mood all afternoon, and I take a few moments to sip my cashew mylk slowly, appreciating its taste and all of the effort it took to make it, from the trees that grew the nuts to the hands that picked them as well as Chelsea and her team for crafting such an elevated experience. I realize that I’m feeling completely cared for and relaxed, a rare sensation for a working mom who has been preparing daily meals for others for more than 20 years straight. 

6:30: Dinner is delicious, sea kelp noodles and microgreens with a turmeric-pineapple dressing that has anti-inflammatory properties and a spicy kick. I decide to use chopsticks, which brings an exotic element to the meal and prevents me from full-on shoveling it into my mouth.

“That looks better than what we’re eating,” says my husband, poised over my bowl with his fork. 

I stab at him with a chopstick. “Don’t even think about it.” 

9pm: Herbal tea is not exactly a satisfying dessert compared to Coqui chocolate chip cookies, but I remember my earlier serenity and sip slowly. I make it through two episodes in the middle of the snuggle pile until the hands and paws get to be too much as my lovely, strong, amazing body begins to radiate temperatures that approach nuclear. I turn down the AC to glacial and fall asleep. 

Day Three

6am: I’m up early, foiling my face-douching hounds. Instead they lick the backs of my knees until they hear the Pavlovian call of kibble dropping into their bowls. The lemon water goes down easy, and I think I’ll definitely stick with it to wash down my daily dose of maca and thyroid pill. 

I’m inspired to do a few sun salutations as the dawn glints on the morning dew, my breath even and my muscles loose. I notice Potchymama is a little less pronounced, likely due to the effect of the hot shots’ anti-bloating properties, and I find myself looking forward to knocking back that blast this morning. 

9am: Today is a real test, since I’m working the River Street hustle all day. I usually bring a big bag of snacks to sustain me, and though I trust by now that the power-packed smoothie I pick up early from Cynthia is plenty to keep me energized, I’m a little worried I’ll sketch out without my pistachios. Nevertheless, I load up the mini-fridge with my bag of juicy gems, sipping through the schedule in between talking to tourists from Ohio. 

2pm: A word, *ahem*, on elimination. Lots of liquid means lots of action for the bladder, and the only official potties for the market are port-o-lets that heat up like a poor man’s rocket to the sun. After five juices, three wellness shots and two trips to the space capsule, I may have snuck into a local restaurant for relief. 

9pm: Home after a satisfying day of sales, I didn’t even miss the snacks. I’m tired but not exhausted, and I answer Chelsea’s check-in text with sunshine and thumbs-up emojis. I did it! And though I had a few twinges of hunger, I didn’t feel like I was wearing a hairshirt at all. I snuggle in for downtime with my people and puppers feeling nourished and happy, just another body succumbing to gravity on this sparkling blue jewel circling the sun.   

***

It’s been a week since I finished the Raw Reset, and I still feel pretty terrific. I’ve kept up with lemon water and popped back over to Blend and Press for a few lunch smoothies and conversation, my interest piqued in how I can incorporate more hormone-balancing supplements into my meals and optimize my strong, gorgeous body with more plant-based power. 

I would consider doing this again, though it’s definitely not cheap—$183 for three days, which I was comped for the purposes of this article—but considering each day is seven hand-crafted drinks, a nutrient-rich plant-based dinner and lots of smiling support, it delivers a lot of value. Chelsea is also available for private consultations, and anyone seeking to care for themselves in this way would benefit from her prescriptive knowledge.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get Potchymama a plate of truffle fries and an icy pint or three of Southbound Brewery’s Eyes of the World IPA at the 5 Spot.  

Wherever you are, I hope you’re feeling good in your body today and you’re speaking to yourself kindly. You too are a goddamn sexy miracle, and don’t you forget it.

Here’s to our health ~ JLL 

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