Several weeks ago, I started looking over my life and the goals that I wanted to accomplish for the remainder of the year and beyond. When I quit my job two years ago, I knew that I was on the verge of a change because inwardly all I thought about was that God had something more significant for my life. I was feeling that angst again, wondering where I am going with my writing career and I decided to look at all the things in my life that were helping or hindering my growth. One thing I decided to do was to refrain from wine for two weeks. And anyone that knows me knows that I love my wine, but when I looked at what I wanted to do and where I wanted my life to go, I needed a refresh and sipping blueberry wine even as delicious as it was, was not helping me.

After two weeks passed, I felt terrific, and I wanted to continue my journey to wellness. My friend Dave Christopher was having a self-care workshop, providing the community with various solutions for self-care. It was there that I ran into my friend Nichelle Hess Barbour who runs Aspire Juice Bar + Café. Their goal at Aspire is to provide the most nutritious and delicious Cold-Pressed Juice for their clients. Her table was filled with juices of various vibrant colors and after sampling a few, I knew that I was ready to try the 3-Day Juice Cleanse. Nichelle discussed with me my goals for the 3-Day Cleanse as that would affect the type of juices that she prepared. I told her that I had given up my favorite wine for two weeks and wanted to cleanse my body. My daughter would join me on the cleanse and neither of us had any medical issues that would prohibit us from doing the cleanse. With this information, each morning, Nichelle prepared five juices along with a bottle of apple-flavored Hint Water and two bags of Detox tea. The juices came in an insulated lunch bag along with an icepack to allow for easy transport to work and school. The juices came in a variety of flavors and all of them were delicious!

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Juicing is an experience that I would recommend to anyone, and following are several things I learned during my three days of juicing.

What You Should Do Before You Juice

1. Get Your Mind Right. Ask yourself why you are juicing? What do you want to gain during this process? Do you want a healthy kick start? Do you want to lose a few pounds? Do you need some mental clarity? Juicing is not just about your physical state, it is about your mental state. You must prepare your mind to accept the fact that for next three days you will not be eating any solid food. This may be difficult because we live in a world that is consumed with food. If we are not eating, we are thinking about what we are going to eat. The sooner you accept the fact that you will not be chewing any food for the next three days the better off you will be. Use the energy that you would typically use to focus on eating and focus on something else.
2. Do Not Tell Everyone. Because we live in a food-driven society, the minute you say you are drinking juice for three days, people will come out of the woodwork telling you your decision is insane. Not only that, they will either consciously or subconsciously try to sabotage your efforts. What helped me is that my daughter decided to do the 3-day cleanse with me. I knew that I could trust her and that she would not try to sabotage me and we could encourage one another.
3. Get A Journal. While you are doing the 3-day cleanse many thoughts will be going through your mind and often most of them do not have anything to do with food. Be prepared to write down your thoughts and feelings.

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What to Expect
1. The Bathroom Will Be Your New Best Friend. I am just being honest here. You will go to the bathroom quite a few times. (Don’t worry, it’s number 1.) Remember everything is getting flushed out. During my cleanse, I had several meetings and before my meeting, I let the person know I was doing a 3-day juice cleanse and may need to excuse myself a few times during our meeting. While it may seem like an inconvenience, I was happy that any water weight I was carrying was leaving my system and I felt refreshed.
2. You Will Think About Food A lot The First Day. You will think about food, what you want to eat, how it will taste but eventually, you will stop thinking about food. Suddenly, you realize how much everyone talks about food, eats food and how much of our daily lives are centered around food. How many times have you been at work thinking about what you were going to make for dinner? How many times have you packed your lunch only to gobble it down at your desk before lunchtime? Having my juice freed up my mind to think about other things and eventually I wanted to and did focus on other things besides food.
3. The Best Sleep You Have Ever Had. I have struggled with my sleep for years. My lack of sleep has just become a part of my life that I accepted. I went to bed ridiculously late and got up ridiculously early on my days off. Not because this is what I desired but because my body had just formed this habit over time with my lifestyle and it was taking a severe toll on me. I never felt rejuvenated when I woke up and struggled to get out of bed. When my alarm went off, I would hit snooze a hundred times before I crawled out of bed. The very first day I juiced, I went to bed before 9 pm which is a miracle and woke up at 5 a.m. without an alarm. Not only that I woke up and felt rested! For the next two days, the same thing happened. I didn’t need any pills or potions to fall asleep and I felt rested when I woke up. I know a lot of self-help and motivational gurus will speak about grinding and staying up late and getting up early, but there is no substitution for proper rest. Not just sleep but rest. When you are rested, you can be at your very best not just dragging along throughout the day.

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4. Who Needs Highlighter? I remember seeing my friend during my cleanse and he said, “Oh my, your skin! You look great!” I smiled. I knew I was glowing from the inside out. What you put on the inside reflects on the outside and for 3 days I consumed nothing but fruit and vegetables. I was feeding my body life and life was reflected in my face. And trust me, I know our mantra, “Good Black don’t crack,” however, some Black is cracking. We have found many ways to conceal this with creams, makeup and highlighters but how does your skin look without any of that stuff? Do you look refreshed? Does your skin feel supple and look vibrant?
5. Clarity of Thought. Because I wasn’t think about a 5-dollar box from Popeye’s I had time to focus on other things that I should be thinking about. I had complete clarity of thought and I made sure to joint down my thoughts in a journal. Some things may come up for you while you are fasting that will not be food related. Many things may surface about your life, your goals, your dreams. Often what we do is not take time to sit in that silence and listen. For many of us when we are bored, we don’t sit and think, we eat. When that is removed from the equation, focus on the thoughts that bubble up to the surface. You just may be surprised at all the other things you were stuffing down with food.
After You Finish Juicing
1. I Can Eat Now! Hallelujah! Don’t do it! While you may think you can dive right in and eat a T-bone or a large pepperoni pizza, DON’T DO IT!! Your body just underwent a huge cleanse. It is feeling wonderful. Your stomach has gotten a break from constant digestion. If you gobble down a Big Mac and fries, you will feel horrible. Take it from me. I didn’t gobble down a Big Mac and fries but I went RIGHT back to eating the same food and JUST LIKE THAT, my sleep was ruined again. I felt sluggish and exhausted, my eyes looked tired and I was back to adding highlighter to my face for a youthful glow. Listen, once you feel good, you want to continue to feel good so I KNEW I couldn’t go back to business as usual. I had to overhaul my entire diet beyond the three days and I know that juicing will be a huge part of that change. Does that mean I will only drink juice for the rest of my life? No. But it does mean I will incorporate juice into my daily life as well as be conscientous about the foods that I consume and make healthy choices that will add to my life not take away from my life.
2. I Can Do All Things! After you finish juicing, you will feel a huge sense of accomplishment. You did it! You said you were going to do it and you made a commitment and stuck with it! Know that same level of commitment extends BEYOND just juicing. If you can stick to juicing for three days, what else can you commit to in order make your life what you desire it to be? After my 3-day cleanse, I started looking at my life and other areas where I needed to be committed. If I could commit to this, I could commit to much more to improve my life.
6. I Want More! Once you feel healthy, you want to maintain that level of health. I loved feeling rested, having clarity of thought and working on my future. I wanted more! I wanted more for my life and my future. To have more, I must be at the best level of health that I can be. I have been praying for things that I KNEW I could not have because mentally and physically I was not prepared to accept them. Working on my health opened up doors where I am ready to receive my blessings. I do not want a little of what God has in store for me. I want everything that this Universe is offering me. And I want to be able to enjoy my hard work and blessings.

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This juice  cleanse was just the beginning on my road to wellness. I look forward to the next few weeks and months and what commitment and dedication will create in my life.

Thank you, Nichelle for opening up a door to wellness and showing me the marvelous benefits of juicing! Try it for one day, three days or more! Trust me, you will not regret it!

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