I Tried The Blood Cleanse



Web01_EugenaOssiPhotographed by Eugena Ossi.
Earlier this month, I met Connie Britton’s hair. She was kind enough to let me interview her, so I went in armed with need-to-ask questions. What’s your secret for glowing skin? Any Nashville spoilers you can offer? But, admittedly, I snuck in a totally selfish one, too: “What advice would you give someone going on a juice cleanse for the first time?” Sure, this is something our readers care about, but mainly I was interested because a) Britton's a champion juice cleanser come awards season and b) I was about to embark on one myself — called the Blood Cleanse. (Yes, that’s a real thing.) Her counseling turned out to be invaluable.

The Blood Cleanse is a collaboration between Joulebody Cleanse, Gilt City, and the new CW show The Originals, which follows the trials and tribulations of a vampire-werewolf hybrid clan every Tuesday at 8 p.m. It lasts three days, with five juices per day (Five! Five juices! Ah, ah, ah, ahhh!).

I have high expectations going into it, but, I’m also not necessarily the best candidate: I love food. In fact, the only thing I may enjoy more than food is a delicious beer. I’m talking ice cold Octoberfests. Alas, armed with the support of my colleagues, tips (like give up eating meat for two days prior — yeah, right) from Joulebody-founder Yvette Rose, and, of course, the sage wisdom of Ms. Britton, I begin.
Web02_EugenaOssiPhotographed by Eugena Ossi.
Day One: “Don’t torture yourself.” — Connie Britton
I’ve adopted a more “V from the block” look to establish my vampire street cred. I think it’s going well. What’s making things more interesting is the fact that today is the company meeting. As in, one of R29’s famous company meetings. We have them every few months, and they’re always themed and full of over-the-top food and entertainment. As I sit here sipping on my first juice, "Morning Ritual," a polka band is parading around the office playing "99 Red Balloons." I’m not kidding.

In any case, Morning Ritual is basically a lot of weird stuff, including possibly every seed in the world, and strawberries. And no, you can’t taste the strawberry. Perhaps it’s the novelty of it all, or perhaps my body has shifted into survival mode, but as the band launches into “Come On, Eileen,” I think for a moment, "I'm actually enjoying this juice." At 11:22 a.m., I begin to feel very, very hungry.

My 12 p.m. juice, "Howl at the Noon," is made of root vegetables. I’m afraid to Google what actually qualifies as a root vegetable for the same reason I don’t Google "sinkholes." I simply can't handle the truth.

By the time my 3 p.m. "Kale or Be Kaled" comes around, I’m ready to chew something, but staying strong. Guess what? This juice is woof. It’s not even that I hate kale. I love kale! But this juice has parsley in it, and I honestly didn’t know that was something people ingested. Don’t we all just pick it off the top of whatever meal it’s garnishing?

Luckily, my 5 p.m. "Blood Sugar" juice is really freaking delicious. It’s got grapefruit, peppermint, and a touch of maple syrup, and I actually find it very refreshing — almost like a mint lemonade. Still, even if it’s totally mental, I am so, so hungry.

My 8 p.m. juice, "Heart of Darkness," sounds delicious in theory — cinnamon, honey, coconut water, beets — but at this point, if it’s not a cheeseburger, I don’t want it. I just can’t handle any more liquid going into my body. I drink most of this juice, then head to bed 30 minutes later, because I would rather be unconscious than feel this gnawing in my stomach.
Web03_EugenaOssiPhotographed by Eugena Ossi.
Day Two: "If you’re doing juices, make them delicious. Put things in them that taste good to you so you’re not having to hold your nose and swallow it down.” —Connie

Well, here’s something worth noting: I feel really, really good today. I am definitely healthier than yesterday. Maybe “cleaner” is a better word. Okay, juice cleanse, I’m into you for a minute. But, look — it’s Bagel Friday at the office. Could I have picked a worse set of days to do this cleanse? The answer is no.

Today, I’m choosing to take my Morning Ritual the same way I do a shot of whiskey. No, I’m not pinching my nose and letting it just fall back. But I’m definitely doing that thing where I hold my breath as I swallow, then shake it off and make weird faces. I don’t know why this is so much harder than yesterday. As I grasp the similarities between my approaches to shots and juice cleanses, I have an epiphany: Connie said I should put things in these juices to make them delicious. And, I assume that includes alcohol. Once I start drinking my Howl at the Noon, I immediately know it's only an ounce-and-a-half of vodka, a dash of steak sauce, and a healthy dose of Tabasco away from being a solid Bloody Mary. However, I resist the urge to spike the blood, and avoid being the definition of “one and done.”

All kidding aside, by 3 p.m. I start to feel dizzy. In my most dramatic moment, I begin to think of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, except I’m less Mila Kunis and more Jason Segel singing this song — mainly, Dracula’s lines, “It’s getting kind of hard to believe things are going to get better,” and “Die…Die…Die… I can’t.” Yes, I know I’m being ridiculous.

When Yvette prepared me for the cleanse, she did say that doing strictly juices may drive me a little crazy, and set me up with some trail mix (don't get too excited — there weren't any nuts in it) and a protein bar. I never ended up eating the bar, but I did take this post-kale frenzy to indulge in the nut-less trail mix. Later that evening, I again adopt an earlier bedtime after my roommate reminds me I’m almost there and that I’m kind of being a baby about the whole thing.
Web04_EugenaOssiPhotographed by Eugena Ossi.
Day Three: “You need to not feel like you’re depriving yourself if you’re just doing juices. I’ll usually do some solid foods as well, even if they’re just raw.” —Connie

Do I take this idea and totally run with it? Of course. I am desperate.

To say that it’s a Saturday morning is a bit of a stretch. It’s 12:07 p.m., and I’ve officially slept past my 9 a.m. Morning Ritual. And, because I cannot face root vegetables as my first experience of the day, and because I am human (for now…) I totally cave and have one scrambled egg. Zero regrets. But, I’ll tell you this: This one egg is so filling, I feel like throwing it back up. Seriously. I lay on the couch until I feel better. It's just a happy coincidence that Boy Meets World reruns are on TV. I’ll also tell you this: It is the most amazing scrambled egg of my life. That’s another side effect of the cleanse: Healthy, boring stuff that you would pass up for a slice of ‘za starts to look appetizing for the mere fact that you can chew it.

This last day is a struggle, but it's also really exciting. Every minute that passes is a step closer to food! I admit that at this point, I am really only drinking about half of each bottle of juice. There is just too much liquid going into my body, and I'm not interested in exercising my gag reflex for the sake of an extra ounce of kalebeetseedflax.

Did I wait up until midnight so I could indulge? You betcha. 12:01 a.m.? Beer me. 12:02? Where’s the pizza? Oh, but what’s this? My stomach has shrunk, like a wool sweater in a washing machine. I had decided on day one that I would break my cleanse with Bagel Bites (because duh), and after just three of these, I have to stop. For any super-healthy people out there, that’s a whopping six Bagel Bites I did not eat. I can’t even fathom how this has happened. But, I am so full. Perhaps my body will now only accept liquids? What does this mean? Happy to have momentarily masticated, I go to bed.

Post-cleanse thoughts
I was totally game going into this, but I admit that I found the process of cleansing difficult. Though a colleague had warned me that I may have trouble concentrating, I thankfully didn't experience this. In fact, the entire cleanse was really about keeping my eye on the prize. I'm happy I can now say that I've tried it, but I don't think I would do it again. Alas, even after consuming (the majority) of my 15 blood-hued juices, I will never be as radiant as Tami Taylor Connie Britton.