Diary of a Cleansing Man: The Organic Avenue Love Deep Cleanse

One Dorkfuel lab rat consumes six juices each day—
plus shots of liquid chlorophyll.

The Lab Rat: Tim Hodler, Research Director, age 36, 218 pounds

The Cleanse: Organic Avenue Love Deep (organicavenue.com)
The Regimen: Drink six juices each day, including Young LOVE* (cucumber, celery, spinach) and Veggie Vibe (carrot, cucumber, beet, celery, chard, spinach, ginger, parsley, and lemon), supplemented by shots of liquid chlorophyll.

Day 1

8:10 a.m.: The first stage of my liquid cleanse is a shot of straight chlorophyll, a viscous green fluid that tastes like liquid grass. I’m not sure why chlorophyll is supposed to help me, since I’m not a plant, but supposedly it “increases oxygen utilization.” I don’t notice anything like that, but who knows? What I do notice is that it has turned my entire mouth bright green. I have to do a lot of vigorous teeth brushing to get rid of it.

My 2-year-old daughter is up and eating a banana for breakfast. She keeps trying to share it with me and doesn’t understand why I won’t eat it. I find it hard to explain myself. More than food (I often skip breakfast), I am craving coffee. I’m extremely tired.

10:15 a.m.: Everyone I pass on the street seems to be holding a cup of coffee. It is all I can do not to grab one and run. A mild headache has set in. I have my first real juice, and it is surprisingly pleasant: green lemonade (made of purified alkaline water, lemon, lime, ginger, agave, Himalayan salt, cucumber, celery, and spinach). It’s sour with a celery kick, kinda spicy, and the ginger is nice. After drinking it, my headache slightly fades away. I feel mildly light-headed and hungry but otherwise okay.

11:30 a.m.: It’s getting hard to bear all the pictures of food I keep coming across on the Internet. I never realized how often I look at food photos before. In any case, my stomach is beginning to rumble, but I’m not exactly hungry. It’s more a feeling of being really full of liquid and just wanting to chew something. I have my second juice, something called Young LOVE* (pressed cucumber, celery, and spinach) and it tastes okay but kind of bland. There’s no salt or spice. No ill effects so far, other than the mild coffee headache, which is still in effect.

1 p.m.: Time for my “master tonic,” which is basically lemonade with coconut nectar and cayenne pepper. This version of the cleanse classic is not very spicy but super-sour. I’m still not feeling any real hunger, but I keep finding myself wondering about what I’m going to eat for lunch before realizing I’m not going to be eating anything.

3 p.m.: Okay, now I’m really starting to get hungry. The stomach rumblings are nearly constant and getting pretty loud. I’m also beginning to feel a bit ethereal, for lack of a better word. I drink my fourth juice, a Veggie Vibe (carrot, cucumber, beet, celery, chard, spinach, ginger, parsley, lemon). I am really starting to get sick of the taste of cucumber juice. I think there’s a lot more coming. On a less-pleasant note, I am starting to shit juice.

5 p.m.: I really don’t want to drink the next juice, which has more cucumber. It’s called Mellow Love and also contains celery, romaine, spinach, and parsley. All the juices are starting to taste the same. Not bad exactly, just boring. And I’m still shitting juice.

6:30 p.m.: The bottom falls out on the train ride home. I no longer have any energy. I can’t read a book, can’t interact with people. Barely staying awake. When I get home a little after seven, I am only able to choke down a small part of my last drink, which is pure cucumber juice. My wife thinks this is all hilarious.

8 p.m.: My headache is really bad now, but I’m so fatigued that I fall asleep anyway. Light hurts my eyes.

10:15 p.m.: I wake up with a splitting headache and severe nausea. I crawl downstairs pale and sweaty. I look so bad that my wife asks if we should call a doctor. I’m not sure if it’s kosher or not, but feeling the need to do something I take an aspirin. Five minutes later I start vomiting. I decide that this cleanse is over but can’t quite imagine putting food in my mouth. I stumble into bed to lie down while thinking about what to eat when I pass out again.

Day 2

8 a.m.: Woke up feeling more or less fine, so I guess I may as well keep going. If I start to feel anything like I did last night, though, I’m out. The chlorophyll shot tastes nasty to me this morning. Still, my headache is almost completely gone, and other than a mild empty feeling, I feel fine.

10 a.m.: Really looking forward to this morning’s pear juice, which tastes great (sugar!), but it isn’t nearly as filling as I want it to be. Still, everything’s going well so far. And apparently I no longer need to defecate.

11:30 a.m.: Okay, I spoke way too soon on the defecation front. Mere minutes after beginning my 11 a.m. cucumber-celery-spinach drink, I have to take an emergency run to the bathroom to excrete some green juice. Sorry—but it’s true. Other than that, I’m not feeling too bad, just fucking sick of drinking puréed vegetables.

1 p.m.: My stomach’s rumbling big time again. I don’t feel physically hungry, just a strong desire for solid food. The master tonic was probably my least favorite drink yesterday, but today it seems great. That’s because there’s no cucumber or kale in it.

2:30 p.m.: I don’t want to drink juice anymore.

4 p.m.: Am having trouble finishing the Veggie Vibe this time. There’s really not enough variety in this fast. Other than being sick of drinking this stuff, I feel basically fine, though. I’m a giant sack of sloshing liquid, but I’m fine.

5:30 p.m.: I still feel like a walking water balloon. A sharp headache has returned. I really hope this is not the sign of another night like last night.

7 p.m.: So far, so good. Lots of stomach rumbling but the headache’s fading. My 2-year-old daughter sees me drinking my cucumber juice and asks if she can have a sip. I let her try it, and she makes a face, pushes the bottle away, and says, “No drink.” I agree with her, but if I don’t drink this, I get nothing. Then the dog comes by and knocks the bottle to the floor with his tail, spilling it everywhere. Oh well. I’ll just have some more water.

9 p.m.: The stomach rumbling gets more intense. I’m really jonesing to eat some solid food, and I’m mentally listing all of the things I might want to eat. Crackers sound really good. Crackers and cheese. Maybe a whole pizza. Caffeine-free herbal tea is allowed after nine, and it’s not bad, but not the same as solid food. I decide to walk the dog and go to bed early at 10. When I’m sleeping, I’m not hungry.

Day 3

8 a.m.: Much as I hate to admit, I feel great. And I don’t feel the slightest urge to drink coffee. The chlorophyll tastes awful but goes down quick. I am as alert as I ever am this early.

10 a.m.: I get to drink real orange juice, and it is AMAZING. I get a huge burst of energy. There are 200 calories in this one! That is the largest amount of energy I have consumed at one sitting in days. I already know this feeling won’t last, and I am not looking forward to my next cucumber-and-spinach concoction, but I’m really enjoying this right now.

11:30 a.m.: I continue to feel semi-wired, though more sharply than I felt earlier. And there’s a definite pattern to my daily life now—about 30 minutes after my first puréed-vegetable drink, I need to be in the vicinity of a bathroom. Preferably an empty one, so I can be alone with my thoughts on juice.

1 p.m.: I’m just marking time now. Again, the “master tonic” lemonade is a welcome break from liquid spinach, but I’m not enjoying it. I’m basically numb, just waiting for it all to be over.

3 p.m.: More puréed green vegetables. I’m in the zone now. No feelings of any kind.

5 p.m.: A big office party. Just my luck. There are cookies, bags of candy, a big bowl of banana pudding, flutes of champagne. M&M;’s never looked so good, though the thought of eating such sweet stuff is a bit sickening at the same time. I would kill to drink something other than cucumber juice, though. I’ve got to get out of here fast before I snap.

7:30 p.m.: My final juice, the same one I started with: green lemonade. At least there’s no cucumber. I plan never to eat a non-pickled cucumber again. The watery blandness is just too reminiscent of vomit to me now. I am so, so hungry—I don’t think I can make it if I don’t go to sleep really early. In the remaining waking hours of my fast, I spend most of my time planning my first post-fast meal. Unfortunately, I find out that tomorrow morning, I will have to take my daughter to a doctor’s appointment that starts very shortly after I have to drop my wife off at her train to work. I won’t be able to eat a leisurely pancake breakfast after all.

First things first: Returning to coffee is amazing. Time was short for my first meal, so I picked up the greasiest, most substantial food I could find in the five minutes I had after the train station and before heading to the doctor’s: an everything bagel with egg and cheese. I didn’t have time to sit down and eat, so I scarfed it down in my car while stopping at red lights. It was disgusting but so satisfying, and the tastes were incredibly intense. Surprisingly, three bites into the bagel I was already full and found myself unable to finish—the juice fast apparently shrunk my stomach. And that’s how it went for the next few days: I ate about half of what I would normally and basically didn’t have an appetite for heavy food. Otherwise, all the unpleasant side effects have gone away, and I do feel thinner. I didn’t get to weigh myself, but I did need to tighten my belt by two holes—so the loss was pretty significant. It wasn’t long before my appetite was back to normal, but I still can’t look at a cucumber without retching.