On the first three days, I experienced a bit of sluggishness and some detox symptoms. I thought about quitting (because let's face it--I'd never lasted more than 2 days on any diet I'd ever tried), but something within me told me that I had to stick this out. By the morning of the 5th day, I was feeling actually awake in the morning. I didn't come out of sleep wanting to die. I came out of sleep wanting to live--for the first time in a long time.
Over the next few days, other things started changing. My eyes looked whiter. My more prominent wrinkles dissipated. My complexion evened out. My energy steadily increased--and not the nervous kind I walk around in usually. It was a clear, calm energy. I remember being in class, when the instructor started a political discussion. This was right after the election of 2016, so there was a lot of debate, even without me interjecting my thoughts like I usually did. Instead, I listened to the other people get passionate about their political beliefs. There was quite a bit of tension and debate in the room. I spent about 10 minutes in there and had to leave for the rest of the class because the energy was too much for me. Before, I would have sat there and absorbed all that energy and shot it out later at someone else to get it out of me--because I was afraid of seeming rude by leaving while others were talking. Now, with this new energy I felt, it didn't matter any more about other people and their opinions. Somewhere within me, I knew I needed to take care of my own person.
And did I mention the weight loss? Sometime in your late 30's and early 40's, there's this big pile of fat that wants to sit on your midsection. We try everything to get rid of it, but it tends to be extremely stubborn. On a juice cleanse, that was the part of my body that started slimming up the most. I'd never seen that happen on me before. I was hooked. Every day, another pound lost, another bright-eyed and bushy tailed Marci, another clear-thinking day. It was amazing.
I decided to break the cleanse. 16 pounds lost in 16 days, and mostly from the belly. I felt like I could do anything. I'd been dreaming of owning my own restaurant and had been writing restaurant business plans in great detail since moving back to Arkansas ten years ago. My first concept in 2010 was a little Parisian-style bistro and tapas bar on the downtown strip, Le Ballon Rouge. Another one in 2016 was a Jewish-style deli called Bubbie's Brooklyn Deli. Then I discovered raw foods, which I found fascinating--like nothing I'd ever read about. I knew that this town probably wasn't ready for it, but after doing a juice cleanse, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I had just been in an internet commercial, and with that little check I earned from it, I found my food truck. The rest is history.
So, yeah, maybe sticking it out past Day Five seems like a feat. I still can't believe I had the willpower. I'm a classic Libra--wishy-washy and non-committal. But had I not, I honestly believe I would be dead now--and I'm not sure at whose hands. I still have my coping mechanisms that people don't like me for, but those moments are rare because now I have a purpose. And now I care a lot less about what people think anyway. I used to hate myself if I said or did something wrong and caused someone not to like me. Now I'm starting to realize that no matter where my heart is, some people are just going to take my words or actions in a negative light, so I just have to remain true to myself--and forgive myself for not being perfect--haters be damned. If you let small minds and cruel hearts dictate your happiness, you'll never be happy. If I'd listened to the naysayers, I'd have never made it past Day 2 of that juice cleanse, anyway.
So, here I am 2 1/2 years later. I've struggled and still struggle with so many issues--both professional and personal--but the one thing that remains true for me is knowing that this restaurant is so much more than a place to eat. This is a place where people can feel welcome. A place that makes a statement about compassion. And most of all, a place for healing: mind, body, and soul.
So when life gave me lemons, I made a juice. And yes, it changed my life. And if it could change mine, I believe it could change anyone's.
Until Next Time: Eat Raw, Live Long!