Whew! That's a mouthful! (Of juice...wakawaka) :)
Before I go on, I want to clarify that this post is in no way sponsored, nor was this product gifted. I have been a fan of Suja for a few years now, and Target might as well be my second home. I purchased these juices with my very own money, and I'm sharing my experience for several reasons: a) I always value these types of posts on other blogs and so b) I want to pay it forward to anyone who is reading and has considered some sort of a program like this and is looking for an unbiased opinion. And if by some incredibly slim chance Annie Lawless (or someone who works for Suja/can relay the message) is reading this: HAY GIRL. Big fan right here!
How did I land on the Suja Fresh Start Target 1-Day Renewal? Doing a juice cleanse was something I'd been contemplating for awhile, and after tons of research (much of which was reading reviews on other blogs) I decided to go with Suja. I actually bought 5 of the 6 juices in their Classic Fresh Start a la cart at Whole Foods (I couldn't find the 6th...) with the intention of doing it, but I never did. I've been drinking the juices separately instead. So when I was at Target last weekend and saw the above, I decided to give this a go. I did the renewal on Monday and took notes along the way. My takeaways are below (be warned, it's a long one!)...
Bottle 1: Sunrise Probiotic, 10:00 a.m. Happy Fresh Start Day to me! I had high hopes for this juice, which is really more like a smoothie, in particular because I like the idea of having it for breakfast sometimes, perhaps with a protein packet stirred in. It is delicious and totally met my expectations. I sipped it with a straw - because all cold beverages are better with straws - and completely forgot to take a pic.
Mini Meal 1: sliced apple with cinnamon and almond butter, 11:15 a.m. There are four suggestions for each mini meal (see meal plan here) and this one was an easy choice for me. I eat this snack all the time IRL, and it was as delicious and comforting as always.
Bottle 2: Midday Thrive, 1:30 p.m. I'm not green juice's biggest fan so I knew this was going to be my least favorite of the day. I prefer to get my greens as part of whole food meals or in hearty smoothies as opposed to juices. At this point in the day I'm feeling pretty decent and hugely grateful that I was able to sleep in for most of the morning. This program would definitely be tougher for me to endure if I'd planned it on a day when I was up and out of the house by 6:30 a.m. As predicted this juice is not my favorite so I'm sipping it slowly, alternating it with my water thermos, and looking forward to the next mini meal.
Mini Meal 2: two hard boiled eggs with 1/4 avocado, 3:00 p.m. My sweet coworker just asked me if I wanted coffee and I may or may not have started crying. Kidding (sort of) - I don't drink coffee past noon on "school nights" and I am aiming to be in bed, lights out by 10:00 p.m. tonight so the caffeine window is closed shut. And I'm praying I sleep well! I went back and forth (and back and forth) between having this or a veggie burger, but in the end I decided on this, because the meal plan calls for an organic veggie burger and the only kind I had at my disposal were not USDA certified. I also feel like erring on the side of whole, unprocessed foods is always the right move, but next time I would definitely opt for the hot option. This was pretty good and I ate it quickly. I was hungry!
Bottle 3, Evening Protein, 5:40 p.m. It's hard to space these out and I'm not sure how or if I would do it differently next time. I've had both hunger and a headache for the past two hours, but I really didn't want to drink this two early so I held off. It was worth the wait! It is sooo yummy. The cacao really gives it a rich flavor.
Mini Meal 3: sliced turkey, green beans and hummus, 6:35 p.m. Here's where I veered off course a bit. I was supposed to get low-sodium turkey and didn't, so I ate less of it than suggested. It was also suggested that I have tomato slices with these meal but I chose to have green beans instead. It was also suggested that I eat 1 tablespoon of hummus...I ate 4. Yep. Ate the whole single serve pack of Sabra, and didn't really feel bad about it. I was hungry and didn't want to be miserable later in the evening. I would definitely have this combo again as a meal IRL; it was really satisfying. On this plan, you're supposed to consume your last meal at least three hours before you go to sleep so that you have time to digest. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted to grab a handful of raisins later on, but I didn't. I wanted to see this through and I'm glad I did!
Here are my main takeaways:
+ Tasty. The juices are just good. I so enjoyed the Sunrise and Evening drinks. The green wasn't my favorite, but then again, it never is.
+ Affordable. This is an important one. Juice cleanses can get very pricey. These bottles were $3.99 each, which I think is an incredible value, considering each is USDA organic.
+ Incorporates whole foods. I love that this particular plan allowed me to eat! This was comforting to me. I like to chew!
+ Variety. There are plenty of choices for each mini meal, which makes this appeal to a broader audience.
+ Put me in a great mindset. This might be the best pro of all for me. Paying hyper-attention to what I put in my body has really propelled me into a healthier week/month!
- I didn't feel terribly different afterward. I felt great that I knew I was doing something good for my body, but I didn't wake up on Tuesday feeling like a different person physically or with that "juice cleanse glow" that others talk about. I wasn't looking for a huge change, so this wasn't that discouraging for me.
- Would be tough to do on a "long" day. I specifically chose this particular Monday because I knew it would work well with my schedule. I also knew I was going to be able to sleep in really late and get into bed early, so it was a "short" day for me in a sense. I start most weekdays by waking up at 6 and I'm out the door by 6:30, and I think this would've been more of a challenge for me on a day like that. I have a really big appetite and 1200-ish calories would be VERY light on a day when I'm running around a bunch.
- High in sugar. Even though it's not like I was chomping on Twizzlers Pull N Peels all day long, I count my macros so it was still very apparent to me that I was almost double my regular sugar intake.
Did I work out? Less than usual. The plan suggests getting 30 minutes of exercise; I got mine via moderate-to-brisk paced outdoor walking. I did not go to the gym and I would not suggest planning a strenuous workout for a day like this.
Did I lose weight? From what I surmised in the mirror, I may have lost a pound or two, but I didn't weigh myself before or after. I've stayed away from scales for the most part for these past few months, as I'm already stressed enough about how my wedding dress will fit. I don't need numbers messing with my head right now.
Overall, I really enjoyed this and would definitely do it again. It was not life-changing but it was a great motivator to be mindful, and I'm always happy to do something good for my health and well-being. In terms of both time and money it wasn't a big investment and I'd recommend it to anyway who needed a jump-start to a healthier lifestyle but wasn't looking to go full-fledged juice cleansing.
Any questions, leave 'em in the comments or email me. Happy Hump Day!