I Went On A Cleanse And Thought I was Mother F-ing Teresa


I went on a cleanse last week. If you don’t know that I went on a cleanse last week, you might be the only person in Christendom to not know this. In the history of under-statements, I might have gone on about it, a bit. I was like a listless piece of lettuce, toting around my daily cool bags of juices. With that in mind, it only felt right that I write a post on my cleanse. Thank you Plenish for sending me (a very tasty) one and therefore, making this self-indulgent listicle happen.

1. I legit felt like a saint 

My urge to purge cleanse was borne of entirely narcissistic reasons: I’m getting married and needed to make urgent reparations (chocolate for breakfast does not a bridal vision make.) I did NOTHING for ANYONE except myself and yet I still thought I was a virtuous angel on account of my abstemiousness. Is this feeling why people go to the gym? And does this make all health-nuts ass-holes? If I was this restrained on a daily basis I would be intolerable. I’m sure I’d get fired and dumped instantly, for gross self-satisfaction. It took just one day for me to feel heroic. One. Day. Oh, the shame.

2. Cleanses are for twatty city-slickers

I sent my countryside-dwelling matriarch an e-mail that read: “Am on a cleanse. Feel virtuous but HUNGRY.” She replied: “You really must eat something. How about an omelette? Very light, very nourishing.” I fear she misunderstood the point of a cleanse.

3. I almost cried with longing when a woman ate a toastie next to me 

The juices are tasty – I’m not being paid to say that; they didn’t fill me up one bit, but they genuinely are – but I thought about food every second, of every day. When the woman in the hairdresser the a cheese toastie next to me, I almost died but not in the Taylor Swift hyperbolic sense, in the I-want-to-eat-that-toastie-so-fucking-much sense. I realised how obsessed I am with putting stuff in my mouth (ho ho ho) and that the urge to masticate (milder ho ho ho) is constant. Drinking does not hit the spot. I found myself chewing my juices like a cow on an acid trip, just to give me the sense of chomp.

4. I found out that I could have done a 30 Day Cleanse and felt like a failure

I did a 3 Day Cleanse, and didn’t even last the full whack, which made me feel like the aforementioned demi-goddess until I went on the Plenish site and realised that I could have done 30 days. 30 DAYS. Firstly, who can cancel an entire month of social engagements (trust me, you really don’t want to see anyone, when you can’t eat or drink.) And secondly, this makes me feel like a failure. Feeling both self-satisfied and like a failure, is an emotional oxymoron that does not sit well with me. Sad face.

5. Asking if you can wash your straw will make people entirely doubt your sanity

In defence it was a glass straw and a vital – if not the only – piece of ‘cleansing apparatus’ (I like to sing it to the tune of ‘smooth operator), but I still prickled with shame. Some people suggested that it was something far more dubious. I know exactly how I appeared to the various women that humoured me, while washing it, and I don’t like it.

6. People will cleanse-shame you

“DON’T DO IT”, “THEY’RE DANGEROUS”. They’re not dangerous, you nincompoops – my best friend is a dietician at Kings College Hospital and she says they’re fine. Although she does warn that you’ll get hungry because essentially you aren’t eating any food. And, as many people pointed out to me, your internal organs are biologically formed to cleanse you, so you don’t really need The Cleanse to do so. But fuck it. YOLO. The urge to dramatise The Cleanse is, I learn, common.

7. And for that reason, you will seek out FWC*

*Friends Who Cleanse. “3pm is the worst; once you’re over that hurdle, you’re good” one says, sagely. “IT’S LITERALLY HELL” says another, consolingly. During The Cleanse, there is no point talking to anyone who has not cleansed. You don’t want to talk to them because they just don’t understand you, or what you are going through – and they sure as hell won’t want to talk to you, no matter how tragically you wave your miniature cool bag of juices, at them.

7. I secretly wondered if I had segued into a supermodel

In truth I probably lost 3 pounds (I don’t own a pair of scales, so I don’t know), but the act of not stuffing your gob is totally delusory. It saw my re-writing my own image – bolstered by regular hang-outs on Behati Prinsloo and Candice Swanepoel’s Instagram accounts – with a rampant sort of body-dsymorphic narcissism that I refer to in Point 1. Being on a cleanse makes you entirely preoccupied with your own form. This is OK, in a sense – you’re cleansing it! – but also, depressing. I’ve never even been close to having an eating disorder, or been funny with my eating; I’ve never even attempted a diet. Thinking about my body for 90% of the day was new territory to me. And it didn’t always feel good.

9. I became a cleanse-bore. 

I became so obsessed with my cleanse, that I wrote an entire article about it. See: this article. I also went to the loo 17 times on Day 2. Yes, I counted.  I wasn’t eating! I had time!

10. At the end of the cleanse, I thought I was post-food

In, uh, a totally post-modern way. By the third day of The Cleanse, I felt almost unmoved by food. Let the common proletariat eat, I thought, from my higher plain; my sustenance comes in beautifully branded bottles. This lasted until half way through the 3rd day, when 6 meetings down and white as a sheet, I scoffed half a sandwich and immediately felt exultant. Food: I missed you.

Wearing a Hunza G dress and Saint Laurent heels | Artwork by Natalia Bagniewska

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