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Andrea Smith's Couch to Camino: 'Juicing? When it came to the crunch, I wimped out!'


Andrea Smith is embarking on a healthy eating and walking programme.

Andrea Smith is embarking on a healthy eating and walking programme.

Andrea Smith is embarking on a healthy eating and walking programme.

By Wednesday, I was dreaming of cereal. Not actually dreaming, but actually drooling over the thought of crunching into a delicious bowl of cornflakes.

Instead, I reached into the fridge, held my nose, and threw back a bottle of cold-pressed juice, doing my best to avoid gagging at the slimy green residue that was floating in it.

Yes, my friends, this week I decided to try out a five-day juice diet, or cleanse, as they like to call themselves. I had fancied doing one since I saw Jason Vale's Super Juice Me! earlier this year, and met the man himself, who was here to promote his new 28-day plan book.

He looked fantastic, and was fizzing with joie de vivre, as he explained that he was just coming to the end of another month of living on juices.

In the documentary, he selected eight people with 22 different health conditions between them, and took them to his Juicy Oasis retreat in Portugal. These people were all in bits, but they lived on juices he concocted and stepped up their fitness regime for a month.

By the end, even the ones who appeared to be half-dead on arrival were looking amazing and saying they felt brilliant, and the health conditions that plagued them had drastically improved or gone away.

It was all so infectiously positive that I was nearly inspired to rush out and buy a juicer. Obviously I didn't, as the good intentions wore off by the time I strolled over for lunch in Siam Thai, but anyway this week seemed like a good time to test it all out. After all, who doesn't love a lovely juice from one of those stands in shopping centres?

The whole thing of actually making the juices seemed like one big faff though, so I signed up to a company that delivers to your house. It cost approximately €145 for the five days, so quite expensive, but I decided to go ahead because of the promise of increased energy, sparkling eyes, radiant complexion and better mental clarity - sure I was chomping at the bit to get started.

The juices were delivered, five per day, in a rainbow of colours like green, orange and purple. I'd love to tell you they were delicious, but the reality was that I found them palatable at best and vile in some cases. The ones that overwhelmingly tasted of beetroot were particularly rank, and while the kick of ginger in some added a bit of flavour, it felt hard on an otherwise empty stomach.

By the end of the first day, I was devastated that there was still four more to go. By the end of day three, I was practically gagging at the sight of those little plastic bottles taunting me from the fridge. I was shooting dagger looks at anyone I encountered who was tucking into a packet of crisps or even munching on an apple, because, God, I missed the joyous feeling of eating. Mental clarity? My brain was consumed with murderous rage instead. By the morning of day five, I threw in the towel. I lost three pounds, but it was a really hard way to do it. I felt grand, but didn't see amazing benefits. Maybe I'd need to do it longer, but you'd need to lock me in a room and throw away the key first though. See therisefoundation.ie

Health & Living

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Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith is embarking on a healthy eating and walking programme.