I love good food. And some bad food too (never met a strip of bacon, bowl of mac ‘n cheese or a hot buttery croissant that I said no to…) I also routinely indulge my passion for wine and all the salty/cheesy/savory snacks that accompany it so well. And you know what? It shows.
It’s not that I didn’t notice my increased girth over the past several years – I did, and it didn’t make me very happy. But clearly I didn’t care enough to do anything meaningful to improve the situation. Recently however, I realized It Was Time. I was feeling blah and not even enjoying what I was eating and drinking. I took stock and realized that I’d developed a lot of routines that were sabotaging my health – a habitual latte every morning and Diet Coke every afternoon, daily grazing between meals, a preponderance of red meat, and portions that were frankly, too damn big.
It was time to take draconian action, so last Sunday I went online and impulsively purchased the Five-Day Juice Cleanse from The Stand Juice Company. Panic instantly set in. Nothing but juice for five days? Was I #!%!$! insane? But it was too late to turn back – a not insignificant charge had already gone through on my credit card, so I was committed. How would I survive? Misery loves company, so I hastily e-mailed my friend Ellen who, bless her spontaneous heart, decided to jump on the juice bandwagon with me. Together we would tag team our way through a challenging week of deprivation. The biggest surprise? We were rarely hungry. Bored of juice? Yes. Craving certain foods? Definitely, but not hungry. Here’s how it works:
You arrive between 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. every morning to pick up your six-pack of healthy, anti-oxidant-rich juices. A menu is included describing what you’ll be drinking that day. Ingredients include cucumber, kale, collard greens, celery, apple, ginger, avocado, beet, carrots, hemp oil, watermelon, grapefruit, lime, lemon, almond milk, cinnamon, aloe vera, and peppermint oil. Upon rising you are instructed to squeeze half a lemon or lime into a glass of warm water with a pinch of cayenne. After you down that, you drink one 16-ounce juice approximately every two hours, supplemented with lots of water and herbal tea. If you follow the directions, you are always full and rarely hungry. You pee a lot.
According to co-owner Carissa Dellicicchi, “most people breeze through day one,” but then the going gets tough because let’s face it, detoxification is no day at the spa. Obviously everybody is different. I worried about going through caffeine/sugar/refined wheat/dairy/alcohol withdrawal and getting a severe headache. Many people feel a bit funky during second or third day as their bodies detoxify but I felt absolutely fine and yes, I was smug. But on the fourth day I experienced the early stages of a migraine and felt achy. I took two migraine pills and that seemed to do the trick.
YOUR ENERGY LEVELS
My energy never waned. In fact, I would say that I had more energy than usual, which was a surprise. I needed less sleep and continued to do all my regular workouts – weight lifting, walking, swimming and stretching – at the same level of intensity as usual. It makes sense because I was consuming 900 to 1200 calories a day of clean, organic, vitamin rich foods.
WHAT THEY TASTE LIKE
If you go online you will read testimonials from people saying how delicious the drinks are. I’m sure they’re telling their truth. My truth is, that of the 6 daily drinks three are pretty tasty, one is so/so and two are kind of gross but you drink them anyway because they are really good for you. The daily Green Smoothies were my Waterloo (think liquefied broccoli) and twice I only drank half and poured the rest down the sink. By Day 5 I begged the kind people at The Stand to substitute something different and thankfully, they obliged. I thought about food here and there – craved popcorn at the movies, salivated a little bit when I saw my husband’s roast beef and Swiss sandwich – but for the most part I just kept thinking, “It’s only five days…I can do this.” Every day there is one particularly flavorful sweet drink – lemonade, watermelon juice, cantaloupe soup and it’s timed for around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. This drink helps you get over the hump.
THE END RESULT
I lost 6 pounds in five days and one inch off both my waist and my hips. (Ellen, who is already at a healthy body weight, lost 5 pounds.) I expect a few of those pounds are water weight and will come back on, but more important than the weight loss is the fact that I feel very good about myself on the inside. I’m also proud of having the willpower to stick to the program without cheating. Having a “Cleanse Buddy” definitely helped keep me on the straight and narrow (thank you “E”). If your husband or boyfriend is game, I urge you to do it together but be warned, men tend to lose more weight than women (cue the eye roll…) so don’t get competitive or discouraged.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?
Absolutely. This is a fantastic way to put the brakes on unhealthy eating habits, build up your immune system, improve your energy (and skin!) and just do something really great for yourself. After an initiation with the 5-Day Cleanse, The Stand permits previous clients to do 2, 3 and 4-day Cleanses as a tune-up.
The 5-Day Cleanse costs $350 plus tax ($372), which works out to around $11 per drink. It isn’t cheap but it’s well worth it when you factor in all that organic food that must be purchased, cleaned, prepped, blended and bottled. Yes, you could do it yourself, but let’s be honest: would you? Probably not.
Between the Fairfield and Norwalk locations, The Stand supplies juice for between 50 to 60 juice cleanses a week. Such a relief to know that Ellen and I weren’t the only crazy people in Fairfield County.
Will I eschew all naughty foods in the future? No. But I will be more mindful of what I put into my mouth and I will make a conscious effort to incorporate healthier habits into my day-to-day routine. I have even started to make my own version of a green drink in the mornings – cucumber, celery, ginger root and green apple – and you know what? It’s almost delicious.
Fairfield Location: 203.873.0414
Norwalk Location: 203.956.5670
(PSssst… Stay tuned to MEGAblog for a future post on Vegan Cooking classes at The Stand.)