From the first sip of cucumber juice I knew I was in for a real experience. Eighteen custom-made, refreshing, healthy drinks later, I still wasn’t disappointed. Coupling that with a sincere, personal connection with each person that comes through the door, The Stand has made my list of places to frequent.
I have had my share of back problems over the years and have struggled to embrace a healthy diet. I love food and generally don’t have a lot of time to prepare healthy meals. Then, one day, I noticed something that sparked a change. I was watching the Brooklyn Nets and star point guard Deron Williams putting on a show with exceptional quickness and shooting. He was playing with more energy than ever before; he was loose and happy. He even dunked for the first time all year. For most of the season Williams had been hampered by ankle problems, and he had been using cortisone as the primary treatment. Then he did a juice cleanse. Of course, the sports announcers joked about it, but clearly there was a correlation between the cleanse and how good he looked, how quick he was, and how he was smiling again. An ex-ballplayer myself, I was impressed and thought I’d try a cleanse myself.
I started by doing my own cleanse—drinking juices from local grocery stores. The results were questionable. I learned how much I was missing after I tried a cleanse at The Stand, the real deal.
My cleanse at The Stand, located in the Sportsplex in Fairfield, started with a conversation; I wasn’t on my own. I spoke with Carissa Hvizdo, the store’s owner, about why I didn’t feel strong benefits with my self-designed, store-bought cleanse. We spoke for nearly an hour about the all-organic juices she offers. No supplements are used, just freshly made juice to provide maximum nutrition. She also explained I’d have six juices each day and they’d provide a balance of fruit juices and green juices (kale, cucumber, collards and celery), as well as non-meat protein, to help control my sugar intake. Most important, she said, my body would go from an acidic state to an alkaline one, and while giving my digestive system a break, I’d enjoy more energy. My new health consultant had won me over.
In the two days leading up to the cleanse, I wound down my normal diet. I transitioned from two cups of coffee per day to black tea, to lower my caffeine and reduce overall fatty-food intake. I ate, but responsibly.
One Day At A Time
Day one, I picked up my six pack of freshly made juices and Carissa was there to talk me through what to expect all along the way. She asserted that I was in for a much different experience. She told me how much she had learned about health from her parents and through her commitment to sustainability. The Stand commits to buying all organic, non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) products from local vendors—and she visits the farms herself. She helped me understand why this cleanse was going to be different and would work. After the first day, I knew my body was beginning to detox because I felt more energetic.
Day two began with another discussion about what I should expect. As I exchanged sugars, environmental toxins and stress—I was adding more oxygen to my system through the diet to facilitate the all-important acidic-to-alkaline transition.
The second night and third morning were challenging, to say the least. I had removed all caffeine (which isn’t required but is suggested for the full effect), and I was feeling achy, especially in my back and head. Carissa said the headache was probably because of caffeine withdrawal and my back pain was because I was reducing inflammation and no longer masking the root of an injury.
Day three was better. I had made it through the hard part of my body’s adjustment and could see the finish line ahead. I truly saw the cleanse as a wonderful detoxing tool to help me transition from a poor diet to a nutritious one.
Each day I picked up my fresh-made juice, I enjoyed seeing the many other customers stopping by to get their juice fix. Mae, the business manager, and Carissa welcomed Charlie, Joe (the local fitness club owner), Deb and Heather to name a few. The Stand exemplifies community and has helped me understand the benefit of buying local.
This cleanse also helped me see why it’s different from the store-bought juices. They’re filled with sugar and don’t help to alkalize your body. Instead they keep your body in an acidic state, high in sugar and toxins that lead to inflammation, which masks injuries, Carissa explained. Lessening accumulated inflammation, she added, may cause aches from injuries no longer protected, something I experienced firsthand. A side benefit to a cleanse is weight loss as your body rids itself of toxins. Personally, I lost five pounds over the three-day cleanse, but, more important, I got myself into a more alkaline state and set myself up for a healthier diet.
I may not be a pro ballplayer, or even move like one yet, but I do feel more energetic and certainly happier. The cleanse was a three-day chance to permanently change my habits and truly address specific pain and overall health. Plus, I have the support of new friends in Fairfield.
The Game Plan
Cucumber Juice, Green Juice (kale, collards, celery, cucumber and apple), Green Smoothie (kale, cucumber, avocado, lemon, hemp oil and kelp), grapefruit juice, Carrot-Ginger Soup for dinner and Aloe Vera Juice as a nightcap.
A dose of lemon water with cayenne pepper to stimulate circulation and prepare for cleansing. Cucumber Juice, Green Juice, Cucumber Soup, Watermelon Juice, Green Smoothie and Aloe Vera Juice.
Cucumber Juice, Green Juice, Green Smoothie, Lemonade, Veggie Juice and Green Smoothie (again).