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New Years … Challenge

January 5, 2012

I’m avoiding the words “cleanse” and “diet” because those both sound awful to me. Oh you’re doing  the beat-juice “cleanse”? You’re doing the all meat “diet”? How utterly devoted of you to potentially harm your body… good luck!  I’m lucky and don’t easily gain weight, am mostly a vegetarian anyways (“recovering vegetarian” is my preferred term) and generally prefer unprocessed food. I realize this is primarily why I’m so skeptical about diets and cleanses and enema’s and the like. But it’s also that I enjoy food … because i’m supposed to enjoy food! Its right up there with air and water … and you don’t see people boycotting H2O very often.

Well… after the holidays I felt yucky. Sluggish and down and hazy. Too much booze, too many late nights, missing the deployed hubby and way too much food in general were the hallmarks of my holiday. My blahs are always cheered up with a bowl of pasta and glass of red wine and my sluggish body is perked up with generous portions of caffeine every morning. So … on the plane home I’m reading Whole Living and see an article about a 3 to 4-week “cleanse”. I ignore the intro because of the afore mentioned “cleanse” skepticism and keep page-turning only to find recipes I would try normally. So I read, expecting a one-meal a day regimen or an all-tea diet or some other nonsense.

Well obviously I found something that seemed reasonable enough to try. Of course Martha wouldn’t propose giving up food.. because Martha may secretly be the smartest woman on earth and doesn’t propose crazy things. This plan  1. allows – even encourages – normal meals and snacks, 2. the recipes don’t (typically) include anything ridiculous, 3. with the exception of dairy and things like processed sugar, you get to eat all of the food groups. Essentially this is the Michael Polan diet: eat food, not too much, mostly plants; but with really good recipes to guide you. There are restrictions of course.. week one is all fruits and veggies, week two allows for fish, beans and soy, week three brings back eggs and grains and week four you get chicken and steak back! The key to this whole thing is that you get to eat real food!

The two HUGE challenges are no caffeine and no alcohol. These are the very things that usually book-end my waking hours! The food part of this challenge isn’t so hard .. its not all that different than my normal diet except that I can’t have regular, processed pasta (which is my main convenience meal.) Caffeine has been pretty integral to my life for about 20 years now so we’ll see how that goes. The alcohol abstention in particular is a whole new ballgame for me. The last time I was dry for more than about a week was after the first time I tried liquor… all of it .. mixed together. That was in middle school. Now alcohol is a – somewhat unhealthy – core component to my social life.

But hey.. its January and its cold and I can manage hibernating for a few weeks.

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