•on January 24th, 2011
A lot of people I know are doing some form of a cleansing diet right now — perhaps in the afterglow of New Year’s resolutions. Some people are doing a simple juice fast, others are following hard-core programs that involve cayenne pepper and lemonade, and some are just sticking to only fruits and vegetables. Many of them report feeling amazing and say their skin glows and they’re surprisingly full of energy. Others complain of headaches and lethargy.
The idea of a cleanse sounds interesting to me — spending a week or two eating only healthy, natural foods or juices in order to rid your body of toxins — but I also remember the days of Elissa the Vegetarian. In short, I was a mess. I decided to be a vegetarian on a whim and kept it up for years, but I never really did it correctly. Instead of replacing meat with some other form of protein, I essentially ate only side dishes. I became anemic. I got headaches. When I started eating meat again, I felt amazing and remembered what it felt like to have energy.
I realize that there are a ton of healthy vegetarians out there, and I know a vegetarian or vegan diet is healthier than an omnivorous diet for many reasons. But I’m wary of these cleanses that have you only drinking juice or adding weird things to your beverages in order to “clean” your system. I get headaches easily if I don’t eat, and the idea of drinking juice for a week sounds odd to me and borderline unhealthy. (Also, the idea of giving up coffee makes me shudder.) But if so many people love it, maybe I’m wrong.
Have you tried a cleansing diet of any kind? Did you like it?
•on January 4th, 2011
Once upon a time, I was a smoker. I loved smoking — I loved taking smoke breaks, I loved the taste of it, and I loved the smell of it. I also hated smoking — it was expensive, it made my hair and clothes stink, and it wasn’t healthy. Finally, I quit.
I took up crocheting to deal with my fidgety fingers and took crochet breaks instead of smoke breaks. I sucked on lollipops and chewed gum. I was OK. I missed smoking and craved nicotine, but it didn’t really get in the way of my life. Oh, but the headaches. The quitting-smoking headache is the kind that always lingers in the background, one that gets in the way of reading and doesn’t go away with aspirin. One that makes you a total hosebeast.
Then I discovered that caffeine helped with that. I hated coffee, so I started consuming crazy amounts of diet soda to help. I consumed so much aspartame, I would be surprised if my firstborn child didn’t come out with some form of birth defect. At one point, I was up to six cans of Diet Coke/Diet Dr Pepper a day.
This summer, I decided to give up diet soda. The idea of consuming that much artificial sweetener a day started to freak me out, and I knew it couldn’t be healthy. I replaced my Diet Cokes with coffee — either iced or hot, depending on the weather — which I’d trained myself to like, and even love, throughout the years.
And now I’m hooked. I get a headache if I don’t have a cup of coffee within two hours of waking up. I love the smell of coffee and can distinguish different blends by their taste. I have strong opinions on who makes the best lattes and who has the best drip, and I paid $60 recently to have several bags of my favorite coffee (from Alpena’s Hubbard Lake Coffee Roasters) shipped to my house.
It’s a problem. But if I look back to the source — cigarettes — I have to say it’s a much better addiction, and one I’m certainly not ready to give up.