Clean Livin’


10-Day Cleanse

First off, forgive me if this post is even more nonsensical and disjointed than normal. My brain is isn’t exactly functioning at full capacity.

You see, I’m in the ninth day of a 10-day cleanse. I’m writing this on fumes. Kale fumes.

For those of you who don’t know what a “cleanse” is, allow me to enlighten you. A cleanse is a voluntary period of self-torture one puts oneself through because one is feeling guilty from drinking too much red wine and eating way too many of those amazing Amish cookies, you know the ones I’m talking about, the big ones that come in packs of 12, in mouthwatering flavors like peanut butter, chocolate chip, and my personal favorite, peanut butter chocolate chip. At the end of said cleanse, the person is supposed to be cleansed of all toxins (hence the name) and free of any desire to return to his old self-destructive ways.

At least that’s what’s supposed to happen. 

I don’t even know how I got into this mess in the first place. All I wanted to do was cut back on sugar and alcohol for a while as we headed into the holiday season, during which I normally subsist on a diet of mostly sugar and alcohol. 

But then my wife suggested we do this 10-day cleanse thing together. “Com’on,” she said, “it will be fun!”

One person’s fun, however, is another person’s misery.

Giving up sugar was a lot harder than I thought it would be. After all, I rarely eat dessert. Over the course of the average day, I maybe have a piece of dark chocolate and a cookie, at most. The problem is, it turns out there’s sugar in just about everything, not just sweets. Even bread contains sugar. Bread!

Et tu, Schwebel’s? 

As for alcohol, I knew I needed to cut back on my weekly consumption. But going cold turkey might not have been the best idea, especially for someone like me with young children. After all, I truly believe alcohol was God’s gift to us parents as a way of saying, “Hey, nice job today! Now that the kids are in bed, here’s a little something for the effort.”

I’m proud to say I’ve only cheated twice in the past nine days. The first time was on the very first day, when I gave in and ate some leftover eggplant parmesan. I mean, I couldn’t let it go to waste. Think about all those hungry kids out there, not to mention those poor, starving people on “Survivor”. It would’ve been a sin not to eat it.

The only other time I cheated was on Saturday night. We were just over the halfway point, and my resolve was fading fast. So I gave my wife an ultimatum: If she wanted me to see this thing through, I needed a little reward to keep me motivated. I was either going to have A) a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or B) a glass of bourbon. She could tell I was serious — dead serious — so, reluctantly, she voted for the bourbon. And let me tell you, it was good. But, alas, it only teased me and made the final four days seem all the more daunting. 

Speaking of Reese’s cups, who the heck does a cleanse THE WEEK OF HALLOWEEN!?!?! An egregious oversight on my part. Thanks to my kids, right now there are at least a dozen Reese’s waiting for me in the freezer. Do not despair, oh king of all candies! It shan’t be long now until we are reunited!

The past few days I’ve been walking around in a haze as if I’d taken a double dose of NyQuil the night before. And despite the very generous helpings of chia-seed-infused breakfast drinks, plain almonds, and wilted kale, surprisingly I’m still constantly hungry. Go figure. I’m grumpy, too. Even more than usual. As you can imagine, I’m a real joy to be around.

Prior to embarking on this voluntary period of deprivation, I had heard over and over from others about how, after just a few days, “you won’t even crave sugar anymore!” Funny, because here we are in the ninth day, and I’d give my first born for a box of Ho-Hos.

The big question is, do I feel better, despite it all? It’s hard to say. I mean, I’ve lost 10 lbs. so far and I don’t feel as bloated. So that’s good. Yet, as I sit here writing this, I’m ravenous, I have a headache, and I have barely enough energy to move my mouse. Maybe we did the Happiness Cleanse by mistake?

Just one more day. That’s what I keep telling myself. One. More. Day. And make no mistake about it, after this is all over I’m heading straight out for an enormous plate of cheesy-bacon-ranch french fries, which I plan to wash down with a couple ice-cold IPAs or glasses of Cabernet (or both), and then I’m making a beeline for the freezer to reacquaint myself with my old friend Mr. Reese’s Cup.

That’s just Day 1 of what I’m calling the 10-Day Anti-Cleanse Cleanse. And I guarantee you I won’t have any cravings after this one. ~

8 Responses to "Clean Livin’"
  1. Good for you Val! Nothing worth having comes easy, if it were easy, everyone would be healthier! Just an aside, a healthier reward would be to schedule a massage. 🙂

  2. Val…I just finished a 21 day cleanse where I could not eat foods with sugar, gluten, soy, dairy, caffeine, alcohol or fried foods. We were limited on certain fruits and could only use honey as a sweetener. It was viscious and painful, but I learned to use almond milk for cereal and make ice cream using bananas. They say real habits can only be broken after 21 days, but I think even that is too short. Did I feel better…no. But lost some weight and now am trying to be a little healthier. The moment with that first bite of Reese’s will definitely be sweet.

    • 21 days?!!? Yikes. Good for you, man. I can’t wait until 8pm tonight when I crack an ice cold IPA and unwrap a frozen Reese’s! (I’m drooling over here.) Hope all is well with you. ; )