Tag Archives: sanity

The Cleanse

There’s nothing more annoying than a person on a cleanse. Or even just a person who wants to talk about their diet: what they’re eating, what they’re not eating, what they have eaten but are not likely to eat again. A recent conversation with a man who was in the middle of a month of eating nothing but soup made me take tiny, imperceptible steps backwards until I was forced to fake an injury. Yet in the spirit of “I’m destined to do everything I said I’d never do,” here I am, eager to report on my cleanse. (I wont be offended if you click delete or go back to Facebook scrolling. In fact, I’ll respect you more for having done so.)

It probably started with the ice cream sandwiches. Friends invited Tom and me for dinner and I brought homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with vanilla Haagen Daaz sandwiched between. They were delicious, so delicious in fact that when I woke up the next morning I’d been transformed into a different person. This person was slow moving, cranky and headed dangerously toward a pregnancy weight. Okay, to be honest, it might have started before the ice cream sandwiches.

So in a rock bottom moment I convinced Tom that we should start the Whole 30 – thirty days without grains, dairy, sugar or alcohol. Yes, we could have coffee. I’m not insane.

Week 1 was shameful. I was in agony over the amount of creative food prep it takes to make a delicious meal without anything delicious in it. It was seven full days with no easy outs like pizza delivery or Chinese food, while trying to convince people that there’s anything rice-like about cauliflower rice.

But mostly it was the wine. I had been having a glass of wine every night for at least a decade. Its absence made me really look at its purpose. That glass of wine marked the end of the workday, which I would argue is particularly critical when you work from home. That glass of wine was there to spice up the evening routine, to make quizzing my middle schooler for his social studies test feel like a party. I began to brave the hours between 6 and 8pm with a glass of seltzer water instead, and let me just say: it’s not the same.

During that week, one of my favorite students noted that I was kind of cranky. “Am I?” I replied with a steady smile. I hate you, I thought.

On the first day of Week 2, everything changed. I opened my eyes and leapt out of bed before my alarm went off. I drank my delicious and Whole 30 sanctioned black coffee and wrote something. I loved this thing I wrote. I loved it so dearly, this product of my clear mind, that I sent it to the New York Times. Of course I should be writing for the New York Times, I thought, I’m Super Me! Interestingly, the New York Times did not pick up my article. It makes me think they’re all sitting around eating chips and drinking beer, obviously not seeing things as clearly as I do.

My irrational exuberance and delusions of grandeur lasted the rest of the week, while my body rebelled. I got sick in multiple ways, as my body begged me to re-tox. I was was wiped out yet found the energy to Google “are there people who need wine and tortilla chips to survive?”

Week 3 was the week that I realized my home was suddenly the place where fun goes to die. All conversation centered around food, which I happen to think is the most boring topic in the world besides leaf blowers. Specifically, we debated what foods were Whole 30 sanctioned and conducted extensive research on bacon that is prepared without nitrates, sulfites or sugar. We concluded that that particular bacon is called “sliced turkey.” Don’t bother.

At this printing I will be done, and the promise of miraculous results will manifest. I actually have no clue what those things are. But as I round out Week 4, I’ve come to understand why it’s impossible to quit something for 30 days but possible to quit something for one day, thirty days in a row. I’ve sort of lost my taste for cheese and crackers, but I’m looking forward to a glass of red wine. That, and talking about something else.

If You’ve Got Five Kids, You’ve Got A Lot of Teeth

“That’s just so many teeth,” I said to the confused mother of five seated across from me at lunch. It was a weird follow up to the pretty standard suburban question: “how many kids do you have?” Depending on your point of view, there are plenty of more appropriate reactions, including “how wonderful” and “so… Continue Reading

The Untold History of Thanksgiving

It’s important to remember the genesis of Thanksgiving, lest we all just start to see it as a stomach-stretching warm up for the actual holidays. The first Thanksgiving was a shared meal between the pilgrims and the Native Americans, one where they gave thanks for all they had and set the tone for who we… Continue Reading

Other People’s Problems

Sometimes, when I’m busy not writing my novel, I daydream about finishing my students’ novels. My mind floods with ideas to fill in their story gaps. I dream up surprise endings and pages of snappy dialog. While driving the other day, I decided that one of my student’s characters should have a heavy suitcase at the… Continue Reading

Sports Niceties in Real Life

Spring sports are winding down and the whole thing seems like a blur of driving, costume changes and sandwiches eaten in the car. There was the requisite amount of elbow jabbing, name calling and blood letting. But there were also the niceties of sports, the repeated rituals, words and actions that sort of smooth out… Continue Reading

Is Anyone Else Tired?

Remember when that new, zealous guy started work at your office? The one who thought it would be more productive to come in a few minutes earlier and stay a few minutes later? Next thing you knew, your nine-to-five job was eight-to-six, for the same pay. I wonder if this is what’s happened to motherhood.… Continue Reading

Notes for Next Christmas

I have a friend who has a very thoughtful way of living her life, and I try to pick up her habits when I can. She recently told me that every year after Christmas she takes a few minutes to jot down what worked and what didn’t, so that she doesn’t make the same mistakes… Continue Reading

Wake Me Up When The Election’s Over

We’re almost there, people. The election is just over the hump of the weekend, and the end is actually in sight. I tend to like a salacious and horrifying story, the inner-workings of human drama. But there’s no thrill in this election. It just feels prickly and uncomfortable, like the angora sweater my grandmother bought… Continue Reading

Jigsaw Puzzles With Toddlers

If you’ve ever done a jigsaw puzzle with a two year old, you know what it means to run through the entire range of human emotions. You hope, you cringe, you pull your hair out. At some point, you’ll be disgusted, elated and then relieved. It’s a worthy exercise, and its success depends on your… Continue Reading

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