How To Fail A Food Cleanse Before You Even Begin.
Justin and I have agreed to commit to this kind of sort of fad diet for the next two weeks.
Except they call it a “cleanse” to make us feel more health-conscious and less gullible, and we’re not really committed, since we already know we’re probably going to cheat on Super Bowl Sunday.
I don’t even know who’s playing in the Super Bowl.
All I care about is the food.
I mean, duh.
I stumbled across this two-week meal plan by bon appétit (you know, the magazine) they wisely dubbed The 2013 Food Lover’s Cleanse in an attempt to flatter those of us crazy enough to try it into thinking we’re all healthful and worldly, while also invoking that all-too-inspiring New Years Resolutiony vibe.
It was supposed to begin in early January to wipe our bodies clean of all that nasty holiday gluttony, so no — they didn’t plan it to coincide with the Super Bowl, but I only just discovered it. We’re trying it now and not later because if we start it any later, it would cut into my upcoming (SPOILER ALERT!) trip to Austin, Texas. And if we waited until I came home, let’s be honest. We would probably never start.
The recipes sound enticing enough, and of course the food photography is downright pornographic. (Warning: If you dare click the link, try your best to ignore the links for Superbowl nachos, buffalo wings, chili and beer and scroll down to the information about the Cleanse — you know, the quinoa and bulgar and hemp seeds and such. It’s a true test of willpower.)
So we decided to go for it. All (or almost all) in.
And that’s where things started going awry. So here, without further ado, is how you completely mess up a fancy food cleanse before you even begin:
1) Get 10 minutes into your hour-long trek to Whole Foods, the only place within driving distance you think you’ll be able to find most of the things on your list, and realize you forgot your list. Turn around, pick up list, and head back out again.
2) Arrive at Whole Foods, otherwise known as high-end, natural grocery mecca, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Look at the produce! The colors! They have rice and seeds and nuts in bulk! Surely, if ever there was a place that carried radicchio and escarole and whole cumin seeds and Forbidden black rice, this would be it.
3) After spending 45 minutes in the produce section alone, celebrating a minor victory by grabbing the last Butternut from the bin of winter squashes and receiving multiple odd stares from the pierced, dreadlocked caucasian male stocking greens, make sad note of the fact that even though your cart is probably filled with over $100 worth of fruits and vegetables, you were still unable to acquire butter lettuce, decent lemons, or clementines.
Shake it off as white people problems.
4) Bulk dry goods. Stare mindlessly for 10 minutes until someone with an apron comes to help. She manages to point out your unsweetened coconut flakes, rice, cornmeal, bulgar (though not the right kind, and don’t ask me what it is), nuts, and dried fruits (though not the right kind). She even grabs your dry cereal and hemp hearts from other parts of the store, shoots you one last look of sympathy and amused perplexion, and carries on her way.
5) Meat and seafood. No, we do not currently have grass-fed flank steak. Try back next week. Manila clams? Never heard of them. But we have these other clams you could try. Um, yes. I’m sure they will be fine. (Just don’t tell bon appétit.) Black cod? Are you crazy? No. And it’s insanely expensive. Here. Have this regular cod.
At this point money means nothing to you. This is sustenance, people. It’s going to fight disease and make your skin silky smooth and take 10 years off your appearance and make you live forever.
6) After two-and-a-half hours at a place that has quickly fallen from Mecca in your mind though, whether due to their limitations (probably not) or your insane grocery list, you can’t be sure, you raise the white flag. Okay, so you couldn’t find Medjool dates and no one had heard of Harissa paste and you’re pretty sure chili paste with fermented black beans doesn’t really exist, but that’s fine. Different problems for a different day.
7) Head home and take stock. Label your bulk dry goods because you’re already beginning to forget which is what. Look up the proper way to store your fruits and veggies, because you will. not. let. these. spoil. This is just the produce. And not even the whole list. For the first week. The FIRST week.
8) Make yourself dinner. One last indulgence before craziness ensues. Don’t judge.
Grilled cheese. Pre-grill.
9) Wake up early the next morning to seed a pomegranate.
Slice off the crown.
Cut into thirds, slicing down the rind.
Submerge in water and pick apart, setting rind off to the side.
Seeds will sink and remaining rind pieces will float.
Wipe off evidence before your granite drinks it.
10) Boil some rolled oats, toast some walnuts, throw everything into a bowl, and choke it back while repeating this mantra: It’s for my own good, it’s for my own good, it’sformyowngood. Wash it down with a tiny cup of black coffee and lots of water.
11) Wash some kale, rinse some beans, open some tuna, whip up some sherry vinaigrette, and imagine that it looks like you’re going to have a decent lunch and not a bowl of garnish. Also pretend that you get to look forward to the required smoothie for your snack, but you never did pick up blackberries, Greek yogurt, or apple cider at a cheaper grocery store after leaving Whole Foods yesterday, so you’re switching it out for another day’s snack: A hard-boiled egg sprinkled with celery salt. Yay.
Mmmm. A bowl full of garnish and tuna.
12) Tell yourself it’s going to get better. With tonight’s not-Black Cod with swiss chard, olives, and lemon served with a side of not-Red quinoa with pistachios, it’s going to get better. It’s bon appétit, for crying out loud.
And they know what they’re doing.
Even if you don’t.
Loved this! It’s sad though to think the stress and time involved to make this happen might very well cancel the benefits of the cleanse… But it sure made for a great story!!
Thanks, Bex! And you’re totally right. This has been like… insanely stressful. I spent half the day at various grocery stores again today, a ton of time making dinner and breakfast tomorrow, and I still need to finish tomorrow’s lunch and snack (should be quick though). If there IS something positive here, it’s the fact that it’s forcing Justin and I to cook together, simply so that we’re not eating at 11 p.m. ;) (Oh yeah, that whole health factor is pretty nice, too!)
Looks really good, but a whole lot of work!
Yes. A LOT of work. But now that I’ve bought most of the stuff, we have to do it. :)
OMG did you drive to Charlotte and not tell me??????? Is that the Whole Foods you went to? Bad girl! Ummm btw will you be my personal chef?
Ha, of course not!! I went to Cary, NC. And of course I’ll be your chef! I hope you like grilled cheese… ;)
THis is how it always works for me, and then I let the produce go bad before I get the energy to really try the new thing it’s supposed to be a part of.
I’ve gotten close to that happening a couple of times now. I’m pretty sure I’m close to losing an avocado and a grapefruit. The good news is we have discovered some pretty great dishes we’ll keep in our arsenal! The bad news is we’re wasting a bit. Some dinners make way too much but it was really difficult to figure out which ingredients to buy less of because some are used in more than one dish and some dishes are used for lunches!
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