Thanksgiving is still a week away, but it’s never too early to start feeling guilty for what you plan on eating. I intend to have eyes bigger than my stomach while layering starches like bricks upon my plate. A strong believer in “no roll left behind,” I’ll be attacking food like the linebackers playing on the living room TV Mom left on to appease Dad.
I’m fully aware I’m stuffing my feelings with food and that I’m going to feel miserable later that night. Mustering up a little pre-emptive guilt allows me to more fully enjoy the very thing I shouldn’t be doing in the first place, so this year I’m trying to get ahead of the curve. My wife and I are doing a five-day detoxification routine.
It’s not a weight loss thing, though goodness knows that wouldn’t hurt. It’s a mind-set thing. Detoxes are supposed to allow the body time to rid itself of harmful toxins that have accumulated over the past year. Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be a lot of toxicity around nowadays …
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not looking forward to it. Like a prostate exam or a visit to the dentist, it’s a hedge against disaster. It’s always a bad sign when they keep telling me, “It’s not a fast — it’s a detox.” I’m not seeing much difference when faced with several days of soaking chia seeds in pressed juices or broths that will serve as “meals.” They soften into gelatinous masses that make me feel like I’m swallowing jellyfish. A fast sounds more appealing.
When I did this three years ago, my stomach was a continuous symphony of odd sounds. It was as if someone were running the soundtrack from the movie Alien inside my shirt. I can only hope nothing that evil tries to escape my body … which, while I don’t want to indulge in gutter talk, was a real risk last time. We’ll simply refer to my trips to the restroom as “copious” and leave it at that.
I grew up wondering why anyone would willingly endure the suffering involved in bouncing from one diet to another. I couldn’t fathom the siren song that led the adults around me to fill up grocery carts full of misshapen fruits and vegetables, many of which had names I couldn’t pronounce, much less spell.
They kept switching diets because science kept changing the rules. Eggs were good for us, then bad for us, then good again. (I don’t know where the egg stands this week, but don’t tell me — I need two for my fiber loaf recipe.) It used to be that skim milk was only for the health freaks, and we’d groan when my mom would come home with gallons of the stuff. The butter was soon replaced by margarine tubs and the Cheese Whiz with cheddar blocks. Then, overnight, it seemed people turned on cows altogether. Suddenly their meat was unhealthy, their treatment inhumane, and their milk full of steroids and other unmentionables. They offered us ice cream from a soybean and yogurt from coconut husks.
Now we’re supposed to get milk from an almond, when I never even knew they had udders!
I think that’s what I look forward to the most with this detox: simplicity. There’s very little science has been able to dig up against cucumbers, cabbage, turmeric, and ginger. At least for a week, I won’t have to fret over what I eat. However, as long as I’m at it, I’ll pre-emptively apologize now to the people around me this week. It’s not you, it’s me. More specifically, it’s me hating you for eating that pizza slice in front of me while I’m on this stupid detox.
Believe me, I’ll get even in the Thanksgiving buffet line.
You can read more at RobertFWalsh.com, contact him at RobertFWalshMail@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @RobertFWalsh.