Cleansing

Posted by SuperClydesdale on February 5, 2012 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

I came out of the holiday season feeling a bit off.  I’d been drinking tremendous amounts of beer and wine, not eating that well as I went on party duty.  My energy levels felt low, and my climbing legs were gone.  Part of that is the extra 10 pounds I’d managed to put on since Thanksgiving.  Yes, gravity is cruel.

I was enjoying the beer and wine in particular.  Tremendously.  It was soooo good.  I’d been splurging a bit on the wine, and going somewhat upscale into some pretty good wines, and each night, the wine was a welcome cap to some pretty hectic days.   I was starting to feel like perhaps I was enjoying the alcoholic beverages a bit too much.  It just sounded too good.  I was starting to fear that I was craving it, and was thinking of going cold turkey and do a weeks-long break from any drinking.

That was before my lovely wife approached me with a topic she had come across in one of the magazines she reads.  The idea is to undergo a weeks-long “cleanse” – to dramatically change your diet for a few weeks, in theory to drive out toxins from the body.  Since I think that the idea of detoxifying is a total bunch of crap, I was at first not too excited about it, but my wife was interested in it because she was also feeling somewhat low-energy and just generally “blah.”  She’s a bit impulsive, and the idea of doing “something completely different” is usually very attractive to her, but this seemed like a harmless enough program.  She read the recipes to me, and they all sounded edible, so I figured what the hell?   At a minimum, I’d get the break from the alcohol for a few weeks.

The program is, in a nutshell, three weeks long in duration, with each week having different food options.  You start off with the most dramatic phase, and in week one, you can only eat fruits and vegetables.  The good news is, you can each as much as you want of the foods you are allowed to eat.  In week 2, you can add beans and lean meat (lean chicken or fish).  In week three, you can add small amounts of whole grains.  So, the things that you are without for the entire three weeks are alcohol, dairy products, breads or anything with flour, etc.

Given that I’d be three weeks without dairy or gluten, I thought that this could be a great way of finding out if I was lactose intolerant or allergic to gluten.   I figured that if I felt significantly better, then I could later do programs that are dairy free or gluten-free to see which of the two I had problems with.

Week 1:

What a stupid idea.   I was constantly hungry.  I was eating entire fields of lettuce, only to be hungry an hour later.  I think I personally cause a vegetable shortage in the greater Sacramento region.  Stores shelves were bare.  Prices skyrocketed.  A general panic ensued.

And the monotony!   How many combinations of ingredients can you do?  After a while, it’s just a salad that tastes just like the other salad you just ate.   I found myself adding all sorts of nuts and dried fruits just to give me something to chew on.

I told a friend of mine that I was eating almonds by the pound.  It was one of the few foods that seemed to satisfy me.  He warned me that too many almonds were bad, that they contained some toxin that build up, so no more than an ounce a day is advised.  Turns out, there is some truth to that, but the concern is around raw almonds, not the roasted ones I was eating.

It did turn out that eating too many of the almonds — even roasted — had some side effects, primarily the tremendous craving for a steak with blue cheese crumbles.

Probably the most impactful aspect to “the cleanse” is what it apparently cleanses:  your colon, the toilet paper isle at Costco, the produce department and your local supermarket.  I’ve heard of peeing like a race horse.  I was pooping like a race horse.  It was simply amazing.  I didn’t know that my system could even hold that much, or process it that quickly!  I could save a lot of time and inconvenience just by taking the salad ingredients and just dumping them straight into the toilet.

This has a big impact on your lifestyle.   I can’t stray from civilization too long – I need a toilet!  I went to a theater show with my family (I know, not manly, but I promised my wife).  I couldn’t even enjoy the show – I had to sweat it out until the intermission.  I have bowel  Tourette Syndrom  – occasional offensive outbursts.   “Can I get Generic Viagra special seating near the theater door?  I’m on an all-veggie diet!”

And, speaking of horses, I now know why there’s so much horse crap on the mountain bike trails.  I’m sure that a horse would prefer to poop in private, but can’t – they’re on veggie-only diets.   They have no control – it just comes out!   I think that the lack of meat in a horse’s diet has left them with no bowel control, and I’m convinced that one of the marks of the upper species:  control of bowel movements.  .   One might note that most if not all species without bowel control are prey animals – I prefer to be on the top of the food chain.

I think that I’ve also answered the question as to whether or not I’m lactose intolerant.  One well-known symptom of lactose intolerance is flatulence.   I think that, in fact, I’m non-lactose intolerant:  I need lactose in my diet or I suffer flatulence.   Combine that with the freight train of a bowel system, and you’re really setting yourself up for a great time.  Sharting anyone?

While the most troubling thing about the “cleanse” is the requirement of keeping in close proximity to a toilet, I also have struggled with very low energy levels.  During the first week, I had periods of dizziness.  I felt like I had a low-grade flu or something.    I felt like the vegetarian lion on Futuram,  where the hippies forced the poor beast into a more enlightened tofu diet so as to save the planet.   I feel like that lion.

Week 2:

My chicken salad was the best meal I’ve ever eaten.  Better than the $500 steak dinner I had in December at Morton’s of Chicago.   Absence does indeed make the heart (and stomach) grow fonder.

Week 2 brings the addition of beans and lean meat, primarily chicken and fish.  It’s incredible how wonderful all of those things taste after a week of pure veggies.  I pity vegetarians.  I now understand why they are such miserable people (and lions).   Vegans and vegetarians are pale, housebound, unhappy people with chafed bums.

The ongoing bowel issues persist.  I think that I need dairy or something to slow me down.  During week 2, I still couldn’t  ride or run – don’t have the confidence that I can stray that far from the toilet.  My bowels have me under house arrest.

Week 3:

Still hyper-regular.    I’ve gathered enough confidence to go on my first bike ride, about mid-way through week 3.   I stayed close to home, and alerted my wife to stay close to the phone.   A bowel emergency might erupt.  I might need her to come pick me up.

Luckily, the hour-long ride ended without incident.

My confidence up, I did a longer ride yesterday.   I felt better than I expected, but the energy level was still somewhat low.  I felt like my endurance was fine, but didn’t feel like I had much power.  Just felt kind of “blah.”  36 miles, strayed farther than I had in 2-1/2 weeks.  Very nervous throughout, fingers crossed, sphincter clinched.

The ride ended without incident.   Enjoyed a delicious chicken salad afterwards in celebration.

Summary:

The “cleanse” ends tomorrow.   The only reason I finished all three weeks is because I told everyone I was doing it, and I cannot ever go on record for having quit something in the middle.  Just like the Death Ride.   I would have gone straight back to the car after pass 2, pass 3, and pass 4, but I told most of my friends I was going to do it, so I had to either intentionally crash, or gut it out.  I gutted it out.

My wife stayed with me to the end, so she shares the same sense of accomplishment of this self-flagellating diet.

If I see another salad in the next week, someone might get hurt.

I think the biggest mistake was the duration.  Three weeks is a very long time.  Just think that I missed drinking alcohol during several NFL playoff games and the Super Bowl!!!!  How bad was that timing?

If I were to ever attempt any sort of “cleanse” I think it would have to be a week or less.  Anything longer is a significant change in lifestyle that you really need to understand and be prepared for.

On the plus side, I have lost about 10 pounds over the three weeks.  I wasn’t intending on doing this to lose weight, but it’s a great benefit, considering how much pain and suffering (and pooping) I endured.  That said, there are many easier and more appealing ways to lose 10 pounds, such as cutting off a limb or becoming seriously ill.  It would be easier and more pleasurable to donate organs to lose weight than to do this:  I know how I can cleanse my liver:  get rid of it!

  • tblairhug57 said,

    I, too am overweight ( 227 instead of 207!)

    an I have a question about wheelsetts for you– how do I ask to get your answer? I’m new to this forum.

    ( I had a huge heat-build up blowout last summer & am still looking for the best rims to counter that– know anything about the new magic exalith rims???)

  • tblairhug57 said,

    I, too am overweight ( 227 instead of 207!)

    an I have a question about wheelsetts for you– how do I ask to get your answer? I’m new to this forum.

    ( I had a huge heat-build up blowout last summer & am still looking for the best rims to counter that– know anything about the new magic exalith rims???)

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