I’m not sure how it happened, but, through a series of events which I can actually trace backward a few steps, I’m 1 week into a 3week ‘cleanse’ that is most easily characterized by: no sugar, no alcohol, no gluten (bread, pasta, etc), no processed foods (my one exception is the BEST corn tortilla chips ever, found at our local tienda), and no animal products. At all. So, no birria tacos at the Monday Market. No shrimp burrito ‘a la plancha’ (grilled) at Splash. No juevos Mexicanos with bacon at Paola’s… But also, no cheese. No ice cream. No yogurt. No butter. Zip.
At this point I realize you may be thinking, um, what can you eat? Believe it or not, there are actually still many foods to choose from, even with the above removed from the list….(do I sound convincing?)
Not that long ago I was talking with a friend about a book she was reading, Crazy Sexy Diet. As she talked about alkaline vs. acid in foods and in our systems, green smoothies, and how the author, who had been diagnosed with a rare, untreatable cancer, had beaten it through a change in diet and lifestyle, I was hooked.
I’ve got to admit, I’m an easy sell for ‘transformation.’ Tell me a story of how you, or how someone you know, or how a book you are reading has made some sort of tangible impact on you that has changed your life for the better, and I’m there. I love stories of transformation. Come to think of it, that may be part of why I’m ordained as an ‘evangelist’ but that’s a story for another time…
So, here I am, a third of the way through. I’m actually cheating in one aspect–I have not given up my morning cup of coffee. I mean, c’mon, you want me to give up coffee too? Now that’s just crazy talking.
But the thing is, though it is awkward to go out to eat (last week at Splash I got rice and steamed vegetables, which were actually good, but not nearly as good as my favorite shrimp burrito, or when a friend invited me over for ‘spaghetti and meatballs’ and then said, “Wait, you can’t eat any of that, can you?”)
I actually do feel healthier. Perhaps it is a placebo, who knows. I’m just beginning to not crave dessert all the time–somehow a banana is not nearly as exciting as a plethora of other dessert options I can think of.
Though the 21 day cleanse (she calls it an ‘adventure cleanse’–is that supposed to make it sound more inviting?) is not technically ‘fasting’ (it does call for one day of fasting every seventh day) some of the elements of fasting seem to be rearing their ugly heads.
Fasting, as a spiritual discipline, is often done to allow us to feel our hunger and to connect the physical hunger to the spiritual. Is it actually a brownie that I am hungry for, or is the brownie just what is convenient and in reach?
I’ve realized how accustomed I am to ‘consuming’ pretty much whatever I want, whenever I want it. Having to limit that ‘consumption’ is an exercise, again, in allowing an emptying or a paying attention, so that we might make room or make space, and in the case of a spiritual discipline, space for God. Of course, that’s easier said than done.
For now it’s just Jesus, not cheeses…
*I have to give credit where credit is due–I did not come up with the phrase, but got it from Chad Fransen and thought it was too funny not to use…