Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring Cleaning - Day 12

Mmm mmm. Two days ago I made it out of the Master Cleanse woods. I never wanna see another lemon again. Actually, I had some lemon juice today but it was mixed with some new things.

Monday was the last day of the strictly "lemonade" diet. Yesterday, I traded in the lemons for oranges, choosing to break the fast with fresh squeezed oj. The rationale is that oj stimulates the digestive system. I don't know by what mechanism that works, but it's what I read in the Master Cleanse book by the guy who invented it. M., who is two days behind me on this fast, balked at the idea of strictly orange juice, feeling it would be too acidic. I had similar thoughts the last time I fasted, but I had no problems with it that time or this time. Plus if you think about it, how much more "acidic" can you get with lemon juice and cayenne pepper.

According to the Master Cleanse, there are two ways to break a fast. One is to drink orange juice for two days and then the third day following the cleanse, drink oj in the morning followed by raw fruit for lunch and fruit or a salad for dinner. The next day you should be fine to eat normally. However, that's for people who are vegetarian. We poor omnivores and carnivores are to follow a different strategy. The first day after the cleanse, one drinks only orange juice and extra water if desired. On the second day, one is to drink several glasses of oj and then in the evening, it's suggested that one have vegetable soup—mostly the broth, although the vegetables can be eaten sparingly. Burroughs also says that rye wafers may be consumed with this meal but no bread or crackers. The next day, one should drink oj in the morning, at noon have more soup and for dinner "whatever is desired in the form of vegetables, salads or fruit. No meat, fish or eggs; no bread, pastries, tea, coffee or milk." Normal eating is resumed on the fourth day.

Now the ways to break a fast are as myriad as are the ways in which to fast. Every school of thought seems to disagree with all the others. I've read that a fast should only be broken with fruit or specific kinds of fruit or melon. I've even seen that it's popular in some camps to break a fast with a couple tablespoons of unsalted, unbuttered popcorn. The one point of agreement is that breaking a fast should be done slowly, some even advocating that it should take half the time of the actual fast. By that logic, a ten-day fast should be broken in five days.

I see the wisdom in that, but my ascetic whims are fading rapidly. What I'm doing now is kind of winging it. I had grandiose ideas about 21 days, but I've reached my limit. I really want to eat—out of pure desire not hunger. Five days makes sense, but I don't have it in me. Three days was what I had originally planned and that's what I'm sticking to; but I also planned on three days of strictly fruit and vegetable juices. I just can't do it. I can do it, but I don't want to do it. So after slurping down some oj in the A.M., and enjoying a 16 oz. "I AM RICH," i.e. oj, carrot, beet, lemon juice at Cafe Gratitude in the afternoon, I went grocery shopping. I returned home all sorts of goodies: carrots, red cabbage, spinach, kale, parsley, a handful of tiny red and white potatoes, a turnip, beets, a yellow onion, garlic, and a handful of dried pinto beans, the latter of which I promptly set aside soaking. I also bought two brands of vegetable broth/stock: Wolfgang Puck's organic style (more savory) and Kitchen Basics' low sodium vegan version (sweeter). I threw everything into a pot with some sage, basil, and seasoned black pepper. I also added about a half a can of organic black beans. I simmered them until the carrots and potatoes were easy to cut through. Then I left the house, reminiscing about an old childhood favorite: "Stone Soup."

I've read that people have the tendency to go hog wild when they begin eating again. That wasn't my intention, but I'm really over the whole liquid diet thing, especially juice type liquids. So one tip I read is to eat whatever that first thing is, at the evening meal so that you go to bed and ostensibly you don't eat again until the next day, which keeps you from overdoing it. So when I returned to the house later in the evening, I grabbed a bowl and filled it mostly with broth. I also got a little piece of everything—a tiny bit of potato, literally three beans, a slice each of carrot and celery, a smidgen of wilted greens, and a tiny bit of beet and turnip. All together, I don't think they would have amounted to much more than a tablespoon of food. I was, of course, more generous with the broth. Then I sat down and tried not to inhale the whole thing. It was nice to savor, actually, as the entire ensemble tasted righteous.

I can't wait to indulge in more tomorrow. I made enough soup for an army, so I'll definitely be enjoying it for lunch and dinner, with increasing amounts of solids in the mix. I think I'll go get some rye wafers for an additional treat with dinner. Then Saturday and through the weekend, I'll try to stick to the mostly raw foods idea, but all my planning is starting to fall by the wayside. On a positive note though, I continue to feel very, very good, and although I am slightly disappointed that I haven't stuck 100 percent to my original intention, for the most part I am congratulating myself. I feel clean and lean and now I'm ready to pollute myself again. By next Wednesday—V.'s b-day—I will be ready for an all out feast.


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