Have I ever mentioned that, as a teenager, I played serious competitive tennis on the junior circuit?
One summer, in a misguided attempt to move up the rankings, I spent 6 weeks training at a hard-core tennis academy located in the living hell known as central Florida. Every morning, I was forced to wake up at 7:00 am, run six miles, and then spend the next ten hours violently hitting tennis balls underneath the sweltering sun.
That summer was hell. Most of my time was spent throwing up on my Tretorns, massaging cramps out of my legs, and trying to figure out how to cure my interminable case of swamp ass.
It was probably one of the most painful summers of my life...until now.
At the age of 39, I think I can safely say that this has probably been the shittiest summer of my life.
It started in May when we learned that my father-in-law had cancer and was given only a few months to live. At the same time, the apparel industry in the US took a nosedive and work became infinitely more stressful. Then, I found myself having to deal with some other personal issues that I won't even begin to share with you.
When some people get stressed out, they lose their appetites. The BossLady, for example, seems to have simply just stopped eating. She's either too depressed about her father to eat or she's too crazed at work and simply "forgets."
Now generally, I eat fairly healthy. Lots of sashimi, salads, vegetables, and egg-white omelets. Being a foodie, I eat like this so that I can enjoy my porterhouse steak and dumpling splurges without any remorse or regret.
But ever since the summer started, I've been eating like crap. Serious crap. I'm talking pepperoni pizzas, bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwiches, steak burritos, fried chicken, General Tso's chicken, homemade gnocchi in cream sauce, and any other unhealthy food saturated in fat that looked like it might provide me with comfort. I even started having dreams about those infamous Krispy Kreme bacon cheeseburgers.
Hey, I'm no doctor but this couldn't be healthy for me.
So a few weeks ago, I decided that I needed to get my body back into fighting shape. It wasn't a matter of losing weight. I just needed to give my organs a rest, clean out my system, and give myself some more discipline about what goes into my mouth.
Being one of those people who tends to commit to things a gazillion percent, I decided to take drastic measures. So ever since last week, I've been on a serious hard-core juice fast called the Blueprint Cleanse.
The idea is that the cleanse will help your body purge the "toxins" you build up in your system. All the juices are from organic raw-food fruits and vegetables. They're compressed with a special hydraulic machine that generates over 7 tons of pressure and extracts every single nutrient. Apparently, these juices contain 3-5 times the vitamins and minerals found in any other juice.
Now, I'm pretty old-school when it comes to stuff like this. I don't think there are any shortcuts in life so I don't buy into fad diets or New Age solutions. Want to get healthy? Eat some salad, hit the weight room, and put on the jogging shoes. Period.
For me, this was somewhat of a science experiment and a personal challenge. It was like that time during Yom Kippur when all my Jewish friends were fasting and I decided to try it just to test my willpower. Besides, I figured I had nothing to lose. It wasn't going to kill me, right?
Well, on Day One, it almost did.
The week before, you're supposed to gradually wean yourself off unhealthy foods and stop drinking alcohol. Me? I did the exact opposite. The night before my cleanse started, I barbecued with my neighbor Mark and ingested a mountain of chipotle short ribs, cole slaw, and cheese. I washed it all down with a few beers, some wine, and a big glass of scotch.
My first drink the next morning was a disgusting concoction of spinach, cucumber, kale, parsley, apple and lemon. It smelled like the Devil's ass and tasted even worse. Some of the juices tasted better. Some didn't.
After 24 hours on the juice fast, my body was cursing me out and threatening to mutiny. I had massive headaches, stomach pains, dry mouth, body odor, and nausea.
The next day wasn't much better. All I wanted to do was snort giant slabs of bacon, rub my naked body with cheeseburgers, and dive into a pool of burritos. I would have eaten ANYTHING. I would have eaten your pet if you smothered it in BBQ sauce.
Clearly, this wasn't going to work for me.
But, after a few more days, a funny thing happened. All my symptoms disappeared. I started feeling ridiculously better. My eyes were brighter. My skin looked better. My sinuses cleared up. My energy levels were through the roof. And without even trying, I lost about 8 lbs. The weirdest thing is that I haven't really been craving food at all.
Until about 5 minutes ago.
That's when I passed a street vendor grilling a pile of meat with peppers and garlic. Mmm...meat, peppers, garlic. That's like the Holy Grail for me and, for a brief second, I was about to throw discipline to the wind and reward myself with a giant gyro slathered with mayonnaise and extra hot sauce. I even got in line and busted out a $5 bill.
But suddenly, the desire to put that garbage in my stomach passed. In fact, the idea of eating it almost repulsed me. The previously aromatic smell even made me a little nauseated. What was happening to me? Had I turned a corner? Am I now addicted to a raw food healthy diet? Would Gwyneth and I soon be sharing kale milkshakes made out of soy and celery? Would I start taking up yoga and scheduling weekly colonics?
I think not, my friends, but we'll see. Stranger things have happened. I'll keep you posted.
Have any of you ever done anything like this? What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get healthy or lose weight? Any vegetarians out there? How do you do it? I can't even picture a life without meat. Then again, I never thought I'd live off juice for two weeks. What do you think?