December 13th, 2010

Reverb 11

What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson) (www.reverb10.com)

Oh, I don’t like this one at all–eleven things I don’t like in my life? I love my life; I don’t want to dwell on 11 things that are wrong with it!! So I’m not really going to do this one, but a half-assed variation instead.

I’ve just finished a detox program that I totally did not following properly–it’s really socially limiting, for one thing, to look at the labels on the bottles to see if anything has wheat in it and refuse to have milk in your decaf tea unless it’s almond milk. I think it has been beneficial for me in a few ways. But on the other hand, this sort of obsessive scrutiny of tasty foods and insistence on my own special purity when eating socially, and also the buying of insanely expensive hard-to-find weird foods, is basically an excuse to be self-obsessed for 2 weeks. I don’t really recommend it, but I did learn some stuff. So here’s 11 foods I’ve taken out of my life the past 2 weeks, and whether these are truly things I don’t need.

1. Milk–I have always been (touch wood) lactose tolerant, and I enjoy milk in tea, coffee and instant pudding, as well as on it’s own. However, according to certain dieticians, no one is lactose tolerant, and I have been deluding myself. I tried doing without dairy milk by using almond milk. It hadn’t occured to me that something with two such healthy words to describe it would be nutritionally worthless–almond milk has barely any calcium or protein, almost no other vitamins, practically no calories. It tastes ok, in tea anyway, but not all that great. I also didn’t feel any better for being lactose-free, and almond milk is expensive. Back to the cow for me.

2. Cow yoghurt–same premise as above–all that lactose is killing me softly. So I got goat yoghurt–apparently goat’s milk doesn’t have lactose in it?? Not really sure how that works, but anyway, goat’s milk yoghurt is delicious–nice and creamy, and full of useful vitamins and 35% of your daily calcium. It’s a bit sour, but you can put stuff in it–fruit or sunflower seeds or sweetner (see below). It’s expensive, of course, so I’ll maybe alternate it with also-delicious cow yoghurt.

3. Most sweetners–On this particular detox, I was permitted neither sugar nor aspertame nor sucrolose. To the healthfood store, to buy a $10 box (don’t laugh at me–it was an experiment) of stevia. I could also have had something called agave syrup, but you have to adminster that with an eyedropper, which look like a lot of work, and that cost $10 too. As far as I can tell, Stevia tastes pretty much like sugar or sucrolose (aspertame, as we all know, tastes like a combination of sugar and pennies). However, if you don’t stir your tea right away, it forms little Stevia clots and, as mentioned, it costs $10. Fine, but I am happy to return to my old forms of sweetening.

4. Wheat–Again, I consider myself happily wheat-tolerant, but apparently I am just self-deluded. I didn’t replace wheat with anything, I just didn’t eat it. I didn’t feel healthier (but I didn’t feel bad before) but I did feel like a social loser. Not eating delicious bread and cookies gave me less to talk about with people at dinners and parties (“This cookie is so delicious!” is a great opener, in my opinion) and often the wheat was blended into whatever was being served, so I couldn’t eat anything at all. I wonder if that’s what the point was, to remove the social joys from eating?? But why? Why? I do not think my life was improved by eliminating wheat.

5. Caffeine–Ok, this one was a point well-taken; I consume too much caffeine. My only defense is that a) so does everyone else and b) it’s because my life is so difficult that I need the artificial energy. And b) isn’t even entirely true, my life isn’t that difficult. I just happen to find caffeinated beverages coincidentally delicious. I believe I wrote on Rose-coloured about the last time I tried to quit caffeine, cold-turkey, which reduced me to nauseus migraines and lying on the couch for two days. This time I did it gradually over the course of several days, and the withdrawal symptoms didn’t crop up once. In fact, I think I had fewer headaches over the past two weeks, and I attribute that to the caffinelessness. However, herbal tea is no fun, and decaf green tea (at least I could put milk in it, albeit almond milk) not much better–so I’m going back to at least some caffeine some of the time, but will try to keep it at least sorta moderate.

6. Dried fruit–I don’t even care about dried fruit, really, but with so many other things denied to me, it was pretty annoying to pick all dried cranberries out of trail mix. I don’t think I’d miss them that much if they were the *only* thing I was giving up, though, so now I will go back to eating dried fruit almost never, but sometimes–I always like it well enough when I bother with it.

7. Canned meat–Well, it sounds gross when you call it “canned meat” but in truth, I pretty much live on cereal, pop, apples and pears, and tuna. Not being able to eat tuna for lunch every other day posed a very major protein problem for me, even though I do appreciate it was healthy from a mercury and salt point of view. I started having eggs for breakfast to supplement the protein, and that was fairly nice. I felt like I was eating weekend breakfast every day, and the amount of energy to pour eggs into a pan and stir until cooked is fairly minimal. For lunch I had veggies and hummus and other random things, and it was fine, but I still missed tuna. Probably this one was a good reduction and I should try to at least partly maintain it.

8. Oranges–I’m guessing this one was eliminated because they have a lot of natural sugar, but I don’t really know–I always thought oranges were healthy. I replaced them with pears, which was fine, except the tiny “Christmas oranges” came into stores during my cleanse, and it was torture! I bought a big crate of them tonight and I was pretty excited.

9. Pop–I know, I know–pop has no known nutrients, contains either tonnes of sugar or tonnes of aspertame, it’s acidic enough to eat through tooth enamel and stomach lining…but I love it! I replaced this one with water with lime juice in it, with the expected lack of excitement. It’s good to know I *can* quit the bubbly stuff…if I have to. Again, I am going back to it, but will try to be more moderate.

10. Oats–yes, even boring oatmeal is a devil food. I tried rice cereals instead, which are actually quite nice–the organic ones taste exactly like the non-organic ones, FYI, and cost 4x the price, but I enjoyed them all. I may continue to dally with them occasionally in future.

11. Shellfish–I had shrimp curry for supper tonight, and was happy. But actually, this another of the injunctions that I believe–shellfish can have some strange stuff in it, and I probably should cut down…the detox was a good demonstration that I can.

So, uh, more than you ever wanted to know about what I ate in the first half of December, eh? Of these eleven things, I’m going to make an ongoing effort to reduce my intake of 4 of them–caffeine, canned meat, shellfish, pop, and maybe make another attempt to legitimately detox in January. I’m still not sure I believe in all this stuff, but due to encountering a giant box made of chocolate and other sundry wonders of the holiday season, I feel I did not give detoxing a fair shake. In fairness to myself, however, I must point out that detoxing is really annoying.

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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