I am currently on a juice fast.
The "fast" part is completely contradictory, because the days have never been so slow. The overly perky saleslady at the farmers market who seduced me into these three days of hell with health benefit claims — Lose 25 pounds! Add 25 years to your life! Literally wind back the clock to be 25 again! — assured me I'd be bouncing down the sidewalk, telling random passers-by to pinch my skin and see how taut it has become. And yet...
My ratio of high-fives to strangers I meet has not increased. Every advertisement I've ever seen of women forgoing food for the sake of scientifically proven false promises shows them so jazzed that you'd think they had swapped out their morning coffeecake for liquid cocaine. Unlike the ads and the perky saleslady, I have yet to wake up and find myself magically wearing a Lululemon yoga outfit with leg warmers and a matching sweat-absorbing flower crown. Also, my teeth aren't whiter, nor am I blinding friends with my excessive smiling. And, I assure you, I have not yet once spoken the words, "It's so funny; I don't even feel hungry. I guess it's because my body is so filled by the nourishment of self-love."
I should have known what I was getting myself into. This is the third time I have done some sort of a fast/cleanse, and though this has been by far the easiest, it still sucks eggplants.
The first time was when I was 20 and living in Australia. I had never even heard of a fast; the concept was so foreign to me. My roommates insisted that they did one fast a year and that they would feel amazing when it was over. They guided me through lowering my food intake for two weeks, until I was eating only a couple of apples a day. My fast was to include seven days of only water — tea if I felt really hungry. The second time, I willingly took on food deprivation was when I was placed on a monthlong raw food diet — only fruits and vegetables — by a doctor to assist with my circulation problems. The third time's the charmed life, so I have subjected myself to this cleanse, drinking gnarly, disgusting juice — parsley, kale et al. — and water for three days.
"Cleanse" is an interesting word. I'm not sure exactly what is supposedly being cleansed — intestines, kidneys, arteries? — but I'm pretty sure my brain is getting a good bleaching. Every time I have fasted, I have become delirious — so completely obsessed with food that it's been, well, consuming.
Yesterday I placed my ear up to my child's cheek as he crunched on Goldfish, just so I could be close to the sound of satiation. The floor under my daughter's highchair is covered in food, and I find myself wondering whether it's still good. Ten-hour rule, amiright? When I did my month of raw food, I became obsessed with hot dogs, which is weird because I'm a pescatarian. Every evening, I would go to the local convenience store and watch as the hot dogs rotated on that little grill thing. I would stand there for about an hour, mesmerized. Then I'd go home and eat broccoli while whispering, "You're a hot dog." I spent most of my water-only week actually sitting in water in my bathtub, staring at a giant huntsman spider, wondering whether he would eat me before I got to eat anything else. Did he think I looked as delicious as he looked to me? Those furry pretzel-stick legs and those six Skittles eyes. See? Delirious. I gave up after six days.
And that's the thing about these fasts; we can give up at any time — which is what makes the whole thing so unpalatable. (Well, that and the asparagus ginger juice.) Meanwhile, famine has been declared in Sudan. Twenty million people are literally starving. Not like me when I have a fridge full of food and say, "OMG, I'm literally starving." Next time I think of spending money on a fast, I will send the cash to a region in need of food instead. As a gift to myself for completing this cleanse, I donated to UNICEF to help starving Sudanese children. I encourage you to do the same.
Now excuse me while I go sniff the day-old food under my daughter's highchair.
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/katiedidhumor. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.