For a long time now, I’ve been a kind of scavenger eater. I’ve never enjoyed cooking and tend to go for the easiest thing to prepare, especially on days when I wait too long to eat lunch and my hunger takes over. I end up cramming Goldfish crackers, blocks of cheese, mini-carrots, cookies, whatever is closest, goes in gigantic handfuls right into my gaping maw. It’s not pretty.
Over the past few years, I’ve realized how little this approach to eating (and cooking) serves me. My rejection of cooking came early. When I was about 10 years old, my dad said something along the lines of “You have to learn how to cook . . . because you’re a girl.” And my response was a mighty FUCK IT. If society tells me I have to do something (wear make-up, wear uncomfortable shoes, cry at romantic movies, act “crazy” because I’m on the rag) then I’m going to do everything in my power to run the other way. Since I associated cooking with unfeminist behaviors, I took no interest in learning how to cook and turned up the Bikini Kill until my ears bled fire.
And when I moved out of my parent’s house at the age of 17, I lived on Triscuits and cheese for a year.
But don’t worry. As soon as I turned 21, I added whiskey sours (Vitamin C), 22 ouncers of Rolling Rock (fermentation, baby!) and burritos as big as my head from whatever San Diego Mexican food joint was close enough not to push my inevitable hangover over the edge and into cranial destruction (protein for the bones!).
I like to call it the Beastmaster diet.
About a decade into this nutritional chaos, I got smart (er) and started eliminating some of the carbs re: stopped eating donuts. I upped my exercise game and got fairly religious about getting on the elliptical trainer at the YMCA, plus regular yoga and Pilates classes. I got skinny, for whatever that’s worth. But I still refused to really learn how to cook. And I was still a scavenger. Waiting to eat until super late. Grasping at whatever processed foods were closest out of hunger. Swinging between diets, going vegan and then whooping it up in hamburger heaven.
But turning 40 has forced me to take a long, hard look at my eating habits and how they might be connected to my foggy brain functioning, headaches, and inflamed joints. Last week, I was talking with my friend Kara about how I’ve lost all the weight from baby-having , pretty much from nursing and taking lots of walks, but how I just feel crappy most of the time. Tired, grumpy, depressed, confused, unable to focus. Kara told me about a FB page and website an old friend of hers runs called Do Not Die Young.
I went home and looked it up. Immediately, I thought, this guy is teaching what I want to learn. Chris happened to be offering a Clean Eating Kick-Start, and without giving it too much thought, I emailed him and signed up. I started on Monday, June 23, and today marks my third day in, out of 11 total days. I was terrified at first, but let me tell you, so far it’s pretty fucking rad. I’m already feeling the brain fog lift. I’ve been drinking these green smoothie concoctions every morning and they actually taste good.
For me, it kind of feels like a miracle, so I’m excited to see where I end up in the next few days!