The Case for a Cleanse: from a Whiskey drinking, coffee slamming, pill popping, sugar addict
3 weeks: no caffeine, no sugar, no processed foods, no alcohol, no animal products. And the most counterintuitive cherry on top, no exercise.
No fun? Extreme? Dangerous?
Before you categorize this as any of that and write me off, hear me out.
I’m a mom and a bartender. So I’d like to feel extra sorry for myself and say that I depend on caffeine more than the average Joe (heyo!). And because I’m a mom, I can’t depend on amphetamines and cocaine (as much) as a regular human. Life is really hard when you’re morally and ethically bound to some degree of sobriety. So I compensate for that with copious amounts of legal stimulants and depressants. Those mom memes about coffee and wine are #basic. But also quite relatable.
A few times a week I come down with a splitting headache, I usually assume that this is undoubtedly a brain tumor and start sobbing thinking of my daughter growing up motherless. After I ride that emotional tidal wave, I realize I just haven’t had any caffeine. This isn’t the type of addiction that they make screenplays about and it doesn’t have me pawning my wedding ring, but it’s a hassle none the less.
Coffee not your thing? I’m fairly certain you and I have at least two things in common that would make you a perfect candidate for a cleanse: 1) you have a family… is there anything more toxic than your family? There is, and that leads me to number 2) Facebook (social media).
To be honest I was borderline with this cleanse and then two things happened, I remembered the holidays are coming up and instead of drinking and dosing myself into oblivion with Xanax, wheels of brie, and listening to my grandmother tell me we shouldn’t adopt because people have questionable DNA. (btw… 3/5 of her kids are drug addicts, and 5/5 are mentally unstable. So quite literally, the most shoddy DNA is coursing right through our veins, think I’ll take my chances and help a kid. Pipe down Nana.)
This holiday season my response to stress won’t be to numb it with crap that helps temporarily. I have absolutely zero interest in jumping on the January 1st health and fitness bandwagon, mostly because it has no longevity and if I wait until New Years I might have a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. In my opinion, there’s never a good time to give up pumpkin rolls. So i’ve just gotta grin and bear it.
Then this election. Yes, this election is a good reason why we all need a cleanse. I’d rank logging onto Facebook up there with breathing in smog. That shit is toxic.
FB is really awesome at making me feel like the world is burning and that everyone I know is a monster. It is not, and they are not. Part of this cleanse is disconnecting from technology and plugging back into the real world. I’ll be eating sitting down, away from my phone and laptop. I’m looking forward to not mindlessly shoveling in bites of food between scrolling my feed.
Sometimes doing what’s best for you is counterintuitive. For instance, this fancy cleanse I haphazardly signed myself up for, has explicit instructions regarding exercise: none. Ok, not none… you can do yoga. Woof. I am bad at so many things, and yoga makes the top of that list, so that’s saying something. I want to be bendy and centered, but it’s not in the cards. When I found out that I had to put away my weights for 3 weeks, it incited panic. I take about 4 rest days a month, so this will be a change of pace. Bottom line, what I’m doing right now clearly isn’t working. I still feel lethargic; I still depend on coffee to wake up, I still have a midday crash, and if someone told me to pick between sugar and my daughter, I might hesitate. I have no choice but to be introspective and critical about the decisions I’m making concerning my health.
This cleanse will have me eating more food than I normally do. I’m ready to break the unhealthy relationship and fear I have about “consumption.” I’m over letting food be an activity when I’m bored, or just when I need an activity in general. I’m done with the guilt that inevitably follows.
I’m ready to eat with purpose. Not because my husband went to the kitchen or because my friends ordered an appetizer. Ever do that? You weren’t planning on eating and then… you just are. I wouldn’t rub pizza on my face, because it’s covered in grease. Yet, time and time again I put that crap INSIDE my body. It’s time to stop defending my poor choices and chalking them up to, “but, I want to enjoy life!” That’s a cop out.
Getting drinks and food are the quintessential activities for friends, and while I enjoy these, I can’t remember the last time I did something besides that with friends. Ever tracked how much you spend every week on coffee, food, and snacks? Even if you don’t drink this number is likely to make you cry.
(p.s. tracking is hands down the most effective thing i’ve ever done to help me monitor my behavior both good and bad, and achieve my personal goals. Exercise, food, money, reading, time spent on social media… track it! There are all sorts of digital tools and apps, but I prefer pen and paper. I would love to hear about what you discovered once you started tracking, so holler at me.)
Personal growth isn’t found at the bottom of a wine glass and more importantly, neither is good sleep, I’ve been looking. Ultimately it seems, that I will have to experience some self imposed discomfort in the short term to gain what i’m hoping is a more balanced approach to health and wellness for life.
Going into day one, I’m feeling optimistic and strong. Kidding, I’m actually terrified.
Interested in following along on this journey? I’ll be chronicling it on my Instagram: ScarlettLongstreet.