OK This Is Getting Boring

My little cat Roody has eaten turkey all her life. When she was a kitten it’s all she wanted. Beef made her retch. She turned her nose up to fish. It was just turkey, turkey, turkey.

Yesterday I wondered how many turkeys Roody has consumed in her twelve years but I couldn’t realistically fathom it. Today I’m wondering if she ever wakes up, walks over to her food bowl and thinks, “Man! Fucking turkey again?!”

That’s how I feel this morning. Think about it, this lemonade concoction is made of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. And I’ve been consuming it non-stop for a month. That’s disgusting!

It’s time to rally so I can make it through this last stretch. I can do two more weeks. I can do two more weeks. I can do two more…

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Which Comes First, the Bad Mood or the Pain?

Last night I sat on a couch for a few hours while hanging out with friends and then got home and paid dearly for it. I can do it without a problem. In the moment sitting is uncomfortable but not painful. I just shift a lot. It’s afterwards that the pinch hits and sends me into mini seizures of pain.

It’s after I get out of the car or off my bike that I stand completely frozen knowing the slightest movement will send excruciating pain down the length of my body. It’s when I’m lying in bed thinking I’ll go completely insane from just one more day of this and I can’t get comfortable enough to fall asleep.

I sat on a couch like a normal person for two hours and it washed away every inch of physical progress I’ve made.

When I got into bed I sang through my favorite chant, Ray Man Shabad, and as I did that the pain began to dissipate. I kept it up for fifteen minutes until I was able to somewhat relax. The second I stopped chanting though, I started worrying about not having health insurance, how back surgery would bankrupt me, the debt I’ve racked up on my credit card just to pay for the acupuncture, chiropractor and massage… the pain came back immediately. I was literally writhing. Calming down soothed the pain, stressing out brought it back again.

I don’t know what any of this means. I think when I started this cleanse I had a vain hope that I could pray my way back to health. Now on Day 25, feeling just as bad as I did on Day 1, that seems like a totally ludicrous idea.

Emotion Junkie

Intellectually I understand that I didn’t have a crush on a real person, I had a crush on an idea I created and projected onto a stranger. All that really happened was the stranger didn’t project anything onto me. Smart guy. Or he read my blog and thinks I’m a weirdo. Whichever.

Emotionally it’s so much harder for me to let go. The biggest question I have for myself so far on this cleanse is this: Why is it so easy for me to go without food, but so hard for me to go without expectation and worry?

Food is what I actually need for survival. I don’t need to worry about strangers liking me back. I don’t need to live in a fantasy world of unrealistic expectations. I need to eat. And yet… no one has heard me complain about food in 24 days without it!

Could it be that emotions are my vice? Am I an emotion junkie?

Maybe if I got a handle on this I could stop setting myself up for disappointment and like enjoy my life and stuff. Hmmm…

Crickets

In my head it goes like this. I am calm and friendly. He is polite and attentive. I say, “I’ve never asked anyone out before so I may be totally off base here, but I really would have appreciated a quick response to my offer, even just to say ‘No thank you.’ It took every ounce of courage I had to ask you out. You know my name. We’ve had conversations. I don’t think I deserve to be completely blown off.”

In reality it’s just crickets. I won’t get the chance to speak my peace because chasing him down the street again would assuredly cross me over into crazy chick territory and I doubt he’ll ever return to my cart. I just get to live with being ignored. It’s right there in the Tao. Accept being unimportant. A good man does his part but does not exact his due.

This isn’t a lesson in rejection. I’ve got that down pat from years of practice. (Cry. Sleep. Wake up and move on.) No, this is a lesson in getting out of my head. I spend a lot of time in there dreaming up fantasies and worrying about everything I haven’t accomplished yet. I’m the queen of despising the journey and concentrating only on the outcome. I don’t want to meet someone, learn about them and fall in love. I want to already be in love. Where does that get me?

There is another option. The one where we live in the present moment and concentrate on what is actually happening instead of what we expect should be happening.

Sometimes when we jump the parachute doesn’t open. Doesn’t mean we have to fall. We just have to teach ourselves how to fly. I’m learning. In the end I can walk away knowing I am calm and friendly. Anyone who has known me throughout my life can attest; those are big accomplishments for me. And I can’t explain why, but for some reason I’ve got West Side Story stuck in my head.

Something’s coming

I don’t know what it is

But it is

Gonna be great

To Soy Or Not To Soy

Before starting this cleanse I was trying to put the pieces of a new allergy together. Last spring I went to dinner with some friends then to the theatre for a musical. By the third song I was feeling ill. My eyes were really watery and I couldn’t stop scratching my abdomen. Within a few minutes I could tell that my eyes were swelling shut and I felt like I had something stuck in my throat. I snuck out of the auditorium and in the bathroom found I was covered in hives and my eyes were puffed out to twice their normal puffiness (ha!).

After maddening conversations with several incompetent ushers who offered me no help, I ran out of the theatre and up a few blocks to a convenience store in search of Benadryl. I popped four into my mouth before paying for them and did my best to calm down as the anaphylaxis subsided. WTF?

I had a much less severe reaction to wine many years ago, which likely points to a sulfite allergy, but I couldn’t figure out what I ate that night that might have had sulfites in it. I hadn’t eaten anything I’m not completely used to.

A few months passed. Then over the summer suddenly another attack, this time in the middle of the night. I awoke dazed and confused barely able to open my eyes. At first I thought I was just groggy and had to pee but as time passed and I still couldn’t open them I realized my eyes were swollen shut and my throat was on its way too. After four more Benadryl and some sleep, I woke up hours later with most of the attack gone except the feeling in my throat. I continued to take Benadryl, six total, and finally felt back to normal in the late afternoon.

Anaphylactic shock = mega scary. Living by yourself and waking up in your bed alone while your throat is swelling shut = kinda terrifying. But allergies are really hard to figure out.

Luckily, I have a theory. (I know, I have a lot of theories.) The only common denominator of the two incidents was soy. I had eaten edamame and miso soup with tofu at the restaurant the first time and chugged a huge glass of chocolate soy milk before bed (because in private I act like a nine year old child) the second time.

How could I be allergic to soy? I’ve been consuming large quantities of it for eleven years without ever having a problem with it. Hmm… or have I? Yes I’ve obviously been consuming it, but maybe all along I’ve been having problems I wasn’t paying attention to. A quick Google search of common soy allergy symptoms unveiled info I didn’t expect. It could be that the digestion issues I was shrugging off as just part of life, the general fatigue I could never explain, stomach pain and conjunctivitis of all things could each be related to soy intolerance.

Soy is touted as an absolute health food. I have bowed at the temple of the soybean for a long time. I incorporated it into my diet when I went vegetarian fully believing I was making a compassionate choice for myself and for the world. The Japanese are the healthiest culture in the world, right? I wanted to be healthy like them. But let’s be honest, I don’t eat like the Japanese. I eat like an American. And in America soy is in everything, literally. It turns out soy is the single most prevalent ingredient in foods processed in the US today. Why do we ruin everything good?

As a result of my blind faith in the health food debate, over the past few years my soy intake has skyrocketed. I’ve eaten it every single day in multiple forms: soy milk, tofu, soy yogurt, soy margarine, protein bars, soy sauce, miso, edamame and soy lecithin (can you say chocolate?) are the most common for my diet. Further research shows it popping up in unexpected ingredients like vitamin E preservative in cereals and crackers, vegetable gum, vegetable starch, natural flavors and more.

It pains me to write this for two reasons. First it means a huge shift in my diet if I’m going to effectively avoid it. Second it means admitting that something I believed was really good for me might not be working out so well. I’m going to have to re-invent my vision of healthy.

I don’t think I have to cut it out completely, but I do think my high volume intake over the last decade has built itself into a nasty intolerance I need to attend to. Can I live with it? Probably. Should I? Heck no. Fasting brings clarity. Clarity shows us how to be good to ourselves so we can be healthy and happy and therefore good to everyone else. And while my ego would still disagree, I deserve to be healthy and happy. (I’m working on it.)

So sionara to soy! I shall see you in small quantities on the flip side.

Here are some links to food allergy info for anyone interested:

Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network

SoyNutrition.com

Food-Allergy.org

Another Slice of Awesome

Rainy days are great for podcasts and Radiolab’s episode called “Limits” is particularly fascinating. Jad and Robert interview triathletes, synesthetes and scientists to explore the perceived limits of the body, the mind and science in general.

When faced with total body collapse 400 feet from the finish line, Ironman Competitor Julie Moss says she made a deal with herself. Calling on a voice inside her she had never listened to before, she didn’t care if it hurt, she didn’t care if it was messy, she would finish. “That’s your ego that will come in and sabotage. Your real self, there is no limit.”

Watch Julie Moss’ incredible finish on YouTube. The entire podcast is downloadable for free from both iTunes and NPR. Enjoy!

What Up Day 20!

Dudes! I made it to the halfway point and I’m still going strong. So far I feel that my mental state and emotions have taken a much harder hit than my body. So long as I stay properly hydrated and rested, I feel great and I look great too. As of this writing I’m feeling no pinch or nerve pain whatsoever. I don’t suspect that it’s gone for good yet, but my condition has improved substantially.

Here are the updated stats:

Day 1 Day 20
Age 32 32
Height 5′ 6″ 5′ 6″
Weight 140 lbs 126 lbs
Body fat percentage 24.30% 22.30%
Body water percentage 55.20% 56.70%
Bust 35 1/2″ 34″
Waist 28″ 26″
Hips 39″ 36″
Thigh 21 1/2″ 20″
Calf 15″ 14″
Bicep 11″ 10″
Wrist 5 1/2″ 5 1/2″

I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t lost any inches from my wrists. I’m kidding! I’ll update these one more time at the end.