Day 4 & 5: Got Rhythm

I think I’ve made it over the hump. I’ve crested the peak & rounded the curve. It’s all downhill from here. I found my stride, my rhythm, my focus. I’m more than halfway done and I feel totally ready to tackle the weekend.

Yesterday started out as a normal day. I decided to change up my breakfast fruit, just for variety’s sake (also I ran out of blueberries):

I even tried a cup of hot water with lemon and mint instead of my usual herbal tea. It was fantastic! (To make it: pour a mug’s-worth of hot water over five or six fresh mint leaves and finish with a generous squeeze of lemon.) Despite an early-morning cry-fest over the latest developments in the Trayvon Martin case and multiple viewings of heart-wrenchingly beautiful Bruce Springsteen performances, I was feeling good as I packed up Ryan’s lunch and made my way to the car for my babysitting job. Little emotional outbursts are okay, I told myself. I am strong and healthy! I am cleansing!

Two hours later, I was almost in tears again. I was so sleepy and so hungry, and I wasn’t going to get another break until after 3. Today my job involved driving Julia to an appointment west of Wayne (about 45 minutes from her house). I then sat in the waiting room for an hour, and subsequently drove her back home. It was torturous. I tried to do statistics homework while I waited and my eyes would not focus. I was a nervous wreck behind the wheel, certain that my driving ability was severely impaired by my unfocused brain. Julia, of course, was unfazed and perfectly content to keep me awake by chatting about when Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber were spotted canoodling outside of a local IHOP (the “beginning of the end” of his career, in her eyes). I dropped her off and realized I had a little extra time before my class. LUNCHTIME.

Sprouted tofu with shallots and garlic on top of leftover kale salad from yesterday (better with tofu, but still sub-par).

Thus satiated, I made my way out to class and back. On the way home, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few necessities and found myself completely zoning out near the dairy aisle. Ice cream. Sliced cheese. Eggs. Yogurt cups. Little prepared packages of food, all ready to eat, all wrapped up. I closed my eyes and imagined my teeth sinking into a double bacon cheeseburger, smothered in barbecue sauce and sauteed onions. I could actually feel the sensation of wrapping my mouth around a soft, buttery bun; could taste the tang of the sauce and the creaminess of the cheese. I think my palms got sweaty. It’s at times like this I curse my vivid imagination.

Somehow I made it out alive and managed to get myself home without breaking any rules. Ryan and I decided in the interest of time (and our waning interest in eating more kale for dinner) we would stop at Chipotle on the way to see Bruce (Bruuuuuuce!). I managed to thwart temptation and got a salad with grilled vegetables, three different kinds of salsa, and brown rice, and smothered it with hot sauce. It was absolutely delicious.

I really didn't miss the cheese, tortilla, and sour cream. I kind of maybe even liked this better.

Shortly thereafter we were at Wells-Fargo Center, ready to see my absolute favorite musician of all time. I don’t adhere to a particular religion; going to a Bruce concert is the closest I get to church. And what a truly worshipful, holy night it was.

Yep, that’s Bruce. Crowdsurfing, dancing with his mom, and waving to me. IT WAS THE BEST CONCERT EVER.

Reflecting on all this the next day, my rocky morning and my stellar evening, I’m coming to some of the same conclusions that I did last time. My emotional stability is directly related to what I eat and drink. I feel at loose ends, “off,” exhausted and unhappy, when I don’t eat enough. And I feel immediately refreshed, more cheerful, and calmer when I have a good, solid meal packed with nutrition. I know I would have had a much easier day if I had just remembered that and planned ahead…maybe packed a few snacks or brought along a jug of coconut water.

The other piece of this is, of course: you have to plan ahead. Sometimes it seems like this world is designed to force you to make poor health choices, given that there are very few affordable, healthy options out there for eating-on-the-go. But I know how to plan ahead, and I know what I like to eat: I just need to do it. This cleanse is completely worth it just for that reminder. I only have two more days to go. Today, I’m looking at this experience as a few small steps on the way to a larger goal, which is eating good, fresh, healthy, homemade food every day. And let me tell you, I am going to enjoy my giant bacon cheeseburger washed down with a vanilla milkshake SO MUCH MORE when this is over.

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