Five Things I Learned from My "Foodie Cleanse"

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Tomorrow marks 10 days of me doing the cleansing. Here's what I've gathered during my stint.

5. A "foodie cleanse" = a SHIT-TON of work. I like to cook, even love it. But after an average of two hours of cooking every night, I've come to realize that nobody can love cooking this much. And you cleansers who just pop a top or juice a few veggies? Don't even! Suck it up, wussies.

4a. Hello, food stylist! I am not one. But Bon Appetit Magazine has a great one. Seriously. Somebody give that bitch a raise. The website's beautiful interactive menu carousel is actually super useful for us cleansers, but compared with my end product, BA's dishes were the Miss America to my Ugly Betty. (See 4b.) 4b. Lentils look like shit and don't taste too much better. Not much more needs to be said about that. And never reheat them, or you'll be faced with choking down cement for dinner.

3. Not all recipes are perfect. Or so says the THREE TABLESPOONS of salt the recipe for caramelized onions called for. I was certain Bon Appetit wouldn't have made such a grievous error, but I went ahead and used half that. The onions were still practically inedible. There were also entire grocery items I bought that went unused. Sure, I skipped a couple meals here and there, but something still doesn't add up. I'm going to need to use up a lot of leeks, some chard and a whole package of something called parsnips.

2. 14 days of cooking every single day isn't exactly realistic. And I don't even have kids. It's virtually impossible to get anything else done after work, or even to socialize properly, when you need to be in the kitchen that much. So A) I fudged a few meals by eating dry, sad lettuce out and my real cleanse dinner or lunch after. And B) I'm only doing this shit for 10 days, ceasing the cleanse on my birthday, which is Thursday. Go ahead, call me a quitter. Cleanse Rage is real and you just might find out why.

1. Turns out I'm just a wannabe cleanser. As in, not a real one. I don't feel any cleaner. It certainly feels like I ate healthier for a time, but I didn't note more energy or any of the other oft-reported effects of a good cleanse. Maybe I eat too healthy the rest of the time? Yeah, I'm not buying that. In the end, it left me about a pound lighter, and a bit underwhelmed. But I feel good about taking on this big challenge, even if I do opt out a bit early. Perhaps next year right before my birthday I'll try something else ridiculously complicated to distract myself from getting older.

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