I was talking with a colleague the other day about cleansing. You know, juice fasting; Blueprint; Organic Avenue — all of the green juice-based yuppie shit that I love.
But this reminded me that there was a time when I was new to juice, and the juice world was new in general. It also got me thinking about the time when Frederic and I were merely dear friends — friends who had each other’s backs during a horrible time in life and in the world. It seemed strange and foreign that such a time would have been intertwined with…juice fasting. But it was.
It seemed weirder that such a time ever existed — that Frederic and I ever were friends; that we ever were married to our respective former spouses; that we ever did wonderfully weird and supportively silly things together.
But we did. It all happened. And I wrote about it as it unfolded:
I am almost through Day 1 of a three-part master cleanse. It is only mildly unpleasant. I had been toying with the idea for a while, and been investigating the various options when a friend’s discovery of a company that actually makes and delivers a juice-fast further fomented my cleansing fury.
Because I am a damn fool, I mentioned the idea to Frederic, who recently discovered healthy living. Prior to his discovery of healthy living, he had been something of a bit of hedonist, and complete trainwreck when it came to his health. He was the kind of guy who would take an entire stick of butter and smother a game hen with it, and stuff the hen with bacon, and call it dinner. “It’s okay, it’s French,” he’d say. Then he found the personal messiah of the South Beach Diet, and got on the bandwagon working out a couple of times a week, and his cholesterol dropped about 100 points, and he instantly began preaching the gospel of Saint Not-Eating-a Stick-of-Butter Wrapped-in-Pork-Fat-at-Every-Damn-Meal. Amen.
“Jackie did a cleanse,” I said, “I am thinking about doing it.”
“That’s disgusting,” he said.
“You don’t even know what a cleanse is!”
“I bet it’s gross.”
“I think I’m going to do it,” I said, “It gets all the toxins out of you.”
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Don’t be foolish.” His tone was borderline hostile.
“Just check out the website,” I suggested. Now I was being challenged. I sent him an email directing him to the website. “Did you open the email?” I asked.
“This looks ridiculous,” he said, “I see no benefit to this. This is stupid. You pay people a bunch of money to serve you fruit and vegetables? This is so stupid!”
I sighed. “Well, I think I’m going to do it.”
“I have to call you back,” he said, then he hung up abruptly. Chances were, he was intently investigating all things relating to the master cleanse.
The next day, my office phone rang. “What level cleanse would we do, if you were going to do it?” It was Frederic.
“I don’t know? Level II?” I guessed. I hadn’t thought about it. Since when was this a “we” project?
“No! If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this right. We’re going to go all out. We’re going to go all the way. We’re going to do the Big Dig. We’re going to do Level III. What’s the point if we’re not going all in?”
I was stunned into silence by his intensity.
“Well it says here, the next available start date is November 7th for the Level III cleanse,” he continued, militantly.
“I’m not sure I can do a Level III cleanse,” I wavered, “Have you ever had wheat and barley grass juice? That stuff is…ferocious. Jackie couldn’t even get that down. She had to skip the green drink, and that is ALL the Level III is.”
“Meredith, this isn’t worth it unless we go all in. You’re going to regret it unless we do this all the way. We’re going to keep each other accountable. We’re going to do this, and we’re going to do this right. Does the 7th work for you?”
“Um, I guess?”
And that was how I managed to get co-opted into doing an entirely green, wheat-and-barley grass cleanse. I had intended to do a cleanse all along, but I had perhaps not intended to sign myself up for what the company’s website calls “The Big Dig.”
A few days later, my office phone rang again. It was Frederic. He had called the company, and was calling to conference me in to place our order. He had done a full 180 in the span of about 5 days, and had gone from skeptic to militant. I had no choice. I just whipped out my credit card and patiently read off the numbers. We hung up with the company. “Thanks,” he said, “Now, you’re going to have to take delivery and deliver it to my office, because I’m unavailable the day delivery is to be taken, and well, I didn’t tell Rosanette that I’m doing this.”
“Why didn’t you tell your wife that you’re doing this?”
“Well, don’t you think this seems weird?”
“That we’re…cleansing together?”
“Well, when you put it that way, yeah.”
“Did you tell Andrew?”
“Of course. He was going to see my credit card statement anyway.”
“What did he say?”
“He laughed hysterically.” He did. He thought it was the most ludicrous thing I had ever told him.
Over the next few days, I prepared for the cleanse by phasing meat and dairy out of my diet, and by giving up diet coke. Frederic confessed today that he prepared by eating half a London broil last night. The juices are less foul than anticipated, and are sweeter than expected. They do, however, have a bitter and lingering aftertaste that is almost impossible to get rid of.
I think, over all, this first day has been a very, very good experience. We are what we eat, and I just needed to hit the reset button.
Frederic, however, is hoping to cleanse his colon, lose seven pounds, and manage to keep the whole project from his wife…
One wonders if he wouldn’t be better off back at the shrine of St. Butter ‘n Bacon…