Tag Archives: cleansing

10 things to love about winter

  1. At Home Coziness

During the mois noirs, I feel no compunction to “get aside and enjoy the beautiful day.” And it’s absolutely fine when days spent indoors turn into …

  1. Early nights

I get into bed by 9 most weeknights and am perfectly OK with that. It’s dark outside and has been for hours. It’s warmer in bed and, right now, the Australian Open is played at weird Aussie hours.

  1. The Australian Open
  1. The color burgundy

And I’d throw into the sartorial pile: velvet, suede and (fake) fur.

  1. Pink mornings

Of varying hues. Just now, at 8 a.m., we are a pale pink with a little orange and cranberry along the horizon.

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Greenwich Harbor, from the train window

  1. Days getting longer

This as opposed to the slow shaving off of daylight as summer slips away, darkness coming a minute earlier every evening.

  1. Fires in the fireplace

And wood smoke against a dark sky. And the smell of it in the air.

  1. A pot of chili on the stove

Go ahead, crumble in some cornbread.

  1. A bowl of oatmeal
  1. A glass of red wine

You knew that was coming. A ruby in the glass, the rasp of tannin on your tongue, followed by its slow swirling heat through your veins. You will be mine tonight, you scarlet vixen you.

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Bottoms up

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It’s over

I scoffed at the Drynuary guy who granted himself an early dismissal hall pass from his alchohol-free January. But then last night, watching the Australian Open on Lucy’s couch, she offered me a glass of wine. And I accepted. So the cleanse is over, a little early and, I’m guessing, a lot shy on results. What did I accomplish? Twenty days of no drinking and mostly no gluten, processed foods and animal products. A break from unchecked consumptions; brakes on a diet gone bonkers. But weight loss? I don’t think so. This morning that wine — which didn’t taste as good as I thought it would — made my head fuzzy. Stepping out into the gray and bracing January morning, I felt slowed, bloated, desperate for coffee.

Bigger news: Obama’s administration is over, too. Washington is looking gray as well, with a wash of red over the Inauguration crowd — all those “Make America Great Again” hats casting a bloody glow. I’d post a photo, but I can’t bear looking at it.

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Cleanse, Day 18

If I am honest, this cleanse’s only real rigor is around alcohol. I’ve had coffee (and milk in it) every morning, a little couscous (gluten), some tortilla chips (processed food) and, last night, chicken tika with nan. Not a lot of any of this over the course of 18 days but not the strict adherence  I once thought was the magic behind the cleanse — the results being 5 pounds lost, better sleep, clarity of mind.

So, then, results for a relaxed (for me) exclusion diet? Abstaining from alcohol is the key to better sleep, better moods and clearer thinking. I eat more (and better) food, when I don’t have to accommodate the calories in wine, so I have better energy. Wine makes me sleepy, which means I struggle to stay awake in the evening, getting in bed at 9:30, only to wake up at 2 or 3. Poor sleep means fatigue during the day, which affects my moods — the week feels like a slog, I can’t find pleasure in it, I just want to crawl into bed with Netflix. Wine can also make for what I think of as matchstick moods — irritability, impatience, anger. Much more can be written about this (hello passive voice! I’m on to you!) but not right now.

The above sounds so logical and so self-evident that a reasonable person would skip the stupid cleanse and stop drinking wine on weeknights or most weeknights. More on this too: being a reasonable person. 

As for weight loss, I’ve been reading more about set-point weight and the body’s old survival-mode insistence on regaining lost pounds. From “Why You Can’t Lose Weight On A Diet” (May 6, 2016 by Sandra Aamodt, author of “Why Diets Make Us Fat: The Unintended Consequences of Our Obsession With Weight Loss.”)

Metabolic suppression is one of several powerful tools that the brain uses to keep the body within a certain weight range, called the set point. The range, which varies from person to person, is determined by genes and life experience. When dieters’ weight drops below it, they not only burn fewer calories but also produce more hunger-inducing hormones and find eating more rewarding.

The net-net is precisely what I’ve found: it’s easier to lose weight than it is to keep it off. Post weight loss, even extreme measures will be rewarded by regaining those pounds: exercising daily (me), counting calories with an app (me), cleansing (me). The only question is how quickly you’ll put it back on. I lost 20 pounds and, after two years, have regained 10. Can I be a reasonable person and just accept that?

 

 

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Cleanse Day 1

lunch

Virtuous, right? Note the drink: not wine. The white linen napkin, white bowl, the burlap tablecloth, all matching the mood of abstention, if not sanctimony. Not pictured: coffee with half-and-half, the first cheat of the 21-day cleanse.

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Cleanse Day 17

What’s most revealing about this process is discovering the foods I really crave and those I never think about. Meat, for instance: Don’t need it, never crosses my mind. Cheese, pasta, bread and sweets (except for a brief infatuation with a slab of fudge last night): same.

Wine, though, a deep red on a winter’s night, or a fizzy Vinho Verde after work. I miss the way it alters my mood, mellows my jangliness. I imagine a Friday without a nice glass of something and it feels like a desert of virtue. Work, followed by more work, followed by finally folding myself into my covers, as sober as a vicar. I think I’m a wino.

 

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