Chicago - Dec. 5, 2021
Music TV Politics Sports Books People Places & Things
Beachwood PP&T
Our monthly PP&T archive.
Rhymes for the Times.
Beachwood Bookmarks
So You've Decided To Be Evil
Vintage Beer Signs
Easy Bar Tricks
Best of Craigslist
Wacky Packages
Taquitos Snack Food Reviews
How Products Are Made
Everyday Mysteries
Chicago Zombie
Texts From Last Night
Fuck My Life
Awkward Family Photos
Ultra Local Geography
Best Pinball Machine Ever
Land of Sky Beer Waters
Calumet 412
Chicago Patterns
Vince Michael's Time Tells
Renegades of Funk Chicago
History vs. Hollywood

Off the Juice: Week 1

Week 1: Gas Ex Machina
It's been a week since I broke my fast and there's one thing I know for certain: eating is really hard work.

I don't mean just the chewing, although that definitely takes it out of you. I mean the whole experience of swallowing food, digesting it and (hopefully) eliminating the waste products. My first "meal" in more than two weeks was half a banana, and readers, I kid you not: that half banana kicked my ass.

I'm going to issue a content warning here because there really is no way to avoid discussing what I'm about to discuss. I had thought that my stomach growled during my fast because it was empty. That's not strictly true. My stomach was full of gas. And the immediate impact of swallowing solid food was that all that gas in my stomach, my intestines, my esophagus, escaped - with maximum noise and fragrance - out the nearest opening. After 14 flatulence-free days I'm back at it with a vengeance.

That's not the only unfortunate side effect of the return to food. Indeed, it's like my entire digestive system has rewired itself to not process solids. My mouth doesn't want to chew. My stomach has shrunk to the size of a raisin. My guts are staging a major work slow-down. After a week of carefully reintroducing food, I still can barely handle more than half a cup of solids without severe cramping, nausea, bloating, headaches and abdominal discomfort.

But wait, there's more. My tastes and tolerances have changed radically. I'm not able to eat much in the way of protein. Foods that formed a big part of my pre-fast vegetarian diet - cooked beans, nuts, soy and cheese - are now completely unappetizing. Those that I've managed to eat have wrecked havoc on my stomach. My cravings have shifted from salty, fatty foods to ones with high glucose and carbohydrate content. I'm on a constant cycle of sugar rushing and crashing.

Even better, many of the benefits of being on the fast disappeared almost immediately. My skin, which during the fast was clear and pale, has gone to hell in a hand basket. Although my sinuses are still significantly clearer than they were before the fast, I caught a cold just as I was getting used to unblocked airways. I feel sluggish, unmotivated, tired and cranky. I find myself running a lot of my meals through the blender because I just can't be bothered to chew every bite 25 times, as is necessary for me at the moment.

If all of that wasn't enough to convince you that breaking a fast is harder than being on a fast in the first place, I give you the thirst. I'm not talking a little dry-mouth here; I'm talking constant, grueling, trek-through-the-Sahara-with-half-a-skin-of-water thirst every time I eat something. It feels as though my mouth has been vacuum-sealed. It's impossible to take in enough water to slake the thirst; even if I tried (and believe me, I have) it would just slosh around inside me like a half-empty washing machine.

So aside from being a gassy, crabby, pimply mess, is there anything positive I can say about breaking the fast? Of course. Flavors are amazingly satisfying to me now. I taste notes in all my foods and drinks that I never noticed before. A glass of beer is an amazingly complex and lengthy journey. It's great to be back in society again as well. My hypersensitivity to sounds and smells has dulled considerably; I watched the Bears' NFC Championship game at a local watering hole and didn't once want to vomit from the whiff of a cigarette or the lusty whooping and cheering.

Still, this is without a doubt the most difficult part of the fasting process. I expected to return to normal within a matter of days; now I'm wondering if I'll ever have the same tastes or diet again. It's a little scary, to be perfectly honest, but I still don't regret the fast.

Week 1 Hunger Level: Still inconsistent; I don't get hungry the way I used to. I have to remind myself to eat at regular times. I still feel the urge to cram my face full of food when I'm in a hurry, but if I succumb to that habit I pay a steep price in terms of physical discomfort.

Week 1 Energy Level: Also inconsistent. There are great peaks and valleys throughout the day. I need to nap again, and not just on the days when I teach more than one yoga class. I'm also having trouble sleeping through the night.

Week 1 Physical Condition: See above. I have no idea what to expect, but in general not much of it has been good.

Week 1 Mental State: Concerned. I don't like not knowing what's coming next, and in marked contrast to the term of the fast, now there's no time limit on the craziness.

Week 1 Primary Foods:
Fresh fruits
Unflavored organic yogurt
Fat-free milk
Steamed vegetables
Brown rice
Dried fruits
Plain whole grain breads and crackers
Fruit juices

Week 1 Food Mistakes:
Cooked beans
Peanut butter
Fried corn chips
Goldfish crackers

Week 1 Foods Not Attempted:
Pasta Sauce
Salad dressing
Vegetable juices

* On The Juice: Day 1. If you can't beet it, juice it.
* On The Juice: Day 2. Fire in the glory hole!
* On The Juice: Day 3. Sipping point.
* On The Juice: Day 4. Brush with destiny.
* On The Juice: Day 5. Food for thought.
* On The Juice: Day 6. Dinner-free dinner party.
* On The Juice: Day 7. The longest chard.
* On The Juice: Day 8. The daily grind.
* On The Juice: Day 9. Driving force.
* On The Juice: Day 10. Sprout to get me.
* On The Juice: Day 11. Bottle rockets.
* On The Juice: Day 12. New World Order.
* On The Juice: Day 13. Here's looking at chew.
* On The Juice: Day 14. End of the line.


Posted on January 26, 2007

MUSIC - Britney's IUD.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - Locked Out And Loaded.

BOOKS - Foxconned.


Search The Beachwood Reporter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Follow BeachwoodReport on Twitter

Beachwood Radio!