I decided to go on a raw foods diet. Mostly it sounds fine to me except it virtually excludes my favorite food groups: coffee, cheese and bread.
Coffee, cheese, and fresh baked sourdough are such an intrinsic part of my diet that being without them for the last ten days has rendered me no different than the average alcoholic. I acknowledge, that I am powerless in the face of warm sourdough or worse a challah bread loaf which I could eat whole without help from anyone else.
My husband often uses cheese as a garnish or spice. The only time we ever seriously considered divorce was the week we were stuck at my husband’s sister’s house without access to coffee.
We’ve taken uncooking classes; we’ve read books by raw food gurus, sent away for goji berries, maca powder, spirulina, and various other things we didn’t know existed or were edible. So if all goes well we’ll be looking like homeless Santa Monica beach hippies by the end of the year.
On this diet my husband lost 15 pounds so far and I’ve lost 10. The secret of our success? The septic tank.
None of the non-cook cookbooks mention this but, drinking green smoothies with celery, giant green salads, and dehydrated crackers with lots of sun dried tomatoes on a regular daily basis makes you … regular. All those attempting raw foods must note that aside from a blender, food processor, dehydrator and various jars to sprout various seeds, you also need a working toilet.
The Raw Foods Diet has changed how we speak. Just the other day, my husband whispered in my ear that he had a bite of pizza.
Me: “How can I trust you now? You lied. How can you cheat on me this way?”
Husband: “But I came clean. You’re acting more upset that I snuck off for pizza than you would if I slept with another woman.”
Me: “Was it that pizza with the garlic cream sauce? Because that’s just as bad.”
There are very few diets that have worked in the past for me.
Most did not.
When done correctly, Weight Watchers is supposed to work but nothing wants me to call it quits faster than having to be weighed in like cattle. I don’t want to be in a room once a week with a bunch of other badly dressed middle-aged mothers in ill-fitting clothing talking about eating ½ cup of this and a ½ cup of that. This diet seems to be strictly for women mourning the closing of Mervyn’s department store. These same women who show up to Weight Watchers show up to Girl Scout meetings looking like they haven’t orgasmed in a decade.
Never go on a diet where the person who invented it drops dead. This seemed to kill Herbal Life, though I got a great high off the drugs. Slimfast reduced the world to fake chocolate going in and baby poop going out. Atkins made me feel like I was dying of a heart attack and then the founder fell over a crack in the sidewalk and died. And Jenny Craig seemed to be heart disease waiting to happen; the counselors looked anorexic and chain-smoked. I felt like a deer at a salt lick on that one.
But there are three diets that have worked wonders for me. I introduce you to the abusive relationship diet, the coke diet, and the Japanese poverty diet.
After putting on the freshmen 15, I promptly got involved with a verbally abusive boyfriend who would cajole me into not eating or throwing up my lunches in the bathroom. I credit him to 20 pounds of weight loss.
Once we broke up, I gained again. I noticed my aunt and uncle seemed to be both super slimmed down and hyper alert. My grandmother suggested I ask them the secret of their dieting success. My uncle wouldn’t tell me but his wife, a giantess, looked me straight in the eye and said, “Drugs. Hard drugs. “
For the next few weeks as I struggled to come to terms of whether or not I would follow in their footsteps my grandmother kept at me.
“Well I don’t know what you are waiting for. Whatever they are doing is working. Try it.” With my grandmother’s permission, I lost 35 pounds. Took 24 units in one semester, got mostly A’s and finally finished college.
But the diet that worked best for me? The Poverty in Japan diet.
I taught in rural Japan for a year. After sending home cash for student loans and credit cards, I was left salivating over $10 watermelons and $5 avocados but eating mostly rice, noodles, tofu, and whatever greens were in season. And lots of sake and beer.
I rarely had to pay for drinks; there always seemed to be a boss at the schools I worked for wanting to watch me down shots of sake at work parties.
“You look like Marilyn Monroe—sing Happy Birthday to Kennedy for me!”
“You know Elvis? Sing me “Love Me Tender!”
I bowed and did what I was told—and drank free.
I dropped 40 pounds by the time I was ready to return stateside. An old Japanese lady who peered in my living room window everyday, was about three feet tall and 40 pounds. I would imagine her removed from me and think ‘I just lost a little old Japanese woman.’
Now I’m ten years and two kids older and that 40 pounds is back again. I think of the morning raw foods smoothies and the morning constitutional and wish I didn’t have to think about food at all.
And I pray to the Porcelain God to answer me this prayer.
Margaret Elysia Garcia writes essays, fiction, memoir, and poetry. Her recent work can be seen in Brain, Child magazine, The People’s Apocalypse Anthology, Huizache Journal, Catamaran Review, and other literary places. She lives in the remote northeastern corner of the Sierra Nevadas, where she teaches unsuspecting college students and hosts an alternative women’s radio show and a book club show on Plumas Community Radio atwww.kqny919.org. She is a director for the Listen to Your Mother 2013-2014 seasons. You can follow her adventures and links to publications on her blog, Tales of a Sierra Madre.