Wednesday, October 14, 2009

MC, Day 1

Blogging will be sparse for the next week and a half. By "sparse," I mean it will be pretty boring.

First of all, I have a trailer to work on, and that means more hours than usual spent at work.

Second of all, it's raining! I love the rain, probably because I never get to see it, and this is the first rain of the season (of the two seasons that L.A. has). I really love driving in the rain, because I'm a total nutjob (LA people, by the way, cannot drive in a sprinkle to save their lives. The news last night literally had a whole "STORMWATCH 2009" segment). There's something soothing about driving in the rain to me, as long as I am not around the people that can't drive in weather.

Third of all, I am too busy reading recipes to blog.

I think that warrants a bit of an explanation.

Last week was hellish for me because, for the first time in my entire life, I could not eat. For five days. FIVE. DAYS. I think it was food poisoning. The first couple days, I threw up everything that I ingested (gross, I know). It hurt. I hate puking, which is why I am eternally grateful for my lovely father's amazing drinking genes (and Teflon-coated liver) that he has passed along to his children.

Then I made cautious forays back into food with jook (죽), better known as congee. Basically oatmeal for us yellow people, made of rice rather than oats. My loving mother made me a giant batch, because jook is only really good when your mommy makes it for you, and this is what I subsisted on for the following four days. Jook plus gim (김), seaweed (nori) that has been toasted and then brushed with sesame oil and sprinkled with salt, is my idea of get-well-soon food. Sort of chicken noodle soup for the Korean soul.

Having grown up on Korean food, I am pretty much immune to garlic, ginger, onion, and any of the other foodstuffs that most people consider "smelly" or "oh, God, how do you eat that??" I have no qualms about eating oddly colored food or fermented vegetables. I generally have an iron-clad stomach, another reason to thank my dad. My mother and sister have much more delicate constitutions and can be laid up by a single meal that slightly disagreed with them, but my father and I don't have such problems.

I have been spoiled for 27 years by my mom's cooking and my dad's digestive system, so I didn't know what it felt like to be restricted and limited in what I could eat. I've never had to think about what I was going to eat, other than to plan what kind of food I wanted. I have no allergies, no sensitivities, and unlike most Asians, I am not lactose intolerant. Such a blissful existence.

This all changed last week, when I learned what it felt like to be crippled by my stomach. My stomach, which had always been a (sometimes too) good friend to me. Fickle body parts! If this is what getting old feels like, I want none of it!

I recovered by Thursday night and was able to go to dinner with friends on Friday night. I even felt well enough to test my body by having Korean barbecue and soju while singing. I know, I was tempting fate, wasn't I? Just asking for a relapse!

Luckily, I woke early Saturday morning and felt great. I think the soju helped.

Sunday, my sister bounced up to me and told me that we (Mom, she, and I) are all going to do the Master Cleanse. Um, what?

I had heard about this strange thing before. I had witnessed my friends doing it. My current roommate has gone through the experience a couple times. And I never once felt like I should participate.

My sister bought her supplies (lemons, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper) while I mulled. I spent Monday gorging myself on food, because COME ON, it was only the third day I'd been able to eat! I went to the store after work and picked up the supplies, then trekked home (to a face that I really didn't want to see, but that's a whole other post).

My roommate saw what I had bought and immediately told me how great the Cleanse was and how she would do it with me. I need all the accountability partners I can get, so we hopped to and concocted the brew. She also had the book (really more of a pamphlet) by Stanley Burroughs, so I read it. And though the book is full of typos and archaic wording, Burroughs totally sold me on his particular brand of crazy.

If this heals me of whatever I had last week so I don't need to go through that again, then I will do this twice a year and praise Burroughs, though I suspect he was a misogynist and racist (he published his book in the 1950's, I think it's a given that he hated women and non-whites). If it gives me better skin, I will do this three times a year. Not that my skin is bad, because it's not- I'd just prefer better skin.

Since I was busy stuffing my face on Monday, my cleanse started yesterday- Day 1.

It was fine, I was not as hungry as I thought I'd be. The lemonade concoction is kind of unpalatable, because I don't really like maple syrup and I'm not a huge fan of the little specks of cayenne pepper waiting to get lodged in my esophagus, but it's decent. Certainly not disgusting or anything.

The only problem yesterday was that I could not, for the life of me, drink two liters of the lemonade. It's really difficult to get down a single liter, which I just barely managed.

As per the book, other than the lemony moonshine, I allowed myself only water and peppermint tea, which never tasted so good. After what is basically spicy lemonade, peppermint tea is like manna from Heaven.

A very weird and masochistic side-effect of this cleanse is that I cannot stop reading recipes. Food blogs are my new best friends. My typical blogroll is more about news (I am a BBC and NPR junkie), but that's all changed now. It's so weird how I know that I cannot go and make whatever dish I'm reading about ... but it's somehow satisfying to know how to make it. Because that knowledge of making a salmon souffle? It will totally come in handy one day. Very odd.

My sister's been having the same problem- we like to see, read about, even smell food. It's gratifying despite the fact that we can't eat it. I was watching TV (the oddly compelling "So You Think You Can Dance," courtesy of the roommate, which I had never watched before, but it's sucking me in) and even though we were fast-forwarding through the commercials (DVR, how I love thee), we could still see whatever food was being advertised. I was like, "ick," and she was like, "I MISS FOOD."

Maybe it's just a strange quirk that my sister and I share? This bizarre masochistic streak that I never even knew we had? Things to ponder as the days go on.

Here's the recipe for the lemonade, should anyone want it. You're supposed to drink two liters a day, so double the recipe below. I broke it down because I'm using 1-liter bottles (thanks, SmartWater!), since lugging around a big ol' 2-liter bottle would depress me.

Spicy Lemonade
- 1 liter purified water, lukewarm (I am using filtered alkaline water, thanks to my parents' awesome water filtration system that lets you specify what pH level you want)
- 7 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I was tempted to add pulp so I could chew something ... just barely refrained)
- 7 tablespoons pure maple syrup, Grade B if you can get it (I use less, as I don 't like it)
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

I am going to try to stay on this for ten days, which would be a nice goal to achieve. We'll see how it goes from here.

Day 2 is almost at a close ... but I'll write about it tomorrow, after I go home (almost 9:00 and still at work!) and resist the temptations offered in the refrigerator (I just bought two amazing cheeses a week and a half ago- a five-year-old smoked Gouda and a sharp, creamy aged cheddar that is basted in butter every day for the first month of its life. GAH).

There's also a salt-water flush that I have not done yet, because it terrifies me. When I'm in a more zen place, I will describe the terror and the method. Hopefully, I'll actually do it around Day 4 or 5.


william October 18, 2009 at 1:10 AM  

wait, is this master cleanse going to give you better skin? is that, like one of its effects? because i will stop eating right now, period.

jeanny October 18, 2009 at 2:08 PM  

Yes! Some acne is caused by toxins your body is trying to expell.

So far, so good- I will report back!