I started this year out on a note of deprivation, vowing to kick my Facebook habit for three months. The experiment went fairly well, with only a few minor slip-ups. I got a significant amount of time back, and I used it to read words by people who put some thought into what they were going to say, and then ran those thoughtfully chosen words by an editor. Thus, the unexpected joy of this “deprivation” led me to undertake other deprivations.
I did a one-month dairy cleanse in February, or more accurately, a 3-week dairy cleanse. (I’ve done plenty of dairy cleanses before, with good reason, and I have over the years learned a little bit more about what my stomach can tolerate.) Somewhere in there, I decided to cut back on sugar, and I blame this and lack of preparation for throwing me off the non-dairy cow.
After getting back on the dairy bandwagon, I decided to try a sugar-detox, wherein not only can you eat no added sugar, you can eat nothing your body processes as sugar, such as fruit or bread or legumes. Had I not given up this pursuit almost immediately, I surely would’ve failed when I started teaching two classes for the first time. The low-carb, paleo and sugar detox ways of life market themselves as effective and science-based, and reasonable as those claims may be, I do not see them as anything more than another diet fad along the lines of Atkins.
As I reflect upon the various deprivations I undertook, it leads me to the not-unique conclusion that the immediacy of our current culture takes away some of the joy of life – of just being in the moment. It seems like such a sneaky and exhilarating way to “cheat” getting fat by letting yourself eat to your heart’s content, the only caveat being that you can’t eat one particular food or food group. But depriving yourself of one food eventually sucks the fun out of eating four helpings of the other food. (And hey, guess what?!? Diets don’t work!) It really is better just to be moderate and sensible in your eating, or your social media, or whatever else it is you blame for ruining your life. Yes, it’s harder too. I’m guessing that it’s harder than it used to be, before the advent of the internet and overnight shipping and midnight chats with long lost acquaintances, but I could be wrong about that. If there’s anything the extra reading I undertook taught me, it’s that after changes upon changes, we are more or less the same. (More on that in a forthcoming post.)
So the tally for the deprivations is Facebook-1, sugar and dairy-0. I would easily undertake another Facebook cleanse, and am really considering logging off until after the election. But bread and cheese, you’re here to stay.