It's day four of my juice fast and I won't lie to you. I've cheated. Regularly. Usually about once a day I'll eat something small, more because I'm overwhelmed with the need to actually chew something than because I'm actually hungry. Mostly I'll grab a handful of some trail mix I made. I think Monday I may have finished off a bag of tortilla chips with some salsa. It was only about eight chips and I reasoned that I didn't want them to go stale. I really need to square with throwing out food one of these days. I had one spectacular slip, though, which involved a cheeseburger and fries...so not only did I break my fast, but also my intent to not eat out. But it was my first meat day that I was surrendering, which I knew would be the hardest day of the week, and literally EVERYONE at work had beef for lunch. It was torturous. I made a side trip to Steak and Shake. I argued with myself about it the whole way; I argued on the way down the longest hallway ever (seriously, we call it the green mile) to get my keys and all the way back. I argued in the car. But eventually I was at the place and just couldn't not break. Funny thing is, it was pretty awful. I didn't even get that really delicious beef flavor I was after, just grease. The burger tasted like grease with onions....which weren't even supposed to be on the burger in the first place. The fries were worse. The only satisfying things about the meal were that it was hot and it was solid.
I guess I didn't realize that there is a powerful psychology that goes with eating. It isn't just the satisfaction of obtaining sustenance. It isn't solely the filling of nutritional need. If that were the case I'd be sailing through this fast. But there are all the other things I wasn't expecting to miss that make this the most difficult, cheats and all. Let's not even get into the social aspect of mealtime, and feeling a little outcast because I'm drinking my meal instead of chowing down with everyone else. I miss the taunt of the smells of cooked food and the contentment achieved by tasting the corresponding taste. I miss looking at the spread of food before you and deciding which taste to experience first. And there is an immense satisfaction in mastication. I miss the different textures of a meal almost as much as I miss the different tastes. No juice, no matter how delicious (and I've made some really good ones), can live up to that. There's a cycle of anticipation and gratification in every meal that is lacking on a liquid diet. I'm already thinking on what I want my first real meal off the fast to look like.
Hey that reminds me. I think I could really benefit from meal planning. So while I'm not actually eating, I'll take this time to plan out a couple of weeks worth of meals. I recently bought a bunch of discount cookbooks (RIP Borders, I'll miss you), particularly vegetarian cookbooks, since I have trouble coming up with tasty meals that don't include meat. Usually on veggie days I eat an assortment of sides. So I'm going to put those to good use and make some yummies. Maybe having a more structured menu will help me get over my boredom in the kitchen and the need to eat out which accompanies it. The tricky part will be finding the time and inclination to cook it all. Working third shift is tough on free time. During the week I feel like my free time gets eaten up by obligations I have to fulfill while stuff is open. Then by the time I'm done, all I want to do is sleep. Then I only get one free day, in essence, since Friday is usually occupied sleeping or fighting off sleep and Sunday I hurry to get everything done and tire myself out before noon so I can get sleep before work. I'm loath to spend my whole Saturday cooking for the week. I don't know, I'll work out some kind of schedule. I have six more days to figure it out, in any case.