Everyone thinks the "reason for the season" is peace, love, joy, happiness, understanding, Jesus, what have you. Each person you ask will have a different answer. And don't for a minute think that anyone who gives you the "Jesus" answer hasn't been battling their way through crowded shopping malls to get everyone on their list the perfect gift. I know, that's my cynicism talking, but I believe what I believe. The reason for the season, besides the stressful acquisition of gifts needing to be wrapped, is food.
This post is not going in the direction you think it is; what I've been ruminating on are cleanses. Not enemas, but those juice fasts people go on that are supposed to leave you clean as a whistle. In particular, I stumbled onto CoolerCleanse, a company founded by Eric Helms, the man behind Juice Generation, apparently a New York City juicing institution (I sure as heck never heard of it), and the actress Salma Hayek. Their cleanse consists of fruit juices and nut milks, 6 bottles of which you must ingest, in a certain order, for 3 or 5 days, in order to achieve the desired results. What, pray tell, are the desired results? Honestly, I am afraid to ask. My idea of a cleanse is to eat about a dozen and a half White Castle hamburgers and not wander too far from the nearest bathroom. That particular "cleanse" has been known to cure what ails ya. But, I don't think it would be rubber-stamped by the minions of raw food eaters who will not ingest a morsel unless it is found in the unadulterated, organic state it was grown in.
By the looks of all these raw food eaters, and people like Salma Hayek, all this cleansing and raw food eating seems to be working. They look amazing, they swear they feel amazing, but even though they're not using their ovens, they remain slaves to the kitchen with all the preparation involved in their raw food lifestyles. There are even charlatan "doctors" running around claiming that raw food diets can cure cancer. I'm not disputing the fact that eating well and living a healthy lifestyle can do us all good, but the bullshit that goes along with it kind of turns me off. For example, if you want to become a "CoolerCleanser", you must invest a minimum of $58 per day and receive two deliveries of fresh juices. As I mentioned, the cleanses only last for 3 or 5 days, but I'm thinking that you're not going to run to McDonalds the second you slurp down that last bottle of Brazil nut milk. Right...you're supposed to eat a diet of raw and vegan foods before beginning the juice cleanse, and after completing it - for $72 a day.
We all know that leading a healthy lifestyle can be expensive. We also know how polluted the food supply is with antibiotic and hormone enhanced factory farmed animals and genetically modified produce. But, where is there a happy medium? How do we go from White Castle and McDonalds to collard-wrapped enchiladas and carrot, beet and Fuji apple juice? Is the answer in the image above? If you're Martha Stewart, it is; if you're me, the answer is somewhere closer to White Castle and McDonalds. It's not that I deliberately try to abuse my body by feeding it garbage, I just wish there was less garbage out there for me to eat, and more healthy stuff that isn't going to chain me to a juicer or leave me listening for the doorbell twice a day. What is the answer? Like the "reason for the season", everybody has a different one. Mine is, I don't know. You put a plate of holiday food in front of me, I'll eat it; You put a bottle of "essential green" or "essential red" juice, or a plate of "young coconut" Pad Thai in front of me, I'll eat that, too. So what's the problem? By the way, I haven't had a White Castle hamburger in over a decade.
Maybe, one day, I'll see the light and try a cleanse. Now is not the time. The life of a writer is one of stress, deadlines and solitude. Those three things can make you crazy, but I'm a bit too skeptical to think that juice is going to cure me of all that. But if a basket of holiday goodies happens to land on my doorstep, I wouldn't hesitate to bring them inside. A cooler bag full of fresh-pressed juices and some raw food? Not interested. At least not right now.
R.I.P. Elizabeth Edwards: After just reading last weekend that her cancer had metastasized, and she was out of treatment options, I read that Elizabeth Edwards, ex-wife of ex-vice presidential candidate (among other things) John Edwards, passed away yesterday at the age of 61. I always hate to hear of anyone succumbing to cancer, because I've lost a number of friends and family members to this dreaded disease. News of her death hit me particularly hard because I continue to watch a number of loved ones struggle with this insidious illness. My heart goes out to her children, especially her two youngest. It is always tough to lose a parent, no matter how old you are, but for young children, the loss is especially brutal. With her courageous battle behind her, may she rest in peace.