A swansong to my deep-fried life.
It’s the end of days.
Well, not quite – but with the amount of fried anything-we-could-get-our-hands-on that we ate last night, it might as well be.
A little over a week ago, my boyfriend, Tom, and I decided we’d do the absolute unthinkable and take on a raw food diet for the next month. It was a decision made over pulled pork nachos and whatever beer was on special – a conversation that started out a little like this:
M: Ever think that maybe we should eat better? (said while wielding chip mounded with meat and melted cheese)
T: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I think we’ve aptly represented all of the food groups here. Grain (swigs beer), protein in the pork, dairy in the.. well, whatever that cheese is.
M: I don’t think that’s how it works.
T: We should, like, always get these nachos.
Eventually, we rounded back to the reality of it all – we’re both 24 years old, working hectic, full-time jobs – I work for a boutique PR agency, and he’s in the fine dining world – and living in Chicago, a city known for its record-breaking wind chill and never-ending string of sports injuries, but not exactly advertised as the raw food/vegan capital of the world.
And it didn’t take much to figure out that, while all of our evenings spent at cocktail bars or chowing down on burgers at Au Cheval were out-of-our-minds delicious, they probably weren’t the best in terms of eating habits.
I can’t speak for Tom, but I’d consider myself selectively health-conscious. I ride my bike to the office every day, no fail, clocking in around 15 miles between work and errands without really having to think about it. He bikes, too, religiously – a fact that we’ve probably(/definitely) used to in the past to rationalize that “one more beer” or our habitual $5 burger night every Monday in Uptown. In other situations at work and at home, I try to watch what I eat, but that always seems to falter when a Chipotle is around the corner or Oreos are on sale. And even still, in the blur that is being a twentysomething in this city, friends and clients are always asking to meet for dinner or drinks – there’s a whole social culture revolving around food that can’t be ignored.
But, in truth, I’ve finally reached that very adult milestone in my life. The four years-long sleepover/stupor that was college is over, and no one – namely, my mother – is hounding me to make sure there’s “something green on my plate” at dinner, or if I’ve gotten in my cardio for the day.
I’m down to me, myself and I here – and it’s pretty obvious to all three that a sort of health reset is in order. The sooner, the better.
I’d heard of friends doing juice cleanses – the three-day madness to “flush out” toxins that’s a raging trend right now – but both Tom and I couldn’t imagine that those were a) healthy, or b) effective in the long-term.
That’s when we found out about Karyn.
Karyn Calabrese is right here in Chicago, and a renowned holistic wellness counselor and advocate for raw foodism for over 35 years. She owns, operates and crafts recipes for three raw food and vegan restaurants in Chicago – one of which is the longest-standing raw food restaurant in the country – and leads classes for her own 28-day Nature’s Healing System detoxing program. In all my research, Karyn’s program sold me as being the most effective and transformative – a progressive cleansing system more concentrated on healing than starving the body.
Bingo. Of anyone, this woman’s absolutely legit.
Still, the protocol calls for the elimination of all meat and dairy products from the get-go – and encourages participants to go completely raw by the end of the first week.
Tom and I decided that, if we were doing this, we’d do it all the way. We’d go raw from the start on the ominous “Day One,” today – October 30. Thus, as a swansong to our past, deep-fried life, we spent the night before with friends, watching the Bulls and Blackhawks, and devouring any and all bar food fare that had passed through a fryer. It was shameful. It was glorious.
Starting today, I’ll blog daily about all of our experiences since that last onion ring, keeping a log of all the changes and challenges – from that first, frazzled trip to Whole Foods and swapping out gin for a green drink, to wrestling with the blender without waking the roommates.
To be honest, we ate most of our way through the nuts section.
Reading labels for probably the first time ever.
Just call me your Carrie Bradshaw of the Cleanse.
Everything here will be real, and hopefully can serve as an honest resource to debunk ours and others’ preconceived notions and fears about cleansing and going raw. Or, you know, if you’re just checking back to make sure we’re still alive, that works, too.
All jokes aside, we’re psyched and looking forward to the process. If you have questions, feel free to comment here, Karyninfo@karynraw.com, or tweet @KarynsRawBeauty.
Bring it on.