The Roots of Vegetable Optimism

This is about how many vegetables I'm supposed to eat each day. (Image via Wikipedia)

I’ve had enough with feeling down, and with feeling anxious, and with hormone fluctuations. So, I went to the acupuncturist today.

Right now, if my brother’s reading this, he’s rolling his eyes. Despite the fact that he’s never tried acupuncture, he’s pretty sure it’s a load of crap. My brother knows a load of crap when he sees one. (Yikes, did that sound mean?) OK, enough poking fun at my baby brother.

The bottom line is, my family practice doctor, nice as she is, doesn’t have any suggestions to offer me that I’ve not already tried, and the acupuncturist has helped before, so that’s where I went today.

He felt my pulses, looked at my tongue, asked me some questions, and declared that my adrenals were “fried” and that my liver was “hanging on by a thread.” I can only assume these are highly technical terms he learned in acupuncture school.

His recommendation for strengthening my liver: a diet that includes pretty much as many vegetables as I can possibly consume for two weeks, but no grains or sugar or alcohol or coffee. Luckily, I still get to eat eggs and fish because I’m nursing and need that extra protein (just between you and me, I might sneak in some brown rice every now and then, too).

When I first read the list of OK foods and the list of not-OK foods, I felt cautiously optimistic. I have a green smoothie every morning. I don’t eat dairy or gluten. I’m already at least three steps ahead of the average person on implementing this diet.

When I got home, the sitter was still with the kids, so I snuck upstairs with two cookbooks (Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair and I am Grateful, the Cafe Gratitude cookbook), my laptop, and a couple of sheets of paper. After forty-five minutes, I had a page and a half of lunches, dinners, and snacks that would be compliant with the diet. (Well, except for the three dates in the raw molé that goes with my stuffed avocados. I decided that was a tiny cheat and so didn’t count at all.)

After clearing my dinner ideas with my husband (I think it says something about the frequency of my harebrained dietary schemes that my husband endorsed this plan with a hearty, “I actually don’t think this is crazy.”), I got the grocery list, a bunch of cloth grocery bags, and my car keys, and headed out to the new Whole Foods. I filled my cart with greens and nuts and seeds, apples and squash and pears, parsley and sage and eggplant. I grabbed a few bags of frozen berries and a half-gallon of cow’s milk (for the rest of the family), tossed a couple of packages of raw flax crackers on top, and headed to the checkout. Surveying my purchases inching along on the conveyor belt, I felt incredibly optimistic.

“I can do this,” I thought. “This is going to be easy. This is going to rock. In a few days, I’ll be feeling awesome. AWESOME!”

This feeling lasted until I pulled the car into the garage, opened the car door, and swung my legs out of the car. The moment my feet touched the concrete, reality hit.

“Oh, shit,” I thought. “I’m going to be prepping veggies non-stop for the next two weeks. No! That’s not even true. I’ll be prepping veggies and soaking nuts and cooking beans and straining nut milk and not drinking coffee. My children will eat me alive!”

“But,” my optimistic side piped up, “you can drink all the herbal tea that you want! You can make up a big jug of it in the morning and just sip it all day!”

My freaking-out side wouldn’t even dignify that with a response.

But, here I am. I’ve got my cranberry/lemon/apple cider vinegar drink mixed and in the fridge. I’ve got the veggie drawers filled to overflowing and bags of nuts falling off of the counters. I’m doing this.

Starting tomorrow.

15 Replies to “The Roots of Vegetable Optimism”

    1. Man, you just missed your chance…the house next door was just rented out. Unless that was you who rented it…

      Thanks for the comment, and good luck with the prepping and cooking!


  1. I just happened upon your blog and you have such a great attitude! I’m in college now and don’t have the opportunity to prepare my own food all the time, so my favorite thing to do when I go home is cook. I plan out all of our family meals for the time I’m home (minus the days I set aside for my favorite restaurants) and spend an hour or so everyday having a blast preparing my food. As long as you have the right attitude about it (I also use this time to sing loudly along with my music, which isn’t as accepted in my dorm) it can be fun! I don’t know how old your kids are, but get them excited about cooking too (then maybe one day they’ll take over for you!)


  2. I wish you the best of luck with such a major change. To paraphrase Jung (I think it was Jung or someone equally insightful) What you resist persists.

    So, if you can keep focused on the big yes, like you are, I’ll bet it all goes well. If you don’t take up smoking by the end of this experiment, I’d call it a success.


    1. Right now I just have an enormous craving for Fritos. But a cigarette sounds pretty good, now that you mention it…


  3. “Starting tomorrow.”
    I am in love with this last line. lol

    I sincerely wish you luck and look forward reading updates. You can do it! : )


  4. I feel guilty saying this, but the end of your post made me laugh. I hope you get some time to breathe between all of your veggie prep, Charity. 🙂


  5. Oh, man. Firstly, I have to say friend to friend and mother to mother that I am pulling for you and sending all my positive energy your way. I’m obviously not in your skin, but I can definitely relate to that anxious, something’s-amiss feeling. Secondly, I cracked up at your husband’s response to your plan, mostly because I can hear him saying, “I actually don’t think this is crazy,” in his very analytical scientist voice. Made me smile thinking of what probably specific parameters must be met for his crazy-meter to redline. 🙂


    1. You should have seen the elimination diet I put myself on during fall of 2007. If you saw that one, you’d see why my husband doesn’t think this is crazy in comparison. It’s been a gradual easing-in to get to the place we’re at today viz my husband not thinking my diet is nuts. I think encapsulating my placenta went a long way to de-crazy most anything else I’d do around ingestables.


  6. I’m so interested in your meal plan. The last time I went to acupuncture I was put on that diet (though I was allowed quinoa, millet, and wild rice for grains). I did okay until I felt better but then lots of things have slipped, including that I’m drinking coffee regularly again. I found that I was constantly worried about feeding myself and yelling at the kids because they weren’t giving me enough time to wash or chop veggies. It gets to be so stressful to eat right!


    1. So far I’m just adjusting to the desire to not eat any more vegetables, let alone cut them up. I see why people lose weight on this diet.


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