Nearly Killed Me, Cross
Okay, so the commercials for the docu-movie, "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" finally sucked me in.
I hopped over to Joe’s website and watched his movie. It was the least I could do since he was showing it for free, right? It’s a first-person account of Joe Cross, Aussie entrepreneur and crusader for juice fasting. If nothing else, this film will definitely inspire you. I saw the light. I was so excited I forced my adult sons to watch it a few days later (while they were sucking down cold pizza with a hangover chaser for breakfast). Got them hooked.
Then came the hubby, but not until he ran out of excuses. I watched his face from the corner of my eye as Joe’s friend, Phil, a corpulent truck driver with dead eyes and Darth Vader breathing morphed into a smiling silhouette of a sparkling, vibrant dad playing catch with his kid. The result? Hooked.
Within the hour we were in the car and on the way to Bed, Bath and Beyond – the only store within 25 miles with the juicer in stock. When you’re filled with the spirit, waiting for UPS won’t do.
The ride home was gay and positive. Like children on Christmas Eve we planned all the delicious juice meals we could think of. We rolled down the windows and laughed as we imagined the adventures we would enjoy with our svelte, newly healthy bodies.
The market didn’t even see us coming. We marched through the auto-door and grabbed a cart. I was suddenly confronted with the realization that, except for the produce section, the entire store was off limits to me. I thought of the truck driver in Joe’s film and with determination, I pushed toward the cabbage like it was a blind date. I resolved to see only the best as this was going to be my chosen lot in life for at least the next ten days.
Gingerly I picked up a package of spinach and tried to make my mouth water. I feigned disappointment when the store was out of kale. Six bunches of celery went into the cart; not only because it was something I recognized, but because it always looks so artistic peering out of the shopping bag in the movies. Green is good, green is good… I chanted in my mind. A hundred or so bucks later, we skipped behind the cart into the parking lot. With the soul of a harlot who has been saved, we preached to one another all the way home. “Why didn’t we do this sooner? Maybe we can get rid of the meds. Do you have any idea how to cook a rutabaga? What was that stuff we bought with purplish leaves?” Oh, boy, I can hardly wait.
Once we arrived home, we put away the green groceries and set the box with the new juicer on the dining table. We had decided to save the big un-boxing for the morning and in the meantime could get little highs from glancing at it, knowing that it held the secret of restored youth.
There was a mad dash to the fridge as we realized we were about to eat our last meal. It was seven p.m. That meant only five hours to finish the Hagan Das, Doritos, that pound of hard salami and the last of the carrot cake. I stashed a Hershey bar in my panty drawer in case of emergency. It was close, but we did it!
Doctors should recommend beginning any diet with a gut-busting pig out…starvation becomes relief.
It was Christmas morning and I leapt (as ably as I could) from the bed and went into the dining room. Hubby met me and proudly unveiled the result of his early morning foray to a second grocery in town. The kitchen smelled like the farmer’s market with bags of green stuff layering its counters.
“What’s that?” I asked with appreciative interest at the cascade of leafy something in his hand.
“I don’t know, but it looked good,” he beamed. “We’ll throw it in and find out!” Ah, the spirit of an adventurer…one of the reasons I loved him.
Together we lovingly unearthed the chrome lifesaver. With great pomp we cleared space and gleefully selected the ingredients for our first juice. Each piece was lovingly washed and laid photogenically out on crisp, white, linen towels. We paused long enough to hunt for the camera…the necessity for Before snapshots could not be overlooked. The teenaged son emerged from his cave to authoritatively oversee the Preparation of the Juice.
When you have spent a hundred or so bucks on celery and green apples, there is some caution that must be exercised with regard to ingredient. One cannot be wasteful. I had purchased a new set of juice glasses in preparation and chose one now. “Let’s start with just a few ounces and see how it tastes,” I suggested.
Once the juicer was assembled and running, the first green apple went in. There was a loud thump as it hit the masticating blade and a tiny thrill surfaced as a thin stream of greenish liquid flowed into the waiting pitcher. Encouraged, in went another apple…and then a stalk of celery. We grinned in anticipation as we toasted with new glasses of green; each prepared to offer the phony smile of appreciative enthusiasm so carefully cultivated by guests on the Food Channel.
It isn’t too bad. This could work. With a sigh of relief that Hell would be tolerable, in went more apples and celery. Even cleaning the crud from the juicer seemed a novel experience at this point.
(In honor of those who have gone before me and dutifully kept a journal for us follow…)
It wasn’t too bad that first day. Adrenalin and anticipation made the juice even taste better. So did principle. I had just blown two hundred bucks on another gadget to crowd my countertop and this required justification. I stuck to fruit, a known commodity, and saved the adventuring for hubby. I pretended not to notice as his kale, celery, spinach, apple, tomato and carrot drink went back to the kitchen for a shake of pepper, then some salt, a dash of Tobasco and finally two fingers of vodka. “It’s all about presentation,” he murmured as he plopped in a handy stalk of celery.
By bedtime my jaws ached with the absence of chewing. I wasn’t really hungry but there was a decided sense of deprivation. Hurriedly I searched and found dozens of Before and After videos on YouTube from those brave souls who had gone this route before. I couldn’t help but notice that the number of follow-ups dwindled seriously after Day Three. I clicked back to re-watch a little of Joe Cross and Phil and felt reassured.
I lay there a full fifteen minutes before I recognized the feeling was starvation. I quickly felt my tummy and could envision myself fitting into the shorts of my sixteenth summer. The fleeting thought of eggs scrambled with butter, delicate ham, scallions and shredded cheese was replaced with the contemplation of a juice cocktail in a new glass.
Hubby had opted to wait for me to “cook” having witnessed the process of cleaning and re-assembling the juicer the previous day. I concocted, served and smiled, chatting companionably about how much better I felt already. Hubby was enthusiastically supportive but I noticed the coffee cup he shoved behind the lamp.
Middle son called and regaled me with reports of his juicing journey. He was three days ahead of me and was already bragging of double-digit weight loss, cessation of smoking, unbelievable energy and the re-appearance of an old girlfriend. Wasn’t juicing wonderful?
Newly inspired, I watched a little bit of Joe Cross and Phil and set about my day.
I was fine until I hit the three o’clock munchies. This is the period in the day when only potato chips, M&Ms or chocolate cookies can cure an over-committed schedule anxiety. Resolved and with self-flagellation I filled a tumbler with carrot juice and raved to anyone listening how good it tasted. It left a unique film upon my tongue; one which argued with even the spectre of a juicy steak.
I went to bed at five p.m. and decided sleeping might be the greater part of valor.
My day began early, roughly three a.m. I awakened to the most intense desire to upchuck I’d known since the swine flu. Phobic about this, I grabbed a dissolving antidote and a plastic bag. My shoulders were hunched with chills and my legs wanted to go elsewhere to live. Assured that I was dying, I struggled between cramps to find a pen to warn others. The stuff with purple leaves was poison. I should have cut off the watermelon rind. This is what happens when you eat the apples of Eden. Trying to find a bright side amid the spasms of misery I took comfort in knowing I would at least look thinner in the casket. What have I done? I wailed. Make this stop!!!!
What do I do? Do I choke down chocolate cake and restore my gut to norm? Do I call 911 and sob to the ER doc that I was drunk on vegetable juice? Do I just lie here and wait for it to be over? Eventually I fell back asleep.
About noon I staggered into the kitchen and glared at the machine taking up my counter. It had slobbered its green slime over the edge between the counter and stove and sat grinning at me in defiance. I opened the refrigerator and swayed at the leaves stacked neatly in hideous array. It was at this point that I reasoned that Joe Cross was a huckster who probably worked for the drug companies. His comfy Aussie accent was intended to put you at ease while he counted his kangaroo bucks made from worthless juicers. Trucker Phil was a hired actor and the entire thing had been filmed in reverse. Phil had started thin and glowing and ate his way into the role with Oreos and pizza.
With justified, exuberant indignation I began pulling the forest from the confines of the fridge and shoving them into my own juicer, a/k/a the garbage disposal. Hubby, sensing a return to beer and brats joined in with glee. Between us we ground enough green to make a lumberjack envious. In wild abandon we re-packed the juicer and I angrily dug through my purse to find the receipt. How dare anyone do this to us! This thing should come with a warning! We’ll sue! Where’s the FDA when you need them! I’ll buy “joecrosssucks.com” and ruin him!
* * * * *
Now that I’ve calmed down, I have realized that there was a lesson in all this. As I gaze down over the pulsing, bloated, girdled and chocolate-stained mound that is my tummy I remember what my grandmother told me. “Just be yourself.” She was so wise.
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