I know that eating an entire bowl of Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries was on my list for today. I know it.
I just have to add it.
To the list I haven’t made yet.
Man, I’m gonna bum out on that yoga retreat. I am quite certain that there are less-processed ways to get my less-than one gram of protein and 22 grams of carbs.
Oh God, did I just eat that? I mean, yes, I did. All … say,
250 calories 500 calories (who am I kidding?! No one eats 3/4 cup of the Cap’n with 1/2 cup of skim milk) of it. But I hadn’t had a decent breakfast yet.
The yoga retreat. The one where I’m going to be certified to teach children’s yoga, which is great, but I know I’m in for it on the whole dietary thing.
So I spoke to one of the organizers. They insist that the diet is vegetarian. So I was ok; I asked, “No meat? So fish?”
Me: Ok… chicken then?
Yogi: crickets. (No, we don’t eat crickets, she gave me crickets on the phone.)
Me: Eggs then? I mean, I have to have some form of non-plant-based protein, I know this about myself; I process vegetables very well. (Don’t ask me about this; I’ll tell you just about anything you want to know about myself, even the TMI stuff, but I stop at metabolic processing.) Milk? Dairy?
Yogi: No, no eggs. No milk.
Me: (vexed at this point): But eggs aren’t meat. They’re … so this is sounding vegan. Isn’t this vegan?
Yogi: Yes. [pause] I mean, no. It’s vegetarian. [sounding confused herself]
Me: But vegetarian diets include fish and eggs. Milk… I don’t get it. This is vegan. I can do vegan: vegetarian chili, most of my summer pasta is simply tomato and basil with olive oil (I began to get hungry and immediately wanted to put on my leopard pelt, take off my Nikes and grab a club to kill a rabbit I saw going all vegetarian and whatnot on my vincas); I know that all the soy isn’t good for us: all that estrogen is not so great… Yogurt? Please… tell me there’s something….
Her pauses were staggered; I could tell by her voice that she was getting confused herself.
Yogi: Yogurt? Uhm… Yes, there is dairy because we have cheese with breakfast and yogurt with our fruit.
Me: Oh thank God! Erm, I mean Shiva! Thank Shiva, right? I was beginning to get a little nervous there.
Yogi: But not honey.
Me: Wha— ?
Yogi: Taking honey is cruel to the bees.
Me: How do we know this? Wait, don’t answer that. I can live without the honey. It’s only 16 days. I don’t eat honey … consciously … anyway.
At this point, I was beginning to feel as though my chances of survival in this yogic environment for 16 days without so much as a mini brie were going to kill me. But I can do mediterranean diets, I can “eat like Jesus” as Thing 2 (who was 9 at the time) once said: olives and feta and hummus and pita wedges. I can totally do that. So I decided that I needed to say something like that, but I didn’t say “Jesus” because I don’t know how they feel about the whole Jesus thing; I’m not a thumper, but I am a Christian.
Yogi: The honey is controversial. Yes, it’s just 16 days and you will be amazed by how good you feel.
Me: (Yes, I will feel like a freshly RotoRootered house, I’m sure.) Oh, yes. I mean, in the summer, we grill all our vegetables and I eat lots of caprese salads and hummus and pita. So I can totally do this. I don’t eat much steak anymore (lie; I was hacking into a raw porterhouse with a wooden spoon at that very moment); I am sure this isn’t too different from what I do every day (apart from the fact that I have two poached eggs every morning with turkey bacon… ‘controversial honey‘?!). I wonder if eating that way will solve our number-one weight problem: belly fat. I’m just kidding. (Not.)
Yogi: Eating this way will solve lots of problems. It will allow you to be truly authentic in your journey toward greater ahimsa.
Me: Ok! Sounds great.
A few days later I was at a Memorial Day event and I was talking about my dilemma over a juicy char-broiled hamburger with a friend. We wracked our meat-addled brains to figure out a way for me to survive, and then she came up with it: beef jerky. If I stow away a couple Slim Jims (not the spicy kind, because I will get the toots from those), I might be able to make it.
I was joking with another friend at the same event over a torture-free, PETA-approved beer, about the assertion that a vegan lifestyle isn’t cruel; “How do we know that when we cut off a cabbage that the root body isn’t saying, ‘WHAT THE
HELL FUCK?! YOU JUST CUT OFF MY HEAD!’ How do we know its little cabbage heart or system isn’t freaking out? I mean, when we cut off the head, there goes all its chances for photosynthesis and it dies. We are killing the cabbage.” This friend grabbed his heart because he was laughing so hard. I think I killed him. Does that mean my jokes must stop? (I will not eat cabbage…)
When we take an egg from a chicken, the chicken doesn’t die (but the chick inside the egg never gets to live… I get it, lighten up, but hey, I was born with 200 million eggs, and they’re mostly done being of any value to me, so … no, you can’t eat my eggs, but if you were as twisted and desperate as I am in this context you would be able to see my point of view, I’m quite sure).
So in less than 60 days I will be on a shuttle van from an airport near my home to ride about an hour and change away to a retreat center in the fantastic Virginia Blue Ridge mountains. I am committed to this. I could bring my own car, but I won’t. I want to be just as
desperate and vulnerable and insecure optimistic, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as anyone else coming to the retreat from far-flung places; and I am absolutely excited about that part. If I’m going to do this, I have to do it right.
Back to the initial phone call with the registrar.
Another option, to reduce some of the costs for food and lodging was to bring my own tent and sleep in it. That might work, actually, says my inner Snidely Whiplash… that way I could bring whatever I wanted; a side of beef, and NO bears would be the remotest bit curious.
Yogi: you can save money on the lodging if you decide to camp on the grounds.
Me: Camp? As I look around at my new hot tub and patent-leather (I mean naugahyde — which reminds me: bring only cotton and rubber clothing) sandals. You mean, in a tent? I can’t … I stifle my laughter.
Yogi: [laughing herself] Yes, you would bring your own tent and sleep in it.
Me: In the Blue Ridge Mountains? Where there is basically no development, thank God because it’s beautiful, but it’s wild. There are snakes and stuff… And if I have to visit the ‘loo from time to time, thanks to the all-vegan, no, sorry, mostly vegan diet… I think I’ll sleep in the cabin. Does it have air conditioning? I’m from Virginia; where I live is basically a swamp. The summers here are brutal, so I know what it can be like here.
Yogi: Yes [giggling], there is air conditioning. And you will have a roommate; so that helps defray the costs of the lodging.
A roommate? Did I ever tell you I’d never gone away to college? That I went to a commuter school? And that the last day I’d lived at home was the day before my wedding? Phhhh boy. I’m good. I’ve got this.
We had a few more laughs; she told me about someone in previous years who wanted to camp out but ended up coming in. I am trying to not be too insecure and feel like a failure already before I even leave my house for this endeavor because I’m not a hippie. I wear a watch, I have a refrigerator. She used a phone to call me. We used the Internet to register me for the classes using my credit card to take the payment. I have to remember that there is balance in the world and that my way of living is not to be judged by anyone. But it will be hard… I don’t beat my dirty clothes against a rock by a river stream to get them clean.
Speaking of laundry, I have prepared my children tactically at least for one major change in their lifestyles: I will no longer be doing their laundry after the last day of school. They will do their own and they will wear lumpy clothes or unlumpy clothes. The fact of the matter (I love that phrase) is that they are 15, 12 and 9. They can do this. They can help each other. I will be away for 16 days eating grass and tree bark. They can do their own laundry.
I know this: I will bring along a box of Crunch Berries.
Will I be able to blog from there? Good God I hope so. Now I’ve gotta go find that list…