Day 2: The Reckoning
I dream that I have cheated on the juice fast and wake up in tears.
Day 2: The Reckoning
I dream that I have cheated on the juice fast and wake up in tears.
The setup: I’m doing three days of juice cleansing from three cold-pressed juice plans to prepare for the Fancy Food Show— Spoiler alert, I die at the end.
The budget: $50
The schedule: I’m awake from approximately 12 in the afternoon to 2AM as I’m off from work for the week. During the day, I work out, eat, write, vigorously— exercise in the privacy of my own home, ball so hard motherfuckers wanna fine me, and take long baths. I have fifteen juices for the three days and am going to drink one every two hours, starting at 12, and going from there, at 2PM, 4PM, 6PM, and 8PM, ending my eating at 8PM for the night. I will do a diary entry every two hours. No coffee, alcohol, or refined sugars.
12PM: Starting the day right with a bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice from Evolution Fresh, who graciously helped me with my first day of juices. It’s classic, it’s delicious, and it makes my heart sing. Oh, wait, I can’t drink coffee. That’s not juice. Suddenly, I’m less pleased, and also, my head hurts.
Later, I am told I woke up the Bedfellow in the middle of the night with requests for custom-designed, enormous burgers with four to five layers of meat. Also, all my dreams have meatballs in them.
2PM: I fell into a deep, lethargic sleep at 12:05 after downing the first orange juice. I have awakened now, dreams of packages, exclusive women’s summer camps, dead brown bears, and warped hardwood floors replete in my mind. It is as if my internal clock knows when to alert me to my next juice.
My mid-afternoon juice is Super Green. I’m not sure if it’s a green juice, but it does have pieces of chlorella, spirulina, and the power of 28 raspberries in it. It is sweet, with a thin texture, and it makes me want to get up and work out. I work out for twenty minutes and then hit the pool. Each accidental sip of chlorinated water makes me feel fuller.
4PM: Something tells me I shouldn’t drive. But the Mango + Fiber tastes so, so good. It reminds me of a Fresh Samantha. Who acquired Fresh Samantha, anyway? It might have been Odwalla. And they sell Odwalla at some Starbucks locations. And Fresh Evolution is sold at Starbucks. Maybe the juices are similar. They taste like childhood. I took another nap today.
6PM: I’m sweating like the grossest baby alive. The orange juice grew on me. I drank it in the shower and cried a little. It made me happy to realize that it was 7PM when I wrote this, which meant it was a little less than an hour until my next feed.
8PM: I watched the Bedfellow eat a cheeseburger and keened quietly on the bed. And then I finished my sweet greens and lemon drink. I didn’t like it the first time I tried it outside of the cleanse, but once it dawned on me that it was my only form of sustenance, I liked it again. I’m developing the Stockholm Syndrome equivalent to juice cleansing. One day down.
I love you, sweet greens and lemon.
CALORIC TOTAL: 1,060
Sometimes my best-laid efforts tend to fall apart. It’s not that I don’t try hard, or that I don’t put enough effort into the game, it’s more what I see as a crossing of wires. A little bit of handiwork that trips me up every time. What I’m trying to say is, even when I make a grocery list, even when I set myself a budget, write prices down, and pass by the 15 Euro three-pack of truffled mustard, a salty tear in the corner of my eye, inevitably, strangely, somehow, 10 Euro’s worth of limited-edition juice makes its way into my basket.
I honestly don’t know how this happened, especially when I’d spent ten minutes mentally calculating the best value of juice I could potentially purchase, given the number of fruits in each bottle and the price per kilo. Why I’d then gone and picked up the most expensive juice, put it in my basket, and then hurried back for its siblings, remains a mystery to me.
And yet, here we are.
My initial reaction is to blame Dillinger for my Pago addition, yet realizing that this addiction manifested itself long before and after his departure brings the blame squarely back in my quart. I see what I did there. Regardless, I’m now the proud owner of three empty bottles of limited-edition Pago World of Nature juice, in Africa, Amazon, and Asia flavors. They sound like a majestic theme park attraction. These are special, not only because they are themed, much like a half-hearted Bat Mitzvah, like the above three continents/places-that-begin-with-A-because-gee-Pago-America-didn’t-want-to-anyway, but because their fruits are sourced exclusively from these continents/loosely-defined regions as well.
Pago Asia has Thai pineapple with Indian mango, Taiwanese lychee, pure coconut water and tamarind and 100% less Szechuan pepper, much to my dismay, Pago Africa has South African grapes with pineapple, pink guava, the marula “elephant” fruit, and hot pepper, and Pago Amazon has Brazilian oranges, passion fruit, bananas and the acerola, which I’ve heard some women find to be extremely sensitive to the touch. Pago Amazon, you devil!
With all three juices, I could taste the raw, harsh Vitamin C radiating down my throat, scalding any and all germs on its way to my digestive system. The Amazon unfortunately bore the brunt of this vital assault, and combined with its overarching sweetness, ended up tasting like a fancy Juicy Juice, minus the story and the idyllic innocence of childhood. Pago Asia fared better, its sweetness tamed by the coconut water and earthy notes of tamarind. It was my favorite of the three, and had a nice tang to it. It was the only one whose components all shone through. Pago Africa was a tough one. I wanted to love it as I am conditioned to love almost anything that contains hot peppers and grapes and baby elephants, but was unimpressed by the muddled flavors and abrasive prank-levels of spice at the end of each sip. Pago describes its World of Nature array as having a “dazzling, worldly presentation.” Ultimately, though, this cross-continental trip was derailed by inconsistency and the juice equivalent of handsy TSA agents.
Happy Cinco de Mayo. Or at least it would be a happy one if going to a Mexican restaurant around here wasn’t like playing Russian Roulette. We have two decent Mexican places here, one of which is open on erratic days, and the other of which is a popular favorite of parents with screaming kids. Both were overflowing with Corona-pickled bros tonight. There are two more places, but with menu items like quesabbqburrito mashup with fried refried deep-fried beans, is there really even a point? I digress. We were tired and went the sandwich route this year, which was as delicious or possibly even more delicious than hearing David Bowie through a synthesizer-enhanced Dobro. But that doesn’t mean that we didn’t celebrate.
Prometheus Springs is quickly becoming my new favorite thing ever, and that’s not solely because their logo is “fire for the mortals” or due to their adorable usage of emoticons on their packaging. Or even because they send this flavor over for us to try. It’s because, quite simply, they’re freaking badass. Look at those flavors. Ignore, for a moment, that their logo looks like something you’d dream of, but never dare, tattoo on your body. Ourobouros is like, “Yeah, I’m eating my own tail. U mad bro?” Put aside the fact that there are six different ways to prepare this drink on the side of the bottle. Instead please check out the flavors. Lychee Wasabi. Citrus Cayenne. It’s silly to even review this because it gets a ten. They all get a ten. Ten for you, Glen Coco. We have spent upwards of one 2012 Toyota’s worth, or two 1998 Neon’s worth, on Pomegranate Black Pepper alone.
Regardless, it’s good to know what’s out there in the great, wide, refrigerated world, kicking Nantucket Nectar’s ass and making Juicy Juice its bitch. Chili Mango has a nose that seasoned connoisseurs will immediately recognize as a mid-90’s Snapple Mango Madness, with a clean, floral scent, almost delicate, and underlying sharpness. The chili has awakened. The flavor is by no means sharp, though. While I was left wishing the mango was a little richer in this, lacking the thick indulgence of mango nectar or juice, the acidity and general flavor was clear and pure. The spice comes and goes as a prickle, but it’s a jolt on the back of your tongue. Not unpleasant or bitter, and in no way tasting like Tabasco or even chili powder’s pungency. Just clean heat and a little buzz to start- or end- the day with.
I used to see Aloe drink all the time when I was a young lad shopping with my parents in the Asian grocery store but was always turned away by its weird texture. Then one day, on my first food based adventure with Foodette we bought a bottle of regular green aloe drink from the local grocery and I’ve been hooked on it since. The taste of regular aloe drink is crisp and refreshing and tastes like really expensive Muscat grapes. The texture however is something that could take getting used to. The texture of aloe drink is mostly liquid I would say but contains little chunks of aloe pulp. The texture of aloe pulp is very much like the texture of grapes. A drink that tastes like Muscat grapes and has a pulp similar to grape pulp, it’s probably the best thing ever. You’ll love regular aloe drink as much as I do if you like grapes as much as I do, which is a lot.
I stumbled on this different flavor of aloe drink the other night after losing a bit of money at the casino. I saw this on the shelf of a local exotic foods market and thought: “I love aloe, and I like pomegranate too, this could be awesome!” At a price of over $2 a bottle, I was expecting the next greatest thing since regular aloe drink. What I actually got was a bottle of disappointment equal the amount of disappointment I would feel if the next Call of Duty game would feature the voice talent of Justin Bieber in collaboration with the whole cast of Glee.
I still haven’t figured out how they people at Paldo could mess up something that is as delicious as aloe drink, but they did. It was like they took the worst parts of pomegranate juice and the worst parts of aloe drink and bottled it. The juice tasted like artificially flavored pomegranate sugars with added bitterness in a futile effort to emulate the taste of natural pomegranate. The aloe did not absorb any of the flavors of the juice at all, thus it tasted like soft tasteless grape pulp.
It was sometime between the artificially bitter-sweet juice and the tasteless pulp to realize that I had been robbed for a second time that night. There was a moment of despair similar to the moment I had lost my final hand of Spanish 21. I had bought an overly expensive drink that was terrible. It wasn’t something that can be attributed to not having an acquired taste. It was because the drink was just terrible. The flavors are completely artificial and the aloe pulp is unflavored. Even if the aloe pulp absorbed the flavor of the juice it would be terrible. I’m going back to the ever refreshing and delicious green aloe drink which I can drink all day every day I don’t give a fuck.
There are some points in a man’s life when he just has to stop everything for just a second and re-evaluate his life and think: “What the hell did I do to end up at this point?” I encountered one of these moments when a few days ago when I was having a really busy day with interviews, working on projects, and final exams coming right around the corner. I only had about 30 minutes of time in the middle of the day before I had to meet with a group to work on a project and right after having an important interview to attend for an internship with the IRS.
Due this small time gap and the proximity of food locations in the area, the most viable option was to grab some food at the Ikea down the street. I looked at the menu and decided that the most interesting choice of food that would really define this place would be a plate of Swedish Meatballs. After I sat down with my plate of food, I looked at my food, the receipt, and the people around me. It was at that moment; I just had to ask myself “What the hell did I do to end up here?” and had to take a few minutes to re-evaluate my life. At the end of it, I felt a bit upset that this epiphany and eye opening moment came from a simple lunch break at a Swedish Furniture store, but all in all the rest of my day went perfectly.For those of you readers who don’t know what an Ikea is or what their business model is, but in a few simple words, Ikea is a cheap furniture store. Their basic business model is to provide cheap, assemble it yourself furniture that may not be the best quality but it gets the job done. The same can be said about their food. It’s really goddamn cheap, I got the entire meal and a large can or sparkling pear juice for under $5, you really can’t beat those prices. The food also closely follows Ikea’s central business model. It’s not the best quality but it gets the job done.The main meal can only be described as generic. If you just imagine generic meatballs, then generic mash potatoes, with generic gravy on top, and a generic berry sauce on the side. There you go, that’s what you have an Ikea meal. The berry sauce is supposedly made from lingonberries, which can only be found in Ikea because I’ve never seen them elsewhere. No matter what this berry sauce is made of, it tastes like a much sweeter cranberry sauce. The meatballs themselves were nothing special, I was sure they were actually made or some sort of meat and not a meat substitute but at those prices, who knows. The mashed potatoes were the quality of what I would expect from a box or a Hurricane Katrina FEMA relief kit. All in all the quality of the food at Ikea is comparable to the food you would get at a college food court. It’s not the best quality, but a poor college student can afford it and when you’re really goddamn hungry and strapped for cash, it gets the job done.