Day Two: The Whole in My Heart

The men awakened this morning complaining of a certain hollowness in their midsections. This demonstrates conclusively that sleep does not cure all ills, for said hollowness is the precise malady they complained of last night. I must beware that the quiet grumbling already beginning among the ranks does not spread into general mutiny if we are to survive the month.

–excerpt from the journal of an anonymous expeditionary force leader

It’s a curious thing how one can consume vast quantities of vegetable matter and yet have one’s vital organs report no change in status. I used to marvel politely when informed that an elephant can eat up to 330 pounds of food each day, but I don’t anymore, because it’s all leafy greens. I could probably eat 330 pounds of leafy greens each day, if I had big enough teeth. The stuff has some kind of antimatter properties once consumed; it takes up no space.

Today’s “Whole Thirty” lunch consisted of a salad left over from yesterday’s lunch. Yesterday, having consumed a sizeable quantity of yam in the morning and a no less significant portion of pork and raw carrots for lunch, I did not consider myself equal to the task of consuming the large and handsome salad my wife had prepared (topped with frozen raspberries). This was before I remembered the physics-defying properties of leafy green vegetable matter. Thus, I put the ill-fated pile of rabbit food back into the refrigerator with the noble intention of eating it today. When today rolled around, I was once more painfully reminded of what should be an axiom of the kitchen: leafy greens, removed from their protective wrapping, are a one-way food. They can come out of the refrigerator, but having done so they may never return, upon pain of consuming a slimy, sinewy green mass. Fortunately, though I may not be a thinker, I am a man.

My wife is a kindly soul, and I think she feared that my constant relaying of personal inner emptiness into the surrounding environment might result in the formation of some kind of vacuum or black hole. Therefore, today’s lunch was accompanied by an indeterminate (but significant) number of mixed nuts she made a special trip to procure this morning. I was surprised by the appearance of nuts on the menu and asked if therefore peanut butter is acceptable on this diet. (As a staff officer, I strive to keep myself above the operational details, leaving such things to my trusted lieutenants.) She replied that no, peanuts are verboten because they are legumes. I responded (after a hasty inspection) that this package of mixed nuts contained peanut oil. Verboten? Nein, said she, that is fine. You can have the oil, the fat, but not the entire legume. This as opposed to fruits, where you can have the entire fruit but not individual parts of it (viz., the juice). It is important for any fad diet to have plenty of arbitrary rules, because it gives the disciples many things to think about.

Day One: A Man Can Do Anything for Thirty Days

“Whole Thirty”: Because everyone loves fad diets!

I woke up well before the crack of dawn this morning with a vague sense of trepidation. It was not because I knew that the glass of wine and many pieces of fudge I had consumed the night previous would be the last for a very long time. Nor was it because I had been given to understand that the morning’s breakfast would consist of yam and eggs, though this might have shaken the morale of a lesser man. Rather, I awoke because the baby was throwing a fit, and my vague sense of trepidation arose from the fact that these little predawn adventures are always liable to start a sort of chain reaction of personal needs among the younger set. I got the baby a bottle and went back to bed. The night before I’d rashly suggested that I’d be getting up on time this morning to start this “Whole Thirty” thing off rightly, but the multiple nocturnal expeditions set me straight on that. I’m on vacation. I went back to bed.

Considerably later this morning, I rose again, this time on a semi-permanent basis. My lovely wife, whose sheer dedication to the art of ascetic dining prompted me to join her in this crazy adventure, had of course already prepared my first meal of The Unholy Thirty (as I prefer to call it). I set myself to work surrounding it, and although I think breakfast yams are generally improved by a zealous omission of garlic, on the whole breakfast was satisfactory. Bafflingly, in a diet seemingly calculated to eliminate any physical pleasure that might be derived from eating, coffee is not prohibited by the “Whole Thirty” diet. I acted accordingly, and morale was subsequently improved.

The day ended with a delicious beef roast and a thoroughly fancy salad, both of which were delicious, and both of which (when consumed in gratuitous quantities) left my insides feeling utterly hollow. (Protein alone never makes me feel full, and as for vegetables–nothing more need be said about vegetables.)

One might ask why I am participating in the “Whole Thirty” madness at all. My wife is in it for the weight loss aspects, and I’d like to make a show of solidarity, but I’m 6’1” and 165 lbs. and would consider any weight loss on my part to be a fresh new health concern. However, the local proponent (a.k.a. wife) around here claims that “Whole Thirty” is also good for healing things like chronic heartburn/stomach acid, which I do suffer from. On top of that, that proponent (not a medical professional) seems convinced that I have a “leaky gut” (which mere phrase causes me to wince and clutch my midriff), and this solid 30 days of vegetables and apple cider vinegar is supposed to fix that right up too. Thus, here I am!

As you might possibly have observed, my general attitude toward this venture is one of mild skepticism. (Dare I say, wholesome skepticism?) However, I’m unwilling to make a blanket judgment without actually trying it myself, and besides, outright condemnation of fad diets carries considerably more weight (heh) from one who has actually experimented with it. These, then, are the journal of an expedition, an expedition to either validate or wholly debunk the whole diet.

Day One: morale is good.