Where is Heather and what have you done with her body?

So a lot of people have some pretty strong opinions about my diet. WHO KNEW. I don’t think I’ve written something so controversial since I announced that I was pregnant and was flooded with some angry email about why? WHY? Why go and do that? NOT THAT! NOT A HUMAN BABY! Because then I’d change and this website would become nothing but teddy bears and Martha Stewart craft projects (which I have nothing against, I just tend to glue my fingers together). I’d lose my edge and write about nothing but play dates and which breast pump was easiest on the nipples. And I was all, let me get this straight, I have a choice between keeping you as a reader of my website or bringing precious life into this world? Hmmm. Let me think about that one.

Now I’ve got people worried that if I choose to give up meat something similar will happen. Perhaps I should mention that I was a vegetarian for almost eight years, from the beginning of college up through the time that I moved to Los Angeles. During those years (Dad, please turn your head for the rest of this sentence) I left the Mormon Church, had premarital sex, smoked pot, and said fuck for the first time out loud. So you can pretty much blame all those corrupt vegetables for the apartment I have reserved in Hell.

No, I am not going to become a preachy vegetarian, or, depending on how I feel after this cleanse, a preachy VEGAN. THERE I SAID IT. I may just give up animal products all together, I haven’t decided yet, but it seems just that much more tempting because the word pisses so many people off. It’s as if the definition of the word for many people who eat meat is I AM RIGHT AND YOU ARE WRONG. And although I’ve met some pretty insufferable vegans in my lifetime, ones who spend their lives being very angry at anyone who eats differently than they do, the majority of the ones I know are lovely, thoughtful people who have made a personal choice. And of course they are the ones who are making the most convincing argument for their lifestyle.

(I should probably point out that I’ve met some pretty insufferable omnivores, too, but most of them spend their lives being very angry at anyone who has a bigger penis.)

Do I think that a 21-day cleanse is going to solve all my problems? Of course not. I never said it would. It is a start, a first step toward something bigger. I have physically felt like crap for years, and considering how I feel right now on day three of a cleanse it’s pretty obvious I’ve got some serious problems with my diet, in particular with caffeine. I have a headache that started yesterday afternoon and continued up until about an hour ago, a headache so awful that I thought jabbing my hand with a knife might be a more pleasant distraction. I normally drink about four to five cups of coffee every morning, plus two or three Diet Cokes in the afternoon. And then the sugar, THE SUGAR, and oh, the alcoholic drink I have with dinner that sometimes ends up being the alcoholic drinks I have with dinner. I’ve got some major changes to make concerning what I put in my body, and knowing my mind and habits, I decided that this cleanse would set me in the right direction. When the 21 days are over I’m certain I will add sugar and caffeine and alcohol back into my diet, albeit in smaller, more thoughtful quantities than a 32-oz Frappuccino spiked with rum.

Will I add gluten back into my diet? I don’t know yet, that depends on how good or bad I feel at the end, or if adding it back causes some serious problems. And as for meat, I still don’t know but I am open right now to the possibility of giving it up. That’s been the weirdest thing so far about this experience, how reasonable this diet seems as I’m eating. Many people in yesterday’s comments suggested that this is a “deprivation” diet, and I could not disagree more. I’m blown away by how much there is to eat, and it almost feels like I’m cheating. All three meals I had yesterday and the two I’ve had today have been totally filling, and not once have I craved a sugary dessert. Do I feel like shit? OH DO I EVER FEEL LIKE SHIT. I feel like I’ve simultaneously got the flu, a cold, and strep throat. But I’d heard this might happen early on as the body rids itself of toxins. And I’m going to allow my body some time considering how badly I’ve treated it for so long.

As far as giving away my Meat is Murder, Tasty, Tasty Murder t-shirt? Never, although I could be tempted to send it to a vegetarian who promises to wear it to a vegan restaurant.

  • http://www.macwebguru.com M. Douglas Wray

    Great post.

    More please.

  • LWagz

    I knew you’d get all kinds of “fun” email from your post – makes for good material for your posts later.
    But seriously, how closed-minded or mentally challenged are people to think that 1) what you do with your body actually effects their lives to the point that it is acceptable to be mean to you and 2)that becoming a vegetarian will somehow suck your incredible writing skills out of you?
    You’re job in this life is to take of yourself and those you love and if by chance we are blessed with your talents, then we can just count ourselves as lucky.

  • http://blog.sweetlifesite.com Dre @ Sweet Life

    I can’t eat eggs or corn (which is in EVERYTHING, especially processed foods) because I’m nursing a child with food allergies. Do I get crazy reactions? ABSOLUTELY. Even strangers tell me I should stop nursing so I can eat JUNK. Do what ya gotta do, and more power to you!

  • RJ

    I to watched the Oprah special and got the same desire to cleanse as you….until my 5 month old decided that sleeping the night is soooooo last month…….bring on the espresso beans (and a touch of rum)!

  • Katie

    I’m so excited to hear about you undertaking a cleanse! I’d thought about recommending one to you ever since reading through your “Poop” posts years ago, although unsolicited advice is never a welcome thing. Hence, I kept my mouth shut–you’ve got enough critics. But to come about it on your own makes me so happy! I’ve been doing cleanses off and on for the past year and a half and then slowly reintroducing gluten, meat, salt (a tough one to give up as a fellow Southerner), and alcohol back into my diet. You always read that you stop craving types of food and you remain full throughout the day and think, “yeah right, there’s no way.” I’m always amazed at my lack of cravings and have managed to remain gluten-free for months without a problem (except for the occasional beer). And how good you start to feel! Thats what makes the whole thing worth it!! I’ve never slept better, had more energy during the day or been happier! Personally, I like Richard Anderson’s “Cleanse & Purify Thyself.” Even if you don’t undertake the cleanse, everyone should read the book because he does an excellent job of detailing 100 other life changes (some are very small) that you can make to improve your overall health.

    One things for certain–if you continue cleansing we’re gonna have some excellent “Poop” posts to look forward to in the near future. Two weeks should do wonders, even for your dysfunctional bottom system. Happy cleansing!!

  • eouio

    Yes, ‘that bizzare woman’.

    Of course, I only know of your family what I’ve read here, but your daughter sounds to be very sincere, honest, and anxious to help. Having followed your blog for a bit it is obvious that it is not by accident, but rather thoughtful parenting.

    I wish you and your husband every opportunity you desire to further expand and exercise your parental influence. Any child of yours would be a welcome friend to mine.

    Given the current state of the typical american family, I think we could all use a bit more ‘bizarre’.

    Whatever changes you make or don’t make, I think the sincerity of the effort is of the greatest importance.

  • Kelly

    Hang in there love. You’re going to feel like crap for awhile. It takes a while to undo all that we have done.

    I gave up gluten 8 months ago (gluten is in so much of the western diet!), and I’d say it took me about 6 months to reap the full benefits. There are some that think gluten-intolerance is associated with mental illness. That was one of the reasons I went on this diet. I am no longer on any prescription medications. I wrote this in your blog awhile back.

    I’ve yet to totally give up sugar yet, caffeine’s not a big problem for as is meat or alcohol.

    My stomach, intestines, all that goes along with that are infinitely better.

    Health starts in the gut.

    Food is the answer.

    Good luck, and hang in there.

    People think I’m nuts too, but you’ll see they’ll be talking about this in the not too near future as if it’s the most novel idea in the world. Food is the answer. Read Michael Pollan too.

  • Agustin

    I love that T-Shirt. I gave it to my wife for no reason other than it reminded me of her obsession with rare steak.

  • Lisa

    I think what you are doing is VERY BRAVE. Maybe the nawsayers enjoyed reading how you could be so slim and beautiful and still abuse your body. Though I would have cut back gradually as opposed to COLD TURKEY. I manage a company and I am afraid I probably would have murdered or barfed all over someone by having the DTs. I think variety is good for your body and moderation. A good regime to look into might be Ayurvedic. It is based on body type and temperment. I love it.

    So it will be great to hear every day how it is going…good and bad. It is all how you look at it.

    So if Coco let your trim her butt, she must be feeling better, right? Your reading public wants to know.

  • http://www.ownthesidewalk.com Maia

    Wait — you mean you haven’t been a vegetarian this whole time? I have been reading the blog of a MEAT-EATER? And ENJOYING IT? But — but — that lifestyle is different than mine! Had I but known, I could have spent lo these many years leaving judgmental comments about your eating habits! Now this opportunity is gone. GONE, I tell you! So many opportunities for righteous dietary indignation missed!

    /sarcasm

    I wonder if people would react the same way if you said you were giving up something that wasn’t meat — like sex, maybe, or wearing the color blue, or washing behind your ears. Whether or not you have sex or wear blue or have dirty filthy ears doesn’t impact your readers any more or less than whether or not you eat meat… and yet somehow I don’t see people getting quite as worked up over those other things. The herbivores, we are always taking the heat. I don’t even use the word “vegetarian” to describe myself anymore… if I have to, I’ll say I don’t eat meat. Using the v-word (or the OTHER, WORSER v-word) is just an invitation for people to comment and criticize. I wouldn’t ask a stranger questions about their birth control method at the dinner table, and I don’t try to convert unwilling people to my religion. Why, then, is it open season on anyone’s eating habits?

  • http://silverstreamer.blogspot.com Bethany

    I just wanted to add in here that I stopped feeling like shit after SEVERAL YEARS of constantly being sick and eventually figured out it was artificial sweetener that was doing it to me. Since I cut it 100% out of my diet no more headaches, upset stomach,lethargic days, sleepless nights and so on and so forth. Beware the poison that is that shitty, shitty Splenda crap. It’ll kill ya slow.

    I have been there for the coffee headaches and they are the absolute devil’s worst. And I have been a strict vegetarian since I was 9 years old. People freak out about it still. Or they want to tell me one of two things A. That they could NEVER give up their meat or B. That they really don’t eat that much meat. I always want to thank them for offering up unasked for information about their eating habits. I just don’t see it as that big of a deal… but people who eat meat do. It’s goofy to say the least. The only thing I ever miss at this point is BBQ. So we eat BBQ tempeh on the grill and it is actually damned tasty.

    Good luck to ya sister… I hope you feel like a million bucks by the end of your cleansing journey. If it worked for the almighty Oprah who the Hell wouldn’t want to give it a try? I need to lay off the local gelato place and Hagen Daz. Maybe you just inspired me to do it. Ummm… maybe.

  • http://teacherwoman.typepad.com Margaret

    I don’t ever comment on your site, but my older daughter(almost 22) is a vegan and very committed to this lifestyle. She has put up with all sorts of criticism, mockery and prejudice–over a personal choice that hurts no one. I don’t understand why so many people are threatened by it, as you have discovered. I tell people who make remarks about it that she’s healthy, happy (athough a bit too thin for my liking) and that doctors call veganism the anti-cancer diet. My good friend’s husband who has terminal prostate cancer is now eating vegan, at the urging of his oncologist.

  • http://oakbriarfarm.blogspot.com/ SarahHub

    I can’t believe people feel the need to comment about the food you do or do not put into your own body. I, for one, am interested to hear how the cleanse works.

    Oh, I feel for Dre @ Sweet Life. I gave up all dairy and soy for the first year I was nursing. Even my daughter’s doctor said “I don’t know how you can breastfeed without ice cream.” So worth it…

  • Becky

    You know what fits into the cleanse diet… all natural corn chips with fresh guacamole and a non-alcoholic fresh crushed lime/orange/lemon and sparkling water drink. AHHHH it just feels like summer.

  • http://jade-squirrel.livejournal.com Lesly

    You can be a vegan without being a preachy vegan. I should know, I do it everyday.
    Go with what feels right, and let everyone else keep sippin’ their haterade. Seriously.

  • http://www.thatbadpenguin.com bad penguin

    I was impressed about your cleanse! I’m not sure that I could give up all of those things at once. I am a vegetarian though, and I do think that has made me (and just me) healthier.

    Good luck, and I hope this is a wonderful first step for you on your new path.

  • http://jenontheedge.wordpress.com Jen on the Edge

    The last I heard — and it’s possible this has changed under all these years of Republican misrule — this is still a free country and you are absolutely free to eat or not eat whatever the fuck you want.

    As to anyone who protests or argues with you, I’d suggest you tell them the same thing I’d say, “Well, you can stand in line to kiss my fat white ass.” Actually, scratch that, from what you’ve written before, perhaps you could substitute “skinny white ass” where appropriate.

  • http://girl-please.blogspot.com girlplease

    I hear you about going vegetarian (not vegan though. Me loves milk products too much).

    I never was a huge meat fan (well unless it was attached to Russell Crowe–http://www.instantrimshot.com/) but now that I’m preggo (and yes it’s a medical term) I’m 99% cured from meat.

    Now my husband is Mr. Meat as in never eats a veggie or a fruit (esp. fruit) unless I sedate and IV him some pureed carrots. Looks like that insurance benefit will kick in by the time he’s 40 at the rate he’s going.

  • Sami

    I happen to be a vegetarian myself (okay, well, pescatarian. I eat fish, etc..) for the past almost-3 years. People don’t necessarily give me grief for it; they do sometimes look at me like I’ve grown another head or something. But it’s become a part of who I am. It’s, somehow, a defining feature of me and has helped shape me as a person.

    I think it’s a commendable thing, whatever the reason may be. For me, it just furthers my whole hippie-feminist-tree hugger-animal lover ambiance. For others it is for dietary or health reasons.

    But DO IT if it’ll make you happy, dear. :D

  • Amanda

    I was so excited when I heard that Oprah was going vegan, even if only for 21 days…then I read that you were doing it too! Amazing! I’ve been vegan (oooh scary word, I hardly use it) for 6 years and everyone is always asking “what do you eat?!?!” Well, plenty of things and I love it and I feel fantastic, so there. We will eventually take over the world, especially with environmental concerns being so prevalent…veganism is VERY eco-friendly. Look it up.

  • http://amyrollo.com/brookland Amy

    I’m a vegetarian!! I’ll wear it to a vegan restaurant!! Can I have it now? I want Dooce’s clever tee!!

  • TG

    I’ve done a couple of these and they were AWESOME.

    I started the first one becasue of a suspected wheat allergy and I can’t belive how good I felt. After the second I felt so good I was able to have moderate amounts of wheat with no reaction.

    I’ve spent the last four years pregnant or breastfeeding. As soon as my little one is weaned, I’ll be starting a de-tox.

    Good luck! The first two weeks are the worst.

  • http://www.jessicaeiden.blogspot.com Jessica

    You rock.

  • http://www.doubledanger.com James | Double Danger

    VEGAN! LIBERAL! haha

    Next you will be chained to a tree in front of a dozer chanting save the monkey bears… or something.

    I hear it is a slippery slope… a tasty, tasty slippery slope.

    ;)

  • Kelly

    I forgot to add that since I went gluten-free 8 months ago, I lost 15 pounds without even trying (not that that’s your problem), and it seems like I am eating all the time. If you’ve eliminated gluten, you can’t help but be making better food choices.

    Supermarket shelves are packed with products, the main ingredient of which is gluten-containing white flour — breads, cookies, cereals, e.g. — plenty o’ empty calories, no nutritional value, AND if that weren’t enough, gluten wreaks havoc on your ability to digest, affecting your overall health.

    Once you stop eating it, you don’t want to go back, it seems disgusting. It seems like you’re eating tasteless pasty glue.

    It’s not easy to go gluten-free, and it took some months to get used to. But I wouldn’t go back.

  • http://www.worstcookever.net Worst Cook Ever

    I commend you, though I doubt I could last very long without caffeine and red wine. I think I would need to be pinned to the floor in a cave. I’ve never had the right self-discipline for diets — I tried anorexia and that lasted about five minutes, really showed my lack of will power. But I am all for the cleanse…well done and good luck.

  • http://www.plussizenow.com/ Joyce

    Of course this diet would be MUCH easier if you had Oprah’s chef to cook for you. I looked at some of the suggested recipes and they looked like a lot of work … chop, chop, dice, dice. I’d love to know what you’re eating and if you’re following Oprah’s menu plan. Processed packaged foods are so much easier. No wonder all of America is fat and unhealthy.

  • Anonymous

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0762424931/ref=sib_dp_ptu#reader-link- Here is a link to an excerpt from Skinn Bitch

  • http://www.dinkycast.com Jen

    When I gave up meat while I was in college, my Grandma cried her eyes out when I wouldn’t eat turkey for the Thanksgiving dinner at her house. I started eating meat after I graduated, I just thought I’d share the story.

    Anyway, good luck with your detox. I don’t think I could do it, so more power to you.

    And afterwards eat whatever you want. Screw the haters.

  • http://www.lovemaegan.com …loveMaegan

    not eating meat is better for the environment and global warming than not driving an suv. – you can tell your mom that :)

  • Jonathan Bruder

    Heather, i would so, so readily wear your shirt to a vegan restaurant, if it would only fit my slightly-overweight, manly vegetarian frame. Even Chuck Norris would fall asunder to the rumble of tearing seams.

    I think alot of people are under the impression that vegetarians don’t get enough nutrition. HOGSWALLOP. If vegetarians have a hard time it’s because there are no meats to deter us from bread and sugary snacks. And before my ass gets jumped for having a sweet tooth, remember that it’s no more an indulgence than meat-at-every-meal — a symbol of post-WWII consumer prosperity that has little or no basis in nutrition.

    Good luck with the caffeine, although after a few days, I think the sugar will be harder.

  • Colleen in MA

    I support your decision. First of all: It’s your freakin’ blog. Second of all: Considering I have read with tears in my eyes (happy and sad) how you have described depression, anxiety, motherhood, and the craziness of participating in society in general, I greatly look forward to hearing about the cleansing and the vegetarianism. Welcome from a fellow veg-head and I think you will have fun and discover new things about yourself on your new journey.

  • http://thiscouldgetuglier.blogspot.com Kat

    I can’t wait to hear how you feel in a week or two, Heather.

  • Heidi

    I too, feel like crap a lot of days and I know it has to do with my diet. It’s not so much the meat in my case, but the caffeine… Everyone I talk to who gives it up feels way better! hmm, too lofty to contemplate but someday soon! :) Good Luck to you! You’ll do just great and am sure you’ll feel better.

  • heatherfeather

    On giving up gluten – I love someone who cannot eat gluten and have given it up myself. If you need some tips or pointers on not missing the stuff, I’m more than happy to point you in the right direction.

    I have much admiration for you and what you are doing; I don’t know that I could do it without much wailing (mine) and rending of garments (probably not mine, I don’t like spending money on clothes).

    Word, yo.

  • Mercutia

    You have every right to do whatever makes you happiest. If this is a good thing, by all means go for it.

    Any specific recipes on this new thing really grab you, by the way? I’d like to try some new stuff, not to cleanse, per se, but just to shake it up.

  • Leslie

    hmm Frap w/rum. Something new to try. Wonder how it will compare to Cherry Limeade with vodka.

  • http://seriouslybecause.com Amy Quarrier

    When I hear the word ‘cleanse’ it’s all about the colon for me. Does any of this involve washing out your butt hole? I must tell you that you’ve peeked my intrest in the book. I’m all for self depravation and suffering to give me a leg up on all the other super moms out there.

  • http://www.season2shop.com/ Joyce

    OR…..could this be a fertility cleanse similar to Gwyneth Paltrow’s diet?

    “…desperate to have a baby with her boyfriend, Kate Moss reportedly has switched her diet to the one used by Gwyneth Paltrow to aid her fertility. Besides, she’s also said to be giving up alcohol and coffee.”

    That would be a great side effect!!! Good luck to you!

  • Larkhappy

    I have a good friend who is a vegan and he always says he doesn’t eat anything with a face, except his girlfriend.

  • Allison

    Your aim achieved!

    No doubt you had every idea of the reactions you’d get from yesterday’s post.

    Excellent proof for your advertisers that your readers are engaged.

    Cheers to that.

  • http://www.squirrellyadventures.blogspot.com Amanda

    i couldn’t give up bacon. (ok, or steak, or chicken, or pork chops…)

    so now i buy meat from local people who let their animals roam and eat grass (or if they’re chickens, whatever chickens eat) and have good lives before they become my food. it’s a compromise i think i’m okay with, but everyone’s gotta choose for themselves.

    i hope that you feel WONDERFUL soon, no more feeling crappy and headaches… :)

  • http://maryblake.wordpress.com Mary

    Heather,

    Hoorah! How wonderful that you are choosing to try something new to help you feel stronger and healthier. As for any negative opinions of others, well, life would be dull as dirt if we all agreed on what to think, feel, say, and eat. I gave up meat three months ago, as a means of supporting my eight-year old daughter. She gave up meat years ago, and I finally decided to join her.

    I look forward to reading about your progress.

    Mary

  • HDC

    Bacon? Won’t somebody think of the bacon?

    Seriously Heather, more power and love to you as always. I read yesterday’s post with a serious WTF? But ya know what? It ain’t anybody’s life but yours. If it helps you to get up everyday, be a good mom, be a good wife, and generally get through the day, then HOORAH, go fer it. Ain’t you figured that out yet, girl?

  • Adriana

    Hi Heather,

    I really like your website and the way you write. It’s very heartfelt :)

    I’m very interested in seeing how this cleanse is going to work, and I’m hoping everything goes well. I’d love if you could tell us some of the stuff you’ve been eating while on this diet. I’m thinking about doing something like this myself, but I have no idea how to go about it.

    Good luck!

  • Mrs.Strizzay

    I am down for whatever you decide to do, this whole blog is YOUR adventure. I must say, however, that nothing says lovin’ like a smooth scotch and a juicy perfectly seasoned steak with just a bit of fat on the end. Let us know how the poop thing works out. And then pop another baby out. What the hell.

  • http://www.hannaem.wordpress.com Hanna Em

    Pift, I think the diet is a fine idea. I basically consume very little of everything you’re cutting out of your diet, except gluten. Plus I eat NO pork at all and very very little red meat simply because it makes me feel like shit when I do! and if something makes me feel like shit… why should I continue to eat it? Being vegan is fine, I have this vegan butter that I’ve been eating for years and I love it.. even my friggin poptarts are vegan and all natural. It’s so easy to go without animal products these days that it’s not longer a big deal.

    BTW, a venti frappuccino is 24 ounces ;-)

  • jen

    Your body is gonna love you!
    I have been after myself to do the same cleanse… so far I can’t give up the caffeine and alcohol, I love that morning cup of coffee and glass of wine with dinner–too much!

  • http://sarahthe.wordpress.com SarahThe

    here’s hoping you cleanse doesn’t land some worms in your edamame.

  • brandy in canada

    Oh nothing feels worse than withdrawl from coffee and sugar, I’m sure you already know this but water and lots of it is the secret for getting rid of it a bit faster!
    Whats so great about being alive right now is that we are all armed with so much information about food and are able to make whatever choice we decide is best for us. AND if we decide to live without animal products or gluten we have whole aisles devoted to various food options! Way back when I first went vegetarian(I eat chicken and fish now, but am seriously considering dropping them again..along with gluten.) the only meat alternatives I could find were tofu hotdogs, burgers and plain tofu which no one new how to cook! Its so much easier now with the internet and all it’s recipes and support and whole stores devoted to healthy alternatives(that aren’t run by weird old hippies who smell like patchouli.) Anyhow ramble over! Good luck with your cleanse!