Finals season does not lend itself to a holistic lifestyle. Students, myself included, are too preoccupied to think about superfluous and optional activities – eating, for instance. No, instead finals are a time to enjoy late nights full of doomsday prophecies about one’s future, a wealth of libraries, databases, books and essays. In retrospect, I can say with shameful confidence, that I do not recall eating a single vegetable during the month of December. While I did not necessarily gain weight per se, due to the infrequent occasions I actually sat down to eat over finals week, when I returned home for the break I was regularly drinking at least five cups of coffee per day and could hardly climb a set of stairs without wanting to lie down. In hindsight, I was lucky not to contract scurvy. After my usual series of Christmas season binge meals, I decided to take a page out of the Basic Man handbook and start living healthier.
Luckily my brother was on a similar health kick so I figured I could just copy him to achieve my goals – and it’s been working. Unfortunately, my dependence on his example has left me almost entirely without comprehension of my diet, I will try to explain it as best I can.
Step one. I stopped drinking coffee again. I fully intend to resume drinking it back at school but five cups a day was too much. I quit it cold turkey which lead to considerable headaches. Fortunately, I’ve found that tea helps and apparently green tea is good for you so there’s always that.
Step two. No sugar! None at all. This has been the most depressing part of the whole ordeal. Essentially it just means no desserts or anything like that. This meant goodbye to M&M’s, cakes, whipped cream, iced cream, caramel – now I’m just making myself hungry but I think my point is clear. Oddly enough this lack of sugar lead to intense cravings which gradually subsided. This really made me think about the effects of sugar on the body and all that mumbo jumbo. The cravings were very real. Strange stuff.
Step three. Finally, and most heartbreakingly, I noticed that my brother eats almost no carbs – certainly no processed gluten and stuff like that. This meant no more pizza, sandwiches, toast, pasta and all that good stuff. The hardest part about giving these foods up wasn’t the cravings. Don’t get me wrong - there were horrible cravings, but they just sort of stopped a few days in. No, the hardest part of giving these foods up has been just how boring my options for dinner are these days. Lots of plain protein and stuff like that – nothing too exciting.
While the tangible benefits of my new diet are still minimal (how do I know when I am healthy? Do I get some sort of token or trophy or something?) I can say that the greatest benefit of the whole thing is how natural it seems. I eat lots of fruit, lots of vegetables, meat, fish, reasonable amounts of rice, I drink water and tea and occasionally watered down juice. It’s kind of comforting to think that in an age where at every turn people seem to run into all sorts of new health problems, that my diet is roughly the same as that of my ancestors. I like to assume that my ancestors were healthy but who knows, maybe they were just hungry all the time and thought they ate boring food. I’m sure I’ll crack and go to McDonald’s soon, but for now, I am healthy-man. Maybe I should go to Soul Cycle.