This is sponsored content from BlogHer and The Laughing Cow.
Have you ever attempted a diet craze so ridiculous that you can form an instant bond with anyone else who's ever done it? Kind of like war buddies, but the dieting kind?
The other night at a party I spent a good 20 minutes swapping horror stories with a guy about The Master Cleanse, otherwise known as the cayenne-pepper-lemonade-diet. It's always amusing to meet someone else who has subjected themselves to this fad, and reminiscing about it gave us both a good laugh.
I first heard about The Cleanse when I was living in Los Angeles (of course this story takes place in LA, right?) and the setting was again, a party. That night I offered a friend a drink and he turned me down, explaining that he was currently doing The Master Cleanse, and held up a thermos of what looked like rust-colored water. He explained that the cleanse consists of a set amount of days (anywhere from 3 to 20, depending on your stamina) wherein you subsist solely on a mixture made of water, lemon juice, B grade maple syrup and cayenne pepper.
I think I actually laughed in his face at this point, and spilled the drink I was holding.
"Why on earth would you want to do that?" I asked incredulously.
"You know," he explained with a laid-back, Southern California drawl, "to like clean out my system and give my insides a break."
Cayenne pepper and lemon juice gives your insides a break? I laughed all the way to the refreshment table where I helped myself to seconds of everything.
Cut to six months later, day one of my Master Cleanse. I'm only 6 hours in and I'm miserable. I think back to that day at the party and can't fathom how I came to be holding my very own thermos of rust-colored and spicy-flavored water. I chalk it up to some kind of collective LA brainwashing that occurs if you've live there long enough.
The breakdown of the cleanse goes like this: 2 days of nothing but raw food. Then an average of five days consisting of solely the cayenne-pepper-lemonade mixture. In addition to this concoction it is advised to drink a warm quart of salt water each morning and to drink one cup of laxative tea each night, just to, you know, ensure that your insides are SERIOUSLY cleaned out.
The raw food days are fine and go by quickly, but days one and two of the cayenne-pepper-lemonade are dreadful. I'm not even hungry, instead I just feel like I have the flu. My head aches, my back is seizing up and I'm running hot and cold faster than a fickle toddler.
I call my friend from the party, dramatically describing my symptoms into the phone.
"Perfect," he drawls, "sounds like you're really getting rid of some serious toxins."
I hang up and go back to bed.
On day three I wake up feeling better. The aches and shivers are gone and I feel light and pleasant. And hungry. I realize that I've never gone a day without eating, let alone more than probably four hours. Suddenly I can't stop thinking about food. I'm ravenous. I salivate over the cat food as I dish it out onto little plates for my two feline friends. I drink copious amounts of the cayenne-pepper-lemonade. I even kind of enjoy my morning salt water, although not the result of it 45 minutes later.
On day four I decide that it would be a good idea to organize the piles of cooking and food magazines that have somehow compiled themselves in every corner of my house. I sit on the couch for hours, tearing out recipes I might want to make one day, and organizing them into neat binders. Saliva pools around me as I tear off pages with photographs of coconut cakes and juicy Cajun-grilled chicken. I decide I'm going to cook all of it, all at once when I can eat again. I'm going make a feast. I dream about food all that night.
Day five I awake feeling peaceful. It's the last day of the cayenne-pepper-lemonade. Tomorrow I go back to raw food. I spend the morning puttering around the house, admiring my recipe binders and sipping on my warm salt water. I decide that in the afternoon I'll go to the local health food store and stock up on some fruits and vegetables for my upcoming days of raw food.
At the store I wander the aisles slowly. I feel like I'm in heaven. I make sure not to miss one section, carefully admiring and examining every shelf. The items in the cart I'm pushing before me grow higher and higher. Everything I've ever wanted to eat goes in the cart. Cookies and bread, exotic fruit and chocolates. Frozen pizzas and ice cream, wedges of obscure cheese and little pots of jam to go with them. Cans of soup and cracked-pepper potato chips. I can't stop myself.
In the checkout line I smile blissfully at my goods, watching them move up the conveyor belt and fantasizing about all the meals I'm going to have. As the last item is scanned I pull out my wallet and look up at the cashier's screen to see my total.
My jaw drops.
Everything is almost bagged by now, but there is no way I can drop $357 on groceries.
"Um, excuse me," I say to the cashier, "I, um, I need to put some of this back."
The woman standing behind me in yoga pants waiting to buy a single smoothie immediately looks irritated.
"I'm so sorry," I stammer to everyone around me as I attempt to shuffle through the bags, taking out item after item, and feeling woozy from my 5 days of not eating.
And that's where we'll end this story, dear readers: Me, at the grocery store with a line of annoyed customers standing behind me as I work to cut my grocery bill in half by scattering my bagged goods all across the checkout counter.
Lesson learned. I think.
What about you, Internet? Do you have a funny health craze story for me?
Share a funny story, video clip, picture etc in the comment section and you will be entered to win $150. You should also visit BlogHer.com special offers page for 11 other chances to win $150 each month & the chance to win $100 weekly from the Daily Laugh Hub!. If you share something really funny, we may even use it in The Daily Laugh!
Here are some rules:
- No duplicate comments. (In other words: NO CHEATING)
- You may receive an additional entry by linking on Twitter and leaving a link in the comments.
- You may receive an additional entry by following me on Twitter: @clairebidwell
- You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments.
- Please keep your comments G-rated as any profanity or offensive content will automatically disqualify you from sweepstakes entry.
- This giveaway is open to US Residents, aged 18 and older.
- Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
- You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
- You can read the official rules here.
- Contest ends October 1, 2010
So let's do this! Let's win some free money! Tell me a funny story!
New to Life in Chicago? Find out more here.
Find more give-aways here.