Attempt at challenging cleanse not so fruitful

CECILE MEIER
Last updated 05:00 06/06/2014

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OPINION: This column was going to be all about how good I felt after doing a three-day fruit fast. Instead, it will be about how good it felt to break it.

I had the option to take a "fruit cleanse" this week as part of the 40-day yoga and meditation challenge I am doing.

"A fruit fast is madness and completely unhealthy," said my friend Abbie. "It achieves nothing."

I should have listened.

I normally don't buy into diets and food fads. But I wanted to tackle the yoga challenge properly and thought it might help me restart better eating habits.

On the first day, a headache snuck into my skull and tried to take control as soon as I started working. I tried to fight it with deep breathing and temple rubbing, but in the end I had to drop an A-bomb. Aspirin - I wasn't exactly keeping it clean.

All I could think of was toast covered in a fat layer of peanut butter and a big flat white. But I resisted temptation and made it through the first day eating only fruit.

At the end of the second day I felt weak and cold. Just the thought of another meal of avocados and tomatoes (they are both fruits, apparently) made me want to throw up. At the same time I was starving so I could not go on without eating. Work had been challenging without carbs and protein, and thinking about the next day's assignments made my head spin. I'd had enough.

I went home and had a piece of toast covered in butter and honey. My body lit up again, like a skyscraper after a power outage.

Nick approved. "You're not an orangutan, and even orangutans aren't stupid enough to only eat fruit," he said, while cooking mince tagine for dinner.

But doing the fast was not worthless.

It made me realise three things:

I'm completely addicted to caffeine. I usually only drink two cups a day, but found it hard to wake up in the morning and keep going in the afternoon without coffee. I don't like depending on something in order to function, so I will try to limit to one coffee a day.

I use food to deal with emotions. When I received an angry email from a source on the first day, I automatically opened the bottom drawer of my desk. The one containing enough chocolate, cereal bars and candy to fuel an entire primary school's sugar high. It's not like I normally spend my days snacking - my stock can last for months. It's just that I want to have a sweet when I need it. It's about time I emptied that drawer.

My usual lunches of pasta, rice or couscous are too heavy. Working after that felt like walking through quicksand. But after two avocados, two tomatoes and a pear with lemon juice, I felt as light as a bee as I sat back at my desk and started typing right away to forget I was still hungry.

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When I told Abbie I had broken the fast, she smirked triumphantly.

"You: 1, Fasting: 0."

Do you think going on a fruit fast is a good idea? Have you ever tried one? Comment below, email me at cecile.meier@press.co.nz wor follo me on Twitter.

- The Press

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