Aspen Princess: Yes, I’m here for my health | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Princess: Yes, I’m here for my health

Alison Berkley Margo
The Aspen Princess

It's Sunday afternoon, and Ryan and I are at the grocery store, shopping together but separately.

I'm buying everything I need for my 10-Day Body Reset Detox group cleanse that I signed up for with Lisa Cohen Fitness through my yoga studio. Ryan, on the other hand, is shopping for hunting camp.

Yes, I realize both sound a little cultish but I only bought the black Nikes because that's what everyone is wearing these days, in case you haven't noticed. Only I bought them for my son because they don't make platform Nikes, so there you have it.

Ryan takes the cart and I wander off with my own basket, going through my list of detox essentials: lemons, kale, spinach, garlic, ginger, chia seeds, hemp seeds, coconut water, and so on and so forth. Meanwhile, he's loading up the cart with Sun Chips, hot dogs, bacon, cheese, pasta and instant coffee. He doesn't leave for another six days, but when it's hunting camp season, boy, is it ever hunting camp season.

Remember that time? At hunting camp?

"I feel like you're just articulating every thought that flies through your head as you prepare for hunting camp, but we're never really having an actual conversation," I tell him.

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"Remember that time? At hunting camp?" he replies, his eyes a little bit glassy and staring straight ahead.

Meanwhile, I'm about to embark on a three-day liquid diet that will "reset" my body and prepare me for the following week of vegan meals made with whole foods. You know the routine: bye-bye, sugar; sayonara, gluten; adios, alcohol; see ya on the dark side, caffeine.

I have done a lot of cleanses in my life. I've done juice cleanses and lemon and cayenne cleanses and veggie broth cleanses. I've also done packaged cleanses, where you buy a bunch of powders and pills from one of those multi-level marketing companies that have all kinds of pamphlets and fancy packaging and slick websites and twisted ways of justifying the price tag. The last time I tried that, I was angry, constipated, and only lost 4 pounds. God only knows what they put in that stuff.

For the most part though, these cleanses are pretty much the same: For a week to 10 days you torture yourself by eliminating almost everything from your diet and subsisting on stuff that's good for you, but just enough to stay alive and not die from starvation. Meanwhile, you quit everything that's fun (alcohol), necessary (caffeine) and tastes good (sugar) and replace it with greens that taste like a combination of dirt and grass and often leave a coating of iron on your tongue not unlike the taste of blood. The regimens for these cleanses are typically so detailed that you spend most of your time trying to follow all the directions so you almost forget, at least for a minute, that you haven't chewed anything in over a week, but just might start gnawing on the bottom of your shoe any second.

But here's the thing I love about Lisa's cleanse: I do all the shopping and all the cooking. I get almost 80 pages of recipes, including vegan, vegetarian and even with meat. Yes, I did pay for it; no, this is not a shameless pug, I mean plug; this is real! Just because there are two spirals where my eyeballs used to be does not mean I am losing it.

Now for the good stuff: Even after only two days, my skin is clear and even-toned. For the first time in six months, I've slept through the night without waking up at 3 a.m. to chug Advil because of knee pain. The sleep is deep and motionless. I don't wake up until I hear Levi yell, "Ma!" from his nursery. He no longer cries for me in the morning when he wakes up. He goes, "Ma!" like he is 16 years old.

As much as I can't stand people who are all vegany and concave and lanky and talk with their syllables all elongated, I have become interested in plant-based eating.

I'm not saying I'm going to give up meat and cheese and ice cream for the rest of my life. But it has occurred to me that I do care about the environment and am finding it harder and harder to justify the amount of destruction that happens in the name of hamburger. I'm also not loving the cost of cooking with animal protein every night, especially if it's organic. And now that I have a toddlemonster, it's more important than ever that I take care of myself. When you have a baby at 45, you need to do a lot more than sneak a little Botox.

Does kale taste good? No. But there is something beautiful about fresh food: the bright yellow of the pineapple, the lipstick red of the apple, the verdant green of spinach. What could be prettier than blueberries just before you blend them with almond milk? And I'm sorry but cashew cream is rich and delicious but not heavy like regular cream. You can use it to thicken soups or even eat it plain with berries and a little honey for a delicious dessert. I will use it in perpetuity. And did you know that if you mix chia seeds with almond milk and leave it in the fridge for an hour, the seeds absorb the liquid and it turns into pudding? Throw a little cocoa powder and a dash of honey in there and it almost passes for a decent dessert.

Yes, it is hard. No, it's not always fun to wake up and drink hot water with lemon when all you want is to inject caffeine directly into your veins. But you can never lose when you invest in yourself and your wellbeing, even if means having to drink glass after glass of liquefied kale.

The Princess is obsessed with baby boy shoes. Email your love to alisonmargo@gmail.com.