Alison Berkley: The Princess’s Palate
June 16, 2011
Less than a few months ago, you might have found Ryan and I sitting on the couch, eating dinner at the coffee table and watching an episode of “Jersey Shore” on MTV that we’d already seen two or three times.Ryan probably would have been saying something like, “I love Vinny. He’s definitely the sweetheart in the house.”I know they say people don’t change, and I don’t believe they do in terms of who they are at the core of their being. I actually think it’s pretty damned important that you don’t want your partner to change, especially if you plan to marry them. It’s like, if you go to the car dealership and you buy a Jeep and you expect it to drive like an Audi, you’re going to have some serious issues. So let me just preface this whole thing by saying I love Ryan exactly the way he is, I do. I love that he’s so big I can just barely wrap my arms around him. I love that his grandparents on his mom’s side are first-generation Italian so that gives him the perfect excuse to be a pasta vacuum cleaner and lasagna cleaner-upper and pizza devourer. So it totally blew me away when, less than a week ago, Ryan looked at me and said, “Juicing is fun.”Juicing is not fun. Juicing is brutal, especially when that’s all your doing, not eating any solid food whatsoever for three whole days. We did three days of juice and tea, with two days of raw food to prepare and two days of raw food to come off it. I went to bed every single night feeling like I had a big hole in the middle of my stomach. Sometimes I woke up in the middle of the night feeling that way, and I felt that way when I got out of bed in the morning.”Just drink water,” Ryan would say. “That feeling is just your stomach being empty, so just fill it up with water.”Suddenly he’s an expert.Two weeks ago, he’d never even heard of Aloe Vera juice, never mind drank an entire bottle of it. I’m pretty sure he never thought about liquidizing a half a cabbage and drinking it out of a glass.So this guy who lives on dairy and smokes cigarettes and drinks beer and has no qualms whatsoever about eating food that’s been processed and then frozen for god only knows how long, is loving being on this cleanse. He’s like, totally fine with it.One night he goes and plays hockey. Another he decides to take a mountain bike ride. On the last day, we hammered out almost 40 miles on the road riding to Basalt and back for a party at the new Arjuna Yoga studio.Yes, Ryan went to a party at a yoga studio dressed in Lycra during a juice fast.Wait, it gets better. A few months ago, we decided to cut off our cable TV. We’d just acquired a new flat screen with live streaming Internet and figured we could watch movies. Another big piece of this plan was to not watch TV while we eat dinner. We both felt like we weren’t talking enough, and we both are big talkers who love to talk. So that part was easier than I thought.The other night I pick up the remote and, Ryan goes, “If you’re going to lie there and watch TV, I’m going in the bedroom to read. Don’t you have to work on your novel?”Ryan has decided to read my entire Hemingway collection. He has already finished “To Have and Have Not,” and “A Farewell to Arms” and just started “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”It has gotten to the point where I had to make a special trip to the bookstore because I started feeling bad about reading Us Weekly, which has always been my No. 1 vice. I bought a book I thought was in my genre since sometimes what I read influences my writing too much. (With Us Weekly, that is not a risk).”It’s too bad Ryan had Lasik surgery and doesn’t need glasses anymore,” my mom said when I told her about his transformation. “A good pair of reading glasses would just so complete the look.”My mom is beyond thrilled we did this cleanse and are on a healthy eating program. I think she secretly thought we were going to turn into one of those complacent fat couples, or as another friend of ours put it, two people who “enable each other’s laziness.” I know she loves us no matter what, but considering her and my dad eat like 500 calories a day and then bike for four or five hours, I’m assuming having a baby whale for a daughter and a fat bear for son-in-law might have been a source of embarrassment for her at some point.”Come on babe, we’re almost there,” Ryan said as I was lagging on our 5-mile run the other day. He’s like, kicking his feet up to his butt and doing little hops and jumps and running little circles around me and I’m about to pass out, wondering if maybe I’ve created a monster.After our run, Ryan made dinner. He poached some nice filets of tilapia in the oven and served it with a beautiful green salad and brown rice pilaf we’d made the night before. Everything about the moment, the food, the scene, and the season was so fresh and felt so right and tasted so delicious. How often to we get to say it and really mean it? I am just so happy.I do think change is good, especially when the outcome is so completely unexpected.
The Princess is writing again. Email your love to Alison@berkleymedia.com.