Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid |

Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid

Todd Hartley
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Three weeks ago, as some of you might remember, I wrote a column about the three-week health-food cleanse upon which I was then embarking. I thought I’d take this occasion to update you on how it went and answer the question of whether I made it the whole three weeks.

The column ran on the Huffington Post, where it received quite a few comments from people wishing me good luck. A few days later, I received an email from a representative for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The email was very friendly and earnest, recommending all sorts of vegan options and offering support if I needed it, and I would like to thank PETA sincerely for sending it to me. I just didn’t have the heart to tell them they had no idea who they were dealing with.

I’m a carnivore. Always have been. Always will be. I have no qualms with people advocating for ethical treatment of animals – I fully support PETA in that quest – but the ethical treatment of certain animals is going to end shortly before they enter my mouth. I’m sorry it has to be that way, but after a week and a half of veggies, I knew I was destined to stay a meat-eater.

But back to the cleanse, which was never intended to usher in a new lifestyle and about which I inadvertently lied three weeks ago when I called it vegetarian. Fish played a large part in the whole endeavor once I realized I could have them. Of course, to a guy like me, based on my usual likelihood of eating them, fish are basically just swimming vegetables anyway.

The first week of the cleanse consisted mostly of fruit smoothies for breakfast and veggies the rest of the day. I tell you, there’s nothing like a kale salad to make you not want to eat much, so I just dealt with being hungry and lost about 9 or 10 pounds. Shortly after that, I started to get angry.

I was so famished and bored with veggies that I became a bad person (OK, fine, a worse person). I was short and unpleasant with people, and I went around muttering to myself about how much everything sucked. I even snapped at my wife over the phone. It was so bad she actually told me, “You need to go eat some meat.” But I didn’t. I stuck it out all the way. I just started doing it on my terms.

Instead of preparing the recipes from the website where my wife found the cleanse, I started cooking stuff based on the rules of the cleanse as I interpreted them. By this I mean I cooked massive amounts of things like mushroom soup, sweet potatoes and rice noodles, and then I ate until I was as stuffed as I would have been had I devoured a beluga whale or wildebeest. Oh, and I decided chocolate was allowed back on the menu. That helped, too.

Essentially, for the latter half of the cleanse, the rules as I saw them were: no poultry, pork or red meat, no pasta, no fried stuff, no non-chocolate sweets and no blatantly obvious dairy. I say that because I had a bowl of tomato bisque, and I didn’t bother to ask if it had cream in it. I also had a small slice of pizza, but I didn’t need to ask about that.

So did I make it the whole three weeks? In my mind, yes. Sort of. Two Girl Scouts showed up at my door on the final day of the cleanse with Samoas and Thin Mints in hand, and it’s not like I wanted cookies, but I’m very civic-minded, so I bought a box of each and had five Samoas before the day was through. Not because I wanted them, mind you. I was just doing my part to support a good cause.

But I didn’t eat any pasta, I didn’t have any ice cream or anything fried, and I didn’t eat any meat that didn’t swim. For my efforts, I ended up losing 15 pounds.

So would I recommend a cleanse like this for a guy like me? Sure. It’s a good way to drop some weight, but you’re not going to like it. And that line they’ll feed you about your body getting retrained to crave veggies instead of fat? That’s a load of crap. Trust me – the first thing I did once the cleanse ended was go out and get a bucket of fried chicken. It was delicious.

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