Now that my 21-day Oprah detox diet is over, I need a new focus. The diet was a semi-success: I lost five pounds, but my neuroreceptors still can not be trusted around sugar. I am adding foods like fish to my diet, but still avoiding sugar and wheat.
My sister is the queen of health fads, a veritable fount of information about what is the latest trend in eating well. Right now she's into a program led by one Brendan Frazier. It's called Vega, "the Complete Wholefood Health Optimizer." It's almost like she's joined a cult, to hear her go on about this nutritional system which is all about consuming plant-based whole foods. "So you're a vegetarian now?" I asked her.
"No," she replied. "I'm a convenientarian." Meaning she sticks to the plant-based program when it is convenient, but relaxes her standards for parties and restaurants.
My sister is the one who turned me on to goji berries. I find their taste somewhat less than optimal, but she is stronger-willed than I and forces down a shot of goji berry juice every day. Two years ago, she was in town visiting and we went on a quest for goji berry juice. Integral Yoga was fresh out, but we bought some sort of cold fermented tea called Kombucha instead. My sister said it would be a good stepping stone into the world of miracle foods. I turned my car out onto busy Preston Ave, my sister handed me the open bottle of Kombucha, I was aware of an oddly familiar smell and then I experienced a taste so foul I nearly lost control of the car. My sister took the bottle away. "If you can't handle Kombucha, you are not ready for goji berries," she said.
About half an hour later, I realized what the familiar smell was. Did you ever leave a baby bottle of apple juice in your car for about two weeks during a hot summer? That is the scent of Kombucha.
Now my sister has told me to try Yerba Mate, the herbal stimulant of Argentina. I went to Integral Yoga yesterday and studied the Yerba Mate display. I wanted the cheapest option, since I suspected that Yerba Mate, like Kombucha and goji berries, would be somewhat disappointing in the taste department. There aren't really any cheap options, since my sister had warned me a way from the bags and told me I had to drink it loose leaf. My choices were a one-pound sack of Yerba mate leaf, unsmoked, or a half pound of smoked Yerba mate--both the same price. I went with the unsmoked, because smoking is bad. The label makes fantastic claims. If I drink Yerba mate, I will be stimulated. I will experience incredible "mental clarity." I will develop intelligence superior to all others. I will be able to operate power tools with my mind, and I will lose twenty pounds overnight. (Implied.) I will also be drinking twenty-times more antioxidants than are found in other herbally stimulating beverages. Just the thing for exam week.
I tried some last night. I did feel stimulated! My God, the mental clarity!