Grossing in the Big City
I’d had my fill of California. It was time to head to New York.
As chance would have it, the place I ended up living in a few days after arriving in New York was about a block from the oldest continually operating food cooperative in the U.S.
The Park Slope Food Coop is a lightning rod for strong opinions. To save you the effort of having to snoop around for yourself, here is a representative sample of how people feel about it:
I share all of that just to give you a little taste of the wild world of coop membership.
For about six months, I was a member of the coop. I worked my 2-hour 45-minute shift each month, and I shopped there for virtually all my food.
This was my most intimate contact with affordable health food, and a huge community of members happy to share their opinions on all things food came along for the ride.
After six months, I started working at the Coop as a receiving coordinator. Which basically means I worked alongside member-workers to get the big deliveries in and make sure that all the stock got rotated properly to keep everything as fresh as possible.
Imagine everything you’ve heard about New York–loud, intense, never sleeps–and then bottle all of that New Yorkness up and stick it in a little building on Union Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
The best part, for me, of working at the Coop was the fact that I was surrounded by some incredibly knowledgable people and could pick their brains about all things food.
And so, it was inevitable (yes! we’re finally getting to the whole point of this tale–The Juice Diet!) that I would eventually hear about the fringier elements of the health food movement.
You see, most people never rest their digestive tract for more than the few hours while they’re sleeping. That’s just how things work here on Earth–we love to eat, and we do it all day every day.
Hopefully, soon, as a society we’ll get truly hungry for change.
In the meantime, it’s up to each of us to grab the reins and choose the way we want to eat and, by extension, live.
As I kept hearing about the value of giving the digestive system a rest for a period of time, I decided I wanted to try going without solid food for a few days to see how I felt.
The first thing I tried was The Master Cleanse.
This is the famed lemonade diet–you drink lemonade and also take the fantastically unpleasant salt water flush.
It’s been a while, but I believe my first attempt at the Master Cleanse lasted three days.
The whole time I was doing this first cleanse, I was also working hard at the food coop.
Fasting while being completely surrounded by delicious health food: probably not the smartest way to have a successful fast.
Between expending lots of energy doing physical labor, having to interact with tons of people in my official work capacity and having all that food taunting me at every turn, my first experience with cleansing was tough.
Three days after starting the cleanse, I returned to eating as normal.
The hunger pangs went away, but something remained urging me to continue forward.
I had learned a lot, but my cleansing journey had only just begun…