Friday, April 29, 2011

The BluePrintCleanse Experience

So earlier this week I participated in a 'team building' exercise with my current project team. I've done a bunch of them before, usually it's going out for a nice dinner, sometimes a baseball game, I've even gone to the movies.

This team building event involved us fasting for two days and subsisting on nothing but 12 bottles of various juices.

It's called a cleanse, specifically, the BluePrintCleanse, and I'm pretty sure it's a brilliant scam to rob yuppies of their disposable income.

Don't get me wrong, it was a fun idea for the team, and I enjoyed having the experience....but having said that, wow there is no way this can be healthy for anybody.

Here's how it works...

Step 1: You buy a cleanse package, in our case a 2-day cleanse
Step 2: You take delivery of a big stack of bottles. 6 for each day.
Step 3: You refrigerate the bottles quickly, because they'll go bad if left outside. They are also unpasteurized...which I thought wasn't even legal anymore
Step 4: Every two hours or so, drink another bottle of juice, trying not to vomit when you do
Step 5: Ta-Da, you're cleansed

OK, so you might read that and think, 'That's not so bad, it's just fasting for a couple days and sipping some fruit punch'

But wait, turns out the juices are freaking gross. A couple of them are OK, there was actually a cayenne pepper lemonade that I quite enjoyed, but the workhorse juice for the cleanse is a chunky green cocktail with the following ingredients:

- Romaine Lettuce
- Cucumber
- Celery
- Kale
- Parsley
- Apple

There may have been a couple other ones in there somewhere, but its a big chunky swamp thing cocktail of salad. You drink this three times a day.

So that's the gross part, which all things considered could be worse, but this cleanse also seems a little freaking dangerous. Strict calorie restriction to make your body feel better? I'm pretty sure they make public service announcements about why that's not a good idea.

The best part is the company that sells the cleanse disregards such concerns with some pretty awesomely ridiculous stuff. The following are exact copies from their FAQ, and if I had to guess, I'd say they definitely didn't clear it with the American Medical Association, or even the Sierra Leone Medial Association.

Q: I can’t eat anything at all? Is it enough calories?

A: It should be perfect for the duration of your cleanse. Even though it’s a calorically restrictive regimen, you are eliminating the energy required for digestion. This is a real boost to energy for other metabolic processes.

Q: Is it OK to exercise while cleansing?

A: Absolutely!! Can we please finally put to rest the myth that if you don’t eat a lot, you’ll lack energy? Unless one is undergoing a water fast, which, should only be done with a coach, energy levels will skyrocket! You will be amazed to see that the more you allow your digestive tract to rest, the more your energy gets a boost.

Q: Will I get light-headed if I’m not eating solid food?

A: On the contrary, one's mind becomes clearer and one's ability to solve problems enhances. This is because instead of large amounts of blood and nervous energies being sent to the digestive organs to break down a meal, that extra blood, oxygen, and energy is sent and utilized by the brain.

So to review...eating food is a distraction to your body, and keeps you from achieving your full potential. If you eat less, your body will be digesting less and will have more energy for other things! It sounds like something a Republican would say, 'Eat less to think better and have more energy!' because it's completely the opposite of all science, logic, and reason.

But that kind of talk must persuade people, or at least enough to keep the company in business. Certainly worked on us (although we were doing it for more of a team-building exercise than an actual health booster) as we guzzled down our green bottles and off-green bottles and even the occasional white bottle (a cashew nut milk, I'm still wondering how you milk a cashew).

So, we did this cleanse, did it work?

I don't think so, at least not for me. It was weird, because every single other person on my team woke up the next morning after the cleanse with splitting headaches, but I was totally fine. It's probably because I don't drink coffee, so that's as much as I could figure it did. Everyone who drinks a lot of coffee feels like crap, everyone else, about the same.

In either case, it's not something I plan on doing again

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Surplus of Plastic

We've created a monster in our kitchen. It's a monster that lives under our sink, next to the garbage can and where we keep our dishwasher detergent. Every couple of days, it gets a little bigger.

I'm talking about this.

simplehuman Grocery Bag Holder, Wall-Mounted, Stainless Steel

Our plastic bag holder.

It started out innocently enough, as we stopped by a friend's apartment who extolled the virtues of the magical bag holder.

'It's so convenient,' they exclaimed, 'you always have bags when you need them and it's like $10!'

I have to admit, it all sounded so wonderful. Our apartment, no longer under siege from rampant plastic shopping bags. Our wet umbrellas, corralled at all times with a quick reach. Life would be so wonderful.

So we got the bag holder. We stuck it on our cabinet. And we began to fill it. Every shopping trip brought with it a fresh set of reinforcements. I eagerly stuffed them into the dispenser. 'More bags!' I'd declare, excitedly jamming Jewel bag after Jewel bag into the dispenser.

But the problem with a bag dispenser, is that you actually have to remove bags from the dispenser for the system to work. You can't just have deposits, you need to have withdrawals!

But we just don't have lots of uses for plastic bags. We don't have that many muddy shoes to bring home. Or dog walks to clean up after. Or people we need to suffocate.

So there were no withdrawals, and the dispenser grew. And grew. And grew.

Soon it grew too full. It's aluminum belly protruding, fat with the conquest of dozens of trips to the supermarket. It couldn't possibly take any more bags!

And so we've stopped feeding it, for now. But it still sits there with its store of bags, bursting at the seams. Part of it probably longs for relief, while another part of it yearns for more, leading it to make forceful advances on the roll of trash bags next door.

It's a problem we can't solve. We can't invent uses for these bags, and we can't throw them away.

So it will continue to sit, a reminder that tools to add convenience to our lives, sometimes just add a crap load of baggage