On Wellness, Part 1

by Cheney — March 23, 2016

Wherein I find I have so much to say, that I’m splitting this into parts.

Like Joanna, I’m a fan of pancakes. In fact, there was a month last winter where I had vivid dreams about pancakes almost every single night. If there happened to be a night during that time where I didn’t dream about pancakes, it was because I was dreaming about cheesecake instead.


Carrier of syrup, haunter of dreams…

I love both pancakes and cheesecake, but I wouldn’t say either are foods I eat a lot. If I treat myself, I’m more likely to reach for the salty end of the snack spectrum – vintage cheddar, flaky pastry or french fries are my particular brand of kryptonite. So the dreams seem incongruous, until I explain they occurred when I gave up sugar. Or any form of maple syrup, honey, nectar, syrup or artificial sweetener. And dairy. And alcohol. And grains. And legumes. And yeast. And soy. Plus many more things I’ve probably forgotten. Oh, that’s right, I gave up fun. How could I forget?

I was on a 30-day wellness plan. Or as my Mum would say, a diet. It’s not cool to say you’re on a diet anymore, because diets are about eating lettuce, gazing sadly at bathroom scales and hating yourself. Whereas “wellness” is about looking cute in activewear, using hashtags on social media and laughing while eating salad. Obviously, there’s lettuce in the salad, but it’s discussed less.

It goes against every buzzword-hating, knowing-detoxing-is-a-thing-that-your-organs-do-rather-than-teabags bone in my body to say I am attracted to the concept of wellness. I mean, who doesn’t want to be well? And really well, in a sparkly, perfect way where you sleep like a baby every night and you can barely take a step without strangers commenting on the astounding radiance of your skin.

The great thing about the term “wellness” is that it’s vague, making it brilliant for marketing. Diets are for people who want to lose weight. Wellness is for people who want to lose weight, but also for people who want to be fitter, calmer, in control of their allergies, have better teeth, breath, skin, joint health, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and a general sense that everything is ok. Wellness is for everyone because no one is 100% well, and if they are, they probably worry they could stop being so at any moment. How can you tell if you’re really well? Who can say? Better buy more green tea powder and hope it doesn’t damage my liver.

Lemon cayenne drink

I never once dreamt about lemon and hot water. Wonder why?

I want to be really well. And I’ve spent a bit of money in pursuit of that. I’ve never done a juice cleanse, but I’ve thought seriously about paying several hundred dollars for week’s worth of rainbow-coloured smoothies instead of food. I’ve done pilates, yoga, barre classes and meditation. I’ve made sugar-free, protein-heavy “bliss balls” snacks in my food processor that used $35 worth of raw ingredients and tasted exactly like they were held together with sawdust. I don’t bat an eyelid when people tell me that they’re going paleo, primal, keto or doing AIP because I know exactly what those things are, having read about them extensively.

And I did a 30-day wellness program, because…I wanted to sleep a bit better? Find out if I had any food intolerances? That’s what I told people because it seemed more rational than telling people I was a bit sad and didn’t really know how to fix it, so giving up butter was probably worth a shot. Right? Turns out it was a bit more complicated than that.

Stay tuned for the next part – wherein discoveries are made about kippers, and snacks despaired of.

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