I Ate Only What Was Offered To Me For A Whole Day: Here Is My Story
Navigating the world of mindful eating can feel confusing at best, and completely overwhelming at worst. From raw veganism, to keto, to intermittent fasting, to the bevy of other “healthful” options out there, it’s often difficult to know which paths are genuinely effective.
That’s why, after perusing my 14-year-old nephew’s copy of Siddhartha over Memorial Day weekend, I decided to take my diet back to basics: I would do as Buddha and only eat what was offered to me. Not only did I expect this “Buddha Diet” to bring me new and important spiritual insights, but (most importantly) I hoped it would help me shed a few LBs in time for next week’s block party.
Thus, for twenty-four hours, I would eat and drink absolutely nothing unless it was offered to me by someone else.
Read on for my sublime journey of purification, wellness, and weight-loss.
WEDNESDAY, 9:00 PM
This is the Ash Wednesday of my Mini-Lent, so I eat my Last Supper. For the next 24 hours I will not eat a single thing unless someone kindly offers it, so I go all out and eat a cheeseburger and nachos and a bottle of gin.
My wife “helpfully” points out that Ash Wednesday is actually the first day of fasting in Lent, so this is more like my “Shrove Tuesday.” After laughing at how ridiculous that sounds for a while, I realize she didn’t make it up. She explains you’re supposed to eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, so I make a quick stack for dessert and drink three glasses of port. I feel more cosmically attuned already.
THURSDAY, 7:51 AM
I wake up and immediately begin suffering.
Normally, the first thing I would do is make coffee and hit the bong because it’s Thursday, I’m a freelance writer, and I drank a bottle of gin and six glasses of port last night. (I lied when I said it was three, okay?).
I curl up in a ball on the couch and watch whatever Netflix wants me to watch because that’s all I have the strength to do.
THURSDAY, 8:13 AM
My wife gets up. I eye her like a feral cat as she walks into the kitchen and starts making coffee. She pours only about one cup’s worth of water into the coffee maker. I say nothing. I stare out the window longingly. Finally, she asks if I would like a cup of coffee as well. I weep with joy, one step closer to Enlightenment and also fitting into my summer chinos.
THURSDAY, 9:47 AM
I am so hungry I can barely hear my wife say that despite doing it for the wrong reasons, she’s proud of what I am trying to accomplish. She has made herself a spinach-and-goat cheese frittata with eggs I bought at the farmer’s market back when I was allowed to buy food. She offers me none. I have never hated her so much.
THURSDAY, 11:46 AM
I am literally flipping a coin that says “divorce” on one side and “suicide” on the other when my dad calls and asks if I’d like to get lunch. My wife eyes me. I ask for clarification, “Is that an offer, Dad?” There’s a pause. Then, he says, “Uhh, yeah, sure.” As I walk out the door I give my wife the smuggest laugh I can muster with so little nourishment in my body.
THURSDAY, 11:57 AM
The waiter at Brentwood Country Club who I know for a fucking fact knows my Usual asks me what I’d like to order. I close my eyes and focus on my breath. I explain, very calmly, that I would not like to “order” anything, but if he would like to “offer” me something, I would not turn him down. My father asks what’s “gotten into” me and mutters what I’m pretty sure is a homophobic slur in Yiddish, and the clearly uncomfortable idiot of a waiter finally says, “I’ll just bring you the special, sir.”
THURSDAY, 12:29 PM
OH MY GOD I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER!
THURSDAY, 12:34 PM
The waiter asks if I’d like dessert. I stare at him with what I imagine are the vacant eyes of a monk in deep meditation, and after a moment he says, “I would like to offer you a slice of chocolate cake.” I do not react, for I am at one with all things and understand that the Universe wants me to have this cake, and in fact the duality that separates me from the cake is indeed an illusion.
THURSDAY, 3:40 PM
I go to Whole Foods and am offered a small cup of juice. I go to Osteria Mozza and bread is brought to my table before I can turn it away. An actor-friend needs a last-minute plus-one to his agent’s birthday party where I am offered the speciality of every ethnic enclave East of Koreatown. As I gorge myself on the complimentary snacks that it would be downright rude to refuse, I realize that the World is a river of free-flowing food being offered in Abundance and I have only to wade in with open arms. I can’t believe this is actually a diet!
THURSDAY, time uncertain
I see a dumpster behind a Michelin-star ristorante and recognize that a dumpster is itself an offering to the Earth. “I am part of that earth!” I shout as I dive in, submerging myself into nirvanic bliss like that part of Trainspotting where Ewan McGregor loses himself in the toilet world. There is a fucking unopened package of breadsticks that are not even expired. I swim to the surface and weep as I consume them all.
THURSDAY, c. dusk
My wife comes home to find me bloated and meditating on the kitchen floor. She has leftover Thai food from work. She asks me if I want the rest. I raise a single eyebrow. I keep one eye on her gaze while the other eye finds the clock on my iPhone. Tick. Tock. It strikes 9:00 PM. It has been twenty-four hours. I can freely ask for anything I want.
“So?” my wife asks impatiently. I levitate an inch off the linoleum and respond, “I have no more wants, for I am one with all things, and you can only want that from which you are detached.” I open my eyes to find my wife has thrown the food in the fridge and gone upstairs. I pity her. She is still a slave to the world of the flesh. Then I follow her upstairs for sex.
I gained twelve pounds in one day on the Buddha Diet, but it was totally worth it for release from the Karmic wheel of suffering. Plus, tomorrow I start Jenny Craig.
Images: Pexels, Pixabay