So, I have been pretty good up to this point. I have been drinking my smoothies, eating my salads. From the beginning, I wanted to be as PERFECT as I could be. I mean, this is only 21 days. There are people who only drink juice for months. Surely I can stick to veggies, fruit, and grass-fed meat for a few weeks.

Surely.

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Okay, maybe I snuck some sips of Mountain Dew during the 3-day Pre-Cleanse Phase. And it’s possible that bites of the kids’ donuts found it’s way to my mouth when I “forgot” for just a second. But this was in the “Pre-Cleanse” Phase. It was like practice. Not the real game.

Once the referee blew the whistle, I put my game face on. Time to go all in. Except that on Day 2, I made a salad at home and we didn’t have any healthy dressing. So, I dabbed a tiny dollop of Ranch on it. No big deaI. I will certainly get some olive oil junk at some point.

And then, I went to tennis with my dried fruit when a lovely friend pointed out that it had sugar on it. Seriously? Why did she have to point this out? I was feeling good about my freakin’ dried fruit.

“All dried fruit is covered in sugar,” she told me. “Just look at the label.” I turned over the little container and glanced. She was right. “Pure cane sugar” was ingredient number two.

I feel like I went through all the stages of grief as I dealt with the loss of this tiny little perk. From denial to anger to bargaining and finally acceptance. Fine. I can’t eat it. I am going to look at this in another way. My goal for these 21 days is not to taste anything good. I will eat for health and not concern myself with the taste at all. My motto will be, “If it tastes good, spit it out.” I’ll eat all the gross things that are super good for you…

Buckwheat.

Wheatgrass.

Dirt.

Cardboard.

Whatever.

And that kind of worked until vacay time. I knew it would be tough. Traveling. Zaxby’s. Gas stations. Thanksgiving. Dressing. Homemade pies.

But I packed my bag with healthy snacks and hoped for the best. I see now that this is where I went wrong. I just HOPED that there would be food available for me to eat. Uh, no. No one eats clean on Thanksgiving. And nothing is clean at fast food restaurants.

My dad said, “You are eating clean? Okay, we will wash the food before we put it on your plate.”

alanaOur first stop was a visit with dear friends, Matt and Alana and sweet Alana knew about this little project. She and I ate squash instead of noodles and she even picked kale right out of her garden for our salad. It was AMAZING! I was affirming to myself that everyone in the universe conspires to help the person who really wants to do something.

This is not true.

This is a load of bologna (yum, bologna sounds so good) that publishers peddle to get you to download their book.

Because once Clay and I arrived at our final destination, a farm in the middle of nowhere with nothing but yummy food and no Internet, all my good intentions went out the window. You would think that I would be inspired by the fact that we have gone out to the chicken coop to get fresh eggs. Maybe, if I hadn’t given up all dairy products.

So, we have been staying at this beautiful farm with Clay’s wonderful family for a few days and I have been cheating progressively more every single day. The first cheat was just a straight-up decision. My mother-in-law makes the most amazing apple pie (from scratch) you have ever tasted. I only have the opportunity to eat it once or twice a year. It smells like heaven. It looks like cinnamon-covered happiness. There was no way on earth I was missing this.

I told Clay, “I am cheating now.” And I enjoyed every single bite.

That night, I didn’t beat myself up. It was totally worth it.

But the next day, there was nothing I could really eat for breakfast. I ate a Lara bar and I was back on track. But Thanksgiving lunch was coming. It would be hard, but I could do it. No dressing. No casserole. No yeast roles. I could have some turkey and maybe one other thing.

I did eat sweet potatoes, but that is clean, right? Maybe it was clean before the brown sugar and butter were added, but let’s just be happy that we made it through the meal. I may have TASTED a role on Easton’s plate. I think I snuck a bite of Clay’s pie, but all-in-all, I would call it a success.

Here is where my problems really began. Clay’s family has a tradition of putting all the desserts on a dessert table and just leaving them there for days. His family is full of amazing cooks who haul cranberry bars, candy, and no-bake chocolate cookies hundreds of miles to set them on the dessert table. Throughout the week, when we are all together, everyone grabs a cookie or piece of candy as they walk by. It is so awesome! I love the dessert table tradition.

So, I walked by it a few times without grabbing anything.

Then, I picked up one of those no-bake cookie and ate it. I snuck, of course, since everyone here knows I am supposed to be CLEAN eating. But it was so easy. I snuck another one. Yum. So good. I didn’t feel guilty at all. The third time, I got a cookie and some sweet tea. Dude. I have not had sweet drinks in a long time. The rush went straight to my brain.

Okay, enough. I’ve cheated. That was fun. Let’s just pretend it never happened and move on.

Right.

The next day, I ate sausage and bacon, pretending that was part of my cleanse. I mean, it’s meat, right? It’s fine. So, I dipped it in a little syrup a few times. Whatever.

And then, I ate a little puppy chow (the candy). It was just a few handfuls. And some more tea. And then, a bite of the boys’ pretzel dog when we were seeing the lights at Callaway. It’s not like I ate an entire hot dog.

At this point, I was just completely off the wagon. A few more no-bake cookies. Cinnamon Toast Crunch. More tea. I have really lost count at this point of all my cheats. I just know, it was a sugary oasis in the middle of my cleanse.

Time to get back on the wagon.

And guess what? I am going to Auburn today to tailgate all day, and I am not prepared. I will starve if I have to. No more cheating. It was fun for two days, but I really don’t want to quit. Goodbye dessert table. Back to buckwheat.