Don’t let the weather fool you, friends. It’s early March out there—the last stand for austere stews and salt-crusted boots and “wintry mix”-ed anguish. There are no roasts or pies to look forward to, anymore. From now until Memorial Day, probably, it’s all about survival and Netflix and the promise of ramp pizza.
Anyway, it would have been had I not decided to overhaul my entire emotional and physical equilibrium.
Sometime in February, I decided I wanted a new routine. I was late to the resolution game, but who cares! The spirit of the New Year still bolstering me, I ruled I would go to the gym at 5:45 a.m. on weekdays. I would hoard quinoa and root vegetables to summit that Mount Everest—the grain bowl lunch. I would download Headspace and allot it prime iPhone screen real estate. Never mind that I’d already done that twice in fewer than 10 months. This time, the charm. This time, it would stick.
I had heard I was supposed to be “souping” or something. The New York Times had mandated it. And it sounded OK, you know? I like chili. I like potato-leek. When the mood strikes me, I can get in to a butternut squash puree. But I realized even more than I treasure cashew cream of broccoli, I like to chew too much to turn soup into a verb. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
The fitfulness—the workouts and the quinoa and the rest—stemmed from, I think, a real desire to take better care of “me.” I had endured one of those inexplicable seasons of un-wellness. It was all stomach problems, all dull skin, all crankiness, all the time. I had no idea what I’d done to deserve it (nothing, really) or what I could really do to make it go away (nothing, really).
When the malaise finally ended around mid-January, I wanted to mark the feeling of healthfulness. But more even than I wanted to celebrate it, I wanted to make such drastic resolutions as to ward off future distress for good. I wanted to push so hard and fast that I’d be able to outpace illness forever.
And then I remembered: I hate HIIT. I once passed out in a hot yoga class. I will never be “a runner.”
The fact is not even a gallon of turmeric tonic can make it so our bodies never betray us. None of us can torment ourselves into wellness. Already a crazed and stressed out urbanite, I was insane to pretend it was possible. I force my body onto subways and through this godforsaken concrete jungle. I’ve trained my brain to sprint marathons. I am a good friend and a mostly nice person. Why try to outrun all that?
So, I took one last oath: I decided to use the last of hibernation season to adjust my expectations. And would you look at that—it’s going great. It turns out it’s not so hard to take it easier.
Ditch bone broth. Have a popsicle!
Hang out in certain corners of the internet for an hour or two, and someone is bound to try to convince you that you should live on meat stock and Swiss chard for the next four weeks. Don’t do it. Warm animal water and cold-press kale can supplement a diet, if you’d like. But they cannot define it.
Swear off juicing and souping and sipping and try sucking! It’s so much more fun.
For a snack that does a body good, have an EatPop. The #chic juice pops are sold in flavors like “Activate,” which mixes beets, apples, and carrots, and “Restore”—a combination of banana, kale, and pineapple. All taste like better times and health. I like them so much I’ve had to buy fewer tubs of ice cream just to make room for the boxes in my miniscule freezer. It’s worth it.
Don’t wake up at 5:45 a.m. for FlyWheel.
I mean you can if you want to. Or you could rise and shine for yoga every once in a while to heal your fried brain. Or you could walk to work sometimes. The world is even nicer IRL.
Or! Dance until 2 a.m. on the weekends and decide you’ve had your fill of cardio for the week. As Gwyneth Paltrow once said, it’s all good.
If you have peanut butter and a spoon in your kitchen, you will never go hungry.
But you might get bored. Stockpile farro, onions, garlic, cherry tomatoes, and Parmesan and eat this for dinner at least twice a week, instead.
Look at you! You rockstar! You made a grain bowl! Pretty sure this means you’re invincible.
Photographed by Tom Newton.