I’m so glad you asked, but you may want to brace yourself, because I’m trespassing into McGregor’s garden so to speak, and escape might not be possible.
I mentioned, covertly, in my last blog (which you may have missed, no judgment) that I’m currently using cannabis products. I’m sure my Mom and Dad are rolling over in their graves but this won’t be the first time or the last. If they thought they’d get some relief from their challenging daughter post mortem, they’re dead wrong.
And now they have to worry about Nancy. After receiving this highly suspect miracle CBD oil in a welcome bag at a recent wedding, my enabling sister suggested I use it on my rashes, and when your older sister suggests you become a user, you do it. With gusto.
She’s my gateway. Get it?
And I’ll be damned, it calmed the itching, and pain almost immediately. I used the entire bottle in about a week (self-control is not my thing) so Larry and I went to the local Whole Food (Whole Paycheck) store and bought a similar but less effective product.
I was bummed.
Coincidentally, or maybe a serendipity sort of thing, I had a trip planned for Palm Desert.
Larry and a cohort of Santa Clara Broncos had a reunion planned in Carmel last weekend. You know the drill, golf, bougie dinners, irresponsible drinking, cavorting, and basically reliving their youth for an entire three days. You’ll be relieved to know no one was arrested, kicked off the golf course, or cited for disturbing the peace.
Well, that’s the report we were given, I know, very suspect, especially when you throw Esci, Wes, and Salvy in the mix.
The wives decided to put as much distance as possible between the reunioners and ourselves. As luck would have it, Jan recently bought a seasonal home in Palm Desert and graciously invited Claudia and me to join her in a last-minute muster.
It ended up being miraculous, at least for me, and my gut.
I have to say God bless Claudia who allowed me to arrange the most economical travel plan possible without a single complaint regardless of the various snafu’s. When browsing the cost of last-minute flights directly into Palm Desert my hands grew sweaty. So Larry checked some of the neighboring airports and discovered you could fly into Ontario for a smidgeon of the cost and just rent a car for the hour drive into Palm Desert. Best laid plans…
Our initial arrangements went off without a hitch and we arrived at Jan’s at the pinnacle of the day, warm, balmy, with the sun slowly sinking into the western horizon. Her home is nestled along the 17th hole (could be 18th, I’m not a golfer), with a view of the greens, pond, and spectacular mountain range.
It’s absolutely stunning and Jan is the consummate hostess who somehow makes everyone feel welcome and at home. I felt as if I’d arrived in Shangri La, and as tempting as it was you’ll be proud to know, I did not cancel my return ticket.
She opened some champagne as we settled into our rooms and then lounged by the infinity pool, sipping our bubbly, catching up, ridiculously happy to have an entire weekend together.
Jan transported us to dinner at the Club House in an adorable golf cart. I ordered a juicy steak while my companions ordered cauliflower and greens? I realize some people are more health-conscious than others but I’m weak in the face of a sumptuous menu. The evening unrolled and we ended it where it began, on the patio, serenaded by the stars, sipping good wine, shooting the shit.
Early morning while Jan and I are enjoying coffee and a Hallmark Christmas movie I’m scratching my rashes as if I’ve been exposed to poison oak. Jan is alarmed when I show her my legs. When Claudia joins us and I explain my predicament we devise a plan to replenish my cannabis oil at the local dispensary.
Okay, for the record I have never been to a dispensary and quite frankly I was a little alarmed by all the security. You enter a lobby where there are actual guards and a line of ATM machines because they only take cash. Yeah, just like the drug deals that go down in the movies, but none of these people are missing their teeth.
I’m feeling more and more like a character from Breaking Bad, when they check my ID, electronic double doors open as if the gates to hell, and you’re escorted into the temptation room by a stoic employee. The security cameras are everywhere, the staff is dressed as if guards from Squid Games, and there is this distinctive aroma floating in the air. I’m feeling a little woozy as we move across the room shoulder to shoulder as if a tactic team making our way to some target which happens to be the oil counter.
The masked woman behind the counter may look like an FBI informant, but she is extremely helpful, showing me an array of products that should alleviate my discomfort from psoriasis and other maladies. I exhibited extraordinary restraint and only bought two bottles (that took all the cash I had withdrawn) and these products are not cheap mind you. They placed them in this swanky zippered bag which I stashed in my purse and for the rest of the day I was sure I would be arrested at any moment by the BIN (Bureau of International Narcotics) but apparently, they don’t frequent Palm Desert.
We spent the next few days hiking, shopping, eating, lounging, and generally solving the problems of the world when one morning, without warning, Jan hands me her phone.
The next thing I know I’m talking with Monica Beiry, a famous nutritionist, homeopathic healer, granola-eating enthusiast, and her voice alone has me mesmerized. She’s a friend of Jan’s and an encyclopedia of information on gut health, healing, and auto-immune diseases.
She spent the next hour explaining how I got into this predicament (psoriasis) in the first place and how I can rectify the situation I created all by myself. Not that I’m proud, but it’s a pretty complex situation, not everyone accomplishes such a fiasco in one lifetime.
When Monica says, “Psoriasis is curable,” I admit I got a little teary-eyed. My skin doctor has been faithfully treating the symptoms (the rashes) with steroid creams but we never discuss the root cause. I was under the impression that once you got an auto-immune disease it was incurable? I mean it’s genetic for goodness sake and she calmly informed me that just because you are predisposed to a disease does not mean you will get it.
She says it’s a combination of predisposition and environment (which she translates to diet and stress). Here I thought they were talking about smog, exposure to roundup, cell phone usage, and how close I lived to electrical wires. Monica spent the better part of an hour explaining what a plant-based diet looks like and the associated health benefits.
Now, this is where it gets a little disturbing, I’m warning you, get out the tissues, it’s about to get wretched.
In a soft voice, I ask, “what exactly do I have to give up to be considered a rabbit, I mean vegetarian?”
She ignores my quip and says, “don’t think of it as giving something up forever, just temporarily, until the rashes heal. Then you can introduce these culprits (nice word) back into your diet and if the rash resurfaces you can decide if it’s worth it or not.
Oh, honey, it’s so worth it.
I beg, “I’m a visual person. I need a list.”
And rather than hanging up on me, Monica says, “Okay, are you ready?”
“No, but go ahead.”
She pauses between deprivations without laughing and says with careful enunciation, “No meat…no dairy…no gluten…no sugar…no alcohol.”
I’ll wait while you blow your nose and the blood returns to your head.
I say, “what the hell am I supposed to eat?”
She says, and I kid you not, as if talking to a 7-year-old, “vegetables, nuts, beans, fermented foods (I was like wine is fermented but she meant pickles ~ shit), oatmeal, fruits and berries, hummus, and (hippy) oils like flaxseed, avocado, and coconut.”
With trepidation, I ask, “Is coffee allowed?”
She says, “Of course, no more than two cups a day. It can cause inflammation.”
“Can I put milk in my coffee?”
“Nothing from a tit.”
Are you kidding me?
She offers, “Oat milk is good.”
“…recent research suggests that presenting people with proof that their beliefs are incorrect doesn’t change their minds. Instead, it actually reinforces their erroneous beliefs, as they work hard to defend them against fact and logic.” Garth Davis, M.D.
I guess I was looking a little faint because Claudia and Jan came to my rescue, thanking Monica profusely for the information, and promising to assist me with my conversion.
I’m like, “I like my delusions, please don’t confuse me with reality, and rabbit food.”
No sourdough bread dripping with butter?
No dark chocolate with sea salt?
I’m wearing black for the foreseeable future so I better not get arrested.
The girls fly into supportive mode because they can see I’m close to hysterics.
Me, “Is it hot in here?”
Jan, “I’ll open the window.”
Me, “It feels as if my throat is closing up.”
Claudia, “I’m heading to the store. I’ll make you an incredible meal using only the foods Monica suggested. It’s going to be okay. I’ve been eating this way for years.” She’s a competitive dancer and her muscle base is important!
Whatever. I’m a writer. I need a cushy base to sit on for hours doing nothing.
Me, “I could use a shot of vodka. Do you have any?”
Jan, “here I’ll make you some herbal tea.”
Yeah, I’m doomed.
Well, that night Claudia put out an incredible spread, complete with her own Chamberino Chili, vegan stuffed portobello mushrooms, baked cauliflower, spaghetti squash with meatless bolognese sauce, hummus and veggies, nut crusted organic bread (which I splurged and had one slice, the hell with the rashes).
One evening we decided to watch a documentary Monica recommended called The Game Changer (I know, we’re a wild bunch), it’s like watching propaganda from some radical subdivision of society. You know it’s slanted but you’re not sure how. It supports all of the claims about plant-based diets, talks about gut health, and the advantages of yoga, yogurt, and yams. Monica also suggested we watch Forks and Knives along with the documentary called Heal before we’re sufficiently indoctrinated.
I’ll save those for later when I need something like a booster shot of incentive.
Jan managed to make us feel as if we were cherished guests despite my ailments and issues, but all good things come to an end, and in the midst of hugs and goodbye kisses we postulated on plans to return in the near future. It’s as if the gates to the Garden of Eden were opened, there are snakes, but that tempting apple is no longer forbidden.
Thank God Claudia was traveling with me and kindly answered all my questions in a calm and supportive manner along with sending me dozens of vegan recipes and meal plans via text. Our flight was delayed, restored, and delayed again. Southwest is cheap, but they’re slipping, and we’re at their mercy.
Home sweet home.
I dropped the vegetarian news on Larry as if a bomb, he took shelter in his office, and at five o’clock he emerged and offered me a glass of wine.
“No thank you, I’m so enjoying this herbal tea. All I can say is yum.”
Reaching in the refrigerator for a cold beer it’s apparent Larry’s so glad he’s not me.
I’m calling it the 30-day challenge. Join me if you dare. When your flesh-eating habits erase the antioxidant-boosting effects of eight hundred cups of kale, you know it’s time to quit says, Michael Gregor.
It took almost two hours at Whole Foods to replenish our pantry with organic peanut butter, vegetables, hummus, berries, beans, grains, vegan soups, oats, seasonings, and various oils.
Our refrigerator is full of plants, I’m sticking to the plan like glue, and OMG this morning I woke up, threw off the covers, and was amazed to find the rashes are significantly better. I’m in total disbelief.
DAY THREE. DAY THREE PEOPLE.
It’s a miracle, they’re coming in waves, what’s next I can not imagine. But for now, I’m Peter Rabit, stealing from McGregor’s garden, and yes, I left my old coat of skin hanging on the fence. But the important thing is Mr. McGregor propped the gate open, no need to escape, I can come and go as I please.
Curling up in my favorite chair with a cup of tea and my cannabis oil I call my sister to share the news.
She agrees, Mom and Dad are definitely rolling over in the grave.
[Warning! There is shaming, cussing, and extreme vulgarity in this clip ~ watch at your own discretion]
I’m Living in the Gap, existing on rabbit food, care to join me in a plant-positive diet?
- “Mcdonalds announced it’s considering a more humane way of slaughtering its animals. You know they fatten them up and then kill them. You know the same thing they do to their customers, isn’t it?” – comedian Jay Leno
- I was a vegetarian until I started leaning toward the sunlight. Rita Rudner
- What do you call a vegetarian who goes back to eating meat? – Someone who lost her veg-inity! Unknown
- Is a vegetarian permitted to eat animal crackers? George Carlin
- I’m a vegetarian, well I’m not hardcore because I eat meat, but only because I like the taste, and I hate vegetables on a personal level so I’m not too good! Dylan Moran
- Vegetarian – that’s an old Indian word meaning ‘lousy hunter’ Andy Rooney