How I Transformed In 365 Days of Taking Habit Out and Letting Life In

A Year has passed.

This morning, I woke happy. I brushed my teeth with my homemade toothpaste; it dribbled from my mouth when I noticed sunlight speckling in through the window and smiled too wide in response. Mitra and I took to the streets and I let her lead us on an unfamiliar route. I snuggled dogs I’d never met before and complimented a stranger’s shirt. We lazily wound our way home. It’s my hood’s composting day, so I pulled the bin of scraps from my freezer. To it, I added coffee grounds. I blended and pressed the almonds I’ve had soaking for two days into milk, then added their sticky pulp, too. We headed out again, dropped off the bag, I returned to my desk, and I started editing audio for a new client.

This morning was completely unrecognizable from June 20th one Year ago today.

My Year of Abstinence has ended.

A Year of studying habit removal. Of saying “no”. Of taking out to see what comes in.

Continue reading


37 days later, I drink wine… and it hurts.

My head is fuzzy. And not in the good way.

I drank two glasses of wine last night. 37 days after I’d gone off of sugar.. A crisp, delicious Vermentino, at my favorite tiny Italian wine and oyster bar in the West Village,

They were a crisp Vermentino at Virgola, my favorite tiny Italian wine bar in the West Village. I slurped down oysters with a dear old friend, laughing about love and commiserating about work, thoroughly enjoying my divine white. I wasn’t tempted to order a third, and no irrational desire to gorge overtook me. I went home with a slightly spinning head, my tolerance obviously changed. But I thought, “Fun! No harm done!”

Then… sleep. Continue reading

I Talked on Bloomberg’s Material World Podcast about the Sugar Challenge!

Sometimes, in this weird awesome little world of New York City, cool things happen.

Like, you get to go on someone else’s podcast to talk about something that’s not your love life, and then they ask you questions and mix it all up and then you get to sit back and listen to yourself talk amongst people who are far smarter and further ahead in actual fields of study than you. And you think… I am lucky to get to do what I do. Continue reading

No Sugar Challenge done! And I’m eating my words (again).

It’s December 5th. Officially, I can eat sugar and drink alcohol again. But I don’t want to.

The weird thing is–and I feel like I should just stop saying this already–this cleanse has brought me far more clarity than I’d expected. Last night, I had another moment of anxiety-riddled panic and was like, “I can get the brownie out of the freezer!”. But then I didn’t get the brownie out of the freezer!

This My Year Of… challenge needs an entire post devoted to takeaways. But as I’m headed down to Brooklyn to meet a colleague friend at Gumbo Brothers and then a pre-record of Love Bites before our live show, here’s the short of it:

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From Craving to Cleaning Out… Three Weeks of Sugar (almost) Gone

Figured I’d pop this up here a day early since tomorrow is THANKSGIVING and I’ll be spending it driving, cooking, crying at the parade, and then soaking in family time.

Ironically, Thanksgiving was a big reason I chose November for this challenge. And I think tomorrow is going to be a rather anti-climactic one regarding avoiding sugar. My mom is the best with the roasted veggies (this holiday really is a tribute to our northern farmer family side, so it’s simple and loaded with stuff from the earth), she’s been getting a turkeys from organic farms for the last x number of years for me, and we’ll be packing it all up and eating with Nan in the rehabilitation center on paper plates, which is about as low-key as you can get regarding reaching for some unachievable ideal of holiday perfection. Family and food. I can do that.

So the rest of this week… Continue reading

Two Weeks Off Of Sugar Gone… (and now accepting applications for a miracle…)

“I have a faint cold fear, thrills through my veins / That almost freezes up the heat of life…”

That’s one of Juliet’s lines from Romeo and Juliet, and it’s been popping up in my head a lot, lately. So I wax Shakespearean when the world turns on its side a bit–what about it?

Right now it’s because I literally have chills coursing under my skin, through my bloodstream, setting hairs on end, making my heart race, unsettling me. I don’t know how to define this feeling: not quite anxiety, or depression, or full-on apathy, or woe, or anger. It’s a bit of everything and nothing. Another week of waves. Of not quite understanding the world or my place in it. Of feeling triumphant and then depleted. Of being offered something loving and then not quite receiving it.

But wait, this is supposed to be about sugar. Continue reading

Will all of this be worth it?

Serious question to myself here. 

I’m pondering what I’ve most forcefully recognized of late: that social media, material goods, sugar and booze are only temporary, quick fixes — Bandaids of comfort that don’t really help us deal with the source of anything. I’m dealing with life stuff without any of them right now. It’s hard and it hurts and I’m managing, yes. But will this really change the course of my life and the success of my  1) 2) 3) ‘s overall? 

I may have to speak with people who’ve given up lifelong vocations — yogis, vegans, religious leaders, military veterans, whatever — when their belief systems had them questioning or proved pointless. Because is going without or suffering for the sake of wisdom or virtue wise? Is there value and merit in the comfort quick fixes bring?

Pathetically defeated by the common cold…

Well, it’s more than that. 

Saturday, after two weeks of relentless work and then the world ending (if there was ever a time to be hyperbolic, this is it people), my body shut down. Several things hit at once — headaches, crushing bone pain, my period coming four days early (lady chromosomes are angry!), light sensitivity, intestines freaking out… and a head cold.

In 80% of cold remedies? Some form of sugar.

Shit. Continue reading

One week off of sugar and booze… and I need to stop assuming shit isn’t gonna be hard…

Last week I naively wrote that I didn’t expect any miracles from going off of sugar for thirty days. And regarding my health, that’s still true.

One week in, I don’t feel thinner or more energized or anything. I think I technically “lost” a pound or so, but that could be from stress as much as the absence of popcorn or brownies or wine. I haven’t felt an actual hangover, but I still wake with life hangovers (because of my health issues, I wake up with headaches pretty much every day) so I dunno.

Socially, it didn’t challenge me much either, as I’ve documented here daily.

Personally: Well, this was a rough week for the world. And I couldn’t resort to comfort foods or booze to self-sooth. Because of what I’ve learned from past periods of abstinence, I restrained from jumping online to get lost in social media or buy Hillary t-shirts or bath salts to make myself feel better, too.

Which makes me wonder: Is this whole year of abstinence really about looking at the darkest parts of the world — and myself — head on, alone? About accepting that right now nothing will really make me feel better and I just need to feel the pain, deal,  and move forward?

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November 8th and No Alcohol…

How did this election not come into consideration when choosing this whole stupid “30 days of no sugar” thing? 

Seriously. I haven’t wanted to give up a challenge more. I won’t. But I’m too exhausted from working a shitload for, what, nine days straight now that I can’t join my friends all over the city in tense apprehension. So I’m home alone and would really appreciate one of the special bottles of wine or whiskey waiting on my shelves while I flip between the news and anything else I can find to distract me from it . I won’t give in. But man, do I want to.

I Failed At My Next Challenge Before It Even Began…

No Shopping Day 86

I’m already pondering my next period of abstinence. After a rather easy 90 days of no superfluous shopping, I figure it’s time for a heavy hitter. So as of November 1st, I’m off of sugar for 30 days. That’s no alcohol, refined sugars, grains, and sweeteners for the month that kicks us into the holiday season.

That is, I was. Until I got an offer I couldn’t refuse. For November 3rd.

Gulp. Continue reading