For upwards of four years now, I have been testing out various fad diets and writing about my experiences, typically to the detriment of my metabolism, mental stability, and overall health. Sometimes, people enjoy this. Sometimes they tell me to kill myself. It’s a mixed bag, really.
Despite the many things I have written to the contrary, I love doing these diets. I love pushing myself to limits that literally no one asked me to push myself to. I love the adverse reactions I get from people when I explain why I’m buying Grade B Maple Syrup in bulk. But mostly, I just love attention and suffering, so this is truly my calling.
While doing research for my next diet, I decided to take a stroll down memory lane and revisit some of my more outlandish ventures. While this was initially a move of pure procrastination, it made me think that it could be fun to reminisce on the simpler times in my life when I walked around with ice cream in my purse or incited social media rants from unnamed wellness influencers.
Without further ado, here is the ranking of the most ridiculous sh*t I’ve ever put my body through in the name of art.
Full transparency, I loved Keto. I try to still adhere to it, albeit in the loosest terms possible. But in those early days when I had no idea what I was doing, before I truly understood macros or what it meant to measure food, sh*t got weird. How weird, you may ask? Please refer to the photo below of me, sitting on my patio, eating rotisserie chicken straight out of the bag at 9pm on a Tuesday because I had abruptly realized that I was still 790 calories short of my daily goal. This is not an ad for Frank’s Red Hot, but also, I would not be opposed to this being an ad for Frank’s Red Hot. Call me.
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pictured: me at 9PM on a Tuesday night, eating a rotisserie chicken directly out of the bag after I found out that I was still 790 calories short of my daily goal. read all about this & more truly horrifying antics in the latest installment of the Fad Diet Diaries. link in bio.
Keto is a dream once you can break down that mental barrier that tells you that you can’t eat things like butter. If that sounds like an easy feat to you, congrats on never having had an eating disorder. The idea that I was not only allowed, but encouraged, to eat buttery, creamy, fatty foods on a daily basis was so outrageous that for a second I understood the extreme resolve with which Flat Earthers stand by their beliefs. The ground doesn’t curve when you walk on it! Butter is fattening! These are indisputable facts, and I refuse to hear anything to the contrary!
But once you’ve moved past that simple obstacle, life is different. You know how many kinds of cheese are sitting in my fridge at this very moment? Six. SIX. Sure, there hasn’t been bread in my kitchen in months, but SIX KINDS OF CHEESE. It’s liberating, in a way that prison yards are liberating. Like yeah, there’s lots of fresh air and more activities to take part in, but also you’re still being held captive by a system built to deprive you of your humanity.
Diets are bad. Don’t do them.
You would think that a diet that forced me to consume nothing but spicy lemonade for 10 straight days would be further up on the list of stupid things I’ve done, but that’s because you don’t understand the supreme comfort of not having options.
Most of the other diets on this list have a large margin for error. You can unknowingly eat the wrong ingredients or even too much of the right ingredients. You can be tempted by “safe” foods with hidden pitfalls or fool yourself with meaningless words like “moderation.” But that’s not the case with the Master Cleanse, because you’re allowed one thing and one thing only: cayenne lemonade. Two liters of it a day. For 10 days.
There’s no room to justify cheating, because there’s no gray area here. Every day is the same question, a thousand times over. “Is whatever I want to eat in this moment a liter of spicy lemonade? No? Then I can’t have it.” It’s crazy how easy life gets once choice is taken out of the equation. That’s usually a sentiment that dictators in movies use to justify their regimes, but I won’t waste time drawing any parallels there.
I’m gonna do this wack ass crash diet vogue printed in the 70s and die pic.twitter.com/DbHCWBJ4cf
— Open Heart (@Rayoflightray) April 28, 2019
No diet in my entire history of diets has gone off the rails faster than the Cabbage Soup Diet did. It came too early in my career, before I’d broken my will enough to truly understand self-control. Perhaps tackling it today would be a different story, but at the tender age of 23, I was unprepared for what the Cabbage Soup Diet would offer me: too many options.
Remember what I said about the Master Cleanse just few paragraphs up? This is the opposite, in every way. Every day the Cabbage Soup Diet gives you merely a parameter of the things that you can eat, without an inkling of portion sizes. To an adult with the ability to stop themselves from eating an entire flat of blackberries in a day, this probably wouldn’t be an issue. To me, an animal without the foresight to realize the mass outbreak of canker sores that would result from eating that many blackberries in a mere 24 hours, it was a hellscape of my own making.
The Cabbage Soup Diet is not a diet, it’s a social experiment. Some sadistic asshole wrote down on a website designed in 1984, “you can eat three steaks today” and then waited to see if some idiot would actually do it. Well, guess what! That idiot is here! And time has given her the wisdom to fight back! Or at the very least, yell about it on the Internet!
Despite the fact that I willingly opted into this experiment, I still somehow feel like the Cabbage Soup Diet took advantage of me. It’s a sentient being from another universe, sent here to prey on weak-minded people who think eating four bananas a day is something moderately within the realm of healthy behavior. That cursed website is the dieting world’s version of Tom Riddle’s Diary: another second longer and I would have been found in a dungeon, cradling a bucket of mushy vegetable soup. I don’t even know where I’m going with this anymore. F*ck you, Cabbage Soup Diet.
As far as diets go, Whole30 wasn’t that crazy. Sure, I didn’t remotely enjoy it. But, all things considered, it’s not like the premise was insane. In fact I discovered, one of my favorite recipes of all time, a lovely Whole30 compliant Zuppa Toscana, during my 30-day trial. The entire experience was kind of like that time I (accidentally?) ate a bunch of edibles at homecoming senior year of high school and then puked all over my blackberry—it didn’t ruin my life but I’m not exactly in a rush to do it again anytime soon, you know?
So why does Whole30 hold the number two ranking on this coveted list? One that could be taken by Kourtney Kardashian’s godforsaken avocado pudding? For one very important reason, reader: this video.
(Please excuse the recording methodology—my roommate and I are incapable of grasping technology released past the year 1997)
On Monday, March 19th, 2018, the founder of Whole30, one Melissa Hartwig, posted a series of stories to her Instagram. This in itself isn’t out of the ordinary; she’s an influencer, that’s what she does. Except, on this fateful day, these videos were about me.
I think it goes without saying when I tell you that this kind of thing doesn’t usually happen to me. Except for that one time one of the kids from MTV’s Scream retweeted one of my recaps about his show, this is the most public attention I have ever received for my work on social media. I am 100% sincere when I say that I will cherish this series of impassioned statements about what a sh*tty person I am for the rest of my life.
I cannot stress enough to you how often this video gets broken out in my day-to-day life. At work. At bars. In Lyfts. At bars. When I’m home for Christmas. Mostly at bars. Drunk people love this stuff.
The fact that this woman exerted the effort to not only post a swipe-up to my article but then immediately tear it to shreds over the course of five consecutive videos will never cease to delight me. It makes every bloated, exhausted, sober second of Whole30 worth it. Guess I did find that life-changing journey, just not in the way she expected.
Nothing will ever top this, in terms of preparation, dedication, fervor, or absolute insanity. The absolute wildest thing about about the Halo Top Diet was that it’s not even justifiable; eating ice cream for seven days is, despite what I told everyone around me, not a diet. Period. This series is dedicated to the trials and tribulations of documented fad diets, and yet somehow I managed to convince a company, an editor, my friends, my family, and my coworkers that this was a viable idea. To this day, I don’t understand how it happened.
To have known me during the Halo Top Diet is akin to having known someone during war, except only one of you was at war and the other was bemusedly watching from the comfort of their home while eating a hot dog. Also your friend at war kept asking if they could smell your hot dog. Shut up. It’s fine.
Friends of mine still reminisce on the Halo Top Diet like it was a nostalgic era of their youth and not the most surreal seven days of my entire life. Let’s ignore the obvious physical ramifications at play here—do you understand the mental strain you endure when you set out to eat ice cream and nothing else for a week? Can you even grasp it? Let me answer that for you: you can’t. I thought I could, and I was wrong.
After two days, the laws of polite society cease to exist. There is no social norm too big to surmount, no simple civility that you aren’t willing to trample. You transcend faux pas and exist in a serene yet somehow also ominous realm of ultimate inner peace, save the unrelenting headache and constant nagging reminder that every meal you eat for potentially the rest of your life will be cold and sweet.
That realm makes things possible that you would never have believed yourself capable of before. Things like standing in front of your entire office and begging them not to touch the ice cream in the freezer because it is both your breakfast and lunch. Things like looking at a waiter in the eye, saying “I’m good, thanks,” and then pulling a pint of melted ice cream out of your purse to eat in front of them. Things like attempting to pour hot sauce onto your ice cream in a fevered search for something savory, only to be stopped by people who do, in fact, care about your dignity. You know, to name a few.
In short, if you can’t handle me at my Halo Top, you don’t deserve me ever. That’s it. That’s the deal.
Have an idea for a diet that could potentially rival the ones on this list? Leave it in the comment section and I just may hate myself enough to try it.
Images: Giphy (2), Instagram (@marykatefotch, @melissa_hartwig)
It goes without saying that none of us are Beyoncé.
I am not Beyoncé. You are not Beyoncé. Your coworker with the mug that says “you have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyoncé” is delusional—and also not Beyoncé. If Beyoncé is reading this, then she is, in fact, Beyoncé, but I have a feeling she is not taking time out of one of those precious hours that you apparently also have to read what I have to say. However, if anyone finds evidence to the contrary, please send it my way ASAP so I can ride that high for the rest of my life.
Lest you live in a cave in the Appalachians, you’ve likely heard of the Netflix documentary Homecoming, which follows Beyoncé in the run-up to her groundbreaking 2018 Coachella performance. The film covers her journey from the very beginning all the way through to the actual show, detailing creative concepting, rehearsals, and the kinds of preparation she underwent in order to be ready for such a performance just a little under a year after giving birth to her twins.
How does one manage to look the way that Beyoncé did on that stage a mere 10 months after housing and then birthing two human children? Well for starters, by cutting out every enjoyable food group possible. “In order for me to meet my goals, I’m limiting myself to no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol.” You know what else she said? “I’m hungry.” It’s the only thing we’ve ever had in common.
If this sounds unhealthy to you, that’s because it pretty much is. Doctors say so. My body said so. Hell, even Beyoncé admitted it, going so far as to say that she’d “never…never push that far again.” She was likely referring to the strict diet combined with insane rehearsal hours and general exhaustion that accompanies raising two infants, but I’m still going to use it to validate myself.
In short, and as we have covered multiple times across multiple journeys, extremely restrictive diets are bad for you. Full stop. All of the food groups that you’ve been taught to avoid like the plague—carbs, dairy, anything that isn’t leafy green—have nutrients your body needs, in moderation. But for some people, myself included, it’s easier to deny yourself of something altogether than to limit yourself to small amounts of it. It’s the definition of all-or-nothing and a terrible crutch to go through life with, but this is real, this is me.
You see, I’ve never looked at one single thing Beyoncé has done and then thought to myself “hey, I bet I could do that.” The singing? Not with 100 years of vocal coaching. The dancing? You’d have to replace every single one of my joints with functioning ones, and it’d still be a stretch. The ability to look at Jay-Z post-Lemonade and still want to have sex with him? God given. But this? A sh*tty diet? This is my wheelhouse. At last, Beyoncé and I might be on equal footing. Her footing may be exponentially more coordinated, but equal nonetheless.
Lol, jk. I never stood a chance.
Like almost every other aspect of her life, the exact details of Beyoncé’s diet are shrouded in secrecy, leaving me to make a lot of assumptions and take a lot of liberties. Just the way she would have wanted it, I’m sure. Basically, if she didn’t say I couldn’t have it in that single quote from the documentary, I ate it. This allowed me to introduce legumes and nuts into my regimen, which became vital in both not starving to death and not becoming entirely narcoleptic.
For three days I tried eating like Beyoncé and all in all, it wasn’t terrible. Sure, it could have been a lot better than it was, but I was never truly miserable in the ways that other diets have made me feel. But instead of detailing my day-by-day experience for you, which was relatively mundane, all things considered, I’ll present some learnings that will come in handy should any of you decide to embark on the Beyoncé diet on your own.
1. You Will Have To Try
I live in a vegan-friendly city and know there are a lot of great options out there, but none that I felt like tackling on my own. Rather than expend any real effort on things like meal planning or, I don’t know, actual cooking, I stuck to salads, vegetables and hummus, and fruit. For three days, this was totally fine. Any longer than that and I imagine things would have gotten real boring real quick. I have a feeling Beyoncé has a chef on hand to prepare meals that are far more exciting than my lentil salad but that’s a luxury that, tragically, I couldn’t afford.
2. You Will Be Tired
It’s difficult to come across protein in diet that consists almost entirely of fruits and vegetables. I did my best with the addition of beans and nuts, but it didn’t really compare to the meat I’m used to consuming on a daily basis. I wasn’t brave enough to venture into the world of Tofu or meat substitutes, and wasn’t even entirely sure it was something I was allowed to have, so I spent a lot of time being tired and then trying to compensate with black coffee. You know what doesn’t sit well on a stomach full of greens and almost nothing else? Black coffee.
3. You Will Be Hungry
Not all the time—just more often than usual. Fruits and vegetables can be filling, but not for long periods of time. I found myself needing more frequent snacks than usual, especially in the afternoon during the time I’d typically still be full from a normal lunch. Thanks to an office kitchen stocked with Beyoncé-friendly snacks, I took to walking around with a pocket full of pistachios at almost all times. It’s not a cute habit, would not recommend.
4. You Will Need To Re-Evaluate Meals
You know what I’ve learned over the past three days? Time is a social construct, as is the food we assign to it. Once upon a time, breakfast meant eggs and bacon. Now, it means literally anything I am allowed to eat within the confines of this strict-ass diet. Once you realize that the only thing stopping you from eating dinner for breakfast is yourself, you’ll be unstoppable. A leftover veggie skewer at 8am? Why not! Hummus before work? Do it! Grapefruits for every meal in between? The world is your oyster. Except not really, because seafood isn’t allowed. But given the opportunity, I would have eaten oysters for breakfast.
5. You Should Definitely Drink Alcohol
Yeah, so I realize she explicitly said “no alcohol” but here’s what I learned: Wou will never be a cheaper date than after three straight days of eating almost exclusively vegetables. I’m serious. Wednesday night was the most cost-effective night of my life, and I woke up without even a hint of a hangover. Not sure if I can attribute the second part of that to Beyoncé, but I’m going to do it anyway. Obviously you need to avoid the more sugary drinks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time.
After only a few days of trying to live vaguely like Beyoncé, I don’t think I lost any actual weight. This wasn’t unexpected; it was three days. However, I do feel better.
While not sustainable in the long term, I found this diet to be a great way of resetting both your mind and body. The past two weeks have been a bit indulgent on my part, and this was helpful in getting me back on track and curbing the cravings that I might have succumbed to otherwise.
Plus, being hungry as often as I was forced me to drink more water, and it turns out being hydrated feels really nice. Who knew?
While this was a fun experiment, it warrants saying this: Beyoncé does not want you to live like this. That woman loves food. That woman loves life. That woman loves not starving to death, and most importantly, that woman loves you. Do not limit yourself because Beyoncé did, but rather, live a life that Beyoncé would be proud of. One of moderation, with a few cheats here and there. One where you let yourself enjoy things without feeling bad about them. One where you stream Lemonade on Spotify. IDK, just spitballing here, but it feels like it’s what she’d want.
Images: Giphy (3)
Welcome back for another installment of the Fad Diet Diaries, a series in which I slowly but surely destroy my already fragile relationship with food, one dumb celebrity regimen at a time. The celebrity in question this time around is one Kourtney Kardashian, a woman who manages to look better middle-aged and after three children than I looked at 21 and before I discovered Postmates. Today is Kourtney’s 41st birthday (not that you’ll be able to tell by anything about her), and in honor of that I did the only thing I know how to do: emulate her diet and then complain about it. These are my stories.
While this particular diet was short-lived, a mere three days, my journey to get to this point actually started a little over a year ago. In February 2018, Kourtney Mary Kardashian released her daily meal plan on her app. These were pre-Poosh days, practically prehistoric. I paid $2.99 for said app (and then forgot to unsubscribe for months, leading to many subsequent payments) so I could get the dirt, and then write this piece about it.
While it’s the cardinal rule of the Internet to not read the comment section, I literally always do because I’m a masochist in constant need of validation. Sometimes it’s rewarding, sometimes it’s soul crushing, and very rarely will I actually respond to things. But a year ago, one kind soul asked if I’d be embarking on the Kourtney Kardashian diet, which seemed like a fair question considering what I do here. Me, being a naïve fool, threw out a cheeky “stay tuned” and left it at that, not realizing the financial burden I was about to undertake.
Well ThristyIPhone, you have stayed tuned for a whole year. Thank you for your patience. I am finally ready to tell you about my journey to becoming Kourtney Kardashian.
I don’t know if you’ve all heard, but Kourtney Kardashian is rich as f*ck. After a little research back in 2018, I learned that her supplement regimen alone was going to be over $100, and that was before I even got to groceries. In news that should surprise no one, Kourtney’s honey of choice costs $40. $40!!! In that moment, my dreams of eating like a Kardashian, even for a short period of time, died. I bid Kourtney farewell and set out in search of other, more cost-effective way to destroy my metabolism. It only took us a full year to realize that companies might actually donate to our cause.
We’d like to give a huge shout-out to our friends at Bulletproof for sending me their Collagen Protein and Brain Octane MCT Supplement, both of which I enjoyed enough to continue using in my regular day-to-day life. Unfortunately we weren’t able to source Kourtney’s blue-green algae or bone broth powder of choice in time, but I think that may have been a blessing in disguise.
All in all, this wasn’t a bad experience. In fact, without having to buy most of the expensive items for myself, it was pretty manageable. Turns out it’s not that hard to be a Karadashian, assuming you have a chill five hours to spare in the morning and limitless funds to fuel your antics.
Kourtney’s routine is very morning heavy. She wakes up, immediately takes collagen on an empty stomach, waits 20 minutes and then drinks a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, waits an undisclosed amount of time and then has a vegan probiotic shot followed by a supplement-stuffed avocado pudding that she makes herself, works out, then comes home and eats breakfast. That all sounds super nice for someone with a flexible schedule, but I have to be at work by 9am, which means I was waking up at 5:30am every day to try and work all this in.
The schedule that I painstakingly built out the night before fell apart almost immediately. There was a significant learning curve here for me, someone who has never had collagen or attempted to eat a blended avocado in her life.
- 5:30 – Wake up and immediately drink collagen
- 5:50 – Wait 20 min – 1 tbs ACV with water
- 6:00 – Probiotic shot
- 6:10 – Avocado smoothie (with MCT oil)
- 7:00 – Workout
- 8:30 – Oatmeal
Things were off to a rocky start right off the bat. I now know that the vanilla collagen that Bulletproof sent to me tastes great mixed in coffee, or likely most beverages that aren’t a glass of room temperature water, but Kourtney said she takes her on an empty stomach. I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant, and it was 5:30 in the morning, so I mixed two scoops into some water and hoped for the best.
I, uh, wouldn’t recommend it. I would, however, recommend mixing it into some mint tea, which makes for a lovely wake-up, and is what I proceeded to do for the next two days.
Twenty minutes after that, I poured a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into another full glass of water and basically chugged it. As someone who loves vinegar, this wasn’t as bad as most people might expect. As someone who hates being hydrated, it was a struggle.
Next came the guess work. Kourtney didn’t specifically detail how long she waits between the apple cider vinegar and the probiotic shot, but I had a schedule to maintain. My goal was to finish everything at least 45 minutes before my 7am cycling class and then just pray that was enough time to keep my from puking it all back up. It’s a glamorous lifestyle I lead, but someone has to do it.
I take back everything I’ve previously said about vegan probiotic shots, because it was a dream (not to be confused with Dream Kardashian, who is a baby and not a vegan supplement), truly the highlight of my entire Kourtney experience. I went with the Vanilla Chamomile GoodBelly Super Shot, which I ended up having to actually buy but was fairly affordable, all things considered. Kourtney drinks two of these a day, one in the morning and one at night, and it became the one thing I looked forward to most in the day. A light at the end of a very long dark tunnel full of avocado pudding.
Let’s talk about this avocado pudding.
Every single day of her life, Kourtney blends one whole avocado with one cup of organic coconut milk and two teaspoons of her exorbitantly expensive honey, tosses in some MCT oil, bone broth powder and blue-green algae for good measure, and then proceeds to actually eat it, like a complete and total sociopath.
Full disclosure: I did not buy Kourtney’s bourgeoisie honey. Yes, it has health benefits. No, I do not care. I used regular, poor person honey. I don’t think that my experience would have been any different otherwise, but I guess we’ll never know.
To every food blog that convinced me it would be delicious: f*ck you. Truly, from the bottom of my heart. Consider this my declaration of a formal blood feud. My grandchildren will be forced to murder your grandchildren in the streets, full on Hatfield-McCoy style, all because you lied to the Internet in a misguided attempt to impress Kourtney Kardashian. Was it worth it? Was it?
It’s not like I’m avocado adverse. I’m a millennial. I am a white woman. I am a millennial white woman from California. I’m a walking billboard for avocados. I’ve eaten more than my fair share of them, smeared across every surface imaginable, actual flavor profiles be damned. During Whole30 I ate guacamole with a spoon for lunch on more occasions that I’d like to admit. But this avocado pudding is an affront to God. I managed to swallow two whole spoonfuls before I poured the entire thing down the drain, where it continued to torture me by emitting the most offensive odor I’ve ever encountered when I started spraying it with hot water in the hopes that it would cleanse it from my sink, and memories, forever.
Taste aside, there was no possible way that I could eat an entire bowl of coconut milk avocado soup and then continue to go about my day in any kind of functional way. I sure as hell wasn’t going to be able to work out after. Maybe Kourtney’s schedule allows for more flexible timing, but I was cutting it close on my agenda as is. I’m not going to wake up at 4am and then further punish myself with that concoction. I had, at long last apparently, found my line.
Me: This pudding is the single worst thing to ever happen to me
So needless to say, the pudding was removed from my regimen immediately. I opted to pour the MCT oil into my morning oatmeal and call it good. I haven’t looked at an avocado the same since, which is unfortunate because Kourtney eats about three of them a day.
As anyone who’s ever watched Keeping Up with the Kardashians knows, those ladies love their salads. But considering the fact that I don’t live in Calabasas, and I’m assuming the Health Nut doesn’t ship lunch orders, I was on my own here. Kourtney’s description of her daily lunch salad was vague at best, only telling us that it usually involves chicken or salmon and some kind of homemade dressing. Enter Poosh: my source for all things Kourtney.
Much of this diet was built out by merging the information disclosed on Kourtney’s app with what I was able to uncover through Poosh and assorted food blogs. It wasn’t an exact science, but it felt like the best route considering I couldn’t just text her and be like, “Hey girl, why do you hate God and love avocados? Also, $40 honey???”
Poosh directed me to Kourtney’s Signature Salad, which became the base for my lunch for all three days of the diet. I added arugula (because honestly, what the f*ck) and salmon to round it out and keep myself from starving, but otherwise stuck with the recipe. You know what smells really good in an open-space office at noon? A salad full of salmon and hard-boiled eggs.
For snacks Kourtney opts for fresh fruit, raw almonds, or (you guessed it) more avocados. Specifically, avocado hummus with fresh vegetables. Do not come within 100 yards of that woman with a pita chip, so help me God.
I will admit, the hummus was a bop. Not only did it taste great, but nothing makes you feel quite as smug and self-assured as telling people you made your own hummus. It’s literally the easiest thing in the world, but in just ten minutes I had fully transformed into a lifestyle blogger.
“I diverged from the recipe and added extra lime juice, which I think balanced out the avocado nicely, but it’s really what you make it!” – something I actually said to a coworker, as if I invented hummus or limes. Kourtney was changing me.
After work I would come home and do another round of apple cider vinegar and a probiotic shot. These became so par for the course that I am comfortable saying I could probably drink straight vinegar at this point. Call it an added perk I guess.
Dinner had perhaps the least parameters of any meal thus far. Kourtney’s app said she likes a “homemade asparagus soup, sometimes a healthy turkey chili when it’s cold,” and Poosh gave me absolutely nothing. Luckily the weather was horribly depressing this week, the perfect conditions for a healthy turkey chili.
The chili wasn’t bad. In fact it was pretty good, considering I couldn’t add a heaping amount of cheese and sour cream as I usually would. But, it did get old. Fast. I have a feeling Kourtney doesn’t make one (far too large) pot of chili, and then proceed to eat it every night because she maxed out her weekly grocery spend on three days’ worth of organic groceries and probiotic shots. In fact, I’m willing to bet that Kourtney has a freshly prepared dinner every night of the week, one that is both incredibly healthy and tasty, and likely prepared by someone who doesn’t pat themselves on the back for managing to blend garbanzo beans and avocados together without incident.
Because the reality of the situation here, and something that I probably didn’t need to tell you all, is that Kourtney has the resources to make these this diet both manageable and accessible. She’s got time, limitless money, and what I’m assuming is a full-time staff at her disposal. I, tragically, have zero of those things.
The next two days continued the same as the first, albeit with a few less hiccups. I woke up at 5:30am every day, worked out, and painstakingly accounted for every single thing that I ate. And, against all odds, I actually felt better for it. Obviously three days isn’t enough time to inspire any real change in my body, but I can’t discount the fact that I just feel better. Despite waking up earlier than I usually would, I’m more rested than I can remember being in a long time. I’ve slept better this week than I have in months. My thoughts are clearer, my skin is brighter, and I’m generally more confident in what I’m consuming. Sure, all of that could be a placebo effect, but I don’t really think that’s the case.
While time consuming, this routine has had the positive effect of making me stop and take stock of every single thing I’m putting in my body. As a result, not once in the past three days have I felt guilty about something I’ve eaten, or worried that I’m indulging. Arguably I shouldn’t feel like that on a normal day, but that’s a discussion for another time.
It’s no secret that better ingredients make for a better lifestyle. It’s even less of a secret that money unlocks those opportunities, as well as a wealth of others. What I’m saying here, is that we shouldn’t be surprised that Kourtney looks as good as she does. If I continued living like this, worked out like she did, and didn’t have to worry about trivial things like money, I probably would too.
Coming out the other side of this endeavor, all I can say is that we as a society can no longer claim that Kourtney Kardashian has no talent. She’s a mother. She’s an entrepreneur. She’s potentially a witch with access to a fountain of eternal youth. But most importantly, she manages to eat that cursed avocado pudding every single day, which makes her a stronger woman than I will ever be.
Images: Giphy (4)
Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen: a couple that needs no introduction. They are one part international supermodel, one part elite athlete, and two parts unbearable. Not one single aspect of their life has ever seemed even remotely attainable to me, and thus I’d never imagined I’d spend any amount of time trying to live like them.
But then I received an email three weeks ago from my editor, asking that I try to eat like Tom and Gisele for a week, and I didn’t even question it. After Keto, Whole30, the Master Cleanse, and every fad diet in between, what was one more week of bullsh*t? Surely whatever the two of them eat every day couldn’t possibly compare to the psychological torture that was eating ice cream ten days in a row. Whatever happened, they probably wouldn’t attack me on Instagram and send hordes of rabid followers after me (knock on wood), right? I shot back an overconfident yes, because, I thought to myself, what was the worst that could happen?
In an unprecedented move for me in terms of this diet series, I’m going to come out and tell you right off the bat: I failed at the Brady-Bündchen diet. I failed miserably. I’ve put my body through such laughable amounts of strain over five segments and four years, that it never really occurred to me that I’d get to a point where I wouldn’t be able to follow through on a challenge. But here I was, staring down the barrel of defeat, bested by none other than Tom Brady. Is this what it feels like to be almost every other football player in the world? If so, my condolences to you all.
But before we dive into my experience, let’s talk about what the Brady-Bündchen diet entails. It is, in short, everything you would expect from these two near-perfect animatronic humanoids. In fact, I was so unsurprised by the contents of their diet that I never even contemplated that it would become insurmountable. But here I am, a week later, humbled and angry at every vegetable in a hundred-yard radius.
My initial research came back with fairly consistent information on what exactly the Brady-Bündchens eat on a daily basis. There are a handful of articles that all seem to quote the same interview with Allen Campbell, the family’s former personal chef. Likely subject to an NDA about what exactly Tom Brady deigns to eat (because we all know it’s not strawberries), Allen’s breakdown was frustratingly vague. On a normal day, Tom and Gisele’s diet is 80% vegetables and 20% lean meat, with a small smattering of whole grains like brown rice or quinoa. It goes without saying that every ounce of it is organic.
If you thought that one of the single most famous supermodels in the world had a stricter diet than her husband, a man who literally burns thousands of calories a day as part of his career, you were mistaken. Whereas Gisele and the Brady children are allowed to indulge in fruits, Tom avoids almost all of them except for bananas, which are used in his daily breakfast smoothie. He also steers clear of nightshades, which encompass vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, mushrooms, and peppers, because he fears they may cause inflammation.
Allen offered an example of a comfort staple in the Brady household, which is healthier than something the rest of us would eat during a cleanse. “‘I’m all about serving meals in bowls. I just did this quinoa dish with wilted greens. I use kale or Swiss chard or beet greens. I add garlic, toasted in coconut oil. And then some toasted almonds, or this cashew sauce with lime curry, lemongrass, and a little bit of ginger. That’s just comfort food for them,’ Campell said.” Based on that statement alone, I was left to assume that my weekly comfort meal of Sunday night Hawaiian food was off the table. Just another thing that Tom Brady has taken from me.
It’s honestly easier to list the things that the Brady-Bündchen diet said I couldn’t have, which coincidentally happened to be every food group that has ever brought me joy. If you want to be the most hated decorated quarterback in the world, all you have to do is cut out sugar, white flour, MSG, iodized salt, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, caffeine, gluten, and dairy. Olive oil is only allowed if it’s raw, and to combat that, Allen cooks meals only with coconut oil. You know what gets old really f*cking fast? All of your meals being slightly coconut flavored, but more on that later.
Further research took me down a separate, albeit equally depressing, route: The TB12 Method. It’s Tom’s own diet and exercise book, which details his 12 principles for “sustained peak performance.” The only performance I need to sustain is the one where I show up to work every day and don’t fall asleep at my desk, so TB12 felt a bit like overkill.
The book is pretty widely renowned as nonsense, not necessarily because Tom’s diet is unhealthy, but because his claims are not accurate. Tom’s postulations on inflammation, his body’s pH levels, and “muscle pliability” are all, for the most part, entirely unsubstantiated by science. Also, the “body coach” he wrote the book with, Alex Guerrero, has been investigated by the FTC for “falsely presenting himself as a doctor and promoting bogus nutritional supplements.” Nevertheless, ladies and gentlemen, I persisted.
Alex Guerrero: Don’t eat tomatoes and you can play football forever
Literally anyone with medical knowledge:
From the TB12 Method I was able to gain a few more parameters that I would, eventually, completely abandon: starting my day with 20 ounces of high-electrolyte water and then following it up with up to TWENTY FIVE MORE GLASSES OF WATER. As I’ve covered many times in many of these kinds of articles, I’m bad at drinking water. The fact that I was reminded of it every single day when one of my 25 alarms went off, urging me to please drink a glass of water for the love of God, only served to add insult to injury.
My first mistake was underestimating the Brady-Bündchens. Or, more accurately, overestimating my own time management. Instead of doing any kind of legitimate meal prep for this endeavor, or maybe putting in an ounce of thought into what the next week would look like, I just went to my neighborhood Trader Joe’s to load up on vegetables (sans nightshades), pre-cooked quinoa (because I truly cannot be bothered to boil my own), and a few fruits (I was subscribing to the Gisele end of this diet). I went home, pre-cooked some aggressively coconut-flavored chicken for the week, and called it a day.
I would describe my typical diet as fairly healthy. I eat a lot of vegetables, generally avoid sweets and carbs, and maybe overdo it on the dairy end here and there (read: every day). Because of this, I assumed transitioning to something more stringent wouldn’t be that wild of a shift. And I was right, to an extent. In a vacuum, I probably could have managed this diet just fine, but I don’t live in a vacuum. I don’t have a personal chef who goes to the farmer’s market twice a day. And I definitely don’t have a schedule that accommodates a whole lot of prep and cook time. In short, I was destined to fail from the start.
After an utterly gluttonous weekend, I was actually excited to dive into this clean eating regimen. I woke up and made myself eggs with side of avocado (seasoned with only the finest Himalayan Sea Salt that Trader Joe’s had to offer) before I realized that I wasn’t even sure if Tom Brady ate eggs. I couldn’t find any evidence in favor or against, and seeing as how I’d actually exerted enough effort to cook breakfast on a work day, I went ahead and ate them. A strong start.
I got to work and immediately spit in the face of one of the pillars of this diet by grabbing a cup of coffee. But I drank it black, because compromise.
At lunch I made my way to New Seasons and crafted an overpriced salad. “This is a breeze,” I said to myself as I walked back to the office. “I am the pinnacle of health, a bastion of self-care,” I thought as I sat at my desk, happily munching away at my bowl of greens. “What the f*ck, I am so goddamn hungry,” I whispered, a mere…40 minutes later. Turns out a diet of 80% vegetables leaves me 100% hungry just four hours into the day.
I sustained myself on pistachios from the office kitchen until I got home to prepare a vague and unmemorable mixture of quinoa, vegetables, coconut-drenched chicken, and absolutely zero cheese, despite my deepest desires. All in all, not the worst day.
It wasn’t until I lay in bed later, nearly asleep, that I realized I hadn’t a single f*cking glass of water all day.
I woke up today determined to rectify the great drought of the day before, and immediately chugged the recommended 20 oz. of water. Unless Portland tap water has an abundance of electrolytes, it likely wasn’t up to Tom’s standards.
I made the bold choice of heading to a workout class before work this morning, which my body rejected more so than it usually does. I was feeling tired, sluggish, and just generally out of it, which leads me to believe that my natural diet consists of more sugar than I’d anticipated.
What followed was a (entirely unexpected) grueling day at the office, in which I ended up skipping lunch and working well past my regular dinner hour. I came home that night angry, stressed out, and in zero mood to cook anything. I warmed up some quinoa and chicken, halfheartedly grabbed a handful of carrot sticks, and went to bed.
I’d managed to gulp down eight glasses of water throughout the day which, to be fair, is the amount that science recommends, but pales in comparison to what Tom Brady demands.
I’d be lying if I said I woke up on the third day of this venture with any kind of positive outlook. I had another day of nonstop meetings and deadlines ahead of me. I had an interview to transcribe, a long-form piece to finish, and a prior commitment that night that I couldn’t get out of. I’d slept terribly, was likely going through sugar withdrawals, and was dreading the thought of getting through the entire day without so much as a treat to motivate myself. In short, I was in a terrible state of mind, and knew that terrible decisions would likely follow.
I built myself a salad at Chipotle for lunch, having already abandoned the notion of preparing food for myself the night before. I snacked on snap peas I’d remembered to tuck away in the work fridge throughout the afternoon. I nearly flipped a table when my boss walked in to the office with a box of brownies, as a reward for the sudden bout of nonstop work.
By the time my event rolled around that night, I was ready to snap. What’s crazy is that, looking back on it, I don’t even know why I was in such a bad mood. I know that things weren’t going well, but it’s almost as if I’d already decided I was doomed, regardless of what came my way. Which means that when I walked into my friend’s house and was offered a glass of red wine, I didn’t even hesitate to accept it. Or the second. Or third.
I’m sure Tom and Gisele indulge on a glass of wine here and there (one that probably costs more than every ounce I drank that night combined), but something tells me they don’t casually drink whole bottles of red wine on Wednesday night because they’ve had a bad week. Or maybe they do. We’re all human, I guess.
Needless to say, I didn’t come close to hitting any kind of water goal that day.
I woke up on what would be the last day of my Brady-Bündchen diet with a dry mouth, a light headache, and a debilitating need for a breakfast sandwich. While I may have succeeded in abstaining from that initial craving, the rest of my day wasn’t as successful.
What started as a minor concession (soy milk in my very necessary iced coffee), became another, slightly larger misstep (cheese on my salad at lunch), and then snowballed into what could only be described as a major transgression (one of the leftover, aforementioned brownies), and ultimately culminated in spitefully throwing the entire diet out the window and getting Hawaiian takeout on the way home from yet another late night. It wasn’t even Sunday.
What was truly strange? I didn’t feel bad about any of it. At all. I had never so brazenly defied the rules of a diet with such a lack of regard for whatever I was meant to write about it four days later. It was as if this time around, under these very specific circumstances, I truly could not bring myself to care.
That was the end of my dieting experience. I didn’t try to start fresh the next day. In fact, I think I just defiantly continued to eat things that Tom Brady would balk at. I just chalked this one up to a loss and vowed to do better next time.
In hindsight, I should have made more of an effort here, but it’s exactly that: hindsight. I sign up for these diets entirely voluntarily, and I typically love throwing myself into them with all the gusto and dedication that they require. But what I learned in the last week is that it can be hard to justify something like this when real life gets in the way.
I have a full-time job, one that is usually pretty cool but can be demanding at times. I work nine to ten hours a day, attempt to maintain a regular workout regimen, and have extracurriculars on top of that. In short, I am busy, just like how most of the people reading this are busy. And busy people don’t always have the time to prepare beautiful and immaculate meals for themselves, especially not three of them a day.
The Brady-Bündchens have a full-time personal chef. They have personal trainers. They have careers that are entirely reliant on the state of their bodies. The rest of us are not the Brady-Bündchens. Thank God.
It’s easy to beat ourselves up for not adhering to meal plans, even those laid with the best of intentions. But all the meal prepping and tedious planning in the world still won’t account for the fact that sometimes, life gets in the way.
Sometimes you’re stressed and upset and there’s a stack of cookies in your office kitchen. Sometimes you’re driving home in the late March gloom, and the very thought of eating a cold, meager salad makes you want to drive your car into oncoming traffic. Sometimes you don’t need any of those excuses and you just want to eat some cheese. And that’s okay! We’re all entitled to missteps; what matters is that you recover from them, and learn to forgive yourself along the way.
Also. F*ck Tom Brady, am I right?
Images: Giphy (4)