“OK,” Oscar Coetzee, my sports nutritionist, says to our fitness training group on Tuesday evening. “We are starting a week long raw food cleanse next week, so everyone get prepared to feed your cells with amazing nutrients to rejuvenate and energize your body.”  The collective sigh filled the air. Raw food… you mean nothing cooked, just raw?!  I imagined myself carrying around a 5lb bag of baby carrots for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.
As I continue on the road to RAGBRAI and my personal transformation, this week long raw food cleanse is just another step (or shall I say, pedal stroke) on my journey.  How was I ever going to make it through 8 days without cooked food and no coffee? I don’t dislike vegetables; in fact, it may be hard to believe, but baked kale and roasted brussel sprouts “done just right” rank up there with Denville Dairy Flood Mud ice cream on my list of favorite foods. No really, they do… but they are cooked! Now, as I looked ahead at the raw food protocol for the week, I see that we are going to be juicing brussel sprouts. Yes, that’s right. Brussel sprout juice for lunch on Day 1.
Over the next few days, I was obsessing about all the foods that I wouldn’t be able to eat. I was trying to figure out how to get them all in before Monday morning- popcorn, dark chocolate and sea salt Kind bars, chicken apple sausage from Trader Joe’s, Starbucks’ lattes and so on. Then the following text message arrived on my phone, “I’ve been craving Ethiopian food in case you are interested in joining me.” Not being one to ever turn down a dinner at Mesob in Montclairof course, I was interested But there was no way to fit dinner into my schedule before day 1. So now visions of Ingudai Tibs (sauteed portabella mushrooms) will be floating through my dreams for the next 10 days. Sigh… Can I really do this? Can I really eat raw food for more than a week? Can I really ride 406 miles on my bike in one week!? I was feeling defeated.
How often do we feel overwhelmed like this in our lives? Daunting tasks surround us. For some people, just a challenging thought is paralyzing. For others, they work, work , work non-stop; yet never seem to reach an end, never seem to be able to enjoy that sense of accomplishment, never seem to be able to stop, re-evaluate, relax and enjoy the journey.  It’s all about your perspective. I decided to stop looking at the entire eight days; stop focusing on the end that was so far away, but rather take it … One day at a time. One meal at a time. One juice at a time. I can do this!
 Day 1 Breakfast: Carrot, Celery and Cucumber Juice. I can do this!
 And the “Ingudai Tibs” … well, very soon, they will be my sweet reward at the end of my week-long journey.