I have a great idea. Stop eating everything you love.
No. Wait. Hear me out, here. Do it right before you have a joint replaced and you have a small child at home.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING. JUST LISTEN.
In the days before your surgery, you will experience miracles. You will spend lots of money at the grocery store because you never went out to eat. You will remain in your kitchen for what seems like days, jumping out of bed in the morning to send your husband off with lunch that you diligently prepared. You will eat all the homemade mayo and avocados you can handle. You will do all the dishes ever. You will hate everyone and wonder how that person walking with an iced latte has the UNMITIGATED GALL to be smiling and carefree while you choke down bitter black brew. You wonder if you can body swap with people eating ice cream, and then realize you're cravenly staring at children and the verboten frozen treat in their hands. However...
You will be in less pain. You will play with your daughter and you will move easier (aside from that one knee you're gonna swap out for robot parts). You will go to sleep without a problem, stay asleep, and get out of bed easily. And early. And happy. Clothes will fit differently. You will be proud of yourself. You will look in the mirror and say, "DAMN," even though you SHOULD have said that before this, at least you're starting now. You like this. It's so weird. You even get the hang of it and your husband packs up his own lunches and makes dinner and tells you to relax.
Then you have surgery. You get titanium rods in your leg and a big plastic disc to replace your nonexistent cartilage. You look like this now:
When you're in the hospital, post-op, you will be incredibly nauseous. Just like you were pre-op -when they were afraid you'd choke on your own vomit because you wouldn't be able to tell them in twilight sedation that you had to hurl and they didn't want to intubate you. The nurse looked at you and said, "I don't want to be mean, but you don't look like you feel very well," and you realized that nurse doesn't know what mean is. Somehow, you make it through without aspirating on regurgitated food from 12 hours ago. When you wake up, you're still really green, so they bring you food. A turkey sandwich. Now, keep in mind, your body is in shock and you're high af. Not a court in the world would convict you for messing up on the plan. Also, what the hell court is that? Sounds like a massive waste of taxpayer dollars.
You will, without even making a deal out of it, peel the bread off the sandwich, eat the turkey, tomato, and all the fruit. You will mention that perhaps the turkey has carrageenan and sugar in it. But you're ok with that. You leave the bread, cheese, and crackers on the tray. You followed your fucking plan after surgery when you DID NOT have to. But hey, you were on day 23...you think. What day is it? Can you go to sleep yet? What the hell do they mean, "Get up and walk?!" You've had an epidural, you can't get up and - holy shit, you got up and walked. Time to go home.
You'll lose some time in there for a while. You know your delightful husband made you this delicious cauliflower rice stir fry:
You sleep for...a long time. At some point, he gives you more of the delicious porridge you had before, because porridge goes well with a cane, which is what you're walking with now.
You sleep some more. When you wake up, you are given fistfuls of medication. And then this for dinner:
That's right. He went out and grilled for y'all. It's simple, delicious, and helps keep you from vomiting everywhere because it has substance to it. You're so grateful, you pass out again.
There's been physical therapy and nurses in here somewhere, but that's not relevant and involves a lot of crying and cursing.
Saturday is going to be rough, you think, because your husband will be at work and your Father-In-Law hasn't arrived yet.
You're wrong, Your village comes out in full force, and one friend plays with your kid all day while getting you whatever you need. Another drops treats by. Many text and call to see if you're ok. Once there as many people as possible in your house to surround you with love and support, you throw up into a crock pot thanks to your meds.
You always liked to do things in front of an audience. So.
While you were in surgery, a saintly friend cleaned your whole house while another took your kid to school. The same one who cleaned your house came in with groceries and made food for you and your husband for the entire week, all plan compliant.
You are the luckiest human alive. You try to thank them, but all that comes out is drool. Damn painkillers.
Over the next week, uou eat carnitas with pineapple salsa and almond flour tortillas, autumn orange soup, chicken salad, and delicious potatoes. Notice there is slaw on the carnitas. This is NOT the bullshit you made previously. This is actually tasty and perfect in this dish.
To celebrate, your daughter draws a picture of you with a potato.
The end of your Whole30 happens while you're still recovering and you father-in-law is still visiting. According to the reintroduction, you can bring booze back first. They suggest gluten free hooch, like potato vodka and tequila. You aren't ready for shots yet. So your very generous FIL brings you a giant bottle of Chopin.
You take about two sips. You're a goddamned lightweight now.
Over the next couple of weeks, you will try reintroducing some foods, but not so much the heavy hitters (gluten and dairy). Now, why would you NOT bring those back? They're your favorites!
Because you're taking painkillers and an anti-inflammatory so strong, it has torn your guts to shreds. You throw up, you feel nauseous, and your digestion has gone straight to hell. All the beautiful work the Whole30 did for you has been replaced with fitful, painful sleep, almost no stamina, and one TWO AND A HALF HOUR stint in the bathroom.
It's as awful as it sounds. Actually, it's worse. You try not to think about that day...but it haunts you still.
Therefore, you are UTTERLY TERRIFIED to have a sandwich. Or ice cream. Or an ice cream sandwich. You don't know what it will do to you, so you decide to wait until you're done with your meds.
On the upside, there are a lot of clothes you can wear that you couldn't wear before. You're super stylin at physical therapy. It's important to look great while you cry and scream, "MOTHERFUCKER" at the really nice therapists.
So, while the author of the Whole30 goes on about how you aren't allowed to say this is hard, you challenge her to do it while getting a goddamned knee replacement. You fantasize about standing over her while she works on flexion and ask if she packed an Rx Bar for snacking and she's not allowed to complain. Because you're petty. And no diet is taking that away.
I'm gonna switch back to first person. Here's the thing: I will continue eating this way most of the time. I shudder to think how this would have gone if I was sitting on my ass in recovery shoving pizza in my sad I-Will-Never-Be-Normal-Again face hole. It would have been gruesome. I look great...until I try to straighten my leg for long periods of time. Then I look like a very angry monster.
My energy has been entirely focused on recovery, which is why this is so late. I had paying clients that had to wait for their pieces because the pain killers made letters wavy when I looked at them, and because I wanted to fall asleep after standing for 10 minutes.
I'm getting back to good, ever so slowly. I will keep most of the Whole30 on my menu in order to keep the inflammation down. Also, I'm really digging how my pants fit so I don't need to buy new ones.
But I swearddagod. As soon as I'm done with these meds? I'm having a giant baguette that I will wash down with a waffle cone.