In the health and wellness world, detoxing seems to be all the rage these days. Instagram feeds are filled with influencers marketing ineffective “fit teas” and sugar free ice cream. Elimination diets and three-day cleanses bring people together to wallow in self-pity and hunger, with hopes of shedding a few pounds in the process.
From the juice cleanse and the soup cleanse to simply spending three days fasting, there are countless options out there. Most of them have been proven ineffective for weight loss and improvement of overall health but still seem to remain relevant due to highly intelligent marketing teams and uneducated consumers.
Pasta has never been considered healthy, but I’ve also never met anyone that doesn’t like it. A few weeks ago, I was assigned a project for a class where I could essentially write about anything I wanted, so I decided to challenge the norms and do a pasta cleanse.
I was curious as to what would happen if I decided to eat nothing but pasta for three days, similar to how people choose to drink nothing but juice for three days. Would I feel fantastic since I’m just eating rich pasta dishes for 72 hours? Or would I feel like I never want to see a single carbohydrate again?
I realized that I needed to set a few ground rules before I began.
- I will eat nothing but pasta for three days straight. No snacks.
- I will eat when I’m hungry.
- I will work out like normal. I usually work out about 5-6 times per week.
- I will drink water with each meal and throughout the day. One may also choose wine, which I’ve heard pairs perfectly with pasta.
Since I’m a college kid on a budget, I can’t afford to make nine different pasta dishes for this cleanse. Instead, I will make three servings of three different dishes. After a quick trip to the grocery store, I decide to make spaghetti carbonara, lasagna, and ravioli. Seems easy enough, right?
Alright, so it’s a little bit later than I intended to wake up, but I’m hungry and the ravioli in my fridge is calling my name. Let’s do this.
The ravioli is surprisingly super easy to make. I combine premade spinach and cheese ravioli with pesto and sautéed mushrooms. I’m regretting not adding more protein to this dish for fear that I will be hungry in about an hour, but it’s tasty and I feel like I’m starting this cleanse on a good note.
I have time to go work out, should I? Nah. It’s snowing out and I feel like being lazy. Maybe tomorrow.
I open the fridge to grab some water and see a package of salami staring me right in the face. I want some. If I weren’t doing this cleanse, I would instinctually open the package and grab a slice without thinking about it. I guess there’s something to be learned about how much I mindlessly eat.
I’m starting to get hungry. I’m actually surprised I haven’t been very hungry leading up to this point. Let’s get started on making this lasagna.
I definitely thought in order to make lasagna you boiled the noodles first and then assembled it from there. Apparently I bought no-boil noodles, so we’ll see how this turns out.
The lasagna is in the oven. I layered no-boil noodles, tomato sauce, and a mixture of ricotta cheese and spinach in a pan. I felt like I needed to add spinach in attempt to at least be a little bit healthy.
The lasagna is done. The cheese on the top is all bubbly and it’s making my entire apartment smell incredible. I cannot wait to eat.
This lasagna is decent at best. I definitely did something wrong. The noodles are still a little crunchy and there’s not enough sauce or seasoning. I didn’t even take a picture because it didn’t look appetizing in the slightest.
I’m hungry again so I’m going to help myself to another slice of crunchy lasagna. Beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.
My stomach hurts. It feels like there’s a pit in it that won’t go away. I wonder if it’s the copious amount of cheese that I’m eating or the pasta itself. Who even knows at this point.
I realized that I’ve been craving sugar all day today. I don’t often crave sweets, but could it be that my body just wants more carbohydrates?
I’m not hungry, but I’m at a bar with my friends and there’s popcorn on the table. Instinctually, I start eating it. Let’s revisit that whole idea of mindless eating from earlier. I think there are many times where I eat simply because it’s “around”. If there’s popcorn on the table, I’ll grab a few handfuls. If there’s something in my fridge that looks tasty, I’ll take a bite. Yes, even if it belongs to my roommate; please don’t tell her. Anyways, I want to be conscious of everything that’s going in my body, so after this cleanse I would like to be mindful of what I’m eating and if it’s because I’m actually hungry or because it’s just there.
This project is helping me realize how late I actually wake up on weekends. I have yet to make carbonara, but I’m slightly hung over from the night before and don’t really feel like whipping up something right now. I’ll just pop some leftover ravioli in the microwave and call it a morning (or afternoon).
Yep, the ravioli was just as tasty the second time around. I want more.
I’m already hungry, but I’m at the library. Everyone around me has snacks. I want something to eat.
Still hungry. I’m starting to realize that I feel a lot less motivated and a lot more sluggish than I normally do. It’s not just the pit in my stomach, it’s my whole body. I’m glad I’m already halfway done with this cleanse. I want veggies again.
I just got home from the library and I’m starving. I have a little bit of time right now, so I could easily make the carbonara.
Yep, this spaghetti carbonara is straight from my dreams. It’s so simple, yet so tasty. I don’t need a man, I think I’m just going to marry carbonara and be happy for the rest of my life.
Should my heart be beating this fast?
I’m going to Google if you can die from only eating pasta.
Nobody’s ever died from only eating pasta before, but there is a correlation between eating too much pasta and feeling sluggish. That explains that.
I haven’t eaten anything in almost 7 hours, but I didn’t even realize it until now. I’m lying in bed trying to fall asleep and my stomach is growling, but the promise of spaghetti carbonara first thing when I wake up in the morning helps me fall asleep. There’s nothing like waking up to your one true love.
My stomach feels strange. I know it’s empty, yet that pit from the day before is still there. It feels like I have a big ball of something (probably noodles) just floating around. I’ll be fine, I only have one more day of this.
The carbonara is fantastic the second time around as well. I’ve decided that it’s my favorite kind of pasta and I still wouldn’t mind spending the rest of my life with it.
I’m at work and one of my coworkers brought in cake for his birthday. Not only am I starving but it looks like the best goddamn chocolate cake I have ever seen. I reluctantly turn it down.
I just got home from work and I’m starving, so I heat up the rest of the ravioli. It’s still super delicious and flavorful, but I have a hard time choking it down in fear that it’ll do nothing for my body but add to that annoying pit in my stomach.
Remember when I said I would work out like normal? I usually lift weights three days each week, and today was no exception. However, today I don’t have nearly as much energy as I normally do and I’m gulping down water like there’s no tomorrow. I’m guessing this may have to do with the copious amounts of salt I’ve been consuming these last three days.
Carbonara seems like a counterintuitive post-workout snack, but it also appears to be my only option. Unless I want some of that crunchy lasagna in the fridge, which I’ve already decided is going to be thrown in the trash the minute I’m done with this cleanse.
I could probably eat something right now, but I don’t want any more pasta. I’ve never fantasized about vegetables before, but I think I’m getting pretty close. Don’t tell carbonara I’m thinking about cheating. I tell myself I won’t eat anything else until I can finally go back to my usual spinach and eggs tomorrow morning.
I’m highly considering heating up a bowl of carbonara, but I resist. True love will wait.
This journey through pasta purgatory has taught me a few lessons I never anticipated learning. First, I recognized that I habitually eat food when it’s around, not always because I’m hungry. I like to think I have a good grasp on what’s going into my body, but ultimately what I eat is about proximity and availability, not my conscious choices. The second thing that I learned is that restrictive diets are not effective. It doesn’t matter if you’re drinking nothing but carrot juice for three days or eating a plethora of noodles. Restricting yourself is just going to make you more tired, crabby, and ultimately in an unhealthy relationship with food.