Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

clean living

I feel disgusting.

Not a single part of my body feels good.

I’ve got a runny nose and I’m continually sneezing but I wouldn’t say I have a cold. I’ve got an upset stomach but I haven’t eaten anything bad. I feel like I’ve got a constant hangover but my body currently all but rejects alcohol. My skin was better when I was a teenager. I can’t sleep.

I know that I’m going about everything the wrong way too.

As somewhat typical, middle class, 30-something adopted Londoners, Desreen and I threw ourselves into phases and fads that saw us shift from filthy self-centred party animals to clean-living tree huggers from one week to the next. We loved a bit of self-diagnosis. In the gospel according to Ben and Des, I have a wheat allergy, I’m lactose intolerant and I can’t eat red meat. So all of the best things up in smoke. Desreen’s main issues were processed sugar and dairy products – two of the main ingredients in brownies and cake, which she ate every weekend. But everyone knows weekends don’t count, right?

Jokes aside, we probably felt the best we ever had when we followed The Clean Program. Granted, I lost too much weight but I discovered that I should have just doubled the amount that I ate. Otherwise the results it had on me both physically and mentally were quite astounding.

The thinking behind the programme (British spelling) is really quite simple. These days we eat and drink too much too often and too much of that stuff toxic. The toxins that we consume are the root cause of our body’s inability to heal itself. If you eat the right stuff at the right time, you get rid of the toxins and you feel better.

When you understand the basis of the programme, it makes total sense. Because our bodies spend too much time and energy digesting too much food, they don’t have the time or energy to fix any underlying problems. Probably the best thing I learnt was not to eat or drink anything for 12 hours in 24. So eat dinner at 7pm then have breakfast at 7am. That way your body can use the time it sleeps to do other stuff. It can rest and repair. That made a lot of sense to me.

You can say what you like about this but I slept better, I was really annoying to people around me because I had loads of energy, I had clear skin and this problem I’d had with my hand for weeks that meant it hurt to push anything (stopping me going to the gym) had gone in just three days.

Just to be clear, I’m not on commission, it’s a right royal pain in the arse to follow the programme and I was close to being sick on a number of occasions a) because of the intensity with which the toxin release seemed to hit me and b) because cold soup made out of blended raw vegetables is fucking disgusting.

However, after three weeks Des and I both felt amazing.

Well I don’t feel like that now. That’s probably understandable given recent developments but I just got to thinking about what I’m doing to myself.

When I followed the programme there are two simple lists – eat and don’t eat. Reviewing those lists now, it would appear that I currently don’t eat eat and that I only eat don’t eat.

I’ve mentioned this to a few people recently and they have unanimously said, “Don’t put any more pressure on yourself at the moment”, but that’s exactly what I am doing. I’m making it impossible for my physical self to heal, which is making my mental self an even bigger mess than it already inevitably is.

I know my heart can’t heal, but perhaps if my body can then I won’t hate being me quite so much.

Watch this leafy green, non-glutenous, organic, clean-living space and picture my friends and family rolling their eyes in despair as if I’m not hard work enough right now.

7 comments on “clean living

  1. Ruth
    February 24, 2013

    Hey Ben, came across your blog mid Jan when I lost my Mum and have been reading since. I’m also studying to be a nutritionist. I work in Farringdon (in PR for now as it happens). If you ever need a hand staying on the clean living track give me a shout and we can chat over a green tea. Always eager to help and hear the experience of others. Two immense books to reignite your efforts – try ‘Running with Kenyans’, A.Finn (on the back of your recent half marathon efforts); ‘In defense of food’, M.Pollan. Good luck. You’ve got this covered.

    • lifeasawidower.com
      February 24, 2013

      Thanks very much. I know my way round this programme. I just need to stop all the crap entering the house in the first place now x

      • ruthwalters2012
        February 24, 2013

        Pleasure. Look forward to hearing how much cleaner you start to feel in no time at all. Enjoy stocking those cupboards and fridge today. Thanks for providing such valuable material.

    • lifeasawidower.com
      February 24, 2013

      Sorry to hear about your mum too x

  2. lesley
    February 24, 2013

    As a health food obsessive I too found myself changing my eating habits after my brother died, before his death I made sure everything I ate was as healthy as possible.when he died I didnt want to eat ( grief must be the best diet going. Tho not one to be recommended. !). evetyone told me I needed to eat.like I didnt already know that!! I lived off vegetarian sausage rolls for weeks. And I began eating those sticky currant buns to get some calories in me. Not a diet that any womens magazines will be recommemding. Eating was something I had to do,not something I wanted to do. It was too normal and my life wasnt normal. Gradually I did began eating healthily again and 6 months later I am almost back to the diet I had before.

  3. Ha
    February 24, 2013

    Oh Ben. Just have a fag sweetie????? I am a terrible friend. Love you, you skinny git. xxx

  4. Cheryl Flatt
    February 24, 2013

    Hi Ben, I have been reading your blog and feeling your pain. The way you explain feelings has helped me so much to deal with my own. My husband died in December out of the blue, I have been left behind at the age of 32 with two young boys (9 and 6 ).
    I have left many messages but always delete before posting them. This time though seems different, I also suffer from food allergies, wheat and eggs, eating is at the bottom of the list of priorities and the last thing I think about, maybe healthy living is the way forward once getting used to just living again. Thank you for sharing your grief, happiness, sadness and laughter with everyone, please keep writing.
    Thinking of you and your son x

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