The theology of juice

Dear Dissonance,

It was wonderful to hear that your patient is obsessed with her weight, which means she is also obsessed with food and with burning calories.

I love it when people can’t enjoy what they eat and instead think of meals purely as nutrient delivery devices. The fact that an exploding number of people are willing to spend $10 for one bottle of green juice and nearly $1000 for a week-long “cleanse” puts a smile on my face. Think of how many of those on such a regimen will be hungry all week and debilitated by the whiff of a colleague’s French fry or the sight of gooey grilled cheese? And then when they finish and can’t keep the weight off, they will be forced to do it all over again!

The fact that these drinks are being billed as essential for good health means even those who can’t afford to spend money on these will be tempted to blow their budget in the name of “wellness.” BTW, I LOVE that term. It’s a catchall that has come to mean anything that makes you feel better about yourself. When something good gets turned into something selfish, it means we are successfully corrupting the language. Personally, I think more time needs to be spent on this topic by Our Father. If humans can be prevented from expressing themselves clearly, thinking is also corrupted and a cycle of confusion virtuously repeats itself.

Sorry, it’s so easy to get off topic. Back to your patient. Carrying one of those aforementioned kale lettuce drinks or coconut protein blends brands drinkers as ascetic consumers of the highest order, like those who wear a certain brand of yoga wear, in a world of hoi polloi addicted to pedestrian energy drinks that contain sacrilegious stimulants (at least to the purists)  like caffeine and sugar. Never mind that eating a salad can infuse a person with the same or better nutrition as one of those expensive detoxifiers, but they do not come in trendy bottles and require sitting down and making a meal, which is so inconvenient when you have to squeeze in yoga or spinning at lunch time to fit into a size 4 pair of jeans.

If your patient is not yet hooked on those drinks, make sure to take her down the aisle on her next trip to that food temple known as Whole Paycheck. She has held as a mantra for a decade that “juice is for fat people,” but these juices are juice in name alone. The (lack of) calorie count should win her over.  Even if she does not go that route, at least she has formed the great habit of looking at food, something the Enemy ridiculously created for pleasure, not as something to savor, but as discreet packets of calories to be controlled bite by bite. She also looks at each day not as something to live to its fullest but as a series of tradeoffs between fats and lean proteins, carbohydrates and fiber. How wonderfully clinical and self-centered! Even going to a friend’s house for a meal is not pleasurable for her because it means she can’t control how much butter went into the risotto or, Our Father forbid, full fat mayonnaise that could have accidentally been spread on her sandwich which she will be forced to eat out of courtesy. Instead of enjoying the conversation she will be worrying about how long she must run or walk to burn off unaccounted calories.

Too bad she is not into binging or purging, which would mean an even greater fixation on calories consumed, not to mention serious health issues. But it is helpful that your patient is a control freak – which will help us in other ways, too. More on that later.

You note she used to love to run for the pleasure of it, but now sees it as a means to define herself as one of the few who can handle the daily self-sacrifice of rising at dawn to get in 10 miles before work and the perseverance to finish a marathon. You must cultivate this attitude of superiority so that it expands into every area of her life and crushes her sense of empathy and heightens an already strong tendency to judge others.

Fortunately, the fact that she does not question her daily regimen because the results lead to skinny-ness, means we will have lots of time to work on our virtues noted above. Above all, you don’t want to let her start to question why she spends so much of her free time pursuing something whose only payoff is more pain and more miles. You want her to stay caught in the cycle of behavior that prevents her from thinking about a hole she is trying to fill through her diet and exercise regime.

Of course, we don’t believe there is anything to fill, as emptiness is as natural as the changing of the seasons.

But nevertheless, get yourself to the juice aisle pronto.

Your affectionate aunt,


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