Churchill fail quotation

I failed my Spa-Staycation.

It hardly seems possible. But it’s true.

The only thing I was consistent about over all three days was my meditation practice (and that’s a new habit I started about three weeks ago, so becoming established) and eating all the planned meals and snacks. (No surprise, there!)

According to Unjunk Your Life, a three day Anti-Inflammatory protocol I found on the web from nutritionist Desiree Nielsen, in addition to preparing and eating the fabulous and delicious meals she outlined in the program I was to:

  1. Meditate for 10 minutes upon waking.
  2. Exercise in nature for 30 minutes
  3. Unplug from media
  4. Spend 30 minutes face to face with a loved one.
  5. Do something I loved for 30 minutes or more
  6. Sleep at least seven hours each night.

My part-time job had me scheduled to work the weekend, Monday and Tuesday off, Wednesday for four hours from 10 ’til 2 and then Thursday and Friday off until I had to work again on Saturday.

So what if I had to work on Wednesday, I thought. I’ll make Monday my prep day–clean the house and shop–and then do this thing Tues-Wed-Thurs.

A Shaky Start.

I couldn’t find all the ingredients I needed for my meals–(Safeway does not get Baby Bok Choy on a consistent basis, apparently. Nor do they have bread made from sprouted grains) so I hit the organic grocery store before lunch on Tuesday, Day 1. But that was all right. I did my bit of shopping, then dropped my husband and daughter off at the local Chinese place for won-ton soup while I went home to have my on-plan meal.

Not quite the spirit of “spend time with your loved ones” but I really wanted to follow the anti-immune protocol as outlined. After lunch, the three of us went to The Sherlock Holmes Exhibit and had a great time. But still chasing down that elusive baby bok choy, we hit another grocery store on the way home, got stuck in traffic and arrived home horribly hungry and tired. On the menu that night: Roasted Sweet Potato and Black bean Tacos with Lime Yogurt on corn tortillas. I don’t remember how long it took me, dicing the sweet potato, zesting and juicing the lime, but it was divine.

But then, without even thinking about it, I sat down in the living room with my husband and we started watching a new Netflix series. Then, before bed, I did yet more food prep: I made a bean dip and a marinade for my tofu sticks and left it in the fridge overnight.

I blew Day One. No exercise. No unplugging. I didn’t do anything I “loved.” And sleep? Well, given I had to work the next day, I may have got seven hours. Certainly, no more.

The Work Day

Day Two included working. After work, I headed to the library to pick up a book I’d put on hold, (a work of historical fiction about Alcibiades by Steven Pressfield) and then I went a bought a small food processor because I wanted to try making these amazing chocolate date balls.

Salted Chocolate Almond Gems

from Unjunk Your Diet by Desiree Nielsen, R.D.


10 pitted medjool dates

3 tablespoons natural almond butter

2 tablespoons raw cacao or cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla or scraped vanilla bean

1/4 easpoon sea salt

Extra raw cacao, cocoa powder or chopped almonds for rolling.


Place the pitted dates in a food processor and pulse until the dates are about the size of peas. (If you just get a great big ball of date, don’t worry. Just break it up and redistribute.) Add almond butter, cacao or cocoa powder, vanilla and salt. Pulse until combined. Mixture will be crumbly.

Roll mixture into 1/2 inch balls and roll in cacao or cocoa powder or chopped almonds. Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks or freeze to enjoy later on.


Munching on one of these amazing treats, I fired up the computer and did just a hot minute of research on Alcibiades. He seems like a fascinating character from the Golden Age of Greece. He was a contemporary of Socrates. I read many of Plato’s dialogues backin the day.

So, I was just taking myself out to the back yard to do some reading, looking forward the only sun we’d seen for days when I realised it was 4 pm–and my son had to leave for work at 6. So, instead of doing something I loved, I started dinner. A wonderful ratatouille recipe with rice–but it needed fifty minutes in the pot. I miscalculated how long it takes to chop eggplant, and zucchini, and fresh tomatoes (from the garden), and an onion and bell pepper and so by the time I had all the veggies chopped and in the pot, it was too late. It just wouldn’t be done in time for my son to eat before he had to leave, anyway.

And then the hubs and I watched another episode of our new series.

When the episode was over, feeling like this whole spa staycation had been more work and less indulgent than I had hoped, I suggested a walk to my husband. Ever game, he agreed. So, in the end, we had a lovely evening –about an hour and a half walk down to an off-leash area and back. (Though we never, ever let our beagle off leash.)

After that, I took myself to the computer and fired up a lesson in a photography course I’ve paid for.

So, ironically Day 2–the day I worked and didn’t expect a thing from myself was my most successful day: the only thing I didn’t do was “unplug.”

That night, I slept 11 hours. 

I wish I hadn’t. Level 9 pain in those hips of mine. Brutal.

Day 3

When you wake up at 11am, your spa day is half over.

I was chained to the kitchen all day. Lunch involved cooking a beet. (Had to check the internet to make sure I got it right.)  There were tons of dishes to wash. Then, dinner was a long and seemingly complicated soup recipe.

For dessert, I decided to make more of those date balls, but hubs and I had to make a grocery run to buy some vanilla. I guess that was some side by side face to face time? The sunset from Planet Organic was amazing.

We decided to try sombucha for the first time and brought it home and sipped it slowly while we watched yet more of our new series.

I meant to get out for a walk, but it was one of those days where it would be clear –and then threaten to rain 15 minutes later –all day long!

So, on Day 3, I managed to meditate, sleep, and eat.

So was it really a failure? Technically, I guess. But I truly believe that nothing is a fail if you learn how to do better next time.

So what did I learn?

#1. My husband and I don’t do a lot of different things together. Walks and watching TV or movies make for a boring relationship.

#2. I am really bad at thinking up things I enjoy doing which don’t involve the computer or the internet.

#3. Finding time to exercise is an honest challenge.

#4. I don’t know if this is a fair assessment after only three days, but an Anti-Inflammation diet, while excellent for my health (and probably my waistline) is not going to fix my problems all by itself. I need exercise to help alleviate the pain in my hips and even more importantly, I need to lose some weight–and by some, I mean 25 pounds, at least.

#5 I am going to continue to eat this way (mostly pescatarian with a heavy side of vegetarian) rather than attempt the meat heavy whole 30. I love the whole 30, but it is extremely expensive.

I am glad I tried it. I think I have a good idea what to do from here on out to turn my life around. I don’t think I need courage, exactly, to continue. Fortitude, maybe? Mulish persistence? Let’s hope I have what it takes.