DAY ONE Rice Fast

The bigger game is me abandoning my appetites for this finite term of ten days.


After, lining my gizzard since thanksgiving with the finest food and too much wine it is time to call a halt or else wake up in a PlusSize.  Although this first day has been slightly delayed it is before mercury goes out of retrograde; so, I am happy enough with this as start date.

My partner/host in this Fast is Arthur, a fellow seeker.  We are high (7,000 feet above sea level) and very dry in Santa Fe’s mountain desert.

This is my fourth such fast.  The first one was carried out in Santa Cruz, CA with Richard Robinson in the late 1960’s, second was with my husband in NYC back in the 1980’s, the third was with my niece Emily in NYC in 2003.

The brown rice diet  was put forth by Georges Oshawa, who happened to live on my block in Los Angeles in the early 1960’s.  His concept was that you go on a mono diet and gradually introduce YIN or YANG foods upon completion.  This time, I am particularly interested in the effect of no gluten on my aging arthritic body.

This undertaking is like “Julie and Julia” except, in reverse.  Unlike preparing for climactic boneless duck in the movie, the short grained rice is simply boiled for 45 minutes and that is all there is to it.  A two pound bag of the stuff is 3 quarts and all of that is only 3,500 calories.  The Rules are also simple:  Eat as much rice as you like but you must chew each bite 100 times.  The original macrobiotic diet also suggestedthat you “drink your food and chew your drink.”  The idea there, is that in taking in little water you ferment/digest the rice in an efficient way and give  your whole system a rest.

Arthur and I shared our last supper of meatloaf and potatoes & we each had our last alcohol for the next 10 days.  This dryout, alone, is worth the trip.

The day began with my lighting a smudge stick and declaring this time to be sacred and inviolable.  I prepared breakfast and packed a lunch for Arthur to take with him as he will be working DAY ONE and TWO.  Today will not be very hard – except for adjusting my  palette to the strange plain-ness of the ritual food.  The bigger game  is me abandoning my appetites for this finite term of ten days.

It is just noon and my thoughts are turned suddenly to Haiti’s quake victims.  After reading the shocking articles in the NYTimes, I am sharply aware  of my luck and relative luxury; I am able to choose to fast while living parallel to devastation on the island of Hispaniola.  Part of me wants to call the Red Cross and sign up to help out there, right away.  And, part of me is bent on staying put – following a “message” to begin this decade with a personal form of renunciation and purposeful cleansing.

I spent the afternoon in Santa Fe at the historical museum.  I was fortunate enough to get a Docent tour of this new addition to the Governor’s Palace .  Our group was small, at first, just me and a couple from Louisiana.   The Docent was a woman who is usually at another museum on the hill but she has bee training  for these exhibits and her lecture was a half an hour on the period of Santa Fe’s Conquest 1600’s to the coming of the railroads in the 1880’s.

Of course, this history is one of violence and subjugation of the Pueblo people.  First by the hoard of Spanish settlers who rode up from Mexico and then by the Anglos.   What was most fascinating was that the new Mexican rule accepted Spanish Land Grants and that properties given under these Grants are still being contested to this day in U.S. courts.   About this time, a young man from Spain joined us and urged the Docent not to alter her position on his account.  He was fascinated that the War that gave Mexico freedom from Spain was not taught in Spanish history.   The gentleman from LA. asserted that it was Spain’s Viet Nam.

Our guide said that the Treaty of Gudalupe-Hildago was one of the most important in American history because it added almost one third to U.S. territory.  In answer to my question about how “interesting” it was that GOLD was found in California one year after the treaty turned this land over, she said that there was knowledge of the West’s mineral wealth  earlier in the century.

I headed back to Arthur’s while talking to Inna from Siberia — When I told her I was on my Fast she told me that they have a joke out there, where one Siberian says to the other, “I want to go to Paris, again.”  The other Siberian says, “But you have NEVER been to Paris.”  The first replys,  “I know but I just started wanting to go, AGAIN.  I can just imagin remarking to Art, “I want a cup of coffee again.”

When Art got home, we munched our gruel and he put on “Sister Wendy at LACMA.”  OMG, I was a Sister Wendy virgin and am now so impressed with her analysis…

Arthur has offered that we can see the whole Sr. W series during the Fast…  So, even though nursing a dull headache, I am thrilled to be at Wendy-palousa..

The last conversation of the day was from Joey, telling me I have a SUMMONS from IRS regarding my audit… Oh well, all is well.

Author: diane e. dreyfus

on the road until they put the lid down

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