jeanine fritz

I 'm sitting here now with Nekkid Joe on my desk.

Before you start getting excited -- or I see something shiny on the ground, forget what I was talking about, and get excited about Nekkid Joe myself -- Nekkid Joe is just what my co-worker dubbed my lunch: basically sloppy Joe, no bun.

I'm trying that caveman diet. Most people call it paleo. Essentially, you eat like a caveman ate, and cavemen didn't farm. That diet filled with meat, veggies, fruit, no processed anything and bread can take a long walk off a short pier.

But like folks do with the Bible, there are a zillion interpretations and I'm not sure how literally any of it should be taken. I've heard, "sugar is a no-go," "sugar wrestled from the delicate pulp of a coconut is fine" and "don't have a meltdown if it's a weensy-teensy amount."

I've also heard zero alcohol is allowed, then later heard 100 percent agave tequila is fine, because it's made from a plant. And while I do like to get my swerve on, college taught me to be wary of tequila, and subsequent years have taught me to stay far, far away from shots.

The rules can get confusing quickly, so I just eat things and hope someone will slap the contraband out of my hand if it gets too close to my mouth. I'm certainly not helping matters; the iPhone app tells me I can't have coffee, but the iPhone app can jammit because a coffee-free Fritzie is like a gofuggerself.


Before I'd even begun, I realized this was gonna be tough. Giving up bread is one thing, but trying to afford organic, unprocessed, grass -- not grain fed -- beef...well, let's just say one of my caveman partners in crime is doing what he calls "Poor Man's Paleo" and I'm following suit.

I'm like a week into this thing, and so far haven't made it a single day without screwing it up somehow.

It reminds me of when I gave up cheese for Lent a few years back, and subsequently began ordering stuff with cheese more often than I did before, as if the word "cheese" was burned into my brain, but not the "no" part that comes before it. I spent a lot of time picking cheese out of my meal and cursing that month.

This caveman thing is no different, except that it's not just cheese -- it's bread, and ice cream, and pizza, and potatoes -- all of which I ate the day before I started, as a kind of Last Supper.

I wasn't even hungry when I opened the ice cream, but, "Dammit," I told myself, "You can't have it for a month, so EAT IT, FRITZ."

The next morning, I made coffee for the trip to work, realized that was naughty, and immediately made an exception.

I'd been awake and on Paleo for an hour.

One evening, after I'd been good all day, picking cheese out of my salad and eating chilies stuffed with olives for dinner, I had a couple glasses of wine. Then I went home and had another glass of wine moments before deciding it was time to make a second dinner. I made a beeline for the pancake mix. Halfway through the stack, I realized what I'd done.

I haven't eaten pancakes in like two years; it's probably been five since I've made them. I don't care about pancakes, I never have, so how on earth did pancakes end up getting shoveled into my cavehole like that? What's wrong with me?

After three or four years of playing tourist with Lent, I've gotten comfortable with my lack of focus and am finding it pretty easy to just start over again. And that's a good thing because Nekkid Joe is gone and there're some cupcakes on the other side of the cubicle.