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100 Prunes

March 12, 2012

I’m a man who knows a thing or two about diarrhea.

There were several years of intestinal travail after a trip to Ghana.  I tried cutting things out of my diet, I pooped in six  jars for the doctor, and finally it mysteriously and miraculously resolved while on a trip in Costa Rica.

The two weeks after one trip to Mexico are something of a brown blur in my memory.

But I have to say, 100 prunes makes makes good old Montezuma look like a momma’s boy.

Anyway let’s start with an appetizing picture:

I went into this day feeling sure of myself.  I thought I might salvage the reputation of a delicious and nutritious dried fruit.  I went out of this day feeling achy, dehydrated, and wishing I had some adult depends to sleep in.

I had three boxes of prunes to eat in the course of the day.  I budgeted them carefully, and started the day with a half a box for breakfast.  They were sweet and just the right amount of juiciness.  Really tasty.  After half a box I felt satisfied and ready to face the day.

Within about a half an hour I started to feel some ill effects.  You know that feeling where you just know things are a little loose inside you?  Kind of bubbly?  That’s what I was feeling.  Nothing too serious, just a little bit uncomfortable.  Within an hour it had developed into a case of what Steinbeck calls “The Skitters.”

I once climbed Mt. Katahdin with a very beautiful woman. Here is a picture of the mountain.  A really good photographer took this and I stole it:

I packed a bunch of prunes and told my hiking companion, “Hey, it’s just a myth that prunes give you the runs.  They are low weight and high calorie, a perfect trail food.”  We opened them on the summit, way up there hundreds of feet above tree line.  It was some view!  We could see halfway across the state , not a tree or bush or bathroom for miles.

Well, I felt no effect from the prunes other than being unwelcome in my own tent that night.

It was starting to look like I would be paid back in full with interest for this situation.  I ate an entire box of prunes for lunch, took a preemptive number 2, then went to teach a two and a half hour class.  This may or may not be a picture of me while teaching:

Things were bubbling, roiling.  I had the chills.  I broke a sweat.  I toughed it out.  To be honest I don’t think anybody noticed.

After seeking some much needed relief I ate the other half of the box left from breakfast.  It’s a strange feeling to eat something knowing full well it’s going to do something terrible to you.  But really, don’t we do it all the time?  We eat crap then complain about not having energy, or needing to lose weight, or having lumpy green growths… wait, that is normal right?

Why do I have heartburn? It's so unfair!

I had another box of prunes for dinner.  A reporter and a photographer from a local paper came over to the house to join me and ask some questions.  I offered them some prunes but they politely refused.  As soon as they left I stopped pretending to be feeling good and enjoying myself and rushed to the bathroom.

I laid down on the couch and started trying to talk myself into taking a run.

It didn’t work so I tried again:

Still no dice.  One more try:

Finally it worked!

I packed some toilet paper, a flashlight, and all my willpower and headed out into the cold dark.  This is the part of the story that would be much more entertaining if I were a little less honest.  The truth?  For the first (and only) time all day I felt great!  I ran the first mile easily in 7:30, and cruised in the 8 range for the other two.  My whole body felt focused and efficient.

As soon as I came inside I used the bathroom downstairs.  Then I walked upstairs and used the bathroom.  I destroyed all my previous records for number of times I have had to use the toilet in a day.

That night I found myself totally dehydrated.  I had cotton mouth, a splitting headache, and woke up  in the morning 5 lbs lighter than I had been the previous day.

Taste:  Sweet and delicious

Performance: Excellent, both physically and mentally.  Besides the obvious, I felt pretty great.

Fulness Factor:  I was not hungry all day!  maybe because my guts were exploding inside of me…

Cost: $6

X factor: Losing 5 lbs in one day is not bad!  Actually, that’s a lie.  It is bad.  Horrible.


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  1. Yeah, i think the method of losing weight is much less then pleasant in this case…

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