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posted by Sheva @ 5:05 PM
Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WOW. This past Monday. What a day. I was blissed out, flying high…

The day didn’t start out fantastic. In fact, I was criticized by an authority figure (who will remain anonymous here) whose opinion greatly matters to me in front of a large group of people (whose opinions also matter to me). And he didn’t just criticize, he used a biblical reference as a METAPHOR to criticize me.

If you must know, he likened me to one of the spies who Moses sent to Israel to check things out & who came back & reported to Moses that Israel was a dangerous & negative place (NOT one of the righteous people Moses sent (like Joshua) who came back seeing only Israel’s potential).


That afternoon, in an arguably related incident, I wolfed down a foot long mayonnaise SUBWAY sandwich (okay, fine, technically it was tuna, though I challenge you to actually find the tuna swimming in all that mayo), followed by a chocolate brownie AND a chocolate cupcake, neither of which I was really into, and all of which, gave me heartburn. Fantastic.


Then I went surfing. Or, to be more precise, I went for my first surf lesson. This has long been a dream of mine – to be able to skateboard and to be able to surf. I still can barely even navigate on a scooter – my son’s scooter, I might add, which he can basically do upside-down blindfolded wheelies on, and I practically topple over the minute I’m two feet off the ground.

But… the ocean… I’ve always loved the ocean. Love love love it. And although it’s true, I live in Los Angeles… I also live in Los Angeles.  Meaning, I technically live in a beach city, yet for all practical purposes I’ve probably been in the ocean once in the entire past year. What? That’s how we roll, over here in the City of Angels.

So when an acquaintance – actually one of the “Fitness Experts” who writes for the online magazine I oversee ( – offered to teach me to surf, I jumped. Plus my husband was still out of town (translation: Me Time). The waves were small (and perfect for a beginner), the crowd was just a smattering of a few surfers (again, perfect), and Blue (my Expert, Blue Benadum) had even invited his photographer friend John to come along & shoot photos of my attempt to learn to surf.

All in all, I found paddling harder than standing up. There is a lot of paddling in surfing. Let’s face it, “surfing” means “paddling” with a few lucky ‘standups’ in between all the paddling. Which actually was fine with me, until Blue let it slip that the “cool” way to paddle on a longboard wasn’t to lie on your tummy and stroke with your arms (what I was comfortable doing) – it was to be up on my knees and to blade the water with my arms.

Yeah, that wasn’t happening. Once I was in the right position, though, the “standing up” part came pretty quick. (Though perhaps I should add “staying up” to that list of what is hard.) I actually managed to stand up twice, and considering there weren’t so many ‘usable’ waves within the hour+ that we were out there, I was pretty stoked!

The. Coolest. Day. Ever.

Um, yeah, the surfer language rubbed off on me too. As did the inspiration of the ocean. Because…

While I was out there, sitting in my wet suit on my surfboard in the vast beautiful ocean, I made up my mind to stop eating sugar – ALL PROCESSED SUGAR – for the next 40 days. Yup, that includes chocolate. Alcohol too BTW, just because my body seems to hate it; I have a half glass of wine and the next day my stomach is bloated like I’m 5 months pregnant.

It made sense to me – 40 days is the amount of time, Kabbalistically speaking, it takes to get over an addiction or a pattern of behavior. Plus that amount of time would be enough to really show me if the sugar does or does not affect my body, my moods, and my energy levels.

PLUS, I could write about it. And struggle on those days that all I want and all I obsess about is a bite (or more) of cake/cookie/chocolate.

Because sometimes struggling is good for the soul.


Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)


  1. Tara says:

    Awesome, dude! Can we do a surf lesson when I come to visit in October??

  2. Plant N says:

    I saw the stills yesterday on FB. Wow! Looks hard, but awesome.
    I have just gone 1 week with no sugar, no gluten, and no dairy. Other than adding back yogurt, I am thinking of continuing this for a while. But 40 days is a LONG TIME…..! Good luck with your desugarizing.

    • Sheva says:

      Nice! I allow myself some wheat & dairy because I think if I went too ‘cold turkey’ I wouldn’t be able to hold out the whole 40 days… xo

  3. . says:

    You are amazing. The video is so cool. You look great. When in the world did you ever find the time to do the surf lesson. You surfing, Tara and Micah scuba diving – me, er floating in the pool? You all definitely got your Dad’s aqua genes!

  4. Betsy Davis says:

    Personally, I think you got up because you’ve been training in the heels….

    And yes, the 40 day commitment is impressive (and so are you)…

    And I don’t know who said you were like one of the 10 spies, but, well…at least you were righteous!

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