Every day, some new uber-cleanse hits the market, but who wants to turn into a zombie during a week-long juice diet? Why does doing something healthy have to taste like crap? We thought it was a bluff. And so we embarked on the first-ever Pizza Cleanse. The rules were simple: for five themed days, our intrepid anti-vegetable reporter ate three square meals of pizza per day. He paired it with an organic greens beverage each morning, moderate exercise, and whatever the hell else he wanted to drink. And then things got dark, and not just because another DiGiorno was on fire in the oven. Keep reading to see if the Pizza Cleanse is right for you/if you enjoy watching men descend into outright madness.
DAY 1: PIZZA CHAINS
Starting weight: 205.2
Feeling at the beginning of day 1: Slightly hungover, but extremely excited.
11a: Sbarro Sausage & Pepperoni (1 slice): Maybe it's the fact that I spent the previous night subsisting on a diet of candy, IPAs, and whiskey, but this tastes exceptionally good despite being mall pizza of ill repute. The spongy crust. The rabbit-turd sausage that kinda tastes like spicy Bob Evans (it's breakfast!)... This is going to be the best week ever.
3p: Little Caesar's Hot & Ready Pepperoni (1/2 pie): The food that sustains 95% of college students, the Hot & Ready, recently experienced a dollar price hike and a decline in quality… but who gives a crap? It's the perfect football pie. It tastes like pizza candy and doesn't have much realness going on, but it's fantastic. It's even better when you eat it while half-asleep on the couch.
7p: Papa Murphy's Gourmet Chicken deLITE (3 slices): To switch it up, pretend to be healthier, and trick my taste buds, I went with a chicken pie with creamy garlic sauce, and while it was pretty good, the salt totally shocked my mouth. To counter this, I briefly thought about putting a slice on top of a bready Little Caesar's slice, then my stomach made a weird noise and I decided against it.
Feeling at the end of day 1: Crampy. I've got shooting pains in my stomach. My lady gives me no sympathy.
DAY 2: FROZEN PIZZA STUFF
Feeling at the beginning of day 2: Fan-effin'-tastic.
9a: Bagel Bites (9): Man, I forgot how delicious these little suckers were, and it's probably the most breakfasty thing I was gonna get all week. I should have savored it. Instead, I ate all nine in about four minutes, and then wanted more. But they definitely stopped my withdrawal shakes.
1:30p: First case of rot gut/heart burn. Uh oh.
3:30p: Totino's Pizza Rolls (15): These things are disgusting, and when they're undercooked it's like squirting pizza-flavored toothpaste in your mouth. This is why I rushed home from school when I was a kid?!
4:46p: Uncontrollable burping.
7:30p: Freschetta Brick Oven Pepperoni (1/3 pie): First, why is it called "Brick Oven" if it's sold raw and cooked in a conventional oven that has very, very few bricks in it? Second, I don't give a crap because all I've eaten all day is novelty pizza items for children, and this actually tastes real. It's also extra-delicious if it's folded like a taco and consumed whole. I'm flabbergasted that I'm this excited about eating frozen pizza... but I've also had five beers, so anything with cheese would do the trick.
9:45p: The first casualty: I ate the Freschetta right out of the oven and burned the hell out of the roof of my mouth. When I brushed my teeth, the spit was full of blood from tearing the burn open.
Feeling at the end of day 2: Woozy.
DAY 3: REGIONAL STYLES
Feeling at the beginning of day 3: Groggy, slightly icky.
9:30a: New York Style (1 slice): Yeah, I get that putting pineapple on a pizza is a no-no, but I really, really wanted to taste something aside from sauce and meat, and this really did the trick in helping my palate recover a little. But man, I'm so sick of pizza right now. My mornings have become sluggish. I can't get out of bed, and I keep waking up strictly to do gross things in the bathroom.
3:30p Chicago-Style Pepperoni & Sausage (1 slice): This is the stuff. The crust is finally completely different, so it actually feels like I'm eating something aside from the same thing I've eaten over and over and over. I chase it down with a Honker's Ale, because it's actually hard to find Goose Island here.
4p: Stupidly took the dog on a five-mile walk through a restaurant-heavy neighborhood. I can smell everything. I think the guy in the dumpling truck is laughing at me. Screw you, fried chicken restaurant!
6:15p: Heartburn hits -- big time. I make the executive decision to not eat more. I opt for a gross drink of concentrated greens instead. This sucks.
Feeling at the end of day 3: Debilitating heart burn, exhaustion. In bed by 9p.
3:40a: I wake up with tremendous heartburn.
4:03a: I wake up with a little hot vomit taste just kinda chillin' in my mouth. Two more days.
DAY 4: FANCY-PANTS PIZZA
Feeling at the beginning of day 4: Disjointed and slightly aloof.
10a: Tandoori Chicken Pizza (2 small slices): Here, finally, is something that tastes totally different. No pepperoni. No marinara sauce. Just a bunch of crazy Indian spices. It's not gonna help the heartburn, but it'll definitely help the brain. I've been looking forward to Fancy-Pants Day since I conceived of this horrible cleanse, and this is my day to shine. I paired the breakfast with coffee, cider, and milk. That was dumb.
2:30p: Wood-Fired (1 cheese, 1 sausage): This is one of my favorite pies in town, and I somehow am having trouble eating it. And keeping my eyes open. I can hardly even taste sauce anymore. The highlight of this is the charred crust, because at least burned tastes like something to me now. My guts are in knots, and I just realized I really need some fiber in my diet. Sadly, flaxseed is not a topping option. I'm also mentally slower than usual... maybe it was the whiskey last night, but that usually doesn't phase me. I think my blood is turning into marinara, and it's just starting to reach my brain.
6p: Artisan Margherita with Arugula (1/2 small pie): This is the one I've been waiting for, since it's supposed to be one of the best pies in the city and I've never tried it. I go with the wood-fired, arugula-topped margherita so I can savor the simplicity, but I can't get past that mound of arugula. It doesn't taste like pizza at all. It tastes healthy. And nutty. I chew through most of it like a cow, staring into the distance as a new flavor hits my palate. When I snap to and start eating the pizza itself, all I can think of is where to get more of that green stuff. It represents the first time in my life that I've craved a veggie.
Feeling at the end of day 4: Feeling fine, but had to go to bed at, like, 9 o'clock, because I couldn't keep my eyes open despite about 10hrs in bed yesterday.
Day 5: FAKE, PIZZA-FLAVORED CRAP
Feeling at the beginning of day 5: I think this is making me a little dumber. Maybe. I'm too dumb to know anymore.
10a: Pizzeria Pretzel Combos (1 6.3oz bag): Today is gonna suck, and it's starting with one of my favorite snacks... but I'm more a cheddar cheese man. I'm not sure the people who make Combos have ever even had pizza, judging by these things. This is my sustenance for the morning? Maybe if I dip them in my coffee -- nope. Instead, I shove the bag in my face like a horse. I am losing my mind.
2p: Taco Bell Mexican Pizza (2): On most days, I'd rather just not eat than touch any non-Doritos-flavored Taco Bell, since I tend to puke it up/otherwise ingloriously evacuate it within minutes of consumption, sober or not. But the thought of something not-pizza-flavored is enticing. On the way home, the smell actually had me drooling, so I housed these suckers right when I walked in the door. My stomach is now a time bomb of gross beans, "meat", and mild sauce.
4p: Whole Bag of Pizza Goldfish: These don't taste like pizza. They taste like Goldfish. That's why they're gone in five minutes. And I'm still hungry as hell.
6p: Lunchables Pizza (1 box): Seriously, these things cost $4 and all you get are these stale-tasting...
6:09pm: Lunchables (3/4 box): Seriously, these things cost $4 and all you get are these stale-tasting bread disks that taste like a cross between pita bread and Catholic communion wafers. Cold sauce, cold cheese. I can hardly finish this. If I was a kid, I would beg my mom to let me get hot lunch instead, even on meatloaf day. But hey! Capri Sun!
Feeling at the end of day 5: Very strange. My eyes feel dried out, my thoughts are all over the place, and my stomach is in knots. I want to sleep, but can't clear my head. All I can think about is what I want to eat tomorrow. Candy sounds about right.
THE DAY AFTER
Feeling the day after: Go eff yourself.
Final weight: 206.1lbs
Overall results: I've effectively cleansed my body of most nutrients, and all I got for it is an extra pound. I feel like crap, and no longer want to eat pizza, which, I suppose, is a good thing. I'm going to go buy the biggest, most expensive juicer on the market. Wait, did I just smell Sbarro??