Food Junkies Can Be Healthy Too! It Just Takes Some Work…

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Now that I’m a little bit older and wiser than I was in my twenties, I’m all too aware how easily I can become addicted to something. Luckily, I’ve never been addicted to anything dangerous, but food has always been a weakness of mine.

I don’t know if you guys have heard, but food is DELICIOUS. You should really try it sometime.

This has been a thing as far back as I can remember and though it’s gotten much better into my adulthood, I still have my struggles. It’s not so much the act of eating, but the experience of flavor. Salty, sweet, fatty, sour, rich FLAVOR.

Amirite?

That’s the messed up thing with taste as a sense: it usually involves ingestion. Seeing things doesn’t make you go blind (just don’t look directly at a solar eclipse). Smelling things doesn’t make you eventually… uh… uhhhhhhhh…

Anosmatic!

Google FTW.

Anyway, you know what I mean. Taste, you are an evil temptress.

A deliciously evil temptress.

Surprisingly if you don’t know me and unsurprisingly if you do recovering from a food addiction relapse is all about mental fortitude. Remember, this has been a thing since childhood for me so, yeah, old habits are hard to break and all that jazz. So because I’m in this mindset of attacking life 100% (I’m not into that whole more-than-100-percent thing that people sometimes use), I made up five, count’em, FIVE rules for myself to help make this a lifestyle.

  1. My primary beverages will be water and wine, not to be confused with turning water into wine. I don’t drink wine every day, but it’s something I do with my fiancé on our days together. I can throw tea in there as well, but anything outside of that will be relegated to once every couple of weeks. WWAD?
  2. Snack foods are a Friday only thing (for now). While my fiancé and I are apart, I’m keeping snacks to my favorite day that begins with an F.Yeah, not Father’s Day. Sorry, Dad, but it’s a close second. At least it’s not Frog Jumping Day. Only suckers celebrate that.It’ll probably be a different story once we’re living together, but for now, Fridays are our day so I don’t mind being a little reckless one day a week.
  3. I’m going to eat raw at least once a week. I’m not a big fan of eating raw because I love warm food, but this one shouldn’t be too tough.
  4. The only things I’ll buy that have more than three ingredients are bread, pasta, and my Friday snacks. Is there more to explain? No? Let’s move on.
  5. Meditation is key! At least it is for me. And although I don’t really meditate in the traditional sense as much as I used to, mindfulness will only help keep me on point.

You may have noticed I don’t have much of what many might call a “diet” on my list. That’s because diets are for chumps, y’all! I’m not trying to get über muscled up like I was some three or four years ago either. This is about health and balancing it with my infatuation with my mistress, flavor.

Sweet delicious flavor.

I firmly believe that body and mind are much like chaos and harmony in the sense that they are constantly in a state of flux. For many us, chaos and harmony appear to be at odds, but a high level view shows us they’re part of the same thing because you can’t have harmony without chaos and vice versa.

Side note: I hate when people say “vice-ah versa,” but apparently that’s some old school British English at work there so I don’t have a leg to stand on.

Er… on which to stand*

It’s tough for grammar junkies in these streets.

Anyway, I think mind and body are the same as well. Let’s call them our physical and non-physical selves, shall we? Some people have strong physical attributes such as good health, muscle mass, high metabolism, etc. Others have strong non-physical attributes like a sense of inner peace, determination, courageousness, etc. Tangible versus intangible.

Makes sense? Awesome!

Okay, the balance between harmony and chaos is somehow managed by our entire realities. The balance of body and mind is up to us as individuals.

Kind of. External factors come into play, but stick with me here.

If you have the means to properly take care of your mind and body, do it. Why not, right? I feel doing so is a large part of achieving personal balance. While I’m here on this earth, that’s the goal. I’m pretty sure I have the mental/non-physical side down; now it’s time to refocus on the body/physical.

What do you do to maintain or increase balance in your life? Let me know! Tips and insights are always welcome.

Let’s do this!

Peace out, party people.

Yo Dre, Why Are You Always Talking about Changing the World?

earth

I’ve been reconnecting with a lot of friends recently and it’s been cool to catch up with all of them. As I’ve shared with them the many changes I’ve gone through over the past year and a half or so, there has been a trend I’ve noticed: people asking me why I care so much about changing the world.

Wait… wanting the world to be a better place is a weird thing? LOL.

Okay, okay, I’ll explain it like this because after a call I had with my fiancé, I feel like I finally found the words to properly convey my mindset.

*deep breath*

Much like everyone else, most of my life was spent just trying to make my way through this world. I tried to play fair within the boundaries of the rules everyone told me to follow. There were exceptions, of course, but for the most part I was just the nice guy who had to earn his confidence over time rather than having it all my life.

Actually, I started off as a super confident kid, but adolescence isn’t for the weak of heart. A brother’s confidence caught a beat down, y’all.

There was also a nagging thought I had had ever since I was a kid: I’m alive right now and one day I won’t be. I kept that to myself for YEARS because I figured I’d be looked at like a weirdo if I started posing such esoteric concepts as a ten-year-old. Still, why was I alive? Am I supposed to just live and die and that’s it?

Was I a sinner for making a joke about Jesus? I mean, it’s Jesus, for… uh… Christ’s sake. He should know I’m kidding, right?

Am I supposed to spend my entire life working and hope that I stay alive long enough to enjoy retirement? That sounds like a bum deal.

I kid you not when I say I had these thoughts and questions for the majority of my life. I felt like an effing alien because no one else I knew seemed concerned about any of this.

Andre: King of the Weirdos.

During college and afterward, I met a handful of awesome, open-minded people. Folks who are fine with conversing about this stuff. Coupled with that, I soon found out that everything for which I had ambition (a high salary, lots of stuff, a misguided definition of love) brought me temporary happiness at best and straight up unhappiness at their worst. I mean, by and large I was a happy person, but every once in a while the disappointment of not being able to swallow society’s expectations of me and the goals I was taught to have manifested itself in not so pretty ways. In short, I was lost.

If only I knew I wasn’t alone, but people who are lost rarely see the big picture.

I took it upon myself to figure this thing out. I’d love to get into the details of how I did it, but not everyone in my personal life would be accepting of the choices I’ve made even if they’ve helped me for the better. I personally don’t care about the opinion of others, but I’m not about to stir the pot unnecessarily either. That being said, I figured myself out. I figured out that I was much more and much less than what I thought I was. To be specific, I’m not special. Not as an individual at least. But I’m also much more than just a man; I’m a part of everything. Just in the same way that a blood cell is both the individual cell and the blood. I am this reality in which I exist, the individual and the collective.

It may sound crazy to people who won’t get what I mean, but stick with me on this because it all ties back together.

I found my happiness and it was pretty awesome if I do say so myself. I spent some time patting myself on the back for having the wherewithal to discover my own answers while still being open to the beliefs of others. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered not everyone reciprocated this feeling. On top of that, I was all too aware that I didn’t actually care about the fancy job, having a bunch of stuff, or many of the other things I was taught to want. What was the point? My happiness and sense of peace was far more important and I learned I could have that independent of any external factors.

So why was I still here?

This next part may sound concerning if you don’t know me at all, but I’m not about to apologize for thoughts that crossed my mind. I seriously questioned why I should keep playing this unfair game of life. You know, the one where we’re expected to follow rules that not everyone is actually following. Where people hate, murder, cheat, steal, and whatever other vile acts humanity is capable of. Why do I want to continue working at a thankless job where I didn’t agree with many principles? I already found my happiness. What was the point of continuing? None of this would help me maintain my sense of inner peace. For all intents and purposes, I would have welcomed being done with life. Not in a negative way, but more like there was nothing I felt this world could offer me and I certainly didn’t want anything from this world either. I was happy being benign, but family, friends, and the rest of society had invested too much in me already. I wouldn’t be let off the hook that easily.

Sigh…

Then a funny thing happened: I met my soul mate aka my fiancé. The story of how we met is nothing short of fate. I say that because, seriously, how it happened is ridiculously improbable (I’ll save that for another day). The point is, I found my reason for enduring a life in which I had no stakes. Soon afterward I was laid off from my job, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise despite it being an initial burden. I had the opportunity to create a life that I wanted, not one shaped by what I was taught to want. I wasn’t about to sacrifice my own happiness again.

But then I looked at the the rest of world and couldn’t help being put off by all the ills around me. Remember, I saw myself as both the blood cell and the blood. I’m both the being and the reality. Therefore, how could I just sit idly by and be unconcerned with inequality, war, discrimination, greed, etc? That’s quite the impossible task given the way I think nowadays.

We’re all sharing the same house. If I was living with someone who treated me unfairly and was trashing our home, I would probably move out or ask them to leave. I don’t have that option. I have to figure out how to coexist in this house. But I don’t want to live in a sh*tty place either.

This time there are no questions. I have to do what I can to fix this house. Not just for me, but for all the people out there who are walking the path I once walked. We’re all just trying to figure our way through this life and we’re the victims or beneficiaries of people who came before us. That doesn’t excuse crappy behavior, but I understand why we aren’t living in utopia right now; there are a lot of lost people out there just trying to fit in where they can.

And this is why I want to bring positivity to this tiny, insignificant rock we call Earth. If I have to be here I’m going to do my damndest to only make an impact that helps rather than hurts. It’s why I’m going vegan. It’s why I want to exclusively use reusable energy. It’s why I’ll always be against our current form of capitalism. It’s why I’m writing this now. Believe me when I say I love you all and I only want to see you happy too. ALL OF YOU.

But I’ll always love my fiancé more. After all, I don’t know if I’d be here right now if it wasn’t for her, heh.

Peace out, party people.

I Want to Become a Superhero (I Think)

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I’m conflicted, y’all. I’ve been conflicted for about a year now actually and it all has to do with my own knowledge of how this whole funky system is working.

I love being lazy. I also love reading and watching documentaries. The reading and documentary watching, however, is effing up my desire to be lazy. Case in point: the food industry.

As I wrote on here previously, I’m a vegetarian. I dabbled in it in the past, but it was more so for health reasons. After seeing the ugliness of how animals are treated – how they live, what they’re fed, and so on – I gave up on chowing down on animals.

Even you, bacon. I still love you though.

Don’t tell my future wife.

Now I’m on the way to becoming vegan because I became aware of what happens to animals after they can’t produce milk, eggs, etc.

VEGAN.

I used to make fun of vegans. If we were in high school, I’d probably be tempted to steal a vegan’s lunch money, buy a burger, and seductively eat it as a single vegan tear trickles down their vegan cheek.

NOW I’M BECOMING ONE OF THEM.

Well, I watched a documentary called Food Chains that covers how the food industry thrives based on the poverty of farm workers. Not farmers, mind you; those barely exist anymore. I sort of knew these shenanigans were going on, but to hear the details… Good Jeebus….

So now I want to grow my own food too. Problem solved, right?

Nope. Not at all actually.

I watched a documentary called Blackfish that details the straight up grimy nature of Sea World. You know, how they mistreat orcas, how they lied about the death of trainers, and the ILLEGAL way they captured whales.

I read about the lack of integrity in mass journalism. I read about politicians who get away with crimes that affect citizens while low level criminals get prison time like nothing. I read about the outright lies of capitalism and the roots of poverty. I read about how misinterpretations of something as simple as the bible cause the discrimination of, say, homosexuals.

I read too effing much.

Now, I could turn a blind eye to all this and just say I’m going to do me. I’m going to separate from all of this and live the best life I can without contributing to the negativity. It sounded like a perfect plan.

Almost.

I think a lot of people do this. But if everyone does this, the BS continues. Can I sit on this knowledge and try to play the “I’m just one person” card? That just feels like a cop out to me.

Listen, I want nothing more than a quiet life away from everything with the love of my life, but it’s tough for me to just ignore this nonsense. I can do it for a while, but I always come back to this same place. Can I just ignore this and keep living? Am I okay with knowing others suffer to make this machine move?

That’s a lot to ignore. The proverbial elephant in the room, I suppose.

This isn’t a call to action. Everyone is free to do what they want, even if I don’t agree. But I think it’s time for Clark Kent…

Er… Bruce Wayne. Clark Kent is a dork.

…I think it’s time for Bruce Wayne to let the world know he’s not standing for it.

It’s put up or shut up time.

Peace out, party people.

Positivity of the Week – The Answer of Love

Photo Credit: Benurs
Photo Credit: Benurs

Why do we need love? Why does it exist? Plenty of animals exist that don’t show this notion of love (as far as we can tell), so why do we need it? Well, though we may not need it, we have it and, if used properly, it can be the remedy for all things. Think about this seriously. Love would stop all wars. It would stop inequality.

Discrimination.

Poverty.

People who love each other wouldn’t love money enough to know poor people exist at the expense of that greed.

People who love each other respect the fact that everyone’s belief system is valid as long it does not hurt others.

What other emotion can do all that?

But we don’t use it more. Why? Such a powerful solution in a world of men and women searching for answers. In a world where some people chose hate, fear, anger, jealousy… things that never bring us answers.

I’m not even asking you to think with your heart; approach it logically instead. Love creates happiness, empathy, and builds trust. Those other emotions don’t; they only hinder. So despite where we are as a society now, if more of us chose love at all levels, we’d resolve many of our issues.

What are you going to choose?

Previously: Everything Will Be Okay

Daily Opinion: It’s Okay to Let Friendships Run Their Course

Friends

Man, it’s been a while since I wrote one of these. Let’s talk about something unrelated to global current events.

Over the last few years, I changed in some very significant ways. Many parts of me are largely unchanged, but I have a very different idea of life and my place in it than I had in, say, 2010. As such, there are people in my life who have stayed with me through these various changes, and they realize my distance isn’t me cutting them off, but rather I am just extremely focused at the moment. They know me. They trust me. I’m the same with them.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut……

Then I have some friends that seem to have a static idea of me. They still treat me like that super nice guy from back in the day who just needed a healthy dose of self-confidence. The same guy who would drop anything to hang out because he was just that kind of guy. That guy who had very clearly defined thoughts on life and didn’t get into crazy, abstract ideas that aren’t always easily relatable.

Most of my friends fall somewhere in between these two ends of the spectrum. For the most part, it all works out. I’m sure there are people who are wondering why I’m MIA, but I hope they can understand I’m literally starting over to build my life. It’s nothing personal; we’re still friends. I hope to catch up to you all once I can relax more.

Howeveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer……..

I know a couple people who are super negative about where I’m going in my life and how I’m doing things. Despite the fact I’m happy. Despite the fact I’m not doing anything to hurt myself or others.

Well, that’s fair; everyone is entitled to their opinion. That said, if someone’s negativity has an impact on our relationship and interactions, I don’t see a reason to be friends. Not that we can’t be cool again, but at a certain point, I don’t see the point of being friends with someone when you fundamentally have a problem with who they are as a person. In my situation, these people are (seemingly) upset with the new Andre because he’s too much of a departure from the old Andre.

Why’s he marrying a non-US citizen he only met a year ago?

What’s all this meditation crap he’s talking about?

Energy? He must be on drugs.

Ugh.

Then fine, we don’t have to be friends. I’m not angry or upset. The length of time we’ve known each other shouldn’t be a factor either. If we’re walking on two divergent paths, let’s just split. There’s nothing stopping us from converging again. I don’t have a wall up. Friendships dying isn’t a bad thing. Much like life, why does anyone assume death is some type of finale? None of us know ANYTHING past the present moment.

We can predict.

We have statistics.

We’re still just gambling, pretending certainty exists more than it actually does.

Maybe we’ll rekindle our friendship. Maybe we won’t. Either way, thank you for being an important part of my life. I, quite literally, wouldn’t be the person I am without you. However, I found my path. I wish you luck on yours, as well. Maybe we can meet up again sometime and laugh about how stupid it was that we let a silly thing like expectations affect a friendship. Until then…

Peace out, party people.

Previously: Let’s Stop Being A**holes and Start Embracing 3D Printing

The Ramblings Podcast: Episode 32 – The Beauty of Smiling, the Ugliness of Unspoken Abuse, and the Miracle of Now

The Ramblings Podcast: Episode 32 - The Beauty of Smiling, the Ugliness of Unspoken Abuse, and the Miracle of Now

I’m solo (AGAIN) this week. Leaf has some stuff for work going on so I’m not sure when he’ll be back on yet. For now, I’m back to my roots! Today I ramble about domestic and sexual abuse being a dirty little secret people don’t want to discuss, the absurdity of defending abusers, and why we’re all lucky (just to end on a positive note). Enjoy!

Run time: 52:13

Download Here | iTunes | RSS Feed

Previously: Episode 31 – My Girlfriend and I Discuss Relationships, Pepe Le Pew Is a Rapist, and Whether or Not a Perfect World Can Happen

Lessons from a New Self-Earner: Embracing Your Strengths

Photo Credit: Amir Jina
Photo Credit: Amir Jina

During the 33 years of my life, I’ve started more ideas than I can even remember. My first business venture started when I was ten years old. My buddy Ahijah and I began drawing our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics and sold them for a quarter.

Copyright infringement FTW.

Since then, I’ve had more ideas die and go nowhere than I’ve had successes. Many more. Over time, I began realizing what leads to a big part of failure: not embracing pre-existing strengths.

There was a point in my life when I was building websites as a part of a business my buddies and I started up. We got a couple clients, but I was way in over my head because I was learning as we went along. Eventually, I couldn’t fulfill requests and, unsurprisingly, the business died. This trend repeated itself numerous times until I finally broke out of it recently. Why was I trying to learn how to do things myself instead of partnering with people who could compensate for my weaker areas? Why was I even pursuing ideas that didn’t take advantage of my talents?

Every self-earner should be keenly aware of their skills and how to apply them to a money making idea. Sure, enjoyment should go into it as well, but skill is essential. Otherwise, you could easily lose momentum because you’ll eventually reach some hurdle that, for one reason or another, feels too daunting to overcome.

Embrace your strengths and exploit your skill set. If you want the challenge of learning and creating something new, good on you. I’ll worry about that later when I’m more established. For now, I’m just going to continue doing what I do best.

Peace out, party people.

Previously: Is Being a Self-Earner Right for You? All You Need Is One Rule