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

7615282582_d83893b23c_k

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.

Experiment Complete: What I Learned from My Fast

Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn
Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn

I finished my fast, y’all! I’m not going to lie; it was tough, but rewarding. Want to know what I took out of the experience? No? Too bad because I’m going to let you know anyway.

  1. I feel lighter. Not in a weight type of way, though I suppose a fast will do that also. I mean I feel spiritually lighter. “Spiritual” is a word that can come with some baggage, but the way that I’m using it refers to my sense of being. I feel less stressed (not that I had much) and I have a ton of energy.
  2. I have renewed clarity. I now have a much better sense of what I want to do with my life going forward. Not specifics, mind you, but a general direction. I’ll definitely be writing about this more, but my focus is to make a positive impact on this world as much as possible.
  3. Food tastes MF’ing awesome. Do you know what I first ate after fasting? Grapes. And I kid you not when I say those were the most delicious grapes I’ve ever had. There’s something about deprivation that makes you appreciate the most common things like, I don’t know, the flavor of good, natural food.
  4. I’m officially out of my creative rut. The inspiration is back, baby! I’ve been writing like a madman and I can’t wait until this book is done.
  5. My eating and sleeping patterns have been reset. I’m actually getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night and I’m now eating smaller, but more frequent meals. I think the former was brought about by the meditation as well, but I can’t say for sure.

All in all it was an awesome experience and I’m grateful for the lessons I learned. Fasting isn’t for everyone, but it definitely did a world of good for me. As an aside, I just read this awesome article on IFL Science that talks about the benefits of intermittent fasting (http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/how-fasting-might-make-our-cells-more-resilient-stress).

Kind of convenient timing, no?

Anyway, I may do this from time to time just to have a reset every now and then. Meditation, veganism, and now fasting? I’m transforming into quite the hippie, aren’t I?

Peace out, party people.

Previously: Taking a Sabbatical with a Fast

Experiment: Taking a Sabbatical with a Fast

Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn
Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn

I’m going to try something new this week: I’m going on a fast.

So before the cavalcade of questions regarding my health and sanity come my way, you should know something about me: I’m at a crossroads. An important one at that. At least for me it is. I’m stuck between either working to pursue my dream as a writer or go back to the corporate world to something less fulfilling.

O woe is me. I should be so lucky to have suck minuscule problems.

Yeah, I am lucky. I don’t know if I could ever forget that. Still, this is a decision I have to make nonetheless. The only thing preventing me from moving in a direction either way is fear. If I work a corporate gig, I fear I won’t be happy. If I continue chasing this dream I fear I may not be able to actually become a success because the playing field is so crowded.

So I’ve been at a stalemate. Creatively, I’ve been in a rut and I’m fully aware I’m just going through the motions. Therefore, I’m going to do what I always do in these situations: I’m going to meditate a bunch. Not contemplative meditation; I’m not going to focus on anything. Additionally, I’m going to fast.

But you already knew that.

So what’s the fast have to do with anything. Well, that fear, as minor as it is, is nothing more than an attachment. A fast for me will be a period of ridding myself of attachments. The only television I’ll be watching is the stuff I need for The Gibbler Podcast. No alcohol. No food. Any time not spent working or with my fiance will be dedicated to reading, writing, opportunity hunting, or meditation. All I need is five days.

I’m a big believer in not hunting for answers to questions. I used to hunt, but over the years I’ve found the right answers come to me as long as I’m open to them. This “cleanse,” if you will, is to help me do just that.

I’ve juiced – not the steroid type – before long meditation sessions before and I always felt the difference. A five day fast shouldn’t be too bad as long as I still get water and take a multivitamin. I’ll let you know how this one goes! Hopefully I don’t get the urge to cheat, heh.

5 Ways I Maintain Balance in a World Determined to Throw Me off It

balance

If you read my blog, you know that I am a big proponent of the concept of achieving balance and peace in one’s self. The path I took to get there was… unconventional. At least for your average person.

But how I got there is of little consequence. The fact is, I got there.

Yay, me!

But maintaining this isn’t always easy given the life I currently have. It’s tough for many of us.  I’m working toward a life that is much more conducive to my daily balance, but I’m sure as hell not there yet. So here are a few ways I maintain my sense of inner peace in a chaotic world.

  1. Mini Meditation Sessions – I’m not one of those guys who thinks people need to meditate a certain amount of time every day. Why? I think it depends more on the individual and their daily circumstances. Personally, I just need 5-15 minutes every few days of focused meditation. I generally sit or lay while letting my mind run free. I just don’t acknowledge any thoughts. Like a kid throwing a temper tantrum, it relaxes and I feel that sense of connection.
  2. A Greener Diet – In my 33 years on this planet, I’ve realized old adages stick around for a reason.

    Like ‘Stupid is as stupid does.’

    Or ‘Cowabunga.’

    Really, the saying I have in mind is ‘You are what you eat.’ I kid you not, I’ve noticed a difference in my sense of balance when I eat meat and crap carbs than when I eat more plant-based, natural foods. I’m not saying I’ll never eat that stuff. Bacon is effing delicious, after all. But when there’s too much of that, I feel… off. Thankfully my girl is moving in so I’ll have her to help keep me honest. Because seriously, bacon is effing delicious.

    So are Combos.

  3. Meditative Walks – I love walks. I actually don’t think much during them, but I often find I come back with something insightful. I make a walk meditative by feeling each step as my foot strikes the ground.

    Also, as insane as this sounds, I use my glasses as a way of imagining I’m viewing the world through a screen. This is something I took away from my meditative experiences and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to explain it properly. But I will say this, it helps me separate from myself. I don’t think of myself as an individual; instead I just include myself and everything around me as a singular experience.

  4. Workout – If you’ve stuck with me thus far, you’re a brave one. Reward yourself with a workout. Nah, not like a round at the gym or anything. I just do things throughout the day. My shoulder sucks right now so I’ll do light sprints, jumping jacks, situps, curls, etc. I’m by no means an Adonis, but if I ALWAYS embrace sloth, my balance is thrown off.
  5. Verbalizing Thoughts – I talk to myself.

    A lot.

    I don’t even do it consciously. I do, however, notice that this keeps my mental chatter to a minimum. Before I found balance, my inner monologue didn’t know when to shut up. It was so bad I had to go to sleep with the television on EVERY NIGHT. Seriously. So I talk in the moment instead. Give it a shot sometimes. It’ll only feel silly if you pay attention to yourself. Half the time I’m not aware I’m doing it.

These things sound so simple, but you’d be surprised how effective they are if they become a part of who you are. Sure, there’s different strokes for different folks, but give it a shot. You never know how much of a difference it’ll make unless you try.

Peace out, party people.