Friday, March 27, 2009

Effects of lethargy

This is my own experience.

Have you ever spent the whole day working hard at something, like some sport, hiking, gardening, etc and felt very hungry at the end of the day?  Most of us have.  Think of a time when you worked really hard (perhaps returned from a day of skiing), and felt like you could eat anything. You could have gulped down the muck from The Matrix and it  would have been the most satisfying meal ever.  Its a good feeling, eating a meal you really earned.  Everything tastes great.

Now also consider a time when you felt really "hungry", but this time you haven't really done anything all day and can't decide what to eat.  Perhaps you had a lot of food in the fridge or pantry, but none of it seemed appealing.  You had a craving for something else... probably something heavy and fatty.  For instance, maybe you had plenty of cheaper/healthier/easier meal options, but instead you went out to get Chinese food or pizza. 

What's the difference between these two scenarios?

I think that a big problem with people nowadays, including myself, is that we spend the average day completely inactive.  We exert so little energy in our daily routine - wake up, go to work/school, come home, watch TV or hang out with some friends, go to sleep.  We spend most of the day in one spot, and if we do go somewhere else, we drive there.  This skews the way our cravings are supposed to develop naturally.

What if you went a whole month without eating candy.  Would that be hard?  If candy isn't your weakness, then try meat, or fried food, or breads, or whatever you might indulge while personally knowing it is nothing but bad news.  I have personally worked myself into many corners where I ended up eating foods that I knew weren't the best (and by the best I mean that ones that would be satisfying long-term).  I am sure you have too.  How come?

My theory is that we are lethargic.  Ideally, every meal would be like the first example I gave - after a good deal of physical activity and our "hunger" sense really turned on.  No one in their right mind really wants to eat McDonald's after running several miles.  However, you might want it after sitting down all day, be it in front of a TV, computer screen, paperwork, in a car, or whatever.

This kind of laziness prevents us from acting naturally.  Our bodies make an unnatural shift.  It's like the lights go out and we don't how do judge what our bodies are telling us anymore.  We need that exercise for more than being "in shape", we need it to regulate our hunger, emotions, and sex drive.

If you are trying to make healthier life choices but it causes you to really struggle all day, do not get discouraged!  If "holding back" seems like too much, there's probably more to it than your self-discipline.

There are many many variables because the full answer is an entire lifestyle, but exercise is a very important factor.  Long story short - that pizza craving might mean its time to hit the gym.  Then, your body might tell you what it really needs.  My personal thinking right now is that treats are ok, its not good to create more stress for yourself by being healthier because then it'll just reverse.  Health should relieve stress.  However, the treats shouldn't be complete garbage, rather perhaps lightly processed but still "good for you" in some ways.  However, if you want something that is really junky, do some exercise and see if you still want it afterwards.  I'm not talking about doing more exercise so that you can indulge more.  I'm talking about doing some exercise so that you can eat and live better.  I'll most likely writing more about this later.  Good luck!

Friday, March 6, 2009

What I miss

Someone asked me if there were any foods that I missed since changing my diet. After some thought...

I don't miss any foods, I miss feelings that I get from some foods. Example: pizza and cheese. I sometimes "crave" pizza, and yeah, I've given in before on quite a few occasions. In a way, giving in delivers a sense of relief. There's some weird psychology going on there. Why do we desire what we know won't fulfill us, or we know will be a letdown? Regardless, I do have a bit of insight based on my personal experiences.

The foods that I miss most don't even taste that good. They certainly don't make me feel "good" physically (or mentally). For instance, during times of stress I could spend all day thinking about the sensation and "reward" of eating a pizza. Something to look forward to after an unenjoyable, forgettable day; an escape through food, comfort eating. Then, when I finally get it at night, it will have no taste.  No special factor. I mean, I don't think to myself "wow, I have really been missing out on this great food." However, I'll sit, downing slice after slice, and sink down into a lesser, more detached, more bearable, state of consciousness - what I really wanted in the first place.

Now, these attachments are more obvious.  A pizza isn't just a pizza, its a step outside of the new diet I've set for myself.  Its an act of weakness, of sickness.  However, I've come to realize that it has always been this way.  Before, when unnatural foods were a regular part of my diet, I just didn't know that any addictions were there.  I was just like everyone else around me.

You see, I don't miss the taste of pizza. I don't miss the texture. I miss the feeling.  The feeling that goes along with those things. I miss buying it, re-experiencing the nostalgia of past pizza-eating endeavors, the greasiness, swallowing it and feeling it in my stomach, having it down there, sitting heavily, and then I especially like being able to make that feeling grow by repeating that process as many more times as I like.  I am disgusted just thinking about it, but that's how I am - that's how a lot of people are, whether they know it or not.  I've just become more aware of my subconscious and maybe they haven't yet; maybe they never will.  Just having food in your belly makes you feel a certain way. When that food is natural (fruits/veggies), there's almost no sedation factor. When that food is unnatural (any processed food), it becomes a gateway for sedation. Its a certain type of sedation that, for some reason or another, is appealing to people (including myself).

I really think that taste has very little to do with giving up certain foods.  Actually, the more I think about it taste has very little to do with eating at all.  Giving up processed foods is about giving up the feelings of eating those things.  Practicing temperance is not about abstaining from what is bad, its about changing your mind altogether to truly desire what is good.

One interesting note is that I miss very few drinks. Almost none. The only drink I really struggled over was coffee, but that's because of caffeine, and caffeine is another long story for another time. But sodas, juice drinks, sports drinks, etc are basically no struggle for me.  I predict that this is because there is little "feeling" from drinks.  By that I mean they don't do much to you after you drink them, besides maybe give you a sugar rush.  Its not like some heavy cooked foods that give you the feeling of sedation, or being "stuffed".

What do I conclude from this?

Its all about wanting the right thing.  With the raw food diet (or at least a natural-food diet), your body is becoming free - its natural state that our Creator designed it to be in.  After years and years of becoming denatured and desensitized to my instincts, this has been very hard.  However, it is a continual journey.  I am learning to love this natural state.  I'm becoming more comfortable with it - always being more alert, in the moment, "aware" of my body and everything around it.  I am finding it easier to fight off the desire to sedate myself or become detached from reality, by any means.  For you, this could also include oversleeping, watching a lot of TV, watching pornography, general laziness, frequent lateness, never exercising, etc.  I am fighting to do away with this desire for sedation altogether, but the most important thing is to know that it exists so that it can be fought at all.