Meat-Free Monday: My Life So Far (Status Update)

So, I’m three weeks in, and I’m feeling pretty good.

I’m eating like a king, trying new foods all the time (something I always loved doing anyway). And they aren’t all “healthy” foods, either:

  • General Tso’s Tofu
  • Lay’s Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper potato chips
  • Baked white potatoes with sesame seeds and either creole mustard or barbecue sauce
  • Pineapple juice mixed with seltzer water (very refreshing)
  • Outshine bars
  • So Delicious Almond Milk Mocha Ice Cream
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter on quality white bread or bagels
  • Bangkok Peanut Sauce on rice or noodles or whatever
  • Dark Chocolate Almond Milk

And that’s in addition to all the healthy food I’m eating

  • salads with apple cider vinegar and course-ground mustard dressing (mix them together and toss the greens – it’s awesome)
  • raw vegetables (crudites – pronounced crew-dee-tays. It sounds like a Mardi Gras parade: “Krewe De Tay”)
  • stir-fries starring broccoli, sugar snap peas, and chick peas
  • stir-fried eggplant
  • oatmeal sweetened with dates.
  • just eating the dates themselves

I’m really just eating whatever I want, whenever I want it, and eating as much as I want. I’m often hungry, but I’m never hungry for very long.

So how do am I doing?

Well, my digestion has been much better. I haven’t needed heartburn medicine since I started.

My energy level is up, though I still suffer when I don’t get enough sleep (and I’m still a coffee addict).

My weight is down 20 pounds, from 375 to 355, and my clothes fit again. Actually, some of them are starting to fall off of me. I’m glad I’ve got a good belt.

It’s easier to get off the ground, and I move around a lot better. I feel a lot lighter, though some of that may be the weight off my conscience 🙂

I actively want to keep this up.

Empire of Static and Noise

Earlier today, I realized I’d been feeling washed-out and uncreative. This blog was lying fallow, and my fiction inspiration was as dry as California underbrush.

If I had a cause, a central idea, a unifying point to what I’m doing, then I would be so much better off. I’d have my writing drive back, my thinking drive back, my mojo back. But all I have is noise.

And so it occurred to me: noise. Maybe my main point for now is noise.

I don’t mean noise as in decibel levels, like the neighbor’s barking dog (though that’s certainly a part of it, just ask Schopenhauer or the New York Times. I mean noise as in “signal to noise ratio.” I mean static.

Like it or not, as modern Americans we live in an Empire of Static and Noise. Televisions blare from every corner. The instant gratification of a thousand status updates bubbles up through our phones like swamp gas.

Those same phones hold a variety of video games and grant access to a wider Internet filled beyond any one man’s imagining with articles, blog posts, and endless arguments across a multitude of forums.

We like our lives like we like our hash browns: scattered, chunked, smothered, covered, and served with coffee at three a.m. And even if we don’t like them, that’s how we live them.

  • How much of what we experience serves not to carry meaning, but to obscure it?
  • How much of what we experience serves not to inspire or provoke new thought, but to scatter our attention so that we can barely think?
  • How much of what we experience serves not to challenge us to new levels of compassion and humanity, but to distract us from the hard questions?

A very wise man once said, “Don’t watch the hand with the wand. The trick is in the other hand.” How much of our lives is just a wand waving on a stage?

I can’t answer that for you. But the answer for me is, “Too much. Way too much.”

So that leads us to the question, “What do I do about it?”

The first thing, the absolute first thing I have to do is start self-enforcing an earlier bedtime. I’m not getting enough sleep, and so many studies have proven that’s bad for you that I don’t even feel the need to cite them here (the Earth is also round, and it orbits the sun, by the way).

Basically, sleep deprivation makes you stupid, and I’ve been neglecting my eight hours since at least when my daughter was born.

Beyond that, I’m going to have to take a fast from certain technology. I will have to use Facebook only to check important messages, and encourage people to call, text, or email me instead.

I will have to stop reading Slate and all online forums. I will have to stop following all those interesting links in the articles that I do still choose to read.

Will this be permanent? I doubt it, but it will have to be for a while, at least. Addicts don’t moderately use, and I’m pretty much addicted to new information and short, nonfiction articles.

I’m going to limit not only my “active” television watching, but my “passive” watching. If Katherine is watching TV and I’m just passing through, I’m going to have to force myself to keep passing through, not stop and “just watch this scene” … and be there half an hour.

I’m going to have to uninstall the games from my Kindle Fire. It’s great for media, and it has potential for productivity, but I won’t get anything done if I’m feeding Om Nom candy.

I’m going to have to clear out some space and time in my life for thought, for reflection, for praying and writing and daydreaming.

I think I’ll be smarter and happier. I think. Heh. At least I’ll be thinking again.