Whole 30 – Day 1

My wife Heather, recently decided that she wanted to try the Whole 30 diet, and also that she thought it might be a good idea for me to try it as well, and I like the idea of her being happy with me.  Although I cringed at the thought of giving up my current diet of junk food and soda, I reluctantly agreed.  What is the Whole 30 diet, you ask?  Well, basically for 30 days, you stop eating and drinking everything you love, and start eating and drinking every boring thing you can think of.  You think I’m kidding?  Well..maybe a little.  All kidding aside, this diet is supposed to change everything you think you know about food, by eliminating those items that cause inflammation, resulting in much healthier you.  No grains, no dairy, no added sugars, no preservatives, and NO FUN! (kidding again). The beverages for me are the boring part.  You can drink water, black coffee, and tea, which means no sodas, no energy drinks, and no alcohol.  I haven’t had alcohol for over 13 years, but the sodas and energy drinks I’ve had almost daily in some form for quite some time.

I tried a version of this a few years back while seeing a wellness doctor for some issues I was having. After 2 years of going to the University of Minnesota, they couldn’t figure out why I was getting skin lesions for no apparent reason, and my joints felt like they were on fire!  I guess from their point of view if you can’t fix it with pills, there’s nothing much they can do for you.  Besides, I’m sure the medical industry rather prefers life-long customers as opposed to natural cures.  On a former employer’s advice, I went to see her family wellness doctor, who started me off with an elimination diet, and a few natural supplements to help detox my organs.  Within a few weeks, I was feeling better, losing weight, had almost no pain in my joints, and my skin was finally starting to clear up.  It wasn’t just my body either, my mind was reaping the benefits as well through better concentration and memory function.  It was the best I had felt since graduating from boot camp in the Army when I was 18.  I wasn’t quite in that good of shape physically, but you get the point, right? Anyway, I did this for a few months before a car accident left me feeling sorry for myself and instead of crawling back to the bottle, I crawled back to the ice cream container and other junk food.  I haven’t been able to put together any real-time involving healthy eating, so this is something that’s been a long time coming.

So…here we go.  It’s just before bedtime at the end of day 1, and though I’m feeling nervous about doing this because I’m terrible at self-control and discipline, I’m also very hopeful that maybe there’s a chance I can pull this off.  Today I basically survived off of lemon water, fruit and veggies, but I also managed to have a hamburger (no bun) topped with avocado and sampled some panfish fried in egg yolk and almond flour that I prepared for my lunch tomorrow.   I have a feeling that planning and preparation are going to be the hard part of this whole thing, which is where Heather comes in.

Heather has celiac disease and has to lead a gluten-free, dairy-free lifestyle, and has for quite some time. She’s a pro at finding tasty alternatives to the things she can’t eat but would sure like to.  She’s also a phenomenal cook!  So let me tell you I’m grateful to have her by side. I surely would have eaten myself into an early grave without her.  I’m going to have to change a lot about daily eating habits, especially at work. But with her guidance and creative dietary know-how, I feel like I at least have a shot at pulling this off.  Who knows, maybe I’ll even like it.


Mid-Life Crisis…

The crappy thing about a mid life crisis is that it never happens when you want it to…and they aren’t what they used to be.  We live in such a stressed out state on a daily basis it’s hard to separate the crisis from the day to day events.  When you think about it, a mid life crisis is just an excuse…something we tell others to justify our crappy feelings about life.  And, people buy it!  I think most people think that everyone deserves or is entitled to one in their life, so what do they do?  They cut you a break.  “It’s OK. He’s having his mid life crisis.”  And people leave you be, even if only for a little while.

Let’s look at the term Mid-Life Crisis..shall we?  Basically, it’s saying that you’ve reached the middle of your life…or so you hope.  For instance, I’m 44.  If I’m in the middle of my life, I’ll live to be 88…I think.  I was never good at math. Anyway, you’re in the middle of your life and you’re in “Crisis”.  According to the Google dictionary, Crisis is a noun meaning: a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. Now, does that sound like just one time of your life?  Or does it sound like everyday life?  My answer would have to be the latter. I can’t count the number of times my life has been in crisis.  Maybe what we really desire, is a reprieve from the judgement of others? To be under less pressure, to have less expected of us, and to just be able to not be stressed out ALL THE TIME!!!  I heard someone tell me once, “I’m not who I think I am.  I’m not even who you think I am.  I am who I think that you think I am.”  Still with me?  It took a few times for me to grasp it to.  But simply put, we put way too much stock not only in what other people think, but what we think they think about us.  It’s exhausting to think about.  Lately, I’ve spent a ton of time listening to self-development videos of all kinds on you tube while I drive.  If you pay for the premium version, which I do, you can have it on in the background, like music.  So I listen to audio books, seminars, debates, lectures, Ted Talks and whatever else I can find that I think will make me a better person if I could only find the golden nugget.  You know what I mean. We hope for one bit of information, one quote…that somehow will suddenly and instantly change our life.  An ah-ha moment of clarity and the missing piece of the puzzle that fits into your life and makes everything make sense.  That’s the golden nugget.  The problem is that every time I’ve found one…it only turns out to be fools gold!  The critic in me says “How can you know so much about life, while being miserable and broke!?” But what I realized was that in searching for what would inevitably make me a better man, it also made me feel like I was broken. After all, if your fine, why would listen to self-improvement? I kept thinking…”Well, maybe someday I’ll put all of this info to good use and be somebody!” It was making me feel like a complete and utter failure, and I didn’t even realize it.  So a few days ago…I decided that I’d had enough, said “Screw you Tony Robbins!  Bite me Les Brown!” That’s right, I stopped listening to the soul sucking, criticizing audio on you tube, and instead starting listening to the playlists in my Amazon music library.  The result… I FEEL FRICKIN’ AMAZING! My life now comes with a soundtrack! And a pretty kick-ass one at that.

So, what’s the point of everything I just emotionally and verbally vomited?  We’ll, I’m not exactly sure, but I think it means that you just have to find a way to be OK with you.  Some of you are trying to hard, and some of you aren’t trying enough.  We just have to get an honest assessment of where we actually are on that spectrum and fix it. If you go around thinking you’re broken, and you keep trying to fix it but it never get’s any better…maybe you’re trying to hard. Maybe, you’re actually OK and right where you’re supposed to be.  What would it hurt to try it?  To try to be OK with where you’re at, and accepting the possibility that maybe you’re not broken after all.  I can tell you from experience that you can make your self miserable trying to be greater than you are now. The secret is this…you’re already great! Life will mold you into the person you need to be through experiences and when those come, nothing you’ve read or heard in a book or on You Tube is going to prepare you for the emotional and very human part of that experience.  You’re just going to have to go through it.  But do so knowing that the experience requires you only to be who you are. Nothing more.   Nike was right…Just Do It. You are not having a mid-life crisis. You’re just having a crisis…that might just happen to be in the middle of your life.  But don’t worry…it’ll pass.  Everything will tun out like it turns out with or without your permission.  Like the fictional National Lampoon character Van Wilder said, “Don’t take life so seriously…You’ll never get out alive”

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