How the wealthy and pampered conceive of remote

30
Mar
2014

This morning while perusing The Times, I came across an article entitled “A Third Party Names Their Split“, ostensibly about Gwyneth Paltrow’s somewhat goofy use of the term “conscious uncoupling” to describe her divorce from Chris Martin.  Since I had been enjoying watching the internet make fun of it for the last few days, I clicked through to read the article. It ended up being about the psychotherapist who had invented the term, which was interesting, but the description of how the news got back to her had me laughing:

At the time, the person who coined the phrase, Katherine Woodward Thomas, had no idea what was happening. Off at a spa and yoga retreat overlooking Costa Rica’s central valley, Ms. Thomas was safely removed from Twitter and TMZ as the expression was lighting up social media (and garnering plenty of eye rolls in the process).

I came to the remotest part of Costa Rica that I could find to completely withdraw from the world,” she said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.

That did not work.

Ms. Thomas recounted that, dressed in her yoga clothes, she wandered outside on a balmy and breezy evening, opened her laptop and found several emails alerting her to the news.

[emphasis mine]

There is nothing remote about a spa and yoga retreat where one can open one’s laptop and check emails. The idea is laughable, but tells us something about how the wealthy and pampered conceive of being remote or cutoff from the world. Namely, that it follows a certain aesthetic for them, not a reality. Because at any moment, one could suddenly not be remote, checking emails in between deluxe spa treatments.

I’m almost done annoying people with my diet

29
Mar
2014

For the whole of this month, I have been following a version of a Paleolithic diet called The Whole 30. I initially started it because the guy I am seeing was starting it, and it looked interesting to me so I thought I would give it a try along with him. The diet is set up as a kind of 30-day reset for your body, and it serves as a kind of neat science experiment in how your body responds to various foods that can be considered problematic. Strictly speaking, the diet is over for me in a few days, but I have been really happy with the results and will continue parts of it (with less rigidity) going forward.

Roughly speaking, all I was allowed to eat over the past month was meat (beef, chicken, pork, seafood, lamb, etc), veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds, and a few healthy oils. That’s it. And although coffee was allowed, everything else that gives my life joy was out. No alcohol. No dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt,…ice cream!). No legumes (meaning any kind of bean, chickpea, even peanuts). No grains (wheat, oats, barley, rye, etc, etc). Basically nothing that was a product of civilization. This was one of the hardest things I have had to do with my diet, ever. Mostly this is because a very large portion of my regular diet involved dairy and grains. I can honestly say I have never gone more than a few days my entire life without some kind of milk product.

The first few days were total hell as my body experienced terrible cravings. But then, I started to feel better. I started to notice much more even and higher energy levels. My workouts were more productive (I increased what I could lift significantly this month), and I lost fat weight – 10 pounds of it.

I also became hyper aware (as I needed to be) of how much industrialized, processed crap is in our everyday food supply. By eating so simply, I naturally cut out most of the preservatives and processing that goes into what we eat. It was fascinating perusing the ingredients lists of various foods I would previously buy and noticing how many non-recognizable-as-food things were in them (mostly thickeners, preservatives, flavor “enhancers”, and coloring). Eating in the Whole30 way was definitely more work, but it also put me in touch with what I was consuming in a much more conscious way.

Roughly, here were the pros and cons:

PROS

  • Higher energy levels
  • Lost fat weight
  • Gained muscle
  • Much better sleep
  • Greater awareness of how processed our normal food environment is
  • Feeling better, fewer aches and pains all around
  • Lower blood pressure (not that I needed it much)
  • Total disappearance of acid reflux

CONS

  • Annoying to friends and waiters (asking in detail about every little ingredient)
  • Cravings (mostly for whiskey and ice cream)
  • More work to prepare food
  • More work to procure food (being extra careful looking at ingredients)
  • Some boredom with food choices

So there you have it. Going forward, I will slowly reintroduce some things like dairy, grains, and alcohol, all in small amounts. I will then see how they affect me. I don’t think I need to be so extreme, life is meant to be enjoyed after all. But I do like how my body feels right now and would like to keep feeling that way, even while indulging a little from time to time. One thing I will really try to keep though is the simplicity. If I can at all help it, I am only going to eat things whose entire ingredient list can be recognized as food.