2011-04-30

coincidence?

we can't stop eating
more calories than we burn

gov't can't stop spending
more money than we earn

2011-04-29

hello

I poke my head out
to say hello
You love what you see
and what you can't know

2011-04-27

apples day 5 (final)

It would be interesting, next time, to keep some stats as I go through the fast: weight, pH of bodily fluids, blood sugar, cholesterol etc. I wonder how much interesting stuff you can measure by yourself at home with a kit from the drugstore?.

Also next time I'm going to use something more in season -- for springtime, greens?

In the afternoon, as I consider what to start mixing in to diversify my diet again, I get this bittersweet goodbye feeling. Life lesson: even that which is the source of struggle while it's here is missed when it's time to say goodbye. So might as well appreciate it while it's here!

I had 5 apples today, and broke the fast with a few veggies and grains at dinner.

2011-04-26

apples day 4

Approximate cost of an apple fast (organic apples): $7/day

Approximate cost of a brown rice fast (organic brown rice, bought in bulk): $1.25/day

This morning, for the first time during this whole fast (brown rice and apples), I'm appreciating the fast. Relaxing into it, I feel cleansed. Not physically, but mentally cleansed, sort of cleansed of my regular eating patterns?

I have more energy today! Enough for a short bike ride, wandering around shopping, and a yoga class. I'm full of crazy theories, like how this is due to my body adjusting to the new fuel source.

Sense of smell is super sensitive -- wow! I can smell the breath of the person doing yoga next to me, and it's not because her breath is stinky. Car exhaust too. And all the yummy food A is cooking.

7.5 apples today

And tomorrow is the last day! Any last requests? (I seem to be able to stand on my head/hands just fine still, so that one's already filled.)

sitting still and veganism

At the end of yoga class today, we were sitting in a brief meditation and the teacher was saying that just to sit and be with your thoughts is the hardest "pose" of all. As she said this, I was thinking "No it's not! All those hard effortful muscular energy poses are way harder!" Then the thought occurred to me that a few years back sitting and being with my thoughts was difficult. At that time, I just wanted peace, so I would sit and see what came up that was keeping me from feeling peaceful. One of the first things that came up repeatedly was the fact that I ate animals, and I like animals! This inconsistency was eating me up inside, to the point where I had trouble sitting still. (nowadays, it's paying taxes that keeps me from feeling a deeper peace, but that's the subject of another article.)

I happen to know that this teacher is not vegetarian. Now, I also see that there are many reasons she may find it difficult to sit still, but could it be that the inner conflict I had about my food is one that many people have, without realizing it? According to The World Peace Diet, this is exactly what's going on, and it's just the tip of the iceberg: the book claims that many of our conflicts and inconsistencies are connected to our habit of eating animal foods.

I'm amazed at how deep this goes for me, and I wonder how deep it goes for others, and our society?

Oliver pants

I got 5 different pairs of these pants at a street market in London (for just a few pounds each). They are light (great for summer), baggy, and bright.

apples day 3

As promised, here are yesterday's notes.

The action-orientation remains. Instead of thinkythink, weigh the consequences, decide on the One Right Decision, and then do it (Entmoot style); it's try this way, see how it feels, then reevaluate. It feels liberating.

I'm rearranging the kitchen in late morning. As I'm doing so, I notice the diverse and wonderful array of foods we have, and appreciate them more than usual.

I've slowed down my apple consumption. I started out eating a lot, whenever I thought of it. Now I'm eating approximately one apple every two hours.

I remember from last time that my saliva tasted like apples. Yum! Hook me up! Except I haven't experienced that yet this time. WTF?

Did you know that the glycemic index measures the area under the curve of your blood sugar after eating a food? So it doesn't say anything about whether the curve is slow and smooth or spikey. And did you know that apples are lower than brown rice? I found this counterintuitive. Apples have a GI of 38 while brown rice is 55.

Apple count today: 5.5

2011-04-25

hot lovin

I step out the back door, strip off my shirt
sometimes I strip more if noone's around
my lover caresses my naked skin
a gentle warm touch but never a sound

a few billion others she touched today
traveling the world from east to the west
yet I have a secret, others can't say:
of all her lovers she loves me the best

2011-04-24

apples day 2

This is neat. My mind is less sticky than usual. Making decisions is easier. I'm less deliberative and more action-oriented.

7 apples today.

I'm away from the computer tomorrow, so the apples day 3 update will come on day 4 morning.

Ok!

who's dead in the long run?

The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.
- John Maynard Keynes


Many modern economists, including fed chair Ben Bernanke, basically believe in the validity of Keynesian economics -- particularly the bit about the government intervening in the economy (through the federal reserve or debt spending) to mitigate perceived boom and bust cycles.

While in the long run you and I are clearly dead, our progeny are not. How good do you feel about mortgaging the economic future of our progeny? How good do you feel about it in the short run? I feel about as good about it as I do about stealing food from a baby.

So yes, we can quip a cute soundbite about the mortality of man, and use it to justify a flawed economic policy, bit is this really the sort of argument we want running our economy?

2011-04-23

apples! (day 1)

And then everything was apples!

Life has sped up by a factor of four or so. While my energy level is still low, because, well, it's a fast; I feel more energetic, if only psychologically.

Instead of ruminating, thinking about stuff, I just want to DO things. Sugar high!?

Yeah!

UM.

I've had 6 apples so far today, and I think I'll munch one more before bed.

BYE

2011-04-22

brown rice fasting, day 5 (last day!)

I awaken with this quote on the mind:

To a man with an empty stomach food is god. -Ghandi


the world is a coop mmorpg

We're all unique. Everyone has a different combination of race/background/skills.

We're all on the same team. Working towards.. whatever we want!

We're all free. We can choose whether to play, when to play, and how and which way to play.

We can all improve. There's always room to improve our skills or learn new ones. By practicing we can make ourselves, and hence our team, stronger.

2011-04-20

brown rice fasting, day 3

Still truckin'.

book review: The Conscience of a Conservative



Was Barry Goldwater a precursor to the modern freedom movement? It appears so, modulo foreign policy. I found the book interesting when taken within historical context.

2011-04-19

brown rice fasting, day 2

Why am I doing this again? Before I even started, I was dubious about the wisdom of this idea. What toxins do I have to cleanse? Am I going to get any insight out of this, or just weaken my body? Probably I'll just confirm my insight, that many people who've come before me seem to have figured out, that a varied diet is a good thing. Without any answers, I plunge in anyway, with gusto.

brown rice fasting, day 1



Why oh why?

I am periodically seized by ridiculous activities that my brain doesn't seem to want to let go of. Most recently it's to try this brown rice fasting thing again. This past fall, I did 5 days on apples followed by 5 days on brown rice, to celebrate the transition from summer to winter (the idea being that apple-eating is more of a summer activity, and brown-rice eating is more of a winter activity). So here it is in the spring, and some little neurotic part of my brain wants to go through it again, in reverse. I succumbed.

2011-04-16

I'm vegan out of selfishness

People ask me "why are you vegan?" Usually it comes up because we're going to have a meal together, or we're not because the plan is to go out for steak, and so I'm not going. At any rate, I get asked the question from time to time, and it's funny because I often get the sense that people who ask it are not really interested in talking about it. They are more interested in a quick soundbite they can file away and forget about it. So I usually give them "for ethical reasons," or sometimes "because I like animals" or "for ethical and health reasons."

2011-04-15

celebrating income tax day!

This is the income tax:

You tax what you don't want, right? Let's see, let's tax cigarettes and pollution-generating activities, because we'd all be better off without these, right? And let's tax income because we'd all be better off... hmm..

Income taxes are partially financing our drones overseas killing innocent people. I don't want to finance drones overseas killing innocent people. So I don't want to pay taxes. I do like to earn income though, for food and shelter and video games and other life necessities.

Taken a little further, income taxes mean I have to choose between my survival and the survival of someone I don't know in the middle east. Not pretty.

For the above reason, income taxes keep the pacifists from wanting to be wealthy. Wouldn't it be neat if we had a bunch of wealthy pacifists? I wonder how they would invest their capital?

I'm heading out sporting my colors this evening:

2011-04-14

vegan eating is sheer joy

Components of a whole-food vegan meal:

  • Yummy sensations

  • Good feelings about what the food is doing for my health

  • Good feelings about what the choice of eating vegan means for animals

  • Good feelings about what the choice of eating vegan means for the environment.

2011-04-13

new email notification feature

I've replaced the wordpress email notification plugin with a feedburner subscription on the blog. If you had signed up for the email notifications, please do so again via the new box.

The old plugin didn't notify on all posts (in particular, when they were scheduled for the future). Feedburner does.

I'm deactivating the old plugin just after this post.

2011-04-09

Menu

If you want me to go away as fast as possible:

Tell me how difficult life is for everyone,
How disappointed you are with yours,
How impossible it is to get what you want.
And when I protest, tell me to get real.

--

If you want me to stay and half-listen
with eyes glazed over
as I daydream about breakfast:

Tell me about how wonderful life is
For somebody else;
And without so many words
Imply that your life is ordinary,
And that only shooting stars break the mold,
And that's just how things have to be.

--

If you want me to brighten
and lean in with rapt attention
so as not to miss a word:

Tell me about your biggest dreams
And how you're going to achieve them
And about the future of wonder and joy that awaits you.

--

If you want me to bubble over with excitement
and keep coming back for more:

Engage me in a conversation
Where we share our biggest dreams
And discuss how we're going to work together.

--

If you want my admiration
without limit
now and forever forward:

Take action with me
Side by side
Creating the world of our dreams.

2011-04-07

Editing PDFs is easy now

I recently discovered pdfescape, an ajax app for editing PDFs online. It's free, too (I took the option to pay $10 to make the ads go away). A convenient way to deal with paperwork!

milk calcium myth

Did you know you can get the same amount of calcium as is in a cup of milk from 3 tbsps of sesame seeds? Or a cup of collard greens? And that studies are increasingly showing that acid-forming foods such as meat and dairy actually deplete the body of essential minerals such as calcium?

The milk calcium myth is on the way out, just waiting for the final blow!

2011-04-03

Libya

I haven't been following much of the Libya debate, but I did see this video, and I expect the voice of peace has been much underreported.

Senator Rand Paul on Libya

I am especially intrigued at what my more liberal-leaning friends think of Obama's current position vs. what he said when he was in the senate. Here's what he said in 2007:



The President does not have power under the Constitution to
unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does
not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.


I liked that. Can we have that attitude back?

2011-04-02

vegan vitamin b12, updated

I posted on this subject a couple days ago. Since then I've looked into vegan sources of b12 a bit more and have a couple of updates to what I wrote.


Thing 1.

The liver stores a lot of b12 — something like 3 years’ worth or more. I think your doctor can test your blood levels to see if you’re deficient.

Thing 2.

I've heard that back in the old days vegans didn’t have to worry about it because they got insects in their food all the time and this supplied b12. Nowadays most of our food is bug-free so that doesn’t work. I think you can eat dirt too.

Thing 3.

There are a few places to get b12 from vegan foods. Brandon Brasier in his vegan nutrition book “Thrive” (he’s a vegan athlete and his book is pretty interesting — I recommend it) says:



Vitamin B12 is essential for a healthy nervous system, aiding in coordination and smooth muscle movement. As with other B vitamins, B12 plays a role in the production of red blood cells and conversion of food to usable energy. Unlike other B vitamins, B12 is not plentiful in foods. Special attention must be paid to ensure dietary B12 needs are met, particularly if the diet doesn’t contain animal products and exercise level is moderate to high.

Best Thrive [vegan] sources: chlorella, miso, nutritional yeast.

I eat all three. I have little chlorella pills that I put in smoothies from time to time, or just chew on. I put miso in soups, grains, and bean dishes. South River Miso has a lot of varieties and it’s the best I’ve found. I put nutritional yeast on popcorn. Yum.

Update: Chlorella and miso only have very small amounts of b12. To get the RDA's worth, you'd have to eat a ton of either food. In contrast, there's plenty of b12 in a generous helping of nutritional yeast.

It's worth noting I have no idea how accurate the RDA is. It's entirely possible that vegans don't need as much, or need more, than whoever the standard was modeled after.

There are also small amounts of b12 in some sea vegetables.

There is a significant amount (about 50% RDA per serving) of b12 in spirulina, a blue-green algae that goes well in smoothies.

Thing 4.

You can take a vegan b12 supplement if you're worried about it.

Update: Thing 5.

Many nut / rice / soy milks are fortified with b12.

They're also fortified with vitamin D, which I've heard is important when you're not getting enough sun, like say if you have an indoor job in the winter in downtown NYC. Note that vegan milks usually contain D2 instead of D3, because D3 is an animal product.

UNAC peace rally

Next weekend there's going to be a peace rally in NYC and San Francisco:



April 9, 2011
New York & San Francisco
from the
United National Antiwar Committee

WHO ARE THE WARMAKERS?

THEY are the government, corporate, and financial powers that wage war, ravage the environment and the economy and trample on our democratic rights and liberties.

WHO ARE THE PEACEMAKERS?

WE are the vast majority of humanity who want peace, a healthy planet and a society that prioritizes human needs, democracy and civil liberties for all.

The Warmakers spend trillions of dollars yearly on endless wars in pursuit of global domination and profit while murdering millions of innocent people, installing corrupt and hated governments and funding occupations that displace millions from their homelands – trampling on the right of oppressed people to self-determination.

THEY send our youth – victims of the economic draft – to fight over the very fossil fuels whose unrestrained use threatens the future of the planet while corrupt and virtually unregulated oil giants dump billions of gallons of death into our rivers and oceans.

THEY wage a fake “war on terrorism” at home – the new McCarthyism – that promotes racism and Islamophobia aimed at destroying civil liberties and democratic rights.


I'm with you so far. The tone is one of anger, not peace, but the principles I mostly agree with.



THEY grant repeated and untold trillions in bailouts to banks, corporations and financial institutions while breaking unions, robbing pensions, destroying jobs, foreclosing homes, de-funding education and vital social services and are once again threatening Social Security and Medicare.

THEY offer no solutions to the current crises other than more of the same.


I'm starting to wonder how much the organizers have thought about the peacefulness of their own positions.


THE PEACEMAKERS DEMAND a better world. Only a massive, united, inclusive and independent movement has the power to bring it into being.


"Demand" a better world? From who? I don't think demanding stuff is part of a peaceful solution. It sounds like frustration-venting, not peace-creating.


WE DEMAND Bring U.S. Troops, Mercenaries and War Contractors Home Now: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan! End the sanctions and stop the threats of war against the people of Iran, North Korea and Yemen. No to war and plunder of the people of Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa! End U.S. Aid to Israel! End U.S. Support to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine and the Siege of Gaza!

Again, except for the demanding nature, these positions are mostly peaceful.


WE DEMAND trillions for jobs, education, social services, an end to all foreclosures, quality single-payer healthcare for all, a massive conversion to sustainable and planet-saving energy systems and public transportation and reparations to the victims of U.S. terror at home and abroad.

This reflects a serious misunderstanding of peace. Demanding trillions for jobs, education, etc. is nearly as non-peaceful as demanding trillions for warmaking. The trillions must come from somebody, and it sounds like this group wants to take it by force.

Government is a force-machine. We're not going to get peace by taking over the force-machine so that one group can legally plunder from another! This is replacing one wrong with another. An eye for an eye. Revenge. Not peace.


WE DEMAND an end to FBI raids on antiwar, social justice, and international solidarity activists, an end to the racist persecution and prosecutions that ravage Muslim communities, an end to police terror in Black, Latino and Native American communities, full rights and legality for immigrants and an end to all efforts to repress and punish Wikileaks and its contributors and founders.

WE DEMAND the immediate end to torture, rendition, secret trials, drone bombings and death squads.

WE ARE DEDICATED TO A WORLD
OF PEACE AND JUSTICE.

All Out April 9, 2011

Yeah!

I'm thinking of going to this rally with a sign that says "Single-payer healthcare and public education are acts of violence." I wonder if I'll get trampled.