Today I bought chicken for the first time in 17 years. Since age 18, I've been a self-proclaimed vegetarian, not strict like animal-rights activist, but just didn't really enjoy looking at raw meat, and felt better in my soul eating a plant-based diet. In massage school, I added fish for more protein and variety. I've had a bite of steak here and there... mostly I find the amount of chewing required annoying.
Lately I've been thinking about the patterns and routines that we find ourselves in either intentionally or unintentionally. No one told me to stop eating meat, I just decided to do it. I've considered and re-considered many times the decision, and just kept deciding not to do it. But when I really think back on my life, I remember a distinct drop-off of my energy levels right around the time I stopped eating meat.
So I've started reading up on high protein food programs that are becoming more popular like Whole 30 and paleo. For a long time, low fat was the craze, and now it turns out that low fat often means high sugar... and sugar is shown to be linked to all sorts of chronic diseases like diabetes, liver and heart disease. In fact, many 'diets' (and I use that word to mean 'food program', not 'weight loss' program) are cutting down on carbohydrates, and adding in more healthy fats and proteins. I notice that when I think of the word 'protein', my mouth starts to salivate. I don't personally jive with a lot of what Whole 30 preaches (strict rules, a whole list of 'do nots'), but I am intrigued by the thought of shaking up the routine I'm in (high ice cream, thoughtless meals, quick food, and I think I've cleared out the bulk chocolate almond bark supply at Whole Foods). One thing Whole 30 states matter-of-factly is that they just believe people should eat animal protein.
While I can't say I'm trying out Whole 30 (I'm not), I can chose what I like from different sources and come up with a personalized plan that works for ME. One thing I'm becoming better at through wellness coaching is just trying something out for a week at a time. I have vast spans of weeks ahead of me, why not take one week to shake things up? Also, I love trying out new recipes, and this is great way to narrow down the paradox of choice on the internet.
So far these are my roadmaps: breakfast recipes and dinner recipes.
That said, I had a sad moment in my heart when I walked over to the meat aisle. I picked up a chicken package, read the back, and felt a little at ease knowing that the company is 'certified organic, free range, and certified humane'. I really hope those chickens had a good life... I'm sure they would love knowing they had 3 minutes of fame in a blog post! This post is for you, chickens, thank you!
This year my sister Sarah told me about a course offered at UW called 'Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives'; and for a January resolution, she decided to interact more mindfully with her phone-- before turning over the phone to check it, she will take a breath.
This class and resolution encouraged me reflect upon how I interact with technology as I'm sure many of you do as you go through your day linked to devices, accounts, media, texts and emails. In one sense, it's pretty amazing that we have these tiny computers we carry everywhere... we have all the information we could ever want or need RIGHT there with us at all times. We can chat and connect with almost anyone immediately. We are NEVER ALONE... dun, dun dunnnnn.
The flip side of this marvelous ability to connect is that we are not often alone with our thoughts either, and rarely do we sit there and just do nothing. Have you noticed this in your life? Do you ever find yourself scrolling and scrolling and thinking, 'I don't really want to be doing this right now'? If you're like me, you may have a love-hate relationship with your devices.
One way to turn this relationship into a more functional one is to start by noticing those moments, and noticing your reactions to your interactions. When you are scrolling or reading, notice the feelings and emotions that arise, label them, and address them. Are you reading something, becoming mad, and then just getting madder as you go? Do you become tense or start holding your breath? What other options are available to you in that moment? And before the urge to read or check something even arises, what options are available to you? Do you stop and notice the urge and then check? Do you stop and notice the urge, and then decide not to check? What new pathway could exist for you in that potent moment? If you ever feel like your device is controlling you, take a step back and see if you can remind yourself where your power resides.
You may even find that taking a 'technology fast' suits you. How long would you like to be unplugged from your devices? What would feel refreshing? What do you have to lose or gain from disengaging? I'd love to hear what you come up with.
I am a lifetime learner and researcher in happy, healthy, fun living.