The Sugar Project

The Sugar Project


Yesterday G and I decided to give up sugar for the rest of the month of February.
Good god, WHY???
The answer:
Just to see if we can do it AND,
if we will die doing it AND
how we will do it (rules, etc.).
AND, for me, how it will hack my biology.
Another personal reason  I want to do this is because I’ve been without a project for about 3 months.
Ever since I published my book, The Project-Driven Life I’ve been looking for a new project, but haven’t had any luck. I had hoped I would hit on something long-term and juicy, but nothing has occurred to me yet, so until that big, juicy thing arrives, this short bio-hack will do. It still fits all my “project” criteria:
  1. I’m excited about it. (Actually, I’m more curious
    than excited.)
  2. It has an end date: February 29th.
  3. I know what counts as done: No sugar for 19 days.
And, just to keep myself accountable (because I’m an Obliger) I’m going to blog about it every day.
The first thing we did was identify all the sugary stuff we currently eat on a regular basis. Here’s my list:
Honey and maple syrup. I like sweet oatmeal and I like syrup on pancakes and waffles. If I can’t have honey on my oatmeal or syrup on my waffles, I won’t eat those foods.
Mi-del Ginger Snaps. I’m kind of addicted to these at the moment. I like to eat them when I’m watching TV and sipping wine after class.
Ghiradelli Squares. When I want chocolate, these are what I want. I like the Milk and Caramel ones.
Talenti Gelato. Oh god. The Mediterranean Mint is crack. I could eat the whole pint by myself. With a spoon.
If I am craving sweets but want a “healthier” alternative I eat raisins or dates and congratulate myself on my virtue.
G’s list includes:
Her morning mocha, or if she makes coffee at home, her flavored creamer. (She likes sweet coffee.)
Mid-morning or mid-afternoon she goes for some kind of a “bar.” A Kind bar or other granola-y, faux-heathy snack. (She has a big stash of these bars in her office for pre-practice snacking.)
She also likes muffins.
We have identified these as our “Daily Dangers.”
So here’s how we did yesterday:
Neither of us caved. Go us!
I made myself a Bulletproof coffee for breakfast and then fasted until 2Pm when I got a salad to-go from Night and Day and an Americano, which I Bulletproofed when I got home.
I made this 40 Garlic Chicken Recipe for dinner (oh god, so good! Thanks for the recommendation, Em!) and had some before class.
After class, I had a glass of wine, and I did want some Ginger Snaps, but resisted. (win!)
G’s biggest danger is running out of fuel before practice. She had to find something to eat other than a bar.  She really needs a boost around 2PM, so yesterday she tried an apple and cashews. She came home starving though,  and dove into the 40 Garlic Chicken even before changing.
As we sat on the couch at the end of the evening and shared our respective days, she looked kind of sad and stricken.
She had a much harder first day than I did.

34 Pounds of Flour and Waffles

Yesterday we cleaned out the freezers. The one attached to the fridge, and the chest freezer in the basement. In the process I discovered I had 34 pounds of flour.

And I rarely bake. What am I doing with all this flour?

Oat flour, quinoa flour, Pillsbury Unbleached while, Bob’s gluten-free baking flour, Superfine rice flour, coconut flour, King Arthur’s Flour. Arrowroot, and yellow corn meal.

I must have acquired all this flour during my IIN training when every week I was trying a new way of eating. I tried Vegan and Macrobiotic, and Paleo. I tried Vegetarian and Pegan and Atkins and Whole 30 and Clean. I tried every diet known to human kind. That must be why I have quinoa flour, and spelt flour and teff flour.

The other morning when I was complaining to Vince that breakfast was hard for me because I am allergic to eggs, he gave me his gluten-free waffle recipe to try.

(He’s kind of obsessed with waffles.)


Yesterday he posted this on Facebook about consensual sex.

And then he commented this:

Waffles are not tea. But waffles are waffles. And waffles want to be eaten.

I do not assume that everyone wants tea who once wanted tea, but waffles are for the world. The world needs waffles.

I don’t know what “Waffles” represent here, but his recipe turned out great.


The Divine Contract

I talked to Jennifer, my Naturopath today.

We talk about everything, not just my eczemic ears. After I confessed that my “no coffee” streak is over, and that I like my “Kathinated” self SO MUCH BETTER, we got into the issue of my stuckness about my project and how I can’t seem to push “Send.”

She said I needed to establish a deadline and hold myself to it. I told her I am an Obliger (in Gretchen Rubin’s system) and tend to only honor commitments I make to others, and rarely ones I make to myself.

I have already set a million deadlines for this thing.  She then said, “I am going to give you some homework.” I thought for sure she was going to make me promise HER to be finished by a deadline, but no. She wants me to make a “Divine Contract.”

Here’s how this works. I am to get into a meditative state. She said, “Go to your happy place.” (I am not really sure I have such a place, but it will be interesting to try to find out.)

Once I am there, I am to call in my “spiritual guides” for support and guidance. (This won’t be difficult.)

Then I am to call in all of the people who would benefit from this project and allow them to speak and tell me why they need it and what value it would add to their lives.

These are the people I need to make my contract with, she said. These are the people I must make my promises to. I am also to ask them: When do you need this by? And let them set the deadline.

I’m thinking this could work. I am going to do it.

Stay tuned.

How To Own The World

The Healthy and the Focused are going run the world. They will be the only ones who will be able to. Who else will be able to run companies and businesses, create art, make breakthroughs in science and technology? Who else will innovate?

In addition, the Healthy and the Focused will  be the only ones able to parent healthy and focused kids, who will then become the next generation of world leaders and dominators.

Think about it: If you are always sick (and the population in general is getting sicker and sicker—hello Type 2 diabetes!) you won’t be able to work consistently, reliably, or well.

If you are unhealthy you won’t even BE at work half the time because you’ll be in bed, or running to doctor appointments all the time. And whenever you DO manage to drag your sorry butt to work, you will probably suck at it because you’ll be so depleted from being sick. You will have no energy and you won’t be able to think clearly. You will be nothing but a barnacle, a parasite, a worthless burden to your employer.

If by some miracle you are able to hold on to that job, good for you. But terrible for any enterprise that depends on your work, because your work will be miserable. Like you.

But say you are relatively healthy, but your problem is that you can’t stay focused long enough to get your work done. You have the attention span of a gnat. You spend all day putting out little brush fires, or dealing with office politics, or doing other tangential minutia–work that doesn’t ask that you sit down, focus, and try to solve a problem.

Lots of people think that focus isn’t a skill that needs to be learned and cultivated. Lots of people think that they can just make up their minds and do it: 1, 2, 3—Focus!

But this is a fairy tale. Focus is something that has to be cultivated. Like big muscles. You can’t have killer biceps if you don’t lift heavy things. You can’t focus on a job and stick to it unless you’ve trained your brain through meditation, or yoga, or even reading.

I read a great piece this morning called, “Why can’t we read anymore.” The answer?  Because we are addicted to the dopamine hit we get from social media and email. We are addicted to distraction.

The writer of this piece was bemoaning the fact that he himself only read 4 books last year, which is ironic because he curates 2 websites about public domain books, and making print and ebooks, and he even wrote a book about the future of books.

But even he has fallen under the spell of Facebook and Twitter and email because those sites give him a big dopamine hit of The new! The shiny! The exciting!  But he is also smart enough to know that this is the path to slavery and despair and he is now setting some boundaries around his media consumption to free up more time to read.

He quotes Werner Herzog as saying: “Those who read own the world, and those who watch television lose it.”

I live in a place where the diabesity epidemic is everywhere I look, and I am worried. Cops, fire-fighters, clerks in stores, cooks in restaurants, people who make the goods and services I consume and depend on, may all be sick and distracted most of the time.

Yikes. I hope I don’t have a heart attack or a fire. I cross my fingers that the chef in my favorite restaurant isn’t germing up my food. I hope the mechanic who fixes my brakes doesn’t overlook something.

If we are going to own the world, we have to stay healthy and focused.

Let’s work on that, okay?