Tag Archives: whole 30

100 Consecutive Days of Meditation Practice; 31 Days Without Sugar, Dairy, Grains, Legumes, Alcohol, and Soy; It’s Spring!

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And no sugar that is not a natural byproduct of any of those items on the left.

Today my Insight Timer, an iphone app that keeps track of how many consecutive days and how many minutes and hours one spends in meditation practice, confirmed for me the 100th consecutive day of sitting for at least 10 minutes, every other Sunday as much as an hour, on a cushion. Today I have set two personal records. 100 days of mindfulness practice is the first. The second record is that I am on day 31 without alcohol, sugar, dairy products, grains, beans, and soy. I have successfully completed the Whole 30 project. So I thought I would check in today to do a little bit of reflection about the results, and about what I think this all means for me.

Result #1: I have lost weight. I’m not a big boy by any means, but things were protruding somewhat conspicuously in the middle. That protrusion has subsided somewhat and I think, depending on the accuracy of the scale or my memory, I’ve lost almost 10 pounds.

Result #2: I sleep better. I find myself going to sleep earlier and waking up earlier. I find myself dreaming more vividly. I have not heard in 30 days any complaints from my sleeping companion about snoring. There are times when I wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty getting back to sleep, kept awake by what I have come to call “hamsters.” But this is an entirely different kind of problem from the fitful sleeping fueled by alcohol that might have been an almost weekly problem for me heretofore. And napping in the afternoon after work has all but disappeared–except on maybe one or two occasions during the month when I was suffering from a minor cold or recovering from a night with the hamsters.

Result #3: I have experienced a boost in energy. It seems I have more fuel and there’s a certainty that this new fuel reserve is a direct byproduct of the foodstuff I am consuming, and more importantly, the foodstuff I am NOT consuming. No sugar, breads, pastas, dairy, or alcohol (I see these intuitively as the main culprits) to put a drag on the day. And it’s spring. There’s that.

Result #4: Concerning alcohol, I know now that if I choose to, I can stop drinking. This was actually a question for me before this whole project got underway. I worried about it. And I meditated on it. And I am happy to report that I am not an alcoholic. As I look ahead, what I hope is that I have given myself permission and an opportunity to rethink my relationship with the stuff. I can’t see myself as a teetotaller, but I can see myself as a person who drinks less habitually and more mindfully, cautiously, moderately. That’s the kind of drinker I’d like to be. And it’s spring. There’s that.

Result #5: I have felt happy more often, sometimes unaccountably so. Maybe only once this entire month have I felt what one might call “blue.” I wept today over the end of Death of a Salesman, but that’s different. That’s an appropriate response to emotional stimuli, rather than a sense of gloom or boredom or discontentedness that would sometimes overwhelm me out of nowhere. So, there’s been less of that. And the happiness I’m describing is not some kind of feeling of fulfillment, ultimate satisfaction, a sense that I’ve arrived, but rather a kind of joyful bug, an invasion of mirth or wonder. Glee for no good reason. And it’s spring. There’s that.

Final Result: I believe somewhat without any evidence whatsoever that my meditation practice made it possible for me to successfully complete my Whole 30 project. I can’t demonstrate a causal relationship, but here are two activities occurring simultaneously in my life. Did the meditation practice influence the success of the Food Project or did the Food Project facilitate the successful conclusion of 100 days of meditation practice or do the two have nothing whatsoever to do with each other? Don’t spoil it for me. I think meditation helped. But perhaps, more so than what it is I was doing, it’s possible that ANY discipline religiously observed might pave the way for another discipline religiously observed. And I don’t mean religious religiously (but I suppose if I was a praying man and I was praying for 100 days straight I would be convinced that these prayers were answered), I mean religiously in the sense of its definition, three definitions down: scrupulously faithful; conscientious I could have been praying, sure, or exercising, or writing a poem, or maintaining a zen rock and sand garden, or drinking a magic potion; the devoted practice done repeatedly might just pave the way for other life goals or projects. You know what they say: success breeds success. So this is all I can claim: I think the meditation helped, primarily in the way that it disciplined me and perhaps made possible the discipline I would need for The Food Project, not to mention the other things I think meditation achieves for me: it centers, it mellows, it cools, it calms, it evens out, it stabilizes, it connects, it reflects, it resonates, it quiets. I have faith in the science that says it’s beneficial in part because I feel its benefits. And it’s spring. There’s that too, after all.

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#281: Gin

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This might be me in 9 days. 

Today, from napowrimo, the suggested prompt is to take a favorite poem and find a very specific, concrete noun in it. After choosing the word, put the original poem away and spend five minutes free-writing associations – other nouns, adjectives, etc. Then use the original word and the results of the free-writing as the building blocks for a new poem.

Perhaps my favorite poem of all time might be John Berryman’s “Dreamsong 14.” Here’s the line from which I will pull my concrete noun:

And the tranquil hills, and gin, look like a drag

And from this lovely line I will choose the word “gin.” I couldn’t begin to tell you why this particular word strikes my fancy at this time. #whole30.

Here’s a brainstorm on “gin.”

Gin rummy
Gin and tonic
Gin martini, dry, with an olive
Cotton gin
gin with a hard g, slang for going
or “one more ‘gin,” as in once more again
Sloe gin, Cold gin, the rock band Kiss
drunk
alcohol
no drinking for 30 days
my first drink after 30 days
It’s day 21
Gin sounds like Jen or Jenny
Rhymes with din, fin, sin, begin
slight rhymes: men, been, ben, again,
citrus
juniper
john Berryman
the farmer’s market

Okay, enough of that. Let’s write a poem. Here’s an attempt at a formal structure that totally breaks down at the end. Sorry.

Gin

In 9 days I will be able to drink gin
according to some dietary regimen
that prescribes 30 days without sin,
at least of the alcoholic variety.

Who’s to say my first drink will be gin?
–as there are other choices, bourbon,
to be precise, a fave, gin coming in
a close second, a balance of dark and light.

It’s not like I’m counting down to gin.
I think I might live beyond 30 and again
another 30 without a drop of gin.
But this is not what I want.

I am looking forward, that’s all.
I don’t think that juniper brew,
that olive on a stick, that action
with the shaker and the dash

of vermouth could ever seem
to me a drag. Gin, like the tranquil
hills: Let there always be
comradeship between us.

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#280: A Mostly Unrhymed Food Dipodic at the Close of Teacher Appreciation Week


This week for teacher
appreciation,
they bring us junk
to eat, like chips,
and candy, bread,
pancakes, syrup,
none of which I
can eat, sadly.
Yesterday, kids
wheeled in wagons
full of goodies
into classrooms
from which I could
only choose bottled
water. Somehow,
this week I don’t
quite feel the love;
appreciation
is not for me
in the midst of
this Whole 30.

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#275: At the Writers’ Workshop 

I did not eat a single piece of candy. Boy, that orange was tasty.


This is a special kind of torture. On day 13 of my Whole 30 regimen, as I have sworn off alcohol, grains, beans of any kind, dairy of all sorts, cheese of all stripes, all things artificial, AND sugar, our workshop facilitator today puts a pile of candy in front of me as a writing prompt. I think Hell would be kind of like this: you are faced with and then have to write about all the things that you love, but for some inexplicable reason, cannot have.

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#271: The Neologist Speaks about Food

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Whoever made this graphic forgot to add SUGAR to the NO list.

Lately, I have had two dreams,
both inexorborific,
one concerning jelly beans,
another about beer, farfignewtons.
I will dream next about cheese.
I have not had a sandwich
in ten horrorflopnoggen days.
Candy is no longer thingful.
I wouldn’t recognito a potato chip
if it bit me right on the keatettle.
I’ve not had milk. I tried something
called Almond Yogurt and it
nearly killed me with its awfulscrap.
All my buzzes lately have been
100% natural, doubleplusgood.
I rolled up some cabbage inside
of a slice of deli-meat, chewed
and swallowfinched.
I grillified salmon, lean meats.
Eggs and bacon, bacon and eggs,
fruits and vegetables, fruits and fruits.
I am told I will become very clean
both inside and outtheresomewhere.
I am the king of my domainname.
I speak of food as if it were all nuts and berries.

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#265: Thirty Days, Day Twelve, Day Four, Day Two

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Lately, I’ve found that my days
are numbered. I find myself counting:
Twelve days of the month with
twelve poems, easy to say, more difficult
to do, and yet, I remain committed,
have been committed, to the challenge
of doing this every day for 30 days.

Today is day four of another
challenge that, coincidentally
coincides and overlaps with the poems:
for 30 days I must stay clear of carbs,
grains, sugar, dairy, beans, and (horror
of horrors) alcohol. It’s supposed
to make me better. I’ll try anything
once.

Today is day two of the process
of having a tooth crowned, during
which the dentist put it in, took
it out, put it in, took it out, shaped it,
put it in, took it out, shaped it some more,
put it in, took it out, shaped it some more,
put it in, took it out, shaped it some more,
until finally, after I had lost count of how
many times he put it in and took it out,
cement was applied and he
put it in one last excruciating time.

Today is day two of a new unit
with 9th graders and we asked
them to read a nonlecture by e. e. cummings
in which he implores us to remember
that “any apparent somewhere which
you may inhabit is always at the mercy
of a ruthless and omnivorous everywhere.”
Being is where it’s at. And “nobody else
can be alive for you; nor can you
be alive for anyone else.” Learning
Objective: Students will all clap
and sing themselves into the big BE
while I keep counting: thirteen, five, three.

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#246: A Recipe

A Recipe

Mix together
in a bowl
the following
invisible things:
Ad no alcohol,
zero grains,
absolutely no
sugar, no beans,
no milk, butter,
or cream, and no other
artificial anything.
I have a bad
feeling about this.
Someone in the house
wants to go healthy
and I have agreed
to play along.
The part of me
that knows it’s a
good idea is engaged
with the other part
in an epic match
of mud wrestling.
Let’s see who
comes out on top.

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