May 26, 2008

Yes, You Can.

AIDS Walk 2008 was a freaking blast. Can't wait till next year! (Let me know if you're interested in helping out @

Often times, when I encourage people to do something or another, be it to go veg or to cheer up, I'll get responses about how not everyone can do what I do or live their lives the way I can. There's a reason why I'm able to do what I do -- stay raw, maintain a positive attitude, stay as ecologically friendly as I can, and whatever else it is I do -- and that is that I want to do it.

It may sound obvious, so let me elaborate. I take things extremely lightly; when you take things too heavily, failures are amplified and your mood and perception suddenly becomes negative. On the other hand, when you don't take things too seriously, you brush off small problems. If you really think about it, most of the things people get upset/worked up over are menial matters that may seem important in the moment but really aren't. You'll start to realize that more when you decide to simply let go of your problems. Within hours, if not minutes, they disappear as if they were never present.

I think this has a lot to do with why people are afraid to take action. Now, I'm not the perfect example of the person to take on the world's problems, but I can definitely say I do my part against various crises. The easiest-to-describe example of my doing something people wouldn't ever consider is going raw. If anyone asked me in before late March if I were ever going to consider going raw, I'd call them crazy. I didn't think it was possible for anybody short of radical to be raw, and that's probably what you're thinking. It's definitely hard to conceive eating only plants and the fruits they bear; however, what I've realized is that it's only hard to conceive if you think of it as a discipline. The second you think of anything you do as a discipline or as something you have to do simply because you have to (sounds redundant, but makes sense if you think about it), it'll become immediately less enjoyable. The reason I can stay raw is because I don't think of it as an inconvenience or a difficult endeavor. I enjoy the food preparation (note that before I went raw, I didn't prepare ANY food for myself. I wouldn't even cut my own lettuce for my salads.) I take pride in knowing that everything in my body is clean and pure. Most of all, I enjoy the fact that people want to eat more fruits/veggies when they're having a meal with me (well, most people).

This mindset can be applied to practically anything that would seem to be an inconvenience. A lot of people refuse to go green not because they enjoy destroying our environment but because it's a pain to do more environmentally things (i.e. using a reusable water bottle instead of plastic water bottles, taking colder showers, not turning the AC or the heater on when they're the slightest bit uncomfortable). When you stop thinking of it as a pain, you'll do it without regard for the amount you have to go out of your way. Too often do I hear people correlate their desire to do things with how much they have to go out of their way to do them. Get real, guys. You're not going to make changes unless you go out of your way. Remember this, though: going out of your way to make a change for a few days magically makes that once-inconvenient activity a habit that isn't so inconvenient anymore. You've got to think about why you're doing things and then act upon them. I live the way I do because it's all second nature to me, but if you think that was always the case, think again. I have no more will power or determination than you do, but I know why I'm doing what I'm doing. That's what allows me to do it.

I guess if I want you to take anything from this post, it's to not be afraid or hesitant in turning a new leaf. Things become easier, and you suddenly become more open to changes when you think about why you're doing them.

BTW - check this out: It's a group of kids at Oberlin College unafraid of making changes. The idea isn't so uncommon.

May 14, 2008

Time is a Doorway

Short Update on Life:
APs are over. I would say they went pretty well, but obviously, they could've been better had I started studying earlier, but such is procrastination. Since then, we've been working on the hallway for Battle of the Classes, which was yesterday (we won a respectable second place although we were disadvantaged by some of the judging). Now that that's over, I have this weekend to take it easy and go to the AIDS Walk tomorrow with 15-20 other Herricksers. That should be a blast (if you're reading this on May 17 and want to join, go here and select "Herricks High School - 8145" on the menu. I'll get an email that you registered and I'll email you from there.) For the rest of the school year, I have periods 1, 2, 3, and 5 off every other day, and 1 and 3 every every[?] other day because I'm done w/ AP Stat and Bio.

I thought about what I'd do with all this extra time, and we have "Quest" projects to do to replace AP classes, so I'm spending 5 hours a week for the rest of the year on my Raw Food Gourmet project. It's really what I would do in my free time anyway, so there's no big change there, except maybe I'll start working on the presentation of my food a little more. I initially anticipated spending the extra time sleeping in a lot more, but after the first few days of going to school late, I realized I got to bed earlier, so I woke up around 7:00 - 8:00 anyway, so I still have an extra hour or two in the morning.

I see the extra time as a doorway to actually do something I wouldn't have if I had a lot more schoolwork, so I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do to be productive in a more (relatively) creative way, which doesn't say much when you're talking about my life, but I'm going to try to do something interesting.

I took on swimming two summers ago, where I swam about 4-5 times a week, and not to inflate my own head, but I got pretty good, but I slowed the habit and it eventually stopped. I'm thinking about taking that on again from now until the end of the summer and seeing what I can do with that. Maybe I'll finally invest in a bike and take good morning rides. It's a lot more appealing that morning runs, so maybe I'll do that. Not that I need to exercise for weight or anything, but I do want to increase my aerobic activity (as opposed to simply doing pushups, yoga, and other calisthenics all the time), so I'd probably get more into it if I biked more.

Another thing I want to do is start planting and taking pictures (totally unrelated to each other, but I want to pursue both). It might sound stupid to you (unless you're raw and/or you eat fruits/veggies all day long), but imagine how cool it'd be to grow your own fruits and vegetables and eat them rather than buying them from the produce aisle. I've never gardened, ever, but my mom does a bit, so maybe she could teach me a little so I can get started. About the pictures, I just feel like I don't capture moments often enough, so I'm going to try to do that. No, it's not for facebook, but rather, so I can look back on these pictures and enjoy the past as much as I do the present. Also, this blog would be a lot more interesting if I threw in random pictures, so yeah, the reasons are multifaceted.

I can't really think of much else to say now, so I guess I'll end this rant. If you were interested, great. If you weren't, I'm sorry (I agree this was one of my more bland posts, but you take the good with the bad). Anyhow, take care until next time (and after that, too).

Much love,

May 6, 2008

"I Can't Live Without It." Yeah, right.

A not-so-well-known philosopher named Kanye West was once quoted, "What's your addiction? Is it money? Is it girls? Is it weed? I've been afflicted, by not one, not two, but all three." It seems that in modern society, although these seem to be prevalent addictions, a much more distinct addiction is present: to meat. I know I probably talk about this a lot, but really, I have these little periods where I think about it excessively. If I had an addiction (and I know I have a few small ones), I'd be terribly ashamed of it. I'm not targeting you (assuming you eat meat), but I just would like more people to take it into consideration.

When people ask me why I don't eat meat or animal derived products, I ask them why they eat meat, and the most common response I get is, "It tastes SO good. I can't imagine life without chicken." Step back for a second, and think about that statement. Last time I checked, we only needed water, shelter, and food to live. Accounting for the excess of non-meat items available in the aisles of your local grocery store, I'm pretty sure there's more vegetarian food than there is non to sustain yourself. So think again - do you need meat? Is that Big Mac so good that you can't let go of it? If that's the case, I'm sorry for you.

This meat addiction people have is like smoking. The only difference is that it's so ingrained into what society deems "acceptable" that no one sees it as a problem. Any addiction, really, is shameful. It's even worse when people think, "I know the ethics behind not eating meat, but I just can't help it." You can help it. Anyone can help it. The problem is the unwillingness the do something about it.

I speak from experience when I say that it feels freaking good to conquer your desires. Getting rid of an addiction, whether it be meat, bread, the internet, facebook, cigarettes, money, girls, weed, feels amazing. It's amazing because you work towards it, and not caring about that addiction anymore is a huge achievement in your own self-development. You don't want external entities controlling your life. Of course, you don't think meat controls your life, but if you picture not eating it for the rest of your life, you realize that it plays a huge role.

PETA is offering a million dollars to anyone who can successfully produce an acceptable substitute for meat in a lab. Yeah - great idea, but doesn't that just add to the case that people are so addicted? Call me crazy, but I think it's time for a change. Screw lab meat. Go veg.

I know this was a totally aimless rant, but it's frustrating. I'm no extreme animal-rights activist, but I do what I do to not contribute to animal cruelty and the other problems that go along with the industry; I just think everyone else can do the same. Try yourself. You'd be surprised what you could resist.