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12 Days of Discipline Before 7 Days of Fasting

12 Days of Discipline Before 7 Days of Fasting
April 19, 2014
 
I like fasting and the improved focus and health it brings. I also like being disciplined.
 
Starting today, I am eating 2,000 calories a day for 12 days. I wasn’t going to consider this a fast, but since I will consistently eat under the number of calories I burn, I am. When I’m finished, I will have lost 1-2 pounds of fat and possibly some water weight.
 
While it’s difficult for me to moderate sometimes, I don’t think this should be too difficult. Since I only eat organic food, I don’t usually go anywhere that sells anything I eat. I have to visit a grocery store and I can simply avoid it. Typically, I eat breakfast and pack some food for the day, so I’ll simply make sure I only pack the remainder of the 2,000 calories after breakfast and I won’t eat anything extra.
 
I enjoyed a similar diet when I wrote my book called, Do the Math Diet.
 
During this time, I’m writing and publishing a different short story each day. I’ve been writing story ideas for a while and I might have 12 of them. Regardless, I can always add to the list. These stories will be posted at http://jasongastrich.com/abnw/ as I write them. They’re part of a collection I call, A Brand New World.
 
I published the first volume on November 12, 2013 and it was called, A Brand New World: The First 15 Months. So far, I’ve published the next 20 stories on my blog and they will eventually be published in a book called, A Brand New World: What Happens Next.
 
I’m going to pray for 12 more countries (and dependencies) from my list. That will bring me to 80. They will include Andorra, Cyprus, Grenada, the Faroe Islands, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Northern Kiribati, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Samoa, South Ossetia and Tonga.
 
After the 12 days of discipline, I’m going to fast for seven days with only organic tea, coffee and water. I’ll avoid everything else. It will be an exciting time and I’ll pray, research and draw awareness to Bermuda, Christmas Island, the Cook Islands, Guernsey,  Montserrat, San Marino and Tuvalu.
 
During these fasts, I won’t have to exercise any less. I anticipate burning about 2200 calories on a day without exercise, 2500 on a day with some walking or light exercise and 2800-3000 on a day when I exercise a lot.
 
Good luck.

College Credit/No-Credit Courses

College Credit/No-Credit Courses
April 14, 2014
 
I’ve attended several colleges and I’ve earned a lot of credits, but until recently, I had never taken a course on a credit/no-credit basis. Also called pass/fail, when you take a class this way, you don’t earn a letter grade. However, if you earn a D or higher, you get credit and the units the class is worth mentioned on your transcript.
 
Taking a credit/no-credit course has its advantages. Virtually any course can be taken this way and all a student has to do is change the grading method in his or her online control panel. No prior approval is needed and it doesn’t cost anything. Sometimes, the grading method can only be changed until a third of the way through the semester.
 
Some colleges limit the number of credit/no-credit courses a student can take. However, taking a course pass/fail isn’t like getting a “W” for dropping it late. Students can get on academic probation for getting too many Ws.
 
Students can essentially audit a course by taking it credit/no-credit. Tests and quizzes become optional. This is especially nice when you enjoy the class lectures, but don’t want to be held accountable for having to study a lot, regurgitate everything and suffer test anxiety. Either way, it won’t affect your GPA (grade point average).
 
Another advantage is not having to buy the textbook. Some classes require students to spend up to $250 on a book for class, but if you’re taking the class pass/fail, you can roll the dice and forget about it. Sometimes, the college library lets students check out a free copy of the textbook for a couple of hours. Depending on the class, local libraries occasionally carry textbooks.
 
Before taking a class pass/fail in your major field, you should talk to your adviser. There might be special requirements you have to follow (e.g. no pass/fail courses, only one, etc.).
 
Students taking an online course and older students who are returning to college might find pass/fail a convenience. College can be a difficult adjustment and everyone has a limited amount of time to study. Instead of not taking the class, taking it pass/fail would still expose the student to the subject matter.
 
See the class syllabus for attendance requirements. It can be easier to skip class when you’re not being graded or having to attend extra-curricular events and some teachers only allow a couple of absences before they will drop you.
 
Good luck.

The Whirly Wheel

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The Whirly Wheel
April 12, 2014

It never ends,
it’s the wheel of life
that spins
and never stops

You jump on,
with everyone else,
they’ve shown you
how it is
and how you should see
and you believed them,
forgetting how it could be,
but not me, I’m free

But what’s really free?
Truly, madly, deeply?
Answer me honestly

Sing life’s sad song,
happily go wrong
until you’ve consumed too much
of everything that ruins you

Being eaten alive
by appetites and pride,
wanting now,
fucking later,
get in your way
and I’m a hater?

Please learn to live
in a way where you’re not
killing us and everything
so future generations
can breathe and sing

The Servant Scale


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The Servant Scale
April 12, 2014

How much money do you owe every month? Is any of it going into equity or are you just a renter?

If you pay money for things that do not become yours, you are renting them, you don’t own them and you never will. When they are destroyed, used up or broken, you must buy new things. Some people are renting stuff that will one day become theirs, but they will have very little value at that point.

Please use The Servant Scale below to understand your situation. It’s a point system based on monthly expenditures that don’t result in any equity.

Rent

If you rent a house or an apartment, add 1 for every $100 you spend. For instance, if your rent is $2500/month, add 25 points. If your rent is $1000/month, add 10 points.

Vehicle

If you rent a car, truck, motorcycle or watercraft, add 1 for every $100 you ante up. For instance, if you rent a truck for $400/month, add 4 points.

Utilities

If you pay for water, trash, cable television, Internet or other utilities, add 1 for every $100 you spend. For instance, if water costs $40, trash service is $20, cable TV costs $80 and it’s $120 for Internet service, add 2.6 points.

Cell phone

If you pay a cell phone bill, add 1 for every $100 you spend. If you pay $40/month, add .4 points.

Insurance
If you pay a monthly premium for car insurance, renter’s insurance, health insurance or any other kind of insurance, add 1 point for every $100 you spend. For instance, if you spend $200 on car insurance, $20 on renter’s insurance and $100 for health insurance, add 3.2 points.

Credit cards

If you make monthly payments on credit cards, add 1 point for every $100 of debt you have. For instance, if you use three credit cards and you have a total debt of $3200, add 32 points.

Loans

If you have a personal loan, private loan, bank loan, school loan or any other type of loan, add 1 point per $100 owed. For instance, if you owe $3000 on a personal loan and you owe $20,000 on a school loan, add 230 points.

Food

If you buy your own food, add 1 point per $100 a month you spend. Most people spend at least $300 a month on food and some people spend $400 or more, depending on how often they eat out. Add at least 3 or 4 points unless you get free food and add up or estimate your total, monthly food expenditures to be accurate.

The Servant Scale

0: Free

You owe nothing and you are a free person. Enjoy yourself. Nobody owns you.

1-9: Bonded servant

You don’t owe very much money and your small amount of monthly expenses allows you to work less or make less, if you want. You’re able to repay what you owe each month and at least break even. Depending on rare or infrequent expenses, you might be able to get ahead.

10-40: Penal servant

You owe a good deal of money, but you probably have a job that helps you pay for everything and break even each month. While you might be able to get a higher paying job and get ahead one day, your expenses might increase and you might continue to break even unless you increase the amount you earn, reduce your spending or both.

41-100: Indentured servant

You owe a large amount of money and you struggle to repay it. You probably work and earn some money, but you owe too much to be able to repay it. People in this category typically borrow from one credit company to pay another one. This might work for a while, but it won’t work forever because loan companies will eventually stop loaning you money or an unforeseen expense will ruin your system.

101 and up: Chattel

You owe an extraordinary amount of money and unless you make a lot of money (e.g. more than $75,000 a year), you’ve been contacted by companies about it. Some of them are probably litigating or planning to sue you to get what you owe them. You’re in such a deep hole that you might as well consider filing bankruptcy, so you can start over.

Organic Sunflower Seeds and Stuff

Organic Sunflower Seeds and Stuff
April 11, 2014
Yesterday, while I was shopping for groceries at Sprouts, one of the employees named Alex suggested some turmeric supplements. One of them was combined with black pepper and he said turmeric is absorbed better with black pepper.
I bought some organic turmeric and empty gelatin capsules from Sprouts, so I could make my own organic turmeric capsules. I had cooked with turmeric before and I know I used copious amounts of black pepper, so maybe that’s why it felt like a therapeutic meal. Turmeric goes well with meat or vegetables.
On Twitter, I asked if there was an added benefit of using black pepper and turmeric together and one of my followers named Moe posted a link to menshealth.com. It said turmeric was absorbed better and enhances curcumin’s bioavailability by 1,000 times, due to black pepper’s ”hot property” called piperine,
This is a good example of two beneficial spices that are exponentially enhanced when used together. There are many of these types of combinations found in nature.
This month, I bought extra sunflower seeds because I’m not buying any peanut butter. Organic hulled unsalted sunflower seeds were on sale for $4. That’s a good deal for 2160 healthy calories.
Sunflower seeds are high in protein, high in fiber and they lower your cholesterol. They also contain high amounts of Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic acid (B5), Vitamin B6, Folate (B9) and Vitamin E.
In addition to buying extra organic sunflower seeds, I bought plenty of organic oatmeal, organic cinnamon and organic raw honey. Not only are these foods and meals very good for me, they aren’t very expensive.
Trader Joe’s has some yummy organic cashews. However, I wasn’t very happy when I noticed they were already salted with regular salt. Sea salt or no salt would be better.
I probably won’t eat much yogurt, but I have eaten some lately. After my fast, I wanted to make sure I had the good bacteria in my body. I’ve also eaten some organic tofu, organic yellow and white corn chips, organic carrots, organic applesauce and organic bananas.
Yesterday, Walmart announced they were partnering with Wild Oats and they would be selling organic products like olive oil, black beans and spaghetti at nonorganic prices. This will be great for Walmart shoppers and also the organic industry because it could drive prices down and increase the number of available organic products that everyone sells.

Reflections On My 7 Day Fast and Hunger Strike

Reflections On My 7 Day Fast and Hunger Strike
April 8, 2014
 
My fast went well and I look forward to the next one. I’ll probably fast the first week of May, in some way, shape or form.
 
I liked varying it, but I paid the price, too. I guess I learned that the human body can’t subsist on just anything, even if it’s something very good for you. It has to be in balance with other things.
 
It is tough to strike a perfect balance, but I usually benefit the most from a balanced diet and lifestyle. Instead of getting all of my nutrition from one or two foods, it’s better to spread it around. I’m still curious about isolating different foods after eating nothing for a while, though. I think the human body might function in a unique way when it ingests only the right thing or things after eating nothing for at least a few days.
 
The flu-like symptoms the Santa Ana winds caused me about a week or two ago are almost gone. I still have a small cough, though. They blew pretty hard for about a week. Unfortunately, the winds bring some nasty stuff to California’s coast and the city of Long Beach.
 
I feel I’m at a good body weight, but not quite optimal. I still feel overweight in my mind, probably because I was an overweight child, but I keep reminding myself I’m a medium. I know it’s just in my head. I’m going to monitor my caloric intake until May 1 and eat about 2500-3000 calories a day.
 
The hunger strike was intended to draw awareness to the oceans, the way we’ve treated them and what we need to do now to protect and clean them. Such a huge and vastly important resource shouldn’t be left unprotected or to chance. People are polluting the ocean from the land and the sea every day and it absorbs the disgusting debris, but not without a consequence.
 
I’ve prayed for 68 different countries during 68 non-congruent fasting days. I’ve enjoyed learning more about these places and drawing awareness to their situation and needs. Eventually, I want to pray and fast a day for every country in the world. I typically research each country’s history and look for current news about the people there.
 
I’m going to stick with the dietary changes I considered. Throughout April, I will continue avoiding processed sugar, even if its organic. This means no granola, peanut butter, nuts or cereal with added sugar. It also means no cheat foods like organic cookies, organic chocolate or organic peanut butter cups. I rarely eat those things, but once in a while I’ll get a craving and I’ll eat one.
 
I’m reintroducing a little raw, organic honey to my diet. I’m also weaning myself from honey and agave, so I can simply eat organic bread or organic oatmeal with organic cinnamon and sea salt. It won’t be too difficult, but I’ll always enjoy the sweet stuff.
 
I’m still eating only organic food and avoiding canola oil. The first groceries I bought today included bananas, sunflower seeds, white corn chips, yellow corn chips, carrots, extra firm tofu, whole wheat bread, instant coffee, canned black beans and canned green beans. I’m going to buy some oatmeal, almonds, cashews, tortillas, applesauce, green tea, avocado and some yogurt, soon.
 
I’d like to eat some different organic food this month like blueberries and dark salad. They are exceptionally good for us. I’d also like to find some organic strawberries because they have vitamins and fiber and I was recently reading about their teeth bleaching properties.
 
Good luck.

Fasting Musings

Fasting Musings
April 7, 2014
 
I think one thing that makes people ill is when they have blockages. For instance, food can get backed up inside people for long periods of time. If this food has harmful chemicals in it, they would probably be toxic to the body.
 
I practiced yoga, yesterday. During the twists, my body releases toxins. It always feels great to stretch further and get healthier. If you try to twist and you have a pulled muscle or another issue, you can sometimes tell that you cannot twist as far one way as you can the other way.

A Few Thoughts on Day 7 of my 7 Day Fast

A Few Thoughts on Day 7 of my 7 Day Fast
April 7, 2014
 
Fasts are always learning experiences and it seems I learned something new on this one. I have a mild peanut allergy. Eating lots of peanut butter caused my body to produce an extraordinary amount of histamine. So, the good news is any little buggies that might have been inside of me are LONG GONE, but the bad news is painful squirts.
 
After this experience with organic peanut butter, I substituted organic bananas the first day (which was the sixth day, yesterday) and tofu and corn, today. So far, so good. I’m still suffering a little from the reaction, though. It’s a huge pain in the butt, so to speak.
 
I guess this just goes to show that sometimes you have to laugh at others and sometimes you have to laugh at yourself. Just be thankful when you don’t die.
 
In third world countries, histamine plays a very important part of life. If it weren’t for the body’s production of histamine, it wouldn’t have a mechanism to kill microscopic worms that people commonly ingest in African countries. It probably played a greater role in ancient people who didn’t have access to the herbs and medications we have now.
 
So, be careful if you have a peanut allergy or if you want to change your fast with something that might bother your system. Drinking lots and lots of water is always important. It helps cool your body and regulate organ function.
 
I’m not sure how much weight I lost. I really don’t care right now because it feels like my ass is on fire. There was some bleeding, but I think it stopped. It only came out with the poop, but it couldn’t have been good.
 
Anyways, I’ll see if I can string together some more coherent ramblings and exhortations later.

Marijuana vs. Other Chemicals

Marijuana vs. Other Chemicals
April 6, 2014
Whenever I hear someone get upset about marijuana smoke or vapor, I think it’s hypocritical and naive.
Most Americans live in a house and drive a car. Unfortunately, the vast majority of houses use energy from a coal power plant that causes pollution. Unless it’s a rare, expensive, battery-powered car, the car they drive burns gasoline, which also causes pollution. Ironically, even battery-powered cars typically get their electrical energy from power plants that burn coal energy.
Most Americans eat nonorganic food that is grown with chemicals. These nonorganic chemical pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers and nutrients pollute the food (and the consumer) and the environment. They directly enter the soil by the plant, nearby rivers through rain, groundwater after permeating the earth and even into the ocean from runoff. These things will likely cause problems for generations to come.
Some Americans smoke cigarettes or cigars, burn wood in a fireplace or bonfire or cook their food on a barbeque grill. These things also inject chemicals and pollution into the atmosphere.
Most Americans use nonorganic shampoo, body soap, shaving cream, dish soap, laundry detergent and hand soap. The chemicals in these products usually go down the drain and to a water treatment plant, but they’re typically toxic in large amounts and they can’t be released into the environment without damaging it.
Some Americans fly in airplanes around the country. Airplanes burn jet fuel, which pollutes the environment.
If you buy plastic products, they aren’t organic and they will share space in a landfill one day. Plastic isn’t renewable and it takes energy to make petroleum-based products like plastic bags.
Marijuana is good for you and that’s why it’s also called medical marijuana. It makes people feel better and it’s prescribed for a wide variety of illnesses. Marijuana (also called cannabis) is also an expectorant.
Marijuana is such a healing herb that even inhaling burnt marijuana smoke doesn’t cause cancer. While its expectorant properties aren’t maximized when it’s being smoked, the powerful healing agents in it counteract the carcinogens. Cooled marijuana vapor is even better for you.
The next time some fool wants to talk negatively about marijuana smoke or vapor, you can remind him how he swims in and pollutes everything with countless, nonorganic chemicals every day and unlike your marijuana, they don’t have any medicinal value.
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