Nature Deficit

Cox Bay, Tofino, BC.

It is so easy to neglect going out of the house.

The more I am indoors, the easier it is to get sucked down and CONFUSED as to why I feel shitty or unproductive.

There is a lack.

I have found that I may not even know I am missing something pertinent to my happiness, and that is when my mood goes haywire. It is crazy how our moods shift to the negative and often we don’t even know WHY.

One reason I have realized very recently, and that is nature deficit.

One example is that I am a fairly socially anxious person. If I know most people present at a gathering, I am okay. If not, I tend to segregate myself and stick with who I came with or obsess over any animals that are there (animals are my saviours at parties). I don’t generally relate to a typical party atmosphere. I even decided that I didn’t want to go to them anymore, but then was invited to a friend’s birthday and felt I should go. It was the same crowd of people, and I had fun. I still obsessed over the animals there, but I didn’t feel GROSS or AWKWARD like I do at most social gatherings…because it was outside. I then realized that all of the parties I have loved have been outside.

I wrote a list of the favourite, most memorable moments of my life, and pretty much all of them took place in the woods, swimming, surfing, biking on the beach, or immersing myself in nature in some way.

A video I watched of raw athlete Tim van Orden recently found him doing everything the same in terms of eating and exercise, but he had gained a little weight since he had to stop running – yet he still exercised indoors on a spin bike for the same amount of time. He hated it. As soon as he started exercising outside on an actual mountain bike, his minor weight gain went back down to normal, because he loved it. The stress factor was removed, and he was out in the WILD. His mood shifted from that one simple change.

I think it is so important to spend at least some of the day outside, and not just walking down the street to get a slice of pizza. I mean getting into REAL NATURE, not the city. Go to the forest, the beach, the mountains, the desert. Whatever you have near you, make an effort to get to nature as much as you CAN. If you are completely out of easy access, find time to get to the closest nature spot you can, as often as you can. Weekly at least. Daily is best, but I know that isn’t possible for some people.

Even in winter this should be something people do – get the right gear. Being outside is necessary for us – humans were not meant to be indoors.

Make the effort and see what sort of difference it makes for you! It sure has made a huge one for me.

Recommended reading:

We Are Wildness blog
The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age
Your Brain On Nature: The Science of Nature’s Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

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Existential Crisis: The Purists are Doomed

Want to be pure?

In a perfect world, a purist lifestyle would be the best, whatever you think “pure” means – pure of heart, pure of mind, pure body? Everyone has a different definition of this, too. “Pure”ย  is subjective.

We do not live in a perfect world – in fact, we live in a toxic, messed up, fragile world, one that is rife with catastrophic events and violence, no matter how much we want to ignore it or hope that it will vanish. This is an idealistic viewpoint, and I much prefer to live in reality, even if I happen to get swept off in a fantasy ideal sometimes. I always come back down to earth – I always get an anvil to the face in some way, making me wake the fuck up and look at things from ALL sides, take into consideration ALL views, all potential consequences.

And what have I realized lately? That obtaining purity is impossible, of course, but that the more extreme and sensitive you are is likely not going to prolong your life – it will likely hinder you from it in our current circumstances.

So, if you subsist solely on fruits and vegetables and have done so for a lengthy time, and suddenly are in need of a potato, or soup, or even the dreaded animal product, and you get violently ill from it…how the hell are you going to survive if there is a flood/earthquake/drought/hurricane/war/zombie attack/etc and you don’t have access to anything you normally eat? (Just kidding about the zombies…sort of. There are a lot of zombie-like people out there).

I dunno about everyone, obviously, but the reasons I find most people go on a raw food diet are to feel better from being ill, to get slimmer, or to increase their longevity – but has anyone actually thought about how it could HINDER longevity, in terms of a bleak possible future? I like to be positive, but I also like to be realistic, and most places in the world have their particular weaknesses – for instance, I live in an area that could quite possibly be devastated by a massive earthquake – what if I suddenly had to subsist on canned stuff and donated processed foods? I know I am gonna get pretty sick – and I am not even the “purest” eater out there – and actually, because of some deep thought about it, I don’t really want to be so sensitive.

Do I want to be as healthy as possible? Of course. Do I want to be able to survive a dire circumstance? Yes. Why? To get back to the good stuff and live! It’s our only chance – whether you believe in an afterlife or reincarnation or whatever – this is your only time being YOU, NOW, in THIS life you’re living.

I find this hippie mindset of how everything is beautiful and an illusion and just focus on the GOOD can be very damaging – to have a positive attitude is VERY important, yes, but to completely push the idea out of your mind that something bad could happen is foolish, ignorant, and will possibly cost you the life you love so much.

By all means, eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, but if you are a realistic person, don’t focus on purity too much. It’s ridiculous. In a survival situation, it is the people who are more toxic that will be more likely to survive. Ironic, isn’t it?

I have been having an existential crisis lately – I am questioning a lot of things, especially my dietary dogma. Do I still think raw is best for health? Yes, to some extent. Do I think a fruitarian diet is the best? NO. A high-fruit diet, yes. A high-greens diet, yes. A diet that includes plant-based fats? Yes. I am more and more open-minded, but still will not eat animals or their secretions. If you do I won’t judge you for it, but I hope that you will expose yourself to where it comes from, how it is obtained, and the cruelty involved, and make kinder choices.

Will I always be this way? If I have a choice, YES.

I have had a very long fascination with survival – it all started when I saw Lord of the Flies when I was 11 years old, which then led me to reading the book several times. I have never lost this obsession, and honestly the only thing that has kept me from taking a survival course is that I don’t want to kill anything.

Now that I am taking martial arts, I am thinking about survival in many other ways – including how my diet could hinder me from doing getting through some heinous shit.

Yes, I want to thrive – but I also want to live.

I read a story recently about a guy who was hiking in the canyons with his yellow lab. They were about 2 hours into the hike and his dog overheated. He was a fruitarian guy at the time. His strength failed him in getting his dog out of there, and within an hour his dog died. The guy couldn’t put on a lot of muscle no matter how hard he tried, for years, on the diet. Who are we to say he could? Clearly it didn’t work for him and he shouldn’t be mocked for it. It’s his life, his choice.

How sad is that? Can you imagine not being fit or strong enough to save your dog, your child, your friend? Or fast enough to get away from someone chasing you, or any sort of situation that would rely on your fitness to escape quickly, or strength to lift you up? Can you imagine not being able to lift yourself into a tree to escape an animal that wanted to eat you? Can you imagine falling and hanging on to something and not being able to lift yourself up? Or to be able to help someone else?

This story about the dog gave me a huge shift in how I view fitness. Taking martial arts (which I have been doing sporadically only within the last year, more often lately) has also shifted my mentality towards survival and even somewhat my views on diet.

The infighting amongst the raw food community lately has led me to question everything I believe, who I trust, what actually makes sense, and to look at all sides of everything, even if I don’t like the other side. Several of my views have changed. Do I think I need more protein? Yep! Do I think YOU do? I don’t know. Do I think we need TONS? No. (I want some more because I want to get a lot stronger, but believe me, I don’t think I need a ridiculous amount, just some MORE – for a sedentary person who isn’t looking to build muscle, I wouldn’t worry about protein too much). Do I think overloading on fruit calories to “carb up” is a smart idea? HAHA, NOPE! Do you need sufficient calories? Well yeah! You don’t need to eat more than you use! Do I think vegetables and greens are even MORE important? YES. Do I think fat is important? YES. Do I think cooked food is poison? NO. Do I think you need animal products in small amounts? I don’t know, but for me it is a question of kindess, so you will have to decide for yourself and think ethically. Do I think salt is bad? No. Do I think it should be limited? Yes. Do I think supplements are bad? Not necessarily. Do I think Western medicine is bad? Yes and no…it depends what the issue is!

I am so happy to be shedding this dogmatic thinking and looking at a bigger picture. That being said, there are raw foodists who I deeply admire, love, look up to and respect. Do I think they’d survive a catastrophic event? I’m not sure, but guaranteed they’d feel really fucking sick!

I am currently playing with how I eat, especially since it’s the holidays. I have ideas about how I am going to eat and work out in the next year. I want to get STRONG, and FAST. I know the bonus will be that I will look awesome, but this time that is not my focus (just like my mental health was my focus when I went raw – the bonus was I looked amazing!)

Part of the reason this came up in my mind is that after the raw food community went haywire recently, I just thought “Fuck this!” and started to eat some cooked, simple food. And it didn’t take long for me to feel utterly crappy. I was like, “God, if potatoes make me feel so awful, how would I survive in a shitty situation?!”

Sigh…it’s hard to know what to do! I am deeply grateful for what raw foods have done for me, but as there is a good and bad side to everything, I barely thought about what bad things it could be doing to me, or could do in the future.

I will continue to learn, grow, and maintain my personal ethics without dogmatic thinking or cult personalities influencing me, and I want to maintain a very open mind. I will NEVER claim to know the “true diet of humans” because NO ONE knows, and if someone claims to, they are an egomaniac to some extent. What is the best diet for them is the best diet for them. We have a lot of clues to what is best, but no one KNOWS 100% FOR FACT. Humans and domesticated animals have a lot more weird idiosyncrasies than wildlife. I read a great quote recently by Gabrielle Reece (who I love) – “The problem with other people’s diets is that it’s another person’s diet.” This is true – some people thrive on a particular diet and others will not. This is why I think it is important to keep an open mind and not follow one person blindly. Take what makes sense for you and work around it. Learn from everyone. And go by how you FEEL more than how you look (though that can give clues as to what is working for you, too, of course!)

Please never take what certain people teach as 100% true. Try things for yourself, see how you feel, and if things change, shift your thinking and learn more. Question everything and everyone. Go with your intuition! If something seems weird or wrong, there is a REASON for that! Listen to it!

Life is a very fluid thing, and if you are unable to adapt, how will you thrive? It’s no good to throw out a good message, but mold it to fit your personal lifestyle, your needs, and your beliefs. Good luck!

Overwhelmed by the State of the World?

I get this way. Often.

Sometimes I will cry in the middle of the grocery store, like I did today when reading National Geographic, images of a rhino with her horn cut off by poachers, found the next day searching for her lost baby. It sent me into a fury. I started hating the world, people, society, HUMANS.

When I rage, though, I feel compelled to do something – instead of pure hate that goes nowhere, I try to flip it around, and think of how I can make a positive difference.

It is so difficult to live amongst these things – generally I avoid the news – I do want to know what is going on, but I cannot deal with constant bombardment.

I think we are all either desensitized or numb. We have to be, or we choose ignorance. It’s a survival mechanism. I get shit from some people for avoiding the news, yet they choose to ignore the atrocities that happen to animals so they can go on eating their meat and dairy, or wearing their skins. They ignore the underlying issues, the ones not broadcast in the mainstream. The ones “they” want to hide.

We all contribute to the evil in the world in some way. There are probably only a handful of people out there that can say they live a completely cruelty-free life. They are most likely unknown.

We do our best – but only with the knowledge we HAVE. However, we should always be taking steps forward to be even better. Small steps are too small – our world is fucked. You should especially care if you have children, or want them. You should be completely outraged at the things you know about, and take action to abolish them.

The most powerful thing you can do is BOYCOTT. Money makes EVERYTHING happen in this world – 99% of the bad things that go on are due to greed, on some level. It makes people ugly, desperate, and robotic. They forget their true sensitive natures. We are all sensitive beings, but these things are so shrouded – we can’t handle the horrible happenings, and we numb ourselves – with food, mindless entertainment, alcohol, and everything else. We are so empty, grasping at air – what can we possibly do to UNDO the turmoil we’ve caused? How can we even begin to fight the “powers” that seek to destroy us and become rich because of it?

We just don’t contribute. Start getting angry. Start saying a big FUCK YOU to even the smallest ways evil seeps into your life.

Even hatred can be turned into a passionate, powerful beauty. IF the hatred is turned into a force for the greater good. Sometimes anger can be glorious, uplifting, and staggering, if pointed in the direction of utopia.

We all want utopia – but at the expense of all others? At the expense of our world, of our animal friends? Of our health?

We are not overpopulated here – there is plenty of room for us – but we live in a completely unsustainable way – we are dependent and greedy, we want everyone to do things for us.

Power comes from being self-sustaining. Feed yourself, free yourself.

Here are some ways to get out of that system:

+ Grow your own food. You can do this in your own home, yard, balcony, communal garden, random patch of land, windowsill, rooftop, alleyway.

+ Learn to forage. This will come in handy to save you money, give you major nourishment, and if the world goes to shit sooner than later,ย  you will be able to survive.

+ Freeganism. So much food in the world is wasted. Get over the “yuck” factor and celebrate the “free” factor – plus the point of keeping things out of landfills.

+ Adopt a natural, biologically appropriate diet – this will free you of health problems and the medical system/pharmacuetical industry.

+ ReUSE things. Instead of rushing out to buy something every time your stuff breaks down, get it fixed, or learn to fix it yourself. You do NOT need the latest model – you are just fueling horrible industries and being brainwashed by media. People always forget the reuse/reduce, and focus mainly on recycling.

+ Seek out alternative sources of news.

+ Be suspicious of everyone trying to SELL you something you don’t NEED.

+ Become so clean internally that you have no use for make-up. Take care of yourself so well that you have no need of doctors or cosmetic procedues.

+ Shun television – and if you must watch something, be very aware of what is being pushed upon you. Question the motives behind everything you see. Be aware of how you are being manipulated. It is strong, prevalent, and more damning than you realize.

+ Read something that is actually going to teach you something. Cultivate some interest outside of what the media wants to brainwash you with.

+ Focus on things that will make you strong, independent, and alive, instead of focusing on vanity, indulgence, and things. Strength and vivaciousness beat out fake beauty and materialism.

+ Unschool yourself. Then relearn. If I ever have children they will not be going to public school, unless they REALLY want to. I wish I had left. Children have a natural curiousity that tends to be squashed by regular education. It is a babysitting service, and built to spoil us. The whole point is to mold people into an obedient workforce.

+ Just say “Fuck it” if something scares you. Do it ANYWAY. I was scared shitless to start this blog because there is so much out there already. I’m not freaked out by much, though. Some people are too scared to do anything! I think that is so sad.

+ Don’t get too enmeshed in the negative. There ARE a LOT of positive things in the world – be a PART of that. BE positive. Find ways to overcome “problems.” There is ALWAYS options! No money? You can find ways to get around it. I went on a 100% raw diet when I was working part-time and making minimum wage. It was #1 priority so it happened! Make whatever is most important to you YOUR #1 PRIORITY!

+ Get a bike and ride that everywhere. It doesn’t have to be new or expensive. If it’s raining, get some raingear. Or take the bus. I personally hate the bus and have a car, however, I am riding my bike more often in order to rely on the car less. Cars are necessary for some things, but not ALL things. I certainly could not get jugs of spring water with a bike or a bus. Eventually I want to ride my bike to work, unless the weather is atrocious.

+ Buy independent, or thrift-store wares. Use freecycle.org. You will save money big-time AND not contribute to heinous corporations.

+ Question the source and ethics behind EVERYTHING you buy!

+ Choose a cause and really throw yourself into it. If you have time to watch TV, you have time to take action, even in small ways.

I know a lot of these suggestions are not new, but they are simple. I’m surprised more people don’t implement them. And I know a few of these will seem a bit off-putting for some – well, do you think the world is in good shape? Do you like being brainwashed and having your life controlled by people who just want to take advantage of you and steal your money, money you give your life away for, when you could be spending it doing things you WANT to be doing? Do you like contributing to the mass destruction of the place you LIVE upon?

We have a huge responsibility to take care of the natural resources that sustain us. The hugeness of it does not all have to be taken upon by one individual. It is ALL of us, taking care of ourSELVES in this way, that will add up.

It is impossible to have a million dollars without pennies involved, and in the same way, it is impossible to have an effect upon the world’s worst issues without first lessening your own impact. You have no right to complain about the state of things unless you are doing as much as you can.

I don’t think everyone needs to change overnight – in most cases that would not be feasible, and even I have not changed everything I want to change. BUT, I do a little at a time. There are major ways to not contribute that are EASY to do RIGHT AWAY. Just STOP buying things that support evil industries! Simple! There are always alternatives!

The earth will heal, but we have caused so much destruction. We are the scourge of the earth…which is SO DEPRESSING because…

WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY AND ABILITY TO BE THE MOST AMAZINGLY GIVING, SENSITIVE, CREATIVE, CONSCIOUS BEINGS IN THE UNIVERSE.

The best you can be – be it. It is probably BETTER than you can fathom. I could not imagine being the person I am today several years ago. I could not even dream of it – it took small steps, constant searching for betterment – in myself, FIRST. When you take care of your own needs you will have the clarity of mind and the healthy body to take you into the rest of the world, with strength to fight and help others.

You don’t need luck – you need self-love.

~~~

Just living is not always living. Look at your life. Can you call it a blessing? Can you call it a gift, a present of existence? Would you like this life to be given to you again and again? – Osho