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On Refining Diet

I eat pretty well and take pretty good care of myself. But it's taken quite a while to get here - before 2006, I had a pretty standard American diet. Lots of pizza, junk food, fast food, liquor, soda, sweets, etc. I smoked cigarettes, cigars, sheesha, and other kinds of tobacco.

Since then I've refined my diet and I eat pretty well. I have more energy, feel better, look better, and God willing, I'll live a lot longer as a result. It's a gradual process though, and I'm still improving. There's a few things I use to do it:

First, I'm all about incremental improvement - I think trying to crash change your diet is unlikely to work unless you have immense amounts of willpower and self-discipline. If you do have these Herculean amounts of will and discipline, you know who you are and don't need my advice. If you're more mortal, then you'll want to pick one or two things to be refining in your diet at a time.

Second, there's two ways I quit food or habits I don't like - "hard quitting" (cold turkey) and "soft quitting" (gradually reduce my consumption and eventually eliminate it). I pick which of these routes to go based on how convenient it is to quit something outright and if there's any detox process. If there's detox (like there was with nicotine), I think it's better to just get it over with once instead of constantly feeling deprived as your body re-adjusts to its new biochemical levels. The most successful method for quitting smoking is cold turkey, isn't it? Something like 80% of successful attempts to quit smoking are cold turkey? I don't have the statistics onhand, but that's the general idea. Quitting something like sugar, bad oils, or excess salt might be easier to do incrementally, since you need to replace the consumption with something else.

Which brings us to third point - I actively introduce new good behaviors before and during the time I quit something. Now, I don't know if the following is a good strategy, but it's what I did - when I started cutting down the sweets I ate, I increased my consumption of the kinds of salty foods I already ate: Chips, french fries, nuts, etc. Later I cut the salt content back. I don't know if that's a good habit, but it's worked okay for me. I also try to actively introduce fruits and vegetables before I quit something - it's hard to go from no fiber food that's highly processed to stimulate you immediately to fruits and vegetables. Fruit tastes bland compared to ice cream. So I introduce fruits and vegetables first, get comfortable with them, then increase my consumption of them as I decrease or eliminate bad consumption.

Math Will Find You

On Unschoolery

One of the top three questions I get when talking to people about unschooling is "How will he learn math?" I love this question. Being a number enthusiast myself, I get excited whenever I have an opportunity to point out how math is all around us. That's the pseudo answer. Math is all around us. But learning is a process. Realizing that our surroundings provide excellent opportunities to learn math is just the first step. Here's my three step learning process:

That's it! Once you get through with step 3, it could lead you to further research. A trip to the library or a google search for more examples and information could be the next steps. Or not. Maybe the 3 steps was enough to satisfy the math curiosity for this moment. Regardless, some learning happens.

But where is the math?

Chase loves to count things. He made me realize we could talk about numbers anywhere. The only thing holding back the math is our imagination. We count nuts and bolts, birds, parallel lines, marks on walls, shoes, vertical blinds, beans, people, cars, busses, you get the idea :) What fascinated me is how the simple concept of counting has lead to other math concepts. We now count sides on objects. That thing has 4 sides, its a square. Or a rectangle. This thing has 8 sides and he looks to me like, what is that?!? Octagon, I say. We went from basic counting to geometry. But it doesn't stop there.

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