I have to ride the tram and then the subway to get to work. Some days it is OK. Some days I can barely stand it. Especially at rush hour, and especially when I am extremely tired, it is too much to handle. My solution: I just ordered a bike. A fairly expensive commuter bike. To be honest, I am afraid. I am afraid the bike will get stolen. And that it will be difficult to ride the bike in traffic.
Since I crashed, I have gone to therapy (CBT) every week. I recently had my last session. One of the most important outcomes of the therapy was that I was able to identify some of my own personal values. Riding the bike to work would be in line with one of those values: freedom. It could be revolutionary.
It has been a long time since I wrote anything. And a long time since I decided to change my lifestyle. I have entered a new chapter of my life. I had a baby! I have a son who is now 10 months old. My family has moved to a one-bedroom apartment in a suburb to Stockholm. Recently, I crashed. Sleep deprivation, stress, vitamin deficiency. I tried to go back to work. It did not work out. I am very happy and very tired at the same time. I have so much love, joy and inspiration in my life. At the same time, I am struggling to find a balance. Maybe writing can help.
Christmas vacation did me well. A new year and a new theme for this blog. In life, the theme for this year is family. We are keeping our fingers crossed.
As I grow older, I seem to become more conservative. I look around me and see toddlers chewing on smartphones. I hear about 2-year olds who will scream desperately unless they get to play with their parents phone and 3-year olds who actually have their own I-pads. I see parents who seem to deliberatly place the stroller so that their baby faces away from themselves. So that they can use their phone without interruption. I once saw one of those babies trying to turn the head, leaning over the side of the stroller to see where the parent was but the parent was actually placed in a dead angle.
I have a smartphone myself and I got it because I wanted to listen to music. Lately I realized that I was not using this phone the way I would prefer. I was keeping it on the bedside table at night plugged to its charger. When going to bed I would use it for a while to calm down and distract me from the thoughts spinning around in my head. I would either surf on the Internet or listen to some podcast. It was all about distraction. In the morning it would wake me up playing a melody. Sometimes I had fallen asleep with the earphones still on. During summer vacation I realized that I did not want this phone in my bedroom. It was too difficult for me to not use it for nothing else than alarm clock. To try would be setting myself up for failure. But how would we then wake up in the mornings?
Here is what I did. I banned cell phones from our bed room. I set up a dedicated storage for these phones in our hallway. It is inside a wooden desk with a table-top lid. I arranged for charging the phones over night. I also made a habit out of turning off network mode when placing the phone inside the desk.
I went to the store and purchased a analog battery alarm clock. It is very simple to use. You turn a knob to adjust the time for the alarm. You adjust a switch to activate it. When that time comes it beeps. Then you can either deactivate by using the switch or press a snooze button. If you press the snooze button it will beep again in 5 minutes time. At night, if you want to know the time you can press the same button and the frame lights up for some seconds. What about the need for distraction? I arranged a small pile of books on the beside table. So I read until my eyes will not stay open.
Alarm clock, books and some pictures. Our lovely alarm clock that wakes us up every weekday morning. On weekends we sleep in.
Now I look at my bed and bedside table and feel so happy. I feel peace and a sense of freedom. At first I was a bit hesitant about the alarm clock. But now I absolutely love it, like it is one of my favorite things in the apartment.
What is the take-home message? I suppose it is about taking the time to reflect upon technology and what it is doing to us in our daily lives. Let technology improve our lives but not make it a destructive element.
When ordering the meat box I also ordered a non-expensive side product in the form of 1 KG beef fat. When it arrives I will use this Guide from Paleo Plan and render it into tallow. Until now we have been using ghee, butter or coconut oil for cooking, so it will be interesting to try and learn about something new.
Time to realize idea number 2 of my small Phase II manifesto: eat meat of high quality. It has been difficult to find true grass-fed meat at the standard local grocery stores here in Stockholm. If the animals have been fed grass, they usually were fed grass on another continent. Some meat is only partly grass-fed because the final stage involves feeding the cattle with grains.
So yesterday I ordered 10 KG of grass-fed meat produced on Swedish farms through a website called Gröna gårdar. It will be delivered in a box and be a mixture of different types of beef: some for boiling, some minced, some for the oven and some finer cuts. Delivery is in two weeks.
The first step of going towards paleo style eating was to eliminate gluten-containing foods and legumes. With time I also managed to give up milk. I will think of this as Phase I. Now it is time for Phase II. Today I sat down to gather my thoughts and write them down, outlining a sort of manifesto for how I would like to eat from now on.
Phase I was about major change. The focus was mainly on the body and well-being; loosing that excess weight, reducing bloated stomach and slowly healing the gut, reducing adult acne, avoiding sugar crashes. Phase II will go deeper. I have searched in my mind for those ideas that have been planted there at some point, but have yet not been realized:
1. Eat less meat
2. Eat meat of high quality (grass-fed and locally produced)
3. Eat according to paleo diet and/or primal diet
4. Simplicity as a virtue
5. Eat clean food (whole food)
6. Choose fish low in toxins (wild-caught from e.g. the Atlantic Ocean)
7. Eat according to season
8. Minimize food wastage
9. Reduce garbage (packaging etc.)
10. Increase the amount of vegetables
11. Reduce the amount of white potato
12. Introduce fasting
13. Rinse vegetables and fruit well before consumption
A greek home-made-style lunch, gluten-free.
I am currently on vacation and the first week I went to Parga in Greece together with my mother. It was amazing, we really liked it. My mother is 60 and I am 27 years old. On our first night, we went to a restaurant. Before they took orders for food, they served us a free welcome drink. My mother was served some type of strong alcoholic drink while I was served a glass of apple juice. They must have assumed I was under 18. They realized their mistake when they overheard us talking about our drinks and finally brought a strong one for me as well, even after I had ensured them it was not a problem. Another day we spent on a beautiful beach and rented sun beds and parasol from a man. Just when we were leaving, he stopped by to have a chat. He asked if we were mother and daughter since we looked alike. Then, he told us he had a daughter himself, that she was 12, and asked for my age. 27, I answered. He looked like he did not believe what he just heard. Twenty-SEVEN?!? I repeated my answer. He was in shock. He said I looked at most 18. So in Greece, I obviously go as child, especially in the presence of my mother. Quite interesting. I does not really matter when on this type of vacation. But it could matter in other situations of life. I will definitely think it over.
During this past spring, I realized that my skin finally had cleared up. No more adult acne. Amazing. Then something happened. Fresh berries were in season and available at good prices, so I started to have delicious breakfasts: turkish yoghurt with blueberries or raspberries, honey and hazelnut flour. So good. Heavenly good. After some time, my skin started to break out with acne. It went on for several weeks until I realized what was going on and the potential connection between my sudden daily consumption of yoghurt and the state of my skin. So I did a small experiment. I quit yoghurt for a week. After a couple of days, the skin started to clear up. After one weeks time, only very small spots remained.
I have mixed feelings. On one hand, it is great to have found a potential trigger because it means I may be able to control the state of my skin. It means I could have great-looking skin by being careful with what I eat. In addition, I notice that my stomach gets slightly upset by yoghurt. On the other hand, it is sad that I have to give up yoghurt, because I absolutely love it. But I will have to make an effort and find other delicious options that do not mess with my body.