Hi 👋. Here is this week's Saturday Blueprint.
🤔 Quote I’m thinking about:
Journal writing is a voyage to the interior. – Christina Baldwin
Journalling is a great conduit for reflection, self-compassion and understanding. Sometimes I write a lot, sometimes my journal is limited to a quick list of 3 things I’m grateful for. But in any case it’s a companion, and helps me think about thinking.
☕️ Coffee and writing
Coffee - there is something deeply comforting and calming about sitting with a cup of coffee. And for me coffee is the perfect companion to writing. I tend to opt for decaffeinated these days to defend my sleep, but still, the taste and warmth, and the pause button on life that gets pressed for those 10 minutes or so.
I’m enjoying a coffee now. It’s quietly steaming, the aroma and warmth close by, like a good friend. Next to me is journal - fountain pen on paper - the lines and dots a mirror of my consciousness.
To write more is to be more, to feel more, to see more. - Nick Stevens
In many ways writing is like constructively talking with yourself. An open conversation with your inner self. Your can seek your own council, disconnected from the immediate emotion.
I take a sip of coffee. As these thoughts organise in my head. The coffee is still hot, almost too hot on the roof of my mouth. But a comfort still.
If you are looking to feel a connection with others, it’s hard to imagine feeling alone with a coffee and a pen, such a shared endeavour is this. Think of all those right now also enjoying a coffee - friends somehow. And in the countless days gone by - how many people and how many coffees? Still it’s that anchor. Whatever uncertainty there is about the future, think of all the future people drinking coffee, using it to help make sense of the world. That to me is connection.
Coffee might not have the same effect for you - but there will be some anchor to the present that does the equivalent. Your job is to find that anchor, and lean into it. Cling to it even, as a universal constant that will always be there during hardship and heartache, happiness and health. Maybe it’s reading, or gardening, or crosswords.
If you have a moment, why not share your anchor on the Facebook page - it might just help someone else.
🥩 You are what you eat
You are what you eat, and I’d rather be a steak than a stalk. - Nick Stevens
I think about diet through an evolutionary lens. As Homo Sapiens evolved we hunted, and meat from large animals fuelled our increasing brain size. We evolved precisely because of our ability to access red meat. Since the agricultural revolution and a shift to farming and grains there has not been time for evolutionary forces to catch up - its simply been too short a time for genetic changes to occur. We’re still walking around in 2022 with those ancestral hunter-gatherer bodies. With the same bodily machinery that is expecting to eat meat, fish, some fruits and some vegetables.
Eating meat is what we are evolutionary designed to do. Veganism, while certainly better than eating processed junk food, is not optimal in my view (and I have tried - I was Vegan for a short time).
Veganism is the wrong solution to the right problem. - Nick Stevens
I eat animals because they are the best source of protein. Fish is great too. When it comes to other things I lean towards a Mediterranean approach - vegetables, olives, olive oil, some cheese, some nuts, avocados, some fruit in season. in terms of macronutrients (carb, protein and fat), the way I eat is low carb and ketogenic - that is, switching from a carbohydrate and glucose burning metabolism to a fat and ketone burning metabolism. Roughly speaking my breakdown of calories is 10% carbohydrates, 25% protein and 65% fat.
I avoid sugar, and refined foods of any kind. On occasion I have a fermented bread like sourdough or a small amount of rice but otherwise I avoid grains. I just feel much better when I do this.
This sort of way of eating gives me steady and stable energy levels all day. Gone are the days when I’d have the post-lunch crash and badly need a nap! It also fits well with some of my ultra running and long distance walking aspirations since fat is a great fuel for endurance - even the leanest person has a days worth of energy is fat stores. Compare this to hitting the wall after 3 hours if you fuel with carbohydrates.
It also means my hunger isn’t defining my day - I can go without food. A few times a year I’ll do a 48 hour fast - no food at all - and it’s only because my hunger is in check and my metabolism is burning ketones that I can do this without much bother.
I know that diet views can be very polarising. This is what I do. You do you - I have no judgments. Certainly food is a veritable buffet these days and you can pick and choose what you eat freely. I do find the ancestral view point a useful one to cut through all the information and misinformation around diet.
The bottom line is that I’ve experimented with food and will continue to experiment to find what works best for me. This kind of tinkering approach makes a good principle or directive (and one that applies to much more than just food):
Self-experiment with an open mind and evaluate and reflect on what works for you.
🔥 The Burning Monk
On the 11th June 1963 (58 years ago today) Vietnamese monk Thích Quảng Đức burned himself to death in protest against religious inequality. He’d be forever known as The Burning Monk for this act of selfless sacrifice.
It is as dreadful and complete a demonstration of the power of the mind as I’ve ever heard or seen. Here's an article I wrote on this, and makes my bad day at week seem utterly inconsequential!
💍 Cool finds
This Dr Chatterjee podcast episode with Auschwitz survivor Dr Edith Eger was absolutely incredible. If you listen to one thing this week make it this.
And finally, there is this speech by David Foster Wallace that made me think of compassion in whole new light. This Is Water.
It’s a pleasure writing to you. Have a great week. 😊
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