Tag Archives: Diet

My Digital Diet

1 Feb

Something lifestyle-changing happened to me last week: my laptop was attacked by a virus and I had no access to the internet all week. I am not someone who uses a lot of technology in my daily life: I do not have a Smart Phone, I am not a member of any social networking sites and I don’t even use an mp3 player. I thought that technology didn’t play a large role in my life until I spent a week without the internet.

In the ‘internetless’ week I had no headaches and my eyes were never sore. I felt less agitated and fell asleep easier. I got out of the house more and read more in a week than I have done in months. I sorted out things in the house that had been in a mess for weeks. I read magazines that had been lying around since September and I even wrote a letter to a friend. I went for more walks, I cooked more and I was more active overall.

“What do I do in all those hours that I spend on the internet?” I asked myself when I saw how much I was getting done without it. I was shocked to find that I had no answer. Another question followed: Why do I spend so much time in the virtual world?” To this question I did have an answer: “Because it is easier than the real world”.

It is easier to surf the internet than to clean the house. It is easier to check e-mails from acquaintances than to talk to a loved one about one’s troubles. It is easier to watch YouTube videos than to try out that dance class. It is easier to read friends’ blogs than to get started on that novel. It is easier to find out about other people’s adventures than to go out and experience our own.

The internet has always given me an escape and an excuse. I can avoid the challenges and problems of my real life by distracting myself on the internet. What’s more, it is now socially acceptable to spend the majority of our time in front of the computer. It is even seen as odd or old-fashioned if someone isn’t married to the latest website or social network.

My week without the internet made me realise that I had become so good at living in a virtual world that I no longer knew how to live in the real one. I thought that technology was saving me time, when, in fact, it is making me waste away precious hours (or days, weeks, months?!) of my life.

After experiencing a week without the internet, I understood that there are so many activities that could bring a positive change to my life. I understood that I could dance more and write more; I could cook more and meditate more. I could explore the city more and read more books. I could laugh more and hug more. And I realised that the only way of finding time to do all of these wonderful things is to cut down the time that I spend on the internet.

A life without the internet isn’t possible in our society, nor is it something I wish for, but I hope that my week without it will always remind me to put real life first.

Do YOU need to go on a Digital Diet? Take The Telegraph’s Digital Diet quiz.

You may also find useful the Digital Diet quiz based on Daniel Sieberg’s book of the same name.

Lessons Learnt During Lent

24 Apr

Fourty days of Lent have gone by, which for me means the end of a fourty day vegan and alcohol-free diet. Whilst my normal diet includes regular meals with meat, dairy products and wine, lent in the Christian Orthodox tradition involves giving up animal products, alcohol, cigarettes and all other ‘unhealthy’ products (and habits) for fourty days. This is intended to be a detox for the body that creates a detox for the soul. Although I have not felt any major spiritual changes by limiting what I eat, there are several things that I learnt thanks to my fast that will no doubt have a positive effect in the long-term…

No Exceptions: by the second week of lent I was already thinking “And what if I was to have just a small glass of wine tonight? It won’t do any harm; I won’t really break the fast because I won’t do it often”. Luckily, I didn’t take action on this thought, because it passed through my mind at least twice a week. Had I listened to it the first few times, I would have ended up not fasting at all! If we

There are few things that we truly need

set out to do something, we cannot allow ourselves to make exceptions (except for reasons such as health, of course), because these will prevent us achieving our goal.

Making an extra effort is worth it: seeing as I couldn’t eat anything that is a ‘quick-fix’, such as sandwiches, pizzas or ready-meals, which all contain meat or dairy products, I always had to make an effort to prepare my meals. Even in the hungriest of states, when I wanted to devour everything in sight, I made real meals; this took more time, but my food was healthier and tastier.

It’s easier than it seems: once past the starting period, new habits become second nature. Fear tells us that what we want to do is hard or even impossible. Yet once we get started, we realise that we are more than capable of doing this.

The right to say ‘no’: it is easy to say “Oh, go on then”, when someone offers us a cake when we’re dieting, a cigarette when we’re giving up smoking or a drink when we’re cutting out alcohol. In most cases, we say ‘yes’ because we’re scared that the other person will judge us negatively or consider us ‘boring’. By saying ‘no’ in such situations, we are being honest and respectful to ourselves. Fearing other people’s judgment will cause us to live life by other people’s rules.

Fun Without Alcohol: yes, we can have fun without alcohol. Yes, we can enjoy an evening out without alcohol. Yes, we can relax without alcohol. Yes, we can enjoy a meal without wine. Yes, we can chat, laugh, joke and dance without alcohol. For some, this is obvious; for others, this is ridiculous. Either way, it is true.

We CAN have fun without alcohol...

Do you need what you want?: most of our consumption is for pleasure, not for necessity. There are few things that we truly need, all the rest are things we want.

Limitation Increases Appreciation: today, in Western society, the majority of people live in abundance, where they can have almost everything they want at any time. There is a huge choice of food, clothes, entertainment etc., and we rarely have to restrict ourselves in our consumption. By limiting myself in my range of food, I was able to appreciate the special meals more: a dinner in a restaurant (which made a difference to the classic meals I was making at home), a non-alcoholic cocktail (with more taste than the water I was drinking all week) and, of course, the Easter meal which included delicious meats, wine and creamy deserts. When we constantly spoil ourselves, we no longer get any pleasure from pleasure. Living more simply makes special occasions all the more special.

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I wish you all a Happy Easter and a beautiful spring!