How to Make a Difference

This week, I am following the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD). The FMD was created by Dr. Valter Longo, researcher, and Director of the Longevity Institute, University of Southern California. The FMD involves consuming minimal amounts of whole plant foods, lots of water, and herbal teas for 5 days. According to Dr. Longo’s research, eating this way helps the body remove old, declining cells and release stem cells, thus supporting health, rejuvenation, and longevity.

Eating less means I spend less time around food. Less time meal planning, list-making, grocery shopping, putting groceries away. Less time chopping and prepping, cooking, eating, and cleaning up. For me, fasting leaves lots of time for meditation on what we consume.

With everything going on over the last five-plus years, including insanity in the streets, wildfires, droughts, pandemics, and unprovoked military incursions, it all seems so out of control, especially for the average person. And what of the people or entities that appear to have authority and power to make a positive difference? Let’s say it doesn’t look like they are paying attention to the same things the rest of us are. Truly, if we spend too much time thinking about it all, it can become overwhelming, depressing, and lead to sleepless weeks to months. But, what can we do?

Well, I HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT DIRECT ACTION since I have no desire to spend my days weeping or nights wide awake.

I am happy to report that there are some things each of us has control over that can make a difference. So today, I am writing about a couple of small things we can each do to push back against the ya-yas that keep us up at night.

Fasting this week led me to my suggestion for today: Media Fast and teach your children to unplug, too.

I saw a cartoon by David Sipress the other day. It showed 2 people walking down a city street. One says to the other, “My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.”

I agree with this COMPLETELY! Simply put, I believe that most mass media messaging is pretty toxic stuff. Therefore, I consider media fasting a form of resistance and self-protection. I have gone years without watching the News on TV, literally. Ten years was my longest stretch.

Currently, with the constant disheartening messages coming from the media, my husband and I only turn on the TV during football season. And then, I am not too proud to say that we only watch the game if our favorite team is playing. Further, we only keep watching if our team is winning. Yes, I know. We are fair-weather fans, but that’s the only way we can justify enduring the ridiculously insulting newsflashes and commercial interruptions.

This media fasting plan means at most we have the TV on for 3 hours, during 17-20 games annually. That’s a high estimate and completely unlikely since the odds of our team making it all the way to the Super Bowl undefeated are 2 gazillion to 1.

I sometimes listen to the radio when I am in the car, but not for very long. I almost always prefer listening to a book or (even better) road noise while driving. Except for lighting the BBQ, I gave up newspapers maybe 20 years ago. I only miss them when it is time to grill corn or portobellos.

It seems like disconnecting this way would leave me “out of touch.” However, believe me, the messages are relentless. They seep in. I still hear about the abuses, wars, starvation, and ecological chaos. I definitely do not escape the first-hand experience of economic swings. It’s just not delivered in hyperbole or all day long. Limiting my exposure like this keeps my stress levels maybe 40% lower than they might be.

It seems a little odd, I know. Interestingly, it is a lot like the FMD (Fasting Mimicking Diet). I still eat on the FMD, but it is minimal and primarily life-supporting. The same is true of media fasting. The only difference is that I am not consuming a constant stream of negative comments, horrific images, and blatant lies. I don’t have to wonder if the story is fact or fiction. And what I do consume is of my conscious choosing, with the goal being healing and increased vitality.

You can teach your children to do the same. Note that nearly all online platforms, games, and shows have “sponsors.” In other words, someone is either blatantly or covertly trying to persuade the audience in some way. Therefore, choose your food, News, and social interaction sources wisely. Know where they come from and what you are getting. Then, consume them in measured amounts. Consciously decide what you will take in. Whatever you choose, do it with the intent that it will be life-giving for self, others, and the planet.

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