Write Until You Meet Yourself


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I was very young when I started writing in journals. My mother, being an introvert herself, bought me my first diary, and I took to it quite naturally. I was extremely uncommunicative with people, very rarely raising my voice to talk or make conversation, but I was expressive in my writings. On paper, my thoughts were easy to pour out.

Much of writing is unpacking ourselves from the tightly-wound package of public perception and social pressures. The deliberate act of putting words on paper requires a certain measure of introspection and openness.

Perhaps more importantly, when I write, I am brave. I open doors that I never opened before. I confront my ignorance and willingly accept self-correction. I ask myself those very difficult questions, and I am able to write down and face the answers, painstakingly thought out and laid down, letter by letter. I write honestly, without trying to cover anything up, without trying to make me look better. Without judgment.

In writing, I meet a version of myself. One that’s inaccessible outside the pages of my journals. Through the years, it has  been my safe space, helping me understand and love the person I meet through introspection and quiet meditation.

“Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind.” – Natalie Goldberg

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A Peek in My Health Journal


I opened the year 2018 with a new commitment to myself. My husband and I will turn 40 in a few years, and that has brought about a lot of realizations in my life. Our health is just one of those. He has Type 2 Diabetes, I’m pre-diabetic myself. I decided it’s time for a paradigm change and it may sound like a cliche, but there’s something great about starting a new lifestyle on a new year. It feels like you have momentum behind you. Before the new year, though, I did start a health journal. I ate what I usually ate, drank what I usually drank, and wrote them down.

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A few weeks of doing this gave me an insight on the state of my eating habits. I didn’t eat a lot of rice and ulam, but I loved my sweet treats and I enjoyed them at all hours of the day. Writing it down gave me valuable insight on what I put inside my body and what I placate my hunger with. I think gaining this insight before I plunged into a drastic lifestyle change was particularly good for me. It felt a lot like reasoning with myself.

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I planned our week’s meal, made a simple grocery list, and planned out what things I wanted to track. I decided on a few things; exercise, caffeine intake, food, and overall mood/feelings for the day. Again, a few weeks into recording these things gave me more insight on how I was faring. The first week that we started on a low-carb, high-fiber, high-protein diet, I was expecting to go through a difficult withdrawal, but that didn’t happen.

Instead, I felt clear-headed. All these years I got so used to living with frequent headaches that I think my body just accepted it as normal. Like white noise in the background that I eventually learned to live with. Several times a week, I would struggle with worse headaches, and that’s when I would pop painkillers. The first week that we changed our diet, I felt like I had more energy, I felt that I could do more things within a day and that I don’t burn out after giving the best of myself to my work. I felt like there’s more of me to give. I was also snacking less. I felt more satiated and less hungry. This didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy food anymore, I still did. Just a different kind of food, and still in healthy, generous portions.

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I documented my daily challenges and enjoyment about a more involved process of planning and preparing food for myself and my husband. It wasn’t easy, but it also wasn’t unpleasantly difficult. We tried a few things that worked and a few that didn’t work, and we learned from them.

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In my health journal, I also documented food or drink-related things that I found interesting. I enjoyed that most.

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At this point, I think I can say that I have a more natural feel for what my body needs and what we want to eat for the week. I am aware that I will not need to monitor my food intake anymore. I know that a lot of people monitor their diet by writing down what they ate, and I’m sure it works for them, but I have a very different approach to it. I like to monitor for a while to gain insight, then wean myself out of it so that it doesn’t become all about the stats anymore. My health journal will still be about my health, the food and drinks I find interesting, but it will be less about policing my food intake than enjoying the new kinds of food that I like to eat. Sort of like removing my training wheels.

So there, that’s a little peek in my health journal. I would encourage anybody who wants to change their eating habits to start one. This format or any other format that helps you make sense of your diet is going to be helpful.

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2018 for all of us.

Olds & Milner’s Rat No. 34


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I’m currently reading “Irresistible” by Adam Alter and the first part talks about the biology of addiction. Though the book is about addictive behaviors, the first part touches on addiction to substance. It’s a pretty interesting read, I’m looking forward to really getting into it in the coming days.

I often stop and write down things that I want to remember while I’m reading. Or things that I want to chew on and understand better. I find that writing helps me sort out my thoughts, like they fall into order as I write. I remember things better this way too.

From Seed to Cup


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I wrote this page on my health/food journal yesterday because Montblanc Toffee Brown ink reminded me of the color of espresso. I’ve been keeping a health journal for the past weeks and to liven it up, I add pages like this. I write about food and drinks that I find interesting. I’m gathering a bit more pages before I write about the format I use for my health journal before I share it. It has been very helpful to me recently.

I really love the color of this ink. The photo doesn’t show off the gorgeous shading it has or how it remains vivid after drying on the page. Such a beautiful color.

Cáscara


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I recently started my very first health journal. Not a diet journal or a fitness journal but a health journal. It helps me keep track of my daily physical activities, food intake, how many cups of coffee I consume, my mood for the day, general thoughts about health, etc. It also helps me plan our menu for the week. I’ll delve more into that in another journal entry. Today’s entry in my health journal is about this “tea” that I recently discovered through Everyday Coffee PH (Not affiliated with them BTW, I’m just a happy customer. They’re my main source of freshly-roasted coffee beans).

It’s called Cáscara which is Spanish for husk. It’s made of coffee cherry skin and pulp that’s dried and lightly roasted. It’s actually not at all like tea leaves but it’s called coffee cherry tea. It’s also called sultana in some places.

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A few grams of these husks are steeped in hot water for about 5-7 minutes and can be enjoyed hot or cold. I’m not an avid tea drinker but I really enjoy this drink. By itself, it tastes sweeter than other teas that I’ve tried. You don’t actually need to add any sweetener to it, but you can add a bit of brown sugar or honey if you want it to be a bit sweeter. It tastes like sweet raisins and has a subtle hint of berry. If you use honey, it tastes a bit like wintermelon tea. It’s surprisingly good, actually.

It’s also found to be rich in flavanols. This secret superfood is said to have more antioxidants than blueberries. It’s great that Cáscara gives coffee farmers another stream of income from what used to be considered as a byproduct of harvesting coffee beans. It gives an additional income boost for the farmers.

If you want to read more about Cáscara, check out: The Truth About Cascara.

Professor Pyg


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My journal entry from early this morning was about Professor Pyg. Actually, I was just thinking about how Gotham (the TV series) is one of my favorite super hero TV series so far. Recently there has been quite a lot of TV series based on comic book stories. Gotham does a great job of portraying heroes and villains as complex individuals who became who they are in the future because of a series of events and decisions that led them there.

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Professor Pyg doesn’t have a backstory, unfortunately, but it does lend to the story of Penguin and Jim Gordon. Gotham does a good job of showing how villains don’t just pop out of the woodwork, they have their own stories. In some instances, their stories converge with the stories of heroes. It’s just that they make a series of decisions that got them where they are. The origin stories are very interesting, for both heroes and villains.

Professor Pyg’s violent rampage was quite visual and visceral, it felt like something out of Criminal Minds. Oswald’s transformation from ambitious mafia small fry to criminal mastermind is also quite fascinating. The cycle of allowing himself to be emotionally vulnerable for the sake of friendship and companionship and then being betrayed twists him up more than his criminal activities do.

I hope the writers continue to do a good job on the series.

 

Test Drawings for Platinum Carbon Ink


I got my first waterproof black ink last week. The waterproof Noodlers inks are always out of stock, so I bought a bottle of Platinum Carbon Ink off a friend’s collection. I made a few test drawings on my journal to see how well they hold up with watercolors. Needless to say, I am so happy with the results.

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I love that the ink stays vibrant on the page even after drying up. Some inks become flat when dry, but this one stays shiny. It looks almost like it’s still wet on the page. It’s really saturated, so it’s best not to leave it in a pen that’s going to sit unused for too long. Smells a bit like Noodlers inks, too. The flow is pretty wet, I am very happy with it. It doesn’t seem to take longer to dry compared with most of my wet-flowing inks.

If you’re looking for thick, super-black ink that shows no shading and stays vibrant after drying, I would highly recommend this.