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I posted something yesterday about a new dietary practice that I have adopted. With the exception of a small quantity of half-and-half in my morning coffee, I have taken to confining all of my caloric intake to the hours of 1 PM to 6 PM. Paul, an  ETC permaculture apprentice who returned to join the ETC staff, has asked me if I feel hungry during those long periods in which I'm not eating anything. I told him that in the 90 minutes prior to the opening of my feeding window, I start thinking about food and getting excited about it, but even then I don't feel hungry.

Bert W. Herring, the author of The Fast-5 Diet and the Fast-5 Lifestyle, draws a distinction between two kinds of hunger: somatic hunger (the deep-rooted need for food felt when one is famished) and limbic hunger (the cravings for specific foods or an emotional food craving that occurs without starving). [1] I cannot remember the last time I actually experienced somatic hunger (knocks would), but I quickly acquired an appreciation of limbic hunger when I started fasting 19 hours every day. Before starting on the Fast-5 lifestyle, when I entered the kitchen and saw food lying around, I would experience a sensation that I identified as "hunger."  This sensation, which I did not feel before some edible tidbit found its way into my field of view, would prompt me to graze off and on throughout the day. The sensation that caused me to reach for that tidbit, when I hadn't felt hungry before seeing it, is an example of limbic hunger.

Now when I walk into the kitchen outside of my five-hour feeding window and I see food, I don't even consider eating it, and consequently I don't feel the urge to reach out and pop it into my mouth. Since the only kind of hunger I ever routinely experienced was limbic hunger, and now that limbic hunger has faded away, I never feel hungry. My friend Jason, who introduced me to the Fast-5 notion, wrote me to say, "I generally skip breakfast and eat lunch around noon and dinner around 5pm.  Combined with a higher-fat paleo-ish menu, I am rarely hungry. A big contrast to the multi meal carb-fest of old. I find my mornings are more focused without the "most important meal of the day.""

And then this morning I was reading an essay by John Michael Greer, which contained the following:

For the last thirty years and more, Americans have been pushing their nervous systems into continual overload with various kinds of stimulation, and I’ve come to think that this is another symptom of the deeply troubled national conscience discussed in recent Archdruid Report posts. A mind that’s constantly flooded with noise from television, video games, or what have you, is a mind that never has the time or space to think its own thoughts, and in a nation that’s trying not to notice that it’s sold its own grandchildren down the river, that’s probably the point of the exercise. Be that as it may, recovering the ability to think one’s own thoughts, to clear one’s mind of media-driven chatter, manufactured imagery, and all the other though-tstopping clutter we use to numb ourselves to the increasingly unwelcome realities of life in a failing civilization, is an indispensable tool for surviving the challenges ahead...
So now I'm thinking of limbic hunger as a conditioned habit which disrupts what Terence McKenna called "the felt presence of immediate experience" and which John Michael Greer refers to as "the space to think one's own thoughts." I now consider limbic hunger a subset of the larger category of neurological stimulation to which we have become addicted, and while I no longer experience limbic hunger, I certainly haven't broken my addiction to constant mental stimulation. Last night I watched three episodes from the first season of Battlestar Galactica with ETC staff members Paul and Jessie. It's probably no exaggeration to say that I check my e-mail 10 times a day. If I'm in the car, I'm listening to NPR, and it is a rare day indeed when I don't play a single round of Plants vs Zombies.

So now comes the point for some sort of self reflection in which I find what? Some nugget of wisdom? Some prescription for better living? Perhaps just that the fleeting realization that one small awakening only leads me to realize how completely ensnared I am in the maladaptive dream that is consensus reality.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 18th, 2011 02:31 am (UTC)
Interesting observations. I noticed that when my weight fell below a certain level, all my crazy food behavior totally vanished. I stopped obsessing about food, meals, and recipes. I stopped hoarding food. I stopped over buying and overeating. I got my life back.

May I place a link to this post from my Feeding Wisdom blog?

May. 18th, 2011 02:39 am (UTC)
Feeding Wisdom Blog
Please do.
May. 21st, 2011 08:02 am (UTC)
KMO, you really have voiced a concept that I've become more familiar with over time. There seems to be all of these little habits of mind/action that occur without any questioning as if they were always meant to be there. In working with some esoteric practices, I've had to deal with the realm of thoughts in a way similar to your diet, although perhaps less structured.

The main exercise is to pick an object to focus your entire life of thought upon for five minutes a day. Change the object as necessary, but make sure that for five minutes you are trying your damndest to keep all thoughts upon the subject at hand. It could be a pencil, or a basketball, or swimming. Every single time you find yourself off track, bring it right back to the center.

I'll post another exercise with new agey terms in full bloom (pun intended by the Pleroma):

The first requirement is that the student should apply himself to the regulation of his thoughts. Just as the sixteen-petalled lotus achieves its evolution by means of earnest and significant thinking, so is the twelve-petalled flower cultivated by means of an inward control over the currents of thought. Errant thoughts which follow each other in no logical or reasonable sequence, but merely by pure chance, destroy the form of the lotus in question. The more one thought follows another, the more all disconnected thought is thrown aside, the more does this astral organ assume its appropriate form. If the student hears illogical thought expressed, he should silently set it straight within his own mind. He ought not, for the purpose of perfecting his own development, to withdraw himself uncharitably from what is perhaps an illogical mental environment. Neither should he allow himself to feel impelled to correct the illogical thinking around him. Rather should he quietly, in his own inner self, constrain this whirlpool of thoughts to a logical and reasonable course. And above all things ought he to strive after this regulation in the region of his own thoughts.

As I finish this, I've "maxed" a bag of one of my favorite comfort snacks, Krunchers Jalapeno chips, and will now proceed to consume what remains of this Old Style pilsner nestled every so curvaceously in this cognac glass. Mmmmmm.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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