Posted by: mvhuff | November 15, 2017

Why Speak Now?

Lots is going on in the world and inside my brain – thoughts are ricocheting faster than any typing can keep up with and the world outpaces even that. I don’t know how to keep up with it all, or even if I want to really.

Lately much has been happening with famous men being accused of various levels of sexual harassment or abuse. Some happened years ago and have been kept hidden for years. Many people express doubt over these accounts because it took so long for the victims to speak out. They wonder if what the accuser says is true, why didn’t they say something sooner?

I also wonder, but not for the same reason. I marvel that these victims have gotten the courage to speak up. Abuse is even worse than grief in many ways – everyone’s experience is similar yet different and it must be processed according to a personal timeline. Some people can grieve for years and some seem to be okay in a relatively short time (not mentioning that even when you think you are okay it can randomly pop up at the oddest times).

Abuse is similar to grief in that you lose something – your sense of self (and more) – but vastly different because almost everyone accepts the need to grieve but so many people refuse to recognize the losses and damages caused by abuse – particularly sexual abuse.

Why don’t victims speak up at the time of the crime? Consider the following:

  1. It’s our little secret – only you and I should know (devastatingly effective when used by an authority figure to a child)
  2. No one will believe you – because I am obviously more reliable than you or I am a pillar of society, highly respected
  3. You asked for it (many say that what you wore or how you acted brought it on – even if you wore overalls and acted like, well, a kid)
  4. You deserved it/had it coming – you may not have specifically asked for it, but it wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t somehow merit such abuse
  5. Even if you didn’t deserve it, you are now stained forever – no cleansing can ‘fix’ you – you are now what your abuser wished to make of you

I’m sure there are so many other reasons, but let’s face it – sexual abuse victims seem to be the only victims where many in society see the victim as more blameworthy (and for a longer period of time) than the abuser. Why is that?

Maybe the world is changing, and finally seeing that the abuser is the problem. Maybe we are realizing that people in power (at whatever level) or authority do not have the inherent right to manipulate people and use them for their own pleasure. Maybe we are starting to believe the victims.

Sure, sometimes people falsely claim to be victims for extortion or vicarious fame, but I suspect that is extremely rare. Why would you bring this up when people are so likely not to believe you but to think of you as some kind of scheming slut? Why take on the world when you could just continue repressing the memory and hoping that someday, somehow, it will no longer confine and define you?

I understand some even questioned one victim’s crying in the retelling of abuse that happened roughly forty years ago as if that meant they were acting. Which disregards the depth that sexual abuse can reach in your psyche and how not talking about it for so long only makes it worse. Imagine telling someone grieving over a lost parent and telling them, well, you shouldn’t be crying now, that was forty years ago. You wouldn’t (if you’re at all human) because you know that sometimes things hurt a lot even if the pain happened a long time ago.

So I do wonder that these victims spoke up – I marvel at their bravery, and hope that they will be supported by friends and family in processing the pain over again as it gets rehashed.

Posted by: mvhuff | October 12, 2017

Seesaw Hypocrisy

In what seems like a long time ago, a nominee for the Supreme Court was embroiled in a discussion of sexual harassment of one of his former employees. Many people on the left vehemently opposed his nomination as this harassment was unacceptable. Others on the right defended him by saying that there was no proof aside from the woman’s testimony. He wound up on the Court.

Later during a presidential campaign, one of the candidates was accused of marital infidelity, possibly with women who were not completely willing partners. The right argued that this character flaw (among others) disqualified him from being president. The left said that there was no proof and that this aspect of character had nothing to do with the job of running a country. He became president and served two terms.

In the mid-nineties, a senator was charged with sexual harassment. The right claimed he was unfairly smeared, the left said no one should abuse his authority like that. He eventually resigned.

Later, the sitting president was embroiled in an impeachment scandal over sexual relations with an intern. The right went ballistic about his moral turpitude and the left said it was no big deal (even though she was an employee of the president, much like the victim they complained about in the senatorial case). The impeachment failed.

We now have a president that has cheated on at least two wives (by his own admission). He has also bragged about sexually groping women. The right says that’s okay because the left has already established that character doesn’t matter for a president and the left is apoplectic about these moral failings.

Currently we are seeing a scandal unfold over a major Hollywood figure, a darling of the left. The right is practically gleeful over the hypocrisy they can now claim the left has in not having brought this person to justice before now. The left is not defending this guy at this time.

But here’s the thing I’ve noticed in all these scandals and uproars – we are all hypocrites. Maybe the polarization is making it worse, but it’s sad to see that the thing some people want to take from this episode is that the one side is hypocritical in calling the opposite side to task over sexual behaviors.

Now, the sides seem to take hypocritical stances on many things (such as deficits) depending on whether they will gain power or are in power or some other factor, but it just seems so obvious in the sexual area – we’ve devolved into a system where some appear to be saying, it’s okay if OUR guy does it, but horrible if YOUR guy does it.

What many of these women have gone through is awful. Can we just agree that sexual assault and harassment is wrong no matter who does it? Can we stop being happy that someone on the other side is bad (rather than weeping for that guy’s victims)? Can we at least stop being so tribal on everything and work for actual truth and justice?

Posted by: mvhuff | September 10, 2017

I’m a Lizard’s Angel

We say it’s the little things that matter, but we often desire the big things. Sure, a modest house that fits all my needs is good, but a great mansion must surely be better. A functional car that gets you from place to place is fine if that’s all you can get, but a super-fancy luxury car that performs that same function is more than fine.

Many people, particularly readers of romance or fantasy, hope to experience or create a grand gesture (romantic or otherwise) or participate in a heroic feat. We want to be champions, but not necessarily of the local 5K but of something more worldwide or large scale, such as the Olympics or something. We like big, bigger, and gargantuan (witness the drink sizes at some of our food vendors).

Even when we claim to want things on a small, even intimate scale, we live and act as though bigger is what matters. It’s, um, okay if our kid can spell, but much better if they can become the spelling champion. Being the batboy for the local team is all right, but hitting the grand slam in the World Series is so much better.

Which is odd and somewhat counterproductive because most of us don’t achieve grand things world-shaking status. Most of us are average rather than above-average – and that really is okay because it really is the little things and we don’t have to be super or superlative to be happy.

I probably am exaggerating, but maybe not by much, that most people lose their cool and go on rampages not because of big hurts but because of the accumulation of a bunch of little hurts and slights. If you don’t address them they can build up and explode at the strangest times.

And sometimes small things, small gestures, can bring you great joy. Like when a greeter at church tells you he’s glad you are here (and you can tell from the way he says it he means specifically you). When someone smiles at you or acknowledges your presence as a good thing.

Or even some of the small things of nature. Today I was on the W&OD trail trying to get a run in and not feeling particularly happy with it. Partly because of many small, somewhat poor choices, such as eating at the church picnic right before the run and not having had that much water in the day. I wound up doing a three mile run and with a three mile walk back to my car. It was supposed to be longer.

I could have wallowed in self-pity at my performance (which is usually my habit), but I made another small choice not to do so, but to learn from the mistakes and do better next time.

I saw some wonderful things on the trail. There was a bee working away at some small orange flowers – going from one to the next to the next. Just doing its thing and it just made me smile.

A bit later, I saw one of the many small lizards that seem to be in this area. He darted out onto the trail and straight into the path of some cyclists. I had to stop because I was worried for the little guy but didn’t think jumping in front of the bikes would help. He skittered in multiple directions trying to avoid the tires (think of squirrels avoiding cars for a comparison). Then he skittered in my direction and stopped in between my heels. At one point, he had his front feet on my heel as though he were hiding and trying to determine when it would be safe to move again. Then he made it safe to the grass and I could go on – my little act complete.

I could have taken a picture, but I figured if I moved it would spook the little guy. So I am recording this memory here in honor of the many little things that make life better and richer.

Posted by: mvhuff | August 13, 2017

White Supremacy is NOT Christian

I am not sure how to begin this, what with recent events being so ridiculously horrible. I have, on all too many occasions, approached life and big issues much like the legendary ostrich – burying my head in the sand and hoping all the awfulness will go away. But it will not, and I need to speak up against it.

There has been an unfortunate resurgence (or more accurately resurfacing) of white supremacism lately. I am sad to see that many people that claim the name of Christian also seem to believe that the white race is supreme above all other races. We Christians have gotten many things wrong over the years (once again begging the question as to why God allows such fallible humans to be His representatives), but this is one of the worst – to say that some of God’s human creation is not equal to others.

There is no basis in Scriptures for believing that white people are the epitome of humanity, or that people of other races are lesser examples or even, as some would have it, sub-human. We are ALL equally human and equally created in God’s image and have equal dignity and value.

Are there differences among us? Yes, but difference in skill, ability, temperament and whatever else does not mean difference in humanity and dignity and value. By the way, I am not trying to say that the differences are racially based – they are more individual than that – one person of whatever race may have skills that another person of the same race does not have – it is not about stereotypes but about humanity.

If we look to the Bible, we see that God created Adam and Eve in Eden – and He declared humanity as very good (obviously this was before the fall). Most people believe that Eden was located in the Middle East – potentially in the area of modern day Iraq. This would indicate that Adam and Eve were probably not, in the modern definition of Caucasian, white. That’s right – God created them and they were not white, but they were in the image of God and were very good.

Then later God chose Abraham to be in a covenant relationship with him. Abraham appears to have been from the Middle East, so again not white. God used Abraham to form the nation of Israel, but this was apparently to bring a light to the world to show people the way of the Lord – not to exercise mastery over others.

There are some exclusions from the people of God in the Old Testament, but that seems based on the desire to maintain spiritual purity, not racial purity. And even then these exclusions were not absolute – God allowed Rahab and Ruth and the Queen of Sheba and Naaman into the people of God even though they were not Israelites. God did not keep people who sought him away from Him (even though we as His people all too often try to do that).

In the New Testament it is even clearer – Jesus came to everyone and valued everyone. He treated people that were outcast as though they were real people and not just society’s refuse. He may have expressed some limitations on His ministry before the crucifixion, but those limits did not extend beyond his earthly time. Thus the good news of the gospel was made available for many – people from around the known world at the time, including the Ethiopian eunuch and the Roman centurion. Yes, the gospel was for even the gentiles and the church was commanded to spread this good news to the entire world.

Also, technically, Jesus was not white but Middle Eastern.

Now there are some difficulties in the Bible that I cannot go into fully here. One is the matter of slavery. But I think in those times slavery was not based on race and did not seem to necessarily entail the dehumanization of the slave (some were treated more like employees or servants). Not that slavery was a good thing, but it wasn’t as evil as it morphed into in the early years of America (and other places).

Somehow, as slavery and post-slavery developed, people convinced themselves that people of color were not only deserving of slavery but in reality, not people. This contradicts the value and dignity that God has given them.

God created them as PEOPLE in HIS IMAGE – who are we to say they have less right to exist than the so-called master race?

Many whites now complain that they are suffering from reverse discrimination as the country tries to recover and restore people of color to a place of fellow humanity. They feel disadvantaged by the fact that we are now trying to restore the balance and allow for the dignity and humanity of all peoples. But maybe we are reaping what we have sown – we have treated people like they are not people so we are oddly offended when they try to reclaim their status as people.

It is as though it’s not that they are being oppressed as that they are being taken down from the level of superiority that they think is their right.

God said that there is now no Greek or Jew or male or female or slave or free but that we are all one in Christ. Anyone who feels that as a white person they have some kind of superiority over non-white people is not following in the footsteps of Jesus. They may think they are, but they are wrong.

To truly honor God we must honor all His creation and realize that He calls everyone into His family and there is no partiality with Him.

Posted by: mvhuff | July 30, 2017

Enemy M(in)e

I set a goal so  far off
(too lofty? Time will tell)
I take the shot, the arrow true
My aim is not – distracted
Distance, difficulty, what?
To shoot again, I have to
Move, but mossy roots have
Overgrown my legs –
So hard to chop and so
So soft – maybe
I the goal is better
Left alone.

But I venture on,
The path is straight
Until a glint to the side
So close, so no
Harm done to take a
Brief look, slight
Detour, then back  – but wait!
Another sparkle, so enthralling
And just a bit more
Off the path, but
So much closer
And so alluring.

With effort I return
To my first purpose, but
A bleak companion
Latches on as a cloak,
Grasps my face and neck.
Can’t see, can’t hear
Can’t breathe,
Can’t feel.

Why not succumb
Just stop
What’s the point
Or the use?
Maybe none
Maybe all
Could I just
Stop the fight?

But I had a dream
An aim before
And to aspire
I must go on.
Perhaps never
Will the goal be gained
But I strive
To chop the clinging moss
Skip the shimmering sidesteps
Cast off the dark cloaks
And move on.

Posted by: mvhuff | July 9, 2017

It’s a Wonder

I understand that there are some people who excel in analyzing situations, in examining circumstances and the pros and cons of various choices. They can project simulations into the future and weigh probabilities of success or the various potential outcomes to determine the best course of action – or perhaps the least bad course of action.

I am not such a person.

This has been driven home recently by some things I have done that wind up with me thinking something along the lines that what my actions did not work out the way I had anticipated. Maybe if I had been more forward thinking or analytic about what I was doing I might have avoided my mishaps.

The other day I returned from my workout in the gym to discover that the neighbor’s contractor, having worked on the roof, had dropped a fair amount of old roofing material in my backyard. A large pile of tar paper and some metal pieces were randomly strewn around my yard and I was steamed. By this time, the workmen had left so there was no one to complain to (although I had held some hope since they had left the back door wide open, but no one answered my pounding).

Since I was leaving the next day for vacation, I decided (in my annoyance) to throw the stuff back into the neighbor’s yard. Maybe this wasn’t very neighborly, but I wasn’t thinking it through at this point. The smaller pieces were quite easy to toss, but then there was a large piece all stuck together that was probably longer than I am and I couldn’t quite get it to go over.

I tried ripping it, but that proved more challenging than I expected. This should have been the pause point that would have helped me rethink my position, but no. I got my stepladder from my house and positioned it next to the fence. As I climbed up I considered that this wasn’t the most stable platform for the ladder, but that didn’t stop me. I climbed up and started lifting and heaving.

It was somewhere around this point that I noticed that nails in the roofing material. I also noticed blood coming from one arm (not a lot in the end). But by this point I was committed (or perhaps committable). So I finished the deed (mostly) and returned to the house.

It was at the point of reopening my screen door that I considered that perhaps wearing gloves to handle the tar paper would have been a good idea. Too late – I had to wash my hands and arms several times, even using dish soap – to get the tar and grime mostly off my arm. And I was left with a two inch cut in my arm – but I cleaned that and applied antibiotic cream and bandaged it – it was fortunately not a deep cut.

The next morning, in preparation for my trip, I decided to have a protein drink. I have recently discovered that seltzer or sparkling water can be a tasty addition to protein powder. This particular morning I also discovered that perhaps the first few times I had done this the sparkling water was flatter than what I used that morning.

I shook it up and then let it sit while I went about other morning preparations. Then I mistakenly flipped open the drink hole while it was facing me – and received a blast of unmixed powder right in my eye. Fortunately my glasses protected the eye from what was a surprisingly forceful expulsion. I was able to clean off the glasses and drink the part that had been mixed in so it wasn’t too bad of an experience.

I could supply other examples of things that I manage to do without apparently thinking them through thoroughly enough, but these are just the latest things that sometimes make me wonder how I have managed to survive as long as I have.

Posted by: mvhuff | June 22, 2017

Snow Blind

Sometimes I feel like my brain is a pinball machine, with thoughts randomly ricocheting throughout play area and me trying to block them long enough to keep them from getting away. When there are a lot of thoughts bouncing around it’s hard to express any of them coherently. The difficulty increases exponentially when there are weighty and important matters to consider, and so what follows may not make as much sense as I would like it to, but I feel compelled to say it.

I have many friends and acquaintances who are sick of hearing the complaint about white privilege. Even I sometimes bristle about it, particularly with memes going around about white people ruining everything. Sometimes it seems like we are fish that are unaware that we are surrounded by water – it’s there and it’s always been there, so we don’t really see it and know that it is there. We are blinded by the lack of experience.

I can see that in many areas, where there are few (if any) non-white people and all the people you know are suffering from economic or health or other woes, that there is nothing privileged about that. There is no prize benefit, it would seem, to being white if you cannot find a job. And then you see many non-white people who are very well off and you think that maybe they are not suffering for not being white. They have jobs or money or health or fame and the lack of whiteness has not seemed to have hurt them.

These days, also, there are laws meant to protect people from overt racism and discrimination. The signs saying ‘Whites Only’ separate entrances have largely disappeared. We say we believe our country’s founding documents apply to everyone when they talk about all men being created equal. We think we judge people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin (as the Rev. King dreamed would happen).

We look around and it seems okay to us. Nothing to see here – racism is dead and gone and there is no such thing as white privilege.

And yet. When I was much younger, someone accused a friend of mine of stealing something because she had been looking through it and then it disappeared. The thing was, I was with her when she was doing it – the only difference was she was not white.

I had forgotten about this for a while because I would really like to believe that racism is dead, but the evidence shows otherwise.

Videos have shown that a white woman trying to break a lock on a bike is likely to be helped, while a non-white person is more likely to be accused of theft. Police cameras show that cops often treat black people with less respect than white people. Riots are defined as exuberant when they involve white people celebrating a team win but thuggish when black people are anguishing over unfair treatment – even though the damage is the same or worse by the ‘celebrants’. People of color shoot or attack multiple people and the first question is whether it is terrorism – white people commit mass murders and the initial assumption is mental imbalance rather than terrorism.

Why? How did this happen? Why is it that there are so many who seem to view non-white people as somehow non-people? As some other thing that is not worth as much as white people? This attitude is wrong, but it seems to have permeated our society to such an extent that even people who do not hold racist beliefs sometimes act in ways that show dehumanizing assumptions about our fellow human beings.

Some view the Black Lives Matter movement as too radical and anti-cop and even racial (because, you know, All Lives Matter). But we don’t have to live with getting stopped in areas we are not ‘supposed to be’ because we are not white. We don’t have to live with centuries of ingrained dehumanization that counts us as less than a whole person. We haven’t been told in many thousands of little ways that we do not matter, at least not as much as white people.

I am sickened and saddened that some people consciously choose to believe that white people are the supreme race – it’s just not true at all. But I am convicted in realizing that even though I don’t want to I sometimes make assumptions or act in ways that betrays some kind of unconscious version of that. Even though I didn’t invent it and don’t support it, I can’t help but notice that some people have problems not because of their circumstances or their character but because of the color of their skin.

I don’t know what the solution is, but it is important to recognize that it exists. And as much as it is in my power, to let the people around me know that they are every bit as human and valued as I am no matter what their color.

Posted by: mvhuff | June 10, 2017

The Power of the Ordinary

When I was growing up, I thought I wanted to be an Olympic medal winner. I don’t think it was a real dream, because there wasn’t a particular sport I had a love for or skill at when having this vision. I didn’t develop the athletic skills necessary because I didn’t have anything concrete to focus on – I think I just thought that somehow some round metal object attached to a colorful ribbon would validate me as a person – tell me I was worth something. Or something – it’s hard to tell because of course growing up I wasn’t that self-aware and now I don’t remember a lot of details about the fantasy.

I was thinking about that because these days there seems to be a lot of discussion about dreaming big and aiming for the moon (or stars, I’m not sure). I suppose this isn’t that new as people have been dreaming for as long as they have been around, but it just seems like there is a kind of pressure to have really huge dreams – like you can’t find fulfillment if you don’t dream extremely boldly.

I’ve heard people saying if your dreams don’t scare you they are not big enough. Or you have to chase the lion or having a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) that can change the world.

There is nothing wrong with big, bold, even impossible dreams. The world can never change without people daring to take enormous risks or explore uncharted territories or make seemingly ludicrous leaps of faith. It is just that maybe that is a lot of pressure for people who don’t have huge dreams. What if I cannot make a giant leap of faith? What if I have no desire to do something that will change the world?

Sometimes, we just have to appreciate the ordinary. We (or the infamous mysterious they that keep saying things) talk about how it’s the little things that matter, but we idolize the big things. And because we idolize the big things, we treat the little things as if they are not daring enough – that if you are not chasing lions you may as well not consider a fulfilling life a possibility.

The chasing lions analogy was based on a story in the Bible about one of David’s mighty men that killed a lion after pursuing it into its den. And we all want to be heroes so we admire someone brave that can do something like this. The Bible mentions that David had thirty mighty men, and named them and even described some of their exploits and amazing feats. But David had an army of other foot soldiers that just faithfully executed their duties – with only the mighty men, David probably wouldn’t have won and kept his kingdom.

For every Elijah that called down fire from heaven, there were thousands of other prophets who remained faithful to God without feats noted in the Bible. For every Peter and Paul preaching the gospel, there were thousands of other believers in the early church that remain anonymous to us. They did not plant churches, but they formed an integral part of church growth.

For every huge dream, there are others that have smaller goals. Maybe they won’t build a company or solve a complex problem that has been dogging society or create an amazing masterpiece of art. Maybe instead they will talk to the cashier like they are a real, valued human being. Maybe they will make someone laugh. Maybe they will restore dignity to a person not by being amazing but simply by interacting on a one on one basis.

I don’t want to imply that big dreamers are not good with people – many of them are. And goals do not necessarily prevent one from also treating people with respect.

For some of us, though, huge goals are not a thing. But we can, in our ordinary lives, treat each other with love, dignity and respect even in the most ordinary of interactions. And that can be powerful for people who need it.

Posted by: mvhuff | May 25, 2017

Detox Report

Lately I have been feeling like a voracious eating monster. I know about nutrition and eating well, but sometimes I just want that pizza or the chocolate or what have you. Or it’s just easier to grab a protein bar (it’s in the health section, so it must be okay, right?) than to prepare a balanced meal with protein and vegetables. It doesn’t help that I’m more comfortable and familiar with canned convenience and processed portions than with real and fresh food. Even though my mother grew up on a farm, I find it much more palatable to get my produce as far removed from the dirt as possible.

In order to counter some of these proclivities, I decided to do a 21-day detox program. I’m not so sure that I have toxins in my body from my usual diet, but I figured it would be good to follow something to get a handle on my eating and maybe even develop more of a taste and talent for using more real food.

I knew it would be a challenge because it requires giving up caffeine, dairy, gluten, and added sugar. I figured, a little discipline for 21 days can only help, right?

I went shopping last Saturday. A fellow shopper asked me where the watercress might be. I had to confess that watercress was one of the many vegetables I can only recognize with a label. Later at the checkout the cashier was certain that what I had thought was curly parsley was dill. Oh, well, it seemed to turn out okay in the recipe.

Day 0 – Sunday I started additional preparations by cooking some stuff for the upcoming week. I made a pot of vegetable broth according to recipe – boiling carrots, beets, kale, onions, and parsley (or dill) and then simmering for an hour. I have never seen so much broth in my life.

The recipe said I could toss the cooked vegetables or use them in another recipe, so I picked the latter. I have a great recipe for carrot waffles that also works with beets. It requires the juice of the vegetables, so I figured I’d juice the remnants from the broth. This turned out not to be the best idea – whether it was because they were waterlogged or cooked, when I put the beets and carrots in my juicer nothing seemed to come out until the very end – and then only a trickle of thick type of puree. I had naively assumed that all the rest was just being chucked into the waste receptacle of the juicer, but actually, the juicer had created a nice puree that just got stuck in the middle part of the juicer. I was able to extract enough to use in the recipe, but also had to clean up a lot of puree that got into parts it shouldn’t have – since it was mostly beet and there was dripping involved, my kitchen almost had the appearance of a crime scene. I won’t mention the debacle of the waffle iron.

Day 1 – Got up and started with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and water. I do not recommend it. I also made a protein smoothie and then set off for my day at work. I had warned my co-workers, so they were prepared for my sudden withdrawal from so many different addictive substances. Had a nice salad with chicken for lunch and had some herbal tea in the afternoon. I had a problem with a huge headache but managed to make it to the gym – where one of the coaches told me that I needed to have more carbs to fuel myself. It was kind of odd to think that I managed to have a low carb day without even trying.

I was going to have some brown basmati rice and other stuff for dinner, but when I read the directions I realized it had to simmer for 50 minutes and I thought, I don’t have the time or the energy for that. But I did manage something within the program and went to bed early because I was worn out).

Day 2 – Discovered that I probably will not get used to apple cider vinegar. It seems to make me nauseated, but there could be other factors at play in my intestinal issues (you know, adjusting to a different diet and such). This morning I had overnight oatmeal with chia seeds. It was pretty tasteful. I didn’t think I was particularly sloppy with it, but I found myself discovering dried chia seeds stuck to my clothing all day. I’m glad they are quite small and unnoticeable.

That night I did have time for the rice, so I had that and peas for dinner (I love peas, so that is actually a good thing). One thing I am not doing so well is that my dinner is supposed to be at least 3 hours before bedtime, but I can’t stay up that late!

Day 3 – This time I tried to add a bit of honey to the apple cider vinegar, but I didn’t want to add too much so I just dipped the spoon in the jar and stirred it in the water. Sadly, the honey stuck on the spoon and the bottom of the cup, so it had no effect at all on the taste. This was followed by another protein shake.

Part of the program involves staying hydrated, so I’ve been trying to drink at least 2 liters of water a day. On the second bottle of day 2 and this day, I added a bit of a drink mix that has stevia (allowed) in it. I thought the ingredients were all allowed, but it turns out it also had a bit of cane sugar, so I have inadvertently cheated. But I think it will be okay and not require a restart.

Day 4 – I gave up and just tossed the tablespoon of apple cider vinegar down my throat and then drank the water. It was much better this way. I think that maybe my body had finally gotten rid of all reserves of caffeine (I know, that probably isn’t how it works), and was falling asleep as I was getting ready for work. I decided I should probably just stay home as I wasn’t feeling the best. Kind of bad timing on a Thursday before a holiday weekend, but it was a smart decision as I slept most of the day.

Tomorrow is day 5. I think it will keep getting better, but we will see.

Posted by: mvhuff | March 4, 2017


If you follow any food or healthy eating trends, you’ve probably heard of the paleo diet. It’s based on the idea that our Paleolithic ancestors lived long and healthy lives because of the food they ate – that our bodies had evolved in time with the meat we killed and the plant-based items we foraged to extract maximum nutrition and minimize any potential mis-digestion issues. Then our brains figured out ways to raise and process the food in many ways to make it easier to obtain but we outsmarted ourselves as our bodies were not able to adapt quickly enough to keep pace.

Of course, there was less starvation with this advancement, but we leapt ahead too quickly, or so the story goes. Our bodies are still designed to eat the way our ancestors did, and we would be much healthier if we ate like they did – only what you could kill or forage. I suppose we are now allowed to have someone else kill or forage for us, but the idea is the less processed and the closer to what they ate, the better.

Now I am not an expert in the Paleolithic lifestyle, but I’m open to the idea that they lived long and healthy lives as long as they weren’t cut short by predators or accidents or disease. But I now suspect that the real reason that they lived longer was not due to diet but due to the lack of another prominent feature of our modern lives.

Imagine an early hunting party gathering to go off for the hunt.

As they are milling about in preparation, Gonk the leader sharply calls out, “Thak, what is that spear you are carrying? Didn’t we tell you that we were hunting mastodons today?”

“What, this?” Thak responds. “It’s a spear – isn’t that what I need?”

No, you have spear SP-950, for BUFFALOES, you need SP-960 for Mastodons. Gonk shakes his head in disbelief.

What’s the difference? They all look the same to me.

Clearly the spear tip is on the wrong end, Thak. Even Kul here knows that.

At which point, Gonk asks Kul, “What are you doing here? Have you passed the exam and gotten your mastodon hunting license?”

“Yes, I did – I have it right here,” Kul presents the special rock authorizing him to (finally) join the hunt.

Gonk examines it and declares that it is all in order. He is about to dismiss Thak for having the wrong weapon, when Grzk speaks up – “maybe Thak can join us just in case we run across some buffalo during the hunt. That way we wouldn’t have to pass them by because no one else has an SP-950.”

“Good point, plus, if Thak leaves, we will not have minimum number required to go on a hunt, and then any kills would be invalid and we wouldn’t be able to eat them.”

“Okay, gather around everyone, I’m going to show you the authorized route.” Gonk draws out a map to the valley in the east.

“But,” Thak interrupts, “I saw mastodons across the hills in the west. I think they have left the eastern valley.”

“Do you know more than our esteemed committee? They have clearly authorized the hunt to go to the east. We cannot deviate from this plan now.”

“But Thak is right,” Kul added, “the mastodons have moved on from the east to the west. If we follow the plan we will not find them.”

“You young people think that just passing the test for the hunting license makes you know everything there is to know about hunting. That’s insufferable.”

After some grumbling and continued milling about, someone pointed out that the sun was now setting, so they couldn’t hunt today.

“This is the fifth day in a row that this has happened. We are going to have to have another committee meeting tomorrow to determine the appropriate plan of action. Everyone should be ready to hunt after the decision is reached in 2-3 weeks.”

“But we don’t have enough food.”

“That’s not the point.”

Yes, not only did they have more bioavailable nutrition, they did not have bureaucracy.

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