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The 21-Day Daily Stoic Freedom Challenge – Day 2 – Pick A Diet

This is an account of day 2 of the 21-Day Daily Stoic Freedom Challenge, for accounts of other days please click here.

In Theory

The task for day 2 of the 21-Day Daily Stoic Freedom Challenge is to pick a diet to follow for the rest of the challenge. As with the cold shower from day 1, the point isn’t to think about the potential health benefits but to take control of your choices and free up time spent deciding what to eat. Like the name of the challenge suggests, the overall goal is freedom, and today’s email from Daily Stoic explains further:

Today, your task is to narrow in on a diet. Whole 30. Paleo. Vegan. Slow Carb. Vegetarian. Intermittent fasting. Whatever. THEN, from under the umbrella of that diet, choose a set of meals (3-5 is usually ideal) that are quick and nutritionally rich and easy to make, and try to stick with them for the rest of the challenge.

Food is fuel…but it’s also a liability. Our need for it, and all the logistical decisions about getting it, preparing it and consuming it can slow us down. That’s what we’re focusing on today. Just as most of us don’t complicate or overthink how we fill up our car’s gas tank, we can similarly make fueling ourselves nutritionally just as routine.

In Practice

For this task I’ve decided to narrow down on Tim Ferriss’s Slow Carb Diet. I’ve been keen to get back to it as I’ve adopted it a few times before and always enjoyed its simplicity, not to mention the fact that it comes with a cheat day. Tim, who is a big proponent of Stoicism himself, presents the diet in his book, The 4-Hour Body, and bases it on five basic rules: avoid “white” carbs, repeat the same meals, don’t drink calories, don’t eat fruits and take one day off per week.

The Slow Carb Diet also concentrates on five food groups: protein, legumes, vegetables, fats and spices, and recommends that you have as much as you want of the first three groups and small quantities of the last two. Like most, I don’t find it particularly easy to avoid carbohydrates so this will certainly be a challenge, but with the tricky dilemma of which carb to eat (pasta? rice? three doughnuts? ) taken away I’m hoping to get the desired benefit of added freedom. 

Due to the difficulty always associated with this kind of adjustment, I’m going to start by changing only my breakfast to Slow Carb for a few days in order to ease in, before changing lunch, and then dinner. There’s no need to go all in right away and risk abandoning it in a sugar-deprived meltdown after a few days because the change was too drastic.

With that, I’ll follow Tim’s lead below for my first breakfast back on the Slow Carb Diet – eggs, spinach, and salsa:

My effort…

The group Slack channel continues to be a positive experience in terms of community – everyone seems very willing to help and encourage others and it’s great to see how other participants, such as Linda below, are benefiting:

DAY 2: The Philosopher’s Diet! Love the perspective shift this had for me today. I’ve been following a moderation diet for years and use the weight watchers program/app to track. It actually makes it easy because it remembers my ‘routine’ meals. I’ve found I have naturally down selected the variety to a few (5 or so) regular meals I can repeat easily. But for me it’s the mindset shift of this post today that is more impactful. The struggle is keeping to the philosopher’s mindset when my emotional eating kicks in! Now I have a tool to remind myself that these decisions can make me a better philosopher!

In Summary

By adopting the Slow Carb diet I hope I can remove a lot of wasted time spent deciding what to have for each meal. I’ll have to be disciplined in order to plan a small variety of Slow Carb meals in advance but this will later translate to freedom in the form of more time to do the things I really want to. And I can also reward myself with three doughnuts on cheat day.