Empty Calories

Everything in the universe requires energy. We humans get energy for our body through calories. My personal preference in method is consuming good saturated fats from grass-fed beef, or venison from a deer my family shot, but to each their own. You may prefer Nonna’s pasta alfredo. Speaking of which, many of us tend to take in a large amount of “empty calories.” My personal preference is probably somewhere between raw cookie dough and doughy bread with ungodly amounts of Grandmother’s jam. As I said, to each their own.

Empty calories don’t help us. Empty calories usually equates comfort food. We eat it when we’re bored, or sad, or both. Going through break up? Get a carton of your favorite ice cream (feel free to try Dulce de leche– it’s a South American thing, you should look into it). The point is, we all have that favorite food or drink that helps us get through the day, hour, or minute, whatever the reason.

Our minds have the same thing. As the writer James Altucher would put it, our brains are an “Idea Machine.” This powerful tool has atrophied like an unused muscle? Because you can’t use something very well if you only feed it junk good.

Maybe you are one of those who binge-watched through their favorite TV shows and movies Netflix, Hulu, or some possibly-less-than-legal-service. Do you take the time to read books, or write a journal, or do you only scroll down websites like Reddit, Imgur, or 9gag? Sure, I accept and even proclaim that video games can be a work of art (Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us comes to mind), but playing video games cannot take the place of creating something. Exercising your “idea muscle,” to quote James Altucher again. Really, just get his new book, Choose Yourself

Who wins? The one you feed.

There’s this old (supposed) Cherokee proverb when a boy asks is listening to wise old man. The man says inside of us all are two wolves. One is evil, one is good. The boy asks who wins. The old man replies, “The one you feed.”

Now that’s a bit melodramatic for our current topic, but the premise holds: There are two sides to you. Lazy, unfilled, unsatisfied, or productive, creative, compelled. Which side are you going to feed?

Raw cookie dough is great. But it isn’t a meal plan. So don’t change your brain’s diet, but lifestyle. Sure, you can still watch Castle marathons, or maybe even finally catch up on Game of Thrones (beware the Red Wedding), but it shouldn’t be your outlet. Learn to express yourself. Write a song. Learn an instrument. Learn a language. Read a book. Write a book. Write a blog. Don’t surf Facebook for the 10th time, write in a journal.

*My brother Kyle had is right when he wrote this:

“So we can choose to take pleasure secondhand in others’ ideas or experience bliss firsthand in out own compositions. Both are enjoyable. But happiness comes from making a difference, not just being exposed to one.”

Want to make a difference? Limit your empty calories.

*Adding my dear brother’s quote made this slightly over 500 words. 

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