7-day Water Fast (no food) Experience And It’s Benefits

A water fast is the cessation of food consumption for a certain amount of time. During that time you can consume water, black coffee, tea, and bone broth. Fasts can vary from short ones (12 hours) to extended fasts (5+ days). Fasting has been practiced across many different cultures for thousands of years as a period of healing, spiritual uplifting, and abstinence. Our evolutionary upbringing is closely linked to fasting since food back then was mostly scarce and competitive to procure. Our ancient ancestors would forage for food then use their body fat as fuel when food actually became scarce; or, better known as feast and famine. Now that science has substantiated many of its health benefits, fasting can be used as a tool to repair your anatomy, breakdown fat, and increase mental acuity.

You can fast as long as you have adequate body fat and your nervous system or adrenals are in their proper state. Remember: fasting is a stressor on the body, so all your hormones must be normalized before getting into an extended one or else you only exacerbate whatever symptoms you’re currently experiencing. In most cases, you can only oxidize fat at a half a pound of body fat per day, so when people are losing weight really fast, it’s not actually body fat, rather muscle, inflammation, or water. Fat takes time through strict nutrition, exercise, or infrequent eating patterns that keep your insulin signaling low. Fasting tends to not be broached in mainstream media and nutrition because it doesn’t sell; no one makes money when people aren’t eating!

Dr. Jason Fung, who deals with a multitude of patients with kidney disease and diabetes in an interview talks about fasting as an alternative, healthier way to burn fuel.

“During fasting, you start by burning off all the glycogen in the liver, which is all the sugar. There’s a point there where some of the excess amino acids in your body need to get burnt as well.

That’s where people say, ‘That’s where you’re burning muscle.’ That’s not actually what happens. The body never upregulates its protein catabolism. Never is it burning muscle; there’s a normal turnover that goes on.

There is a certain amount of protein that you need for a regular turnover. When you start fasting, that starts to go down and then fat oxidation goes way up. In essence, what you’ve done is you switched over from burning sugar to burning fat. Once you start burning fat, there’s almost an unlimited amount of calories there. You could go for days and days.”

Periodic or intermittent fasting have been shown to increase testosterone and human growth hormone –two important factors in building and maintaining muscle mass PLUS the anti-aging effects of HGH not only turn back the clock internally, but externally as well. This muscle conservation stage has an expiration date though, usually after 10-15 days of extended fasting muscle deterioration may occur, BUT depending on how much body fat you carry (some people can fast longer than 30 days without muscle-wasting due to having excess body fat). A popular misconception in the health industry is that once we are in a starved-state, our bodies seek our muscle as fuel, but that’s simply not true–if it were, we would have been extinct a long time ago.

Here’s a few staggering insulin-related stats presented by the CDC that Americans are facing:

  • 1/3rd of Americans have prediabetes (insulin resistance) or type-2 diabetes
  • Prediabetes can blossom into type-2 diabetes in as soon as 5 years
  • 40% of Americans are considered obese
  • 1 in out of every 2 Americans have a chronic disease!

Any fast over 20 hours increases and maximizes cellular autophagy: a physiological process whereby the body starts cleaning out the junk in the cells that accrues from free radicals which ultimately age you and engender cancer tumors that can proliferate to major organs. In recent research, cancer and Alzheimers are now showing signs of being a metabolic disease (high blood sugar/insulin) rather than just a genetic disease. Although more research is to be done on the correlation between insulin/blood sugar and cancer, it’s safe to say that keeping a close watch on your numbers would be salubrious for longevity purposes. That said, giving yourself a long fast once a year to lower insulin could potentially rid any cancerous cells from accumulating. The graph below illustrates how when insulin drops, HGH increases.

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The record for fasting is a shocking 382 days. The man weighed 456 lbs and dropped to an astonishing 180 lbs. Although he was heavily monitored by doctors and supplemented vitamins, he recalled the experience as being liberating with “hunger not really occurring.” So, that proves that the body doesn’t automatically eat at muscle when it’s starved, but rather adipose tissue (body fat).

Ketosis is the metabolic state where your body begins using only your actual body fat as fuel when your insulin is low. Ketones are produced from the breakdown of fat in the liver. For the ketogenic diet, most people need to consume no more net carbs (total carb-fiber) than 50 grams a day to induce ketones. The diet consists primarily of vegetables along with eating moderate protein and higher amounts of healthy fats. Eating fat burns fat and the fat on your body is the result of mostly eating sugar and carbs. Ketone bodies have myriad benefits from decreasing inflammation to eradicating type 2 diabetes to treating people with epilepsy. Below shows the breakdown of the Keto macronutrients.

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Fasting is a surefire protocol to fast-track your way into ketosis. Cravings literally disappear. You’ll no longer be in a glucose-dependent cycle, but rather a fat burning one; replete with energy and clear-headedness. Depending on if your body primarily runs on fat or sugar will dictate how long it takes for you to enter nutritional ketosis. Eating too much protein or carbs will usually knock you out of ketosis. Below is a graph that shows when your blood sugars drop, ketosis is induced.

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Here are the benefits of doing extended fasts (4-10 days):

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Normalizes blood pressure
  • Has the ability to reverse type-2 diabetes
  • Neurogenesis (Creation of new brain cells)
  • Fat loss
  • Destroys any unwanted food cravings
  • Increases energy
  • Improves sense of well being
  • Stabilizes mood from blood sugar regulation
  • Reduces insulin which in turn lowers triglycerides and improves HDL cholesterol
  • Increases immune function
  • Eliminates the chance of cancer cell expansion
  • The ultimate detoxification process, better than most cleanses that are marketing scams which are ineffective
  • Helps with any autoimmune problems
  • Better, more restorative sleep
  • Increases the effects of chemotherapy
  • Anti-aging benefits and cognitive enhancement. Helps with a cloudy brain
  • Fights all chronic diseases
  • Fasting shows instant improvements for patients with rheumatoid arthritis

People who shouldn’t do extended fasts:

  • Children
  • Women trying to get pregnant or those who are breastfeeding
  • Anyone with a very low body fat percentage, who are malnourished, or are under an 18.5 BMI

 

A Timeline of my 7-day fast experience

Pre-fast weight: 223

Day 1

Felt good throughout the whole day. This day is usually the hardest along with the 2nd day, but is a lot more pleasant than when i did it last year. Not too hungry and mental clarity seemingly beginning to shine through the cracks. Sleep was historically good, maybe the best I’ve had in a year– cycling through all the cycles of dream-sleep and deep sleep

Consumption: 3/4th gallon of water with Himalayan sea salt. Vitamins B and C.

Day 2

Weight: 218

After an amazing nights sleep, feeling much more grounded and focused today. Feelings of elation and hyper-activeness are surging through me. Hunger pangs haven’t shown themselves. A midday walk was filled with creativity and wandering thoughts. Got a bit tired toward the evening time.

Consumption: a gallon of water with a pinch of sea salt. 1 cup of black coffee. Vitamins B and C

Day 3

Weight: 216

Another pretty good night of sleep. Completely in ketosis. Went for a casual morning walk around sunrise. Mentally sharp and extremely focused. A brief moment of weakness occurred in the evening, but was fleeting. Hunger is neutralized.

Consumption: Gallon of water with a pinch of Himalayan sea salt. A half a cup of black coffee. Vitamins B and C

Day 4

Weight: 215

Feeling the best I’ve felt all week. In complete ketosis now, as my readings are showing 4.0 mmol/L or better (Using ketone strips via urine you can identify how deep of ketosis you’re in which means your body is now using fat as fuel and insulin is low; great for longevity.) Everything I’m reading is being retained faster than normal and my well being is excellent. The psychological factor of food is beginning to settle in. Lots of stimuli is easy to repress for a short while, but not it’s seeping through the cracks. That said, I’m not physically hungry.

Consumption: A little over a gallon of water. Half a cup of black coffee. Vitamins B and C.

Day 5

Weight: 211

Last night got the worst sleep I’ve gotten since I started. Restless, insufficient sleep. Presumably, did not get into the slow wave delta sleep since I’m a bit on edge in the morning and not as sharp. I decided to take a longer-than-usual walk and that really knocked me on my ass. Felt completely enfeebled and was contemplating throwing in the towel for the fast, but i knew this was common and your body goes through phases of adjusting energy systems. For 3 hours I felt unsettled then it passed and I felt a lot better after i brought down my heart rate and had some water with sea salt. I’m guessing the lack of sleep made my blood sugars get a little wonky thereby inducing a state of panic on the nervous system. That night everything stabilized and started feeling good again

Consumption: Gallon of water with Himalayan sea salt. Vitamins B and C

Day 6

Weight: 209

Slept pretty well last night. A lot better than the previous night. Brain is functioning high again, body is getting a little run down. No exercise today. The external stimuli of food is definitely enticing me to eat now. Constantly thinking one more day, but still not feeling all that bad.

Consumption: Gallon of water with himalayan sea salt. Cup of organic Chai tea. Vitamins B and C

Day 7

Weight: 207

Woo! We made it! Although I slept a paltry 4 hours due to becoming a bit dehydrated in the evening, all is freaking well. Energy is very good. Finally get back  to the gym and lift weights with having not eaten in 7 days. My strength hasn’t waned much at all. About 2% of max strength has declined. My stamina has been compromised a bit though as I feel myself panting much faster than normal. After I worked out there was still about 2 hours before I finish the fast. As odd as it sounds, I definitely felt as if I could go another day, but let’s not get crazy here. Broke the fast around 4pm with watermelon, steamed broccoli, and some various other blended fruit. Boy, was it a joyous experience. Everything tasted so authentic and flavorful.

Breaking The Fast

Breaking a fast isn’t something to play around with. People have suffered many complications from coming out of a fast full tilt; eating whatever they want. Since the long fast has repaired the body, it also has basically shut down digestion and in order to reboot it, you must have a reintroductory phase of eating. The following two days after an extended fast must consist of blended fruit shakes and steamed veggies then you ease your way into harder-to-digest foods in the subsequent days. The enzymes that breakdown food need a little time to reactivate, so this 36-48 hour period must be dealt with patience.

Final Thoughts

Total weight loss: 16 lbs (223 to 207)

Total hours fasted: 168 (7 days)

Peak ketone reading: 5.5 mmol/L

In conclusion, the fast was an enlightening, emboldening experience. Overall, it was a revelatory adventure. I felt amazing for about 96% of the 7 days, which in my estimation is from being used to intermittent fasting (my current dietary protocol) The mental clarity and enhancement of senses was truly remarkable. The introspection aspect of noticing how hunger comes in waves and how we aren’t really ever starving, but rather conditioned to eat from routine and psychological, external stimulus. Majority of the time I felt a newfound appreciation for being in the moment with a heightened sense of stillness and focus. Anxiety didn’t exist at all throughout the fast. The profound energy and motivation is indescribable unless you try it. I did not do this fast to lose weight, but instead to get the cerebral and anti-inflammatory benefits after a gluttonous holiday which help for the future. Some of the nights of sleep were the deepest I’ve experienced since being a kid.

My mood and well-being were in great spirits. Thoughts, creativity, and reading comprehension ostensibly worked better and more fluidly than when I am in a fed-state. You also notice how everything you consume in life has an effect on your entire bodily system from sleep to mood swings to energy. A 24-hour fast once a week should be a staple in everyone’s lifestyle to let your body heal and repair.

Personal experimentation is one of the rites of passages of  being a human being. Not just one dietary protocol works for everyone, but fasting is built into our DNA. Give it a try. You won’t wither away, the body wasn’t designed to let us perish when a little bit of stress is on us. We are built to survive and minor stressors on the body can, in the end, strengthen it.

Chronic diseases are costing us billions of dollars as a nation and it’s only getting worse. Inflammation is the precursor to chronic diseases and what causes inflammation? sugar, obesity, stress, drugs, overtraining, overeating, injuries, infections, sleep deprivation, and diseases. What helps all of those?

 

Fasting.

 

 

 

 

 

When Does The Party End?

Here I am, Saturday night, listening to music (a constant that’ll forever remain unchanged) and reading articles. Five years ago, at age 21, I would have had a better chance of scoring a date with Beyonce than to be caught doing what I’m doing now. The unwavering ambition to party was unquantifiable. But things change, right? It’s natural; the party cannot last forever. I suppose, growing older does make you more responsible in terms of bodily preservation and the forethought of having to deal with a harrowing hangover makes drinking seem a bit distasteful. Everyone wants to have fun, but everyone’s definition of fun may vary. One avenue of fun we can all agree on is partying; but why is that? Why is it so hard to be sober and have fun while everyone is raging and basking in drunken shenanigans?

Back in college, on the weekends, you can almost guarantee that about 85% of the students on & off campus were devising plans to get rowdy no matter what. If a tornado was on the doppler radar, that just meant to find a basement to imbibe in – where there’s a will, there’s a way. The ‘pleasure demand’ was sky-high. People just wanted to enjoy themselves, whether it be sexually or “alcholically;” this epicurean lifestyle would flourish most in college – where freedom meets a whole lot of raging hormones and peer pressure.

For some people, that behavior can persist throughout a lifetime. For others, the lifestyle may have an expiration date – I guess it has myriad factors all of which lead to how the pleasure affects you. But one thing that is glaring to me when looking back at high school & college was the immediacy of friendship needs which may inevitably engender partying, in one form or another. For example, think about how often you would be hanging out with one of your peers. Even if it were just watching TV or bullshitting over a past-happening, you almost unconsciously gravitated toward your friends. Introspection may be a natural derivative of maturing, but it’s hard not to look back and wish you were still close-linked like you were during those unforgettable days.

Now, when you get with your friends to carouse the town, it doesn’t have the same spark as when you were younger. Well, it’s probably because it has become superfluous, and everyone tends to be scatter-brained; fretting about things that are soon to come. Some people can bury their head in the sand and party daily with no remorse. I commend these brave ragers. But, for me, and many of my counterparts – we’ve curtailed the partying about 65%. Staying in on some weekends is just the way of the future. Being able to be able-bodied and productive without wallowing in bed, unable to sleep, is a major trade-off. However, people grow, things change – our generation of big kids still lusts for happiness and yearns for excitement. That’s how we feel alive. That said, the partying will never end, but for some people past their peak, it will be greatly reduced. Old habits die hard…

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Hangovers, Unlike Wine, Are Getting Worse With Time

We’ve all been there: ailing in our bed from the previous night’s shenanigans. The plight of the hangover has gotten increasingly worse as the years have progressed. When drinking was a relatively novel endeavor, you found yourself back on your feet in no time. For example, in high school, you could drink heavily (whatever “heavily” meant back then) and still be extremely productive the following day; whereas today, you suddenly become confined to your bed—wallowing and brainstorming ways to combat the feelings of uneasiness. It feels as if there’s no blood coursing through your veins. You’re lifeless and contemplating eating, usually something unhealthy: high in fat and in calories. You chug water, which, because of the rate of absorption, is feckless. So, you try to sleep, but that’s also ineffective because of the rebound effect—your body overcompensates for the glutamine deficiency by pumping more into your blood, thus stimulating your brain. You concoct various fruits such as watermelon and apples to only hope that it will be the antidote. Finding the proper cure will eventually seem analogous to searching for a Leprechaun’s gold at the end of a rainbow. The only real cure is time, and that, at this juncture, seems unacceptable. This harrowing, convoluted hangover can even linger into the next day, making you feel stricken by lethargy and a foggy brain. What led us to this misery? Things were all good just a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, there’s a reason for the newfound struggle, and age seems to be the leading contributor.

As we age, our body composition alters and we tend (well, most of us)to pack on more fat than muscle. This uneven distribution of mass causes us to get drunk even faster, but we keep guzzling down the drinks unaware of how affected we’ve become by the alcohol. Also, when we get older, our machines (bodies) become less efficient: the liver can’t metabolize the alcohol as fast as it once would when you were a spry, young lad. Essentially, the alcohol elimination process has decelerated. A person in their twenties probably has a 30% stronger tolerance than a person who is a teenager, consequently leading to more dehydration. However, when you’re younger your nights are truncated due to curfew and lack of hospitable options. On the other hand, older people find their ways to bars and prolong their drunken revelry, which most definitely exacerbates the soon-to-come hangover. When you’re confronted with adventurous, bar-hopping nights, you’ll be more susceptible to indulging in a combination of drinks (shots, beer, mixed drinks, wine, etc.) which inevitably delays the recovery method. Darker liquors usually provide more of a destructive hangover because of the toxic additives that are distilled into them.

I’m getting to the point (I’m pretty much there) where the pain of the hangover is outweighing the pleasure of the buzz. Pragmatically, it’s simply unwise to sacrifice a whole day of utter desolation for a couple of hours of euphoria. Although, as aware as we may be of this tormenting effect from alcohol, we’ll continue to imbibe as if it doesn’t matter. Because, in the end, we all desire that instant gratification, and we don’t care what’s to follow. We want want want…now now now. This is a microcosm of what’s wrong with society today, but who cares, right? We want to get drunk and have fun. True, indeed. That being said, I’m off to Miami this weekend for a 3-night bender and I’m wildly cognizant of the torture that will befall me on Sunday. But will that stop me? Nope, out of sight out of mind; it’s the only way we know.
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4 Ways To Enjoy Valentine’s Day Single

The covetous Valentine’s Day has served as a staple for affection with your partner for many years. To those who can’t attest to this hallmark holiday, you may find solace in different ways than others. Here’s 4 ideas to conquer this year’s Valentine’s Day as a single person…

 

1. Go Party

Fortunately, this year’s Valentine’s Day lands on a desirable Saturday. So, gather some friends  and tie one on for the night; you’ll instantly bond with your family or peers in a calming environment that’ll defuse any stress you’ve accumulated entering the night. Cool out and enjoy yourself by basking in the rarefied air of singledom.

2. Surprise Someone

Whether it’s a family member, friend, or a person you’ve been recently pitching woo at —surprise them with a gift. The gift doesn’t have to be extravagant, just something that’ll subtly get the point across; preferably being a card or candy. Any platonic relationship you have with a person over many years would be a delightful bolt from the blue for their well-being. Sweeping someone off their feet never hurt anybody, but does leave a lasting impact on their appreciation of you in their life.

3. Exercise

Exercise is a boon on any day, this day should not be any different. You can channel some of your tempestuous emotions into a form of working out. By freeing your mind of unnecessary ruminations all day, you’ll unquestionably grow a little more confident by the mere fact that you’ve done some self-reform!

4. Disconnect

Unplug yourself from social media for the day. The breath of fresh air that you will endure is ineffable. Of course, seeing all the lovely gifts everybody receives on Facebook and Instagram can be endearing, but unfortunately, it can also naturally evoke envy. Many of the enviable presents that males or females bestow upon one another will be illuminated on Valentine’s day, thus engendering a sense of uncertainty about where you are in your path to love. Why not nip this in the bud & avoid all the frenzy?

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Eating and Weight loss: Why It’s Unfair

           Wouldn’t it be nice to press a few buttons and simply transform into the desired weight you inputted? Nearly all of us have trouble gaining, losing, and maintaining weight—the latter two being my main focus. Everything we ingest comes at a price; that is, nothing slips by the bodily systems without instant inspection. Calories, which are measurements of energy, are calibrated meticulously throughout the anatomy. Any food you consume gets tallied up and is weighed against the calories you’ve expended, the results being how you appear in reality, in this dimension at least. Shedding pounds is a perennial battle against your own psyche, but you decide who comes out victorious. Nevertheless, we are constrained by the boundaries of our allotted willpower, physique, and metabolism—all of which we had no hand in creating. There are no free lunches in nature, and the old adage is correct:“You are what you eat.” All of the training you did before a holiday can fall by the wayside by a weekend of binge eating and drinking. Let me explain why all of this is unfair…

          Think about spending a tiresome 30 minutes on the treadmill. The treadmill exhausts (for a person weighing 200 pounds), depending on your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and body mass index (BMI), about 350 to 550 calories—let’s just say 450 for a point of comparison. Now, what is the equivalent in food and drink, you ask? Guzzling four Budweisers (12. oz., 143 cals.) would earn you more calories than the 450 you just arduously burned off. Any more than three crunchy tacos from Taco Bell (170 cals.) will have you regretting your decision immediately. Even a 12″ low-fat turkey breast sub on wheat bread from Subway catapults you to 560 calories. Six traditional medium wings (not including blue cheese) from Buffalo Wild Wings costs you 470 calories, which is absurd considering I’ve had over 35 in a sitting. Last but not least, the coveted Caesar salad is, on average, a whopping 500 calories. All of these are much larger than the exercise time of 30 minutes without factoring in the concomitant metabolic increase you’re subsequently faced with. A pound is equivalent to 3,500 calories, and you tell me what’s easier: eating 3,500 calories or burning 3,500 calories? The answer is a no-brainer; the former takes one tenth of the time, with 50 more smiles.

          Mentally, it is unrewarding, unnerving, and unfair when looking at it from this standpoint. We seem to be in the thrall of our willpower, also. I recently read a book titled You Are Now Less Dumb by David McRaney, and he expounded on the idea of “ego depletion.” Ego depletion is the exhaustible resource that is directly associated with willpower. For example, if you remain in abstaining from bad foods one day, you’ll be more inclined to falter the following day because that resource has been depleted. But willpower is similar to a muscle, in that it can be expanded through training. The next time you decide to eat healthy, notice how hard it is the following day to eat as nutritiously. Those who’ve honed this ability tend to be better at controlling their weight. Remarkably, Hollywood actor Christian Bale lost 62 pounds for his role in the film The Machinist, with a noxious diet consisting of black coffee and a can of tuna OR an apple every day. Although he’s incentivized by money and perfection, I’m sure his willpower is stronger than most of ours. Resisting that nagging urge to consume unhealthy food and managing the hunger pangs will pay huge dividends. Temptations interfere with our sense of self-control, only to lead us down the route to regret.

          Eating is a cinch; it’s a couple chews away from a swallow. This is the easiest, most rewarding task we face every day. Most people undertake the “sunk cost fallacy” when they’re in the midst of a meal, meaning that since they paid the money for something that’s either too low in quality or high in quantity, they must finish it because they paid for it. The cost of the meal is a sunk cost—you won’t get that back, so eat until you’re satisfied, not until you’re full (or have gotten every dollar’s worth). If eating consisted of getting an electric shock per chew or you somehow had to run a government-mandated mile afterwards then I’m sure we’d all be in better shape. Obesity is plaguing our nation, and I think many people are just cowering from the intimidation of putting in the necessary work to lose the calories. Yes, it’s absolutely unfair how hard it is to get in shape versus how easy it is get out of a shape, but it takes time and consistent work—a lifestyle change. Overnight weight loss is illusory; focus on a realistic, long-term goal that will gradually bring you to your desired destination. Diet and exercise are the fundamentals of a healthy way of life. We must recognize this or continually be at war with ourselves.

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Kids These Days

            We all, for the most part, remember our childhoods vividly. The days when juice boxes and fruit roll ups were in close proximity—when you made candy the entree and the actual dinner an optional appetizer. You could have the greatest time just being on the grass without any accompanying objects; the world was your oyster. These were your most precious days because of the lack of responsibility, the novelty of life, and our adventurous mind-states. However, with all the buffoonery that took place, you always knew where to draw the line. There was play time, school time (sometimes the two overlapped), and most importantly–reverence for the elders around you.

            I distinctly became cognizant of these important values through my parents, and through the visceral feeling of doing the right thing. That’s not to say that there weren’t plenty of defiant children around me who simply never listened and who remained wayward no matter how much verbal criticism or abuse they received. It’s relatively easy to follow suit with your contemporaries. Those children can be labeled as “bad seeds” and such, but I think there’s much more to it, psychologically and genetically. But now: today, apathy reigns and it seems as if kids, namely teenagers, represent a hodgepodge of nefarious morals. Nipping this slippery slope in the bud will keep our planet secure and I don’t think the contributing factors are hard to figure out.

          From the so-called “knockout game”—in which assailants secretly walk up to innocent pedestrians and knock them out cold– to guys and girls fist-fighting each other, society’s decorum is waning faster than ever. Put it this way: The “knockout game” is the highest form of cowardice ever demonstrated on this planet. Wait, hold up, let me reiterate: The knockout game is the highest form of cowardice EVER demonstrated on this planet. In the 21st century, cold-cocking someone who isn’t consciously aware that it’s going to happen trespasses on the lawn of fairness, bravery, justice, moxie, and rightfulness. This game is unconscionable; this behavior cannot be tolerated at any level. The fact that adolescent teenagers find humor and pleasure in this is beyond me. It seems to be a microcosm of the mentality kids possess these days in America: “Who can one-up who?” I find it utterly deplorable and downright inexcusable to hit another innocent human being for the sake of gaining “cool points” or fulfilling some gang-related initiative.

          Personally, I think social media exacerbates immaturity. Think about it– kids want to impress their so-called friends, so they do the most outlandish things. The correlation between funny and immature has always been a strong one. Now that Vine, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are available to anyone, people gain notoriety by performing such inappropriate histrionics. Many people adapt these technologies for mature uses that don’t contain any vulgarity, but this seems less widespread in adolescent youngsters right now. I get that kids will be kids because they’re just experiencing life by witnessing their mistakes and improving on their foibles at a slower rate than, say, a mature adult person. But, these same kids are our future, and reproaching them for wrong behavior should be encouraged. The lack of discipline and respect trickles down and has a chain reaction effect that is viral; that is, it makes other kids want to partake in these activities in order to become popular. It produces a snowball effect–when a snowball rolls down the hill and gains mass, it becomes harder to stop. Let’s not let this be the case for our young adults.

          Now, who’s to blame? Of course it can’t be the kids, I mean, they’re just kids, right?  Yes, indeed, kids only bear the burden of some of the culpability. Blaming teachers would be ill-conceived; you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. The root of the problem lies within the parents. Kids are by-products of their parents. Whatever traits you and your spouse inherit, your offspring will probably have some of that DNA along with variations depending on the presence of dominant or recessive genes. That’s half the battle, and the other half seems to be losing its grip on our civilization: strong family values. Instilling probity in a kid’s mind at an early age and leading by example is crucial to molding their mind. Apathy also seems to resonate in parents; this paltry level of care is corrosive. I understand that broken families and an overabundance of children produces a cascade of pressure and responsibility, but it’s incumbent upon you–the bearer of the child– to take accountability, and if you can’t, simply do not have kids. Obviously that’s easier said than done, but it’s time to wake up. It’s the year 2014. Parents who neglect and abuse their children literally make them defective. This impedes the child’s development and also causes resentment. We now know, scientifically, that a small dose of spanking is okay, but relentlessly abusing your kids can lead to psychological problems and trust issues within your kin. There are numerous, alternative ways to discipline a kid that won’t eventually come back to haunt you. Just remember: violence engenders violence. Those kids who have no parents and deflect all of the societal temptations deserve major kudos and should be revered in every sense of the word.

          Though my tirade seems negative, it is only trying to prevent this adolescent complication from spiraling out of control. Moreover, I’m optimistic that we’ll start taking heed and recognizing that the absurdity of our actions ultimately reflects our own character. A recent survey by Joseph C. Blader Ph.D., of Stony Brook University, evaluated data from 1996-2007 from the National Hospital Discharge showed that psychiatric hospitalization rates have increased for children ages 5 to 12, rising from 155 per 100,000 children in 1996 to 283 per 100,000 children in 2007. A slow and steady increase in disorders will continue to grow exponentially, so making sure your son or daughters’ mental health is intact could be essential for knowing why he or she acts the way they do. I stand by the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Our kids are a distorted snapshot of what the future holds for us today. And if we want to change our future, we need that photo to come into clearer focus.

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Curiosity Does Not Kill the Cat

        The most essential tool in life is learning. Whether we learn through experience or observance, we tend to gradually progress in ways that are conducive to our own independence. Inquisitiveness provides us with a greater understanding of the world and betterment of ourselves as individuals. Setting goals and assimilating as much as you can from this life before your expiration date arrives seems, to me, imperative. Life without curiosity is analogous to a hollow glass for which it is impossible to discern whether it’s half-empty or half-full. The greatest thinkers in our history have had multiple “Eureka” moments as a result of the simple process of being unrelenting in discovering what they wanted to know. Whether you’re a bookish bibliophile or a multifaceted polymath, curiosity is the impetus for your cerebral advancement. This insatiable passion for information doesn’t kill you; it merely uplifts you and expands all the vacant areas within your brain.

        The origins of the phrase “Curiosity killed the cat” stem from ambiguous sources in the early 1900s. It essentially means that, the more you inquire about something, the higher the chance you will place yourself into a dangerous situation. Of course, that may be true for snooping feral cats and fainthearted people in horror movies; but, in an objective sense, curiosity delivers a multitude of learning opportunities that ultimately engender success and self-gratification. Thoughtfulness develops in children at a young age, which is why they are so meddlesome. In order to encourage their curiosity, we must let children explore the unknown in a healthy, investigative manner. Choosing to be rigid in your thinking will not develop your intellectual abilities; eagerly questioning the world is the panacea for a benighted mind. Constantly embracing new things and practicing new crafts can be beneficial for not only the brain, but also for the all-around health and well-being of your body.

        Becoming an ignorant Scrooge who is so dogmatic about what you believe or stand for leads you to a mental impasse. In today’s society, ignorance is not bliss, mainly because all of the available information we’ve ever gleaned is readily accessible for anyone to delve into. The Internet has provided many avenues of exploration that are free to examine. You literally have to choose to be unintelligent, nowadays. Not learning is a choice rather than the unattainable luxury that it once was a mere 50 years ago. The advent of the technology age has put everyone on an even playing field.

        The best analogy I can provide for the argument in favor of curiosity I have just presented is this: Imagine two athletes who are similar in talent. One is naturally more gifted than the other just from hitting the genetic Lotto, but the other, who is devoid of such natural attributes, has a stronger knack for training and improvement. The latter person, who augments his skill via desire to become greater, is no different from the person who is intellectually handicapped, compared to his peers, who wants to gain a stronger understanding of what’s going on in his or her world. That said, being immersed in curiosity gives you a head start over your peers because you won’t settle, in your ambitious, overzealous hunger for higher learning, for mediocrity. Going the extra mile can be stimulating—it motivates people to stretch their potential thinking ability and to exhibit innovation in the way that Steve Jobs or Isaac Newton would have.

       In every area of life, we can see that the most prominent people never take a day off and never lose sight of how short our lives really are. This realization elicits an appetite for wonder and awe; to find interest in things that are valuable and pertinent to your life will lead you to absolutely enjoy your existence. Relishing all that life has to offer and ascertaining how things work, why things grow, why we get stressed, why we feel pain, and how we evolved can all induce a sudden feeling of satisfaction. Just look at the stars: you’ll suddenly be overwhelmed with questions; and that, my friend, is the beginning of your journey to enlightenment.

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