April's CR Diary

A diary of a 30 year old woman following CRON, or Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition, for health and life extension.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

If You're Just Joining Us...

A warm welcome to all the new readers who have joined us lately!

A few facts about me, by way of introduction:

I'm 30, I started CR in March because it was the only way I knew of at the time to slow down the aging process. I actually heard about CR in the first place when I read Ray Kurzweil's book, The 10% Solution for a Healthy Life. I remember exactly where I was when I first read that book... riding on a train from New Haven to Boston, just after I graduated from college. I filed the information, thinking "I'll look into this more when I get close to thirty and start to see signs of aging..."

I got involved with the CR Society at 29 through a google search on "calorie restriction." I subscribed to the list, became addicted to the CR Society archives, and radically changed my diet. After reading large portions of the archives, especially the writings of Michael Rae, I gave up my lowfat vegetarian ways and dropped my calories dramatically while increasing the protein and fat content of my diet. Much of the early parts of this blog reflect that transition... "Priestess of the High Carb Darkness" is my favorite entry on the topic. It was published on July 27.

I would never have been able to do CR without the CR Society. The things I learned from the email list and the archives were critical to figuring out how my own personal brand of CR practice would work. CR is very individual: we are always telling newbies, "There is no diet. There is no one way to eat." You have to figure out for yourself what works for you.

More important even than the information that I got from the CR Society was the support. The support of my CR brothers and sisters made it possible for me to face down the naysayers in my own world and stick to my CR plans, even in the face of social struggles. If you haven't already done so, you should head on over to the CR Society main web page, www.calorierestriction.org, and check it out. If you're doing CR like me and you want to invest in helping others do the same, join the CR Society. It's only $35. VLC just joined... you should too.

I do not have a science background: while I did spend two years in college taking computer science courses and working as a computing assistant back in the days when we all checked our email using pine (I worked my way up in the Yale Academic Computing Services hierarchy to being a "unix systems trainer," which meant that I got paid $10/hour to teach people the wonders of things like "cat" and "grep." Those were fun days, weren't they?) I have spent my career as a union organizer. As such, I specialize in moving people to do things, especially really difficult things like putting their jobs on the line in an effort to make things better. More on this in the entry "You Don't Even Know Who Liz Phair Is," which was published on November 26.

As I got more involved in the CR Society and read the archives, I gradually became aware of something that most people don't know: that there are people out there working on ways to not just postpone aging or treat the diseases of aging, but to cure it. Entries on the existential crisis that this new information produced can be found all over the blog: early hints in September with "April's Hunger Management Strategy," serious thoughts in "The Finer Points of Ark Engineering," in October. After the CR Society conference in early November, the blog was taken over by the question, "If there's something better than CR, then what am I going to do about it?" I am an organizer to the core of my being, and that means that when I see something that I think needs to be done, I do something about it. I witnessed a debate on the question of "What is to be done?" at the conference, and that long story is told in the entry "Don't Ever Think That You Can't Change the Past and the Future," from just a few days ago. If you're new to the blog, please read that entry.

The blog exists for the purpose of educating people about what they personally can do to stop aging. At first, I didn't know that there was anything better than CR. So I put lots of effort into my own practice of CR and into helping others figure out their CR routines. I correspond with people all over the world who read the blog, and I love answering questions.

Now my own CR practice runs fairly smoothly... I have established very easy, hassle-free routines for eating low calorie, nutrient dense foods that I actually like. Michael Rae figured out what I need to take in the way of supplements so that I don't kill myself while eating 1100 calories a day, and I hit the RDA's of most nutrients most days with my diet alone. As you can see from the last few days, I still go out to dinner and frequently eat like a normal person. In fact, if you didn't know that I practiced CR, you might not be able to figure it out from just following me around. You'd just think that I liked cottage cheese, eggwhites and vegetables, and that I was a very small person who happened to wear size 0. If you didn't know me pre-CR, you would think I looked perfectly normal.

Since the purpose of the blog isn't just to teach people how to do CR, it's to teach people how to stop aging, I've been introducing the new ideas I'm learning from de Grey and other brilliant people to my blog readers. And when I do that, of course I try to move people to action: remember, I'm an organizer! I want my readers to live long and healthy with me, and for some, that means practicing CR. I hope that my readers will come to realize as I did that CR alone isn't enough, and that we must support the search for the real solution. Luckily, we can support that search by doing something that is far easier than eating 1100 calories a day! We can give money! If you read "Don't Ever Think That You Can't Change the Past and the Future" and you were convinced, as I was, that donating to the Methuselah Prize Fund is what you should do to fight aging, then hop on over to http://www.methuselahfoundation.org and do something about it! Remember, no one is asking us to have any contact with actual mice. There are scientists who do that. By putting whatever we can give into the prize fund, we provide incentive for many groups of researchers, not just one, to spend their time and resources looking for what we all desperately want: an end to the clockwork attrocity of generation after generation sliding into disease, disability and death.

Meanwhile, I'm going to keep providing you with lots of food related content, since CR is something we can do right here, right now, to slow down our own personal slide into above mentioned disease, disability and death. But I want you to set your sights a little higher than that. As Edwin McCain so eloquently put it, "Lift my vision from the ground, lift it to the skies." You take the time to read the blog every day, and you've learned some things you didn't expect to learn, haven't you? Remember how we were avoiding all fats when we first started? (Can all the blog readers who've been around since the beginning join me in a good laugh at our former selves?) We're in this together.

If you're new to the blog, you may find the lighthearted tone somewhat confusing from someone who claims to be a serious person. I think of the blog as something along the lines of "Bridget Jones Lives Forever... or Dies Trying." The fact is, as you'll read in "You Don't Even Know Who Liz..." I get enough seriousness in my everyday life, where I run an organizing program, hire and supervise people, and move nurses to take on the health care system, starting at their own local hospital, at tremendous personal risk. I have fun with the blog, and my readers claim to be entertained (though it's possible that they're just being nice.)

So have fun with me... what's the point of living longer if we're not enjoying ourselves?

One more note: you will enjoy this blog even more if you have encyclopedic recall for the lyrics to all pop music that has been on the radio in the US since 1974. But if you don't, you'll join the vast majority of my readers who have no idea what I'm quoting and why.


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