Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nutrition, Cooking, and My Central Purpose

One of my New Year's resolutions -- semester goals really -- is to make some sort of intellectual advancement in determining what my central purpose in life will be, meaning what pursuits I would like to dedicate the entirety of my life to (this doesn't just apply to careers). For years I held onto the conviction that I wanted to be a writer, and writing practice is in fact one of the reasons why I started up Benpercent (but not Musing Aloud), but upon some introspection I determined that it is not actually something I want to dedicate my life to. When I came upon this realization I was reading The Prime Movers at the time and was marveling at how much good producers exert their mental faculties toward their central purpose, and it made me realize that writing was not my purpose since I seldom thought about it, only did it in moderate amounts, and only mildly cared about it. If writing were truly my purpose then certainly I would value it higher and engage myself in it more often than I did.

As such, since then I have been going about completely confused as to where I would like to exert my efforts toward. I kept secret the elimination of my dream to write for a living since I thought my readers would become disinterested and suspicious of my future writing practices upon finding out, but I believe I have sufficiently proven myself capable otherwise since I still value the intellectual benefit I get from writing and still achieve my goals of advocating and defending my convictions through this medium even though I may not necessarily value writing in itself. I may not be as willing to dedicate as much time as before, but still my two blogs will be continued.

In the past few weeks, however, I've noticed a trend in my thinking and desires that has persisted for nearly a year. Last spring or so is when I decided to pick up the book Good Calories Bad Calories as per Diana Hsieh's recommendation*. I was in my midst of taking greater care of my health by working to better adhere to the Standard American Diet (SAD), and so was absolutely shocked to find out that the science SAD is based on is corrupt and unreliable. From there I slowly transitioned to a high fat Paleo diet with moderate carbohydrate intake, but that simply wasn't and isn't enough for me. I did not want to merely glean general principles of eating and leave it at that, but to fully validate my conclusions by learning intricately the scientific and governmental corruption behind conventional wisdom and to remedy it by learning intricately the objective rules of proper nutrition and by thinking of political solutions to current problems.

*(Though I haven't finished it yet due to its informational density. It's on my reading list and I do have a fresh purchased copy on my coffee table, so I will get to it later and perhaps construct a review of my own.)

In practice not only have I started studying nutrition but also have developed an intense interest in cooking and baking, and have been engaging in them more as a result. This has resulted in psychological changes: I find myself increasingly disappointed in going to restaurants (except higher class ones like Red Lobster), having other people cook for me, and in microwave fare; I have been getting increasing pleasure from grocery shopping, collecting recipes, eating (I hated eating when I was on the SAD), and in simply preparing my own meals within accordance of my nutritional standards. (I have not yet had the pleasure of cooking for someone I value.) As I've stated above, this interest has persisted for nearly a year now and seems only to be getting stronger as I find myself becoming more learned in nutrition and competent in cooking.

Previously I kept telling myself that this would probably only be a hobby to me, but since my interest is intensifying maybe there is something to this. Maybe it isn't just a hobby. Maybe this is something that reflects a deeper value within me that I haven't identified yet. I know that one of my criteria for a life's pursuit is that it must be intellectual in its nature, not something of pure manual labor, and a study of nutrition as it applies to cooking does satisfy that criterion, though I do admit more criteria need to be identified.

It's frustrating being unemployed right now since that limits my ability to adhere with the utmost strictness to my dietary standards and to increase my culinary pursuits, but I am making well with what I have. In my employment pursuit I have decided to focus my efforts nearly exclusively towards restaurants given the significant amount of establishments in my immediate area.

I don't know yet what such a developing interest means for my personal future or how it should affect my actions other than in my studying and cooking habits, but this interest just may be the advancement I need for thinking about my central purpose.

1 comment:

  1. For your readers who are not familiar with the nature of a central purpose in life, here (first entry) and here are the views of philosopher Ayn Rand:

    Based on my own experiences, in part, here is my summary of the idea of having a CPL:


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