Despite what the title of today's post suggests, I've been tracking the relationship between what I eat and my external reality for much longer than 100 days. During this recent timeframe, however, I have intensified my study, and things have gotten quite interesting.
Before getting too far, though, in case any one reading is unclear on what I mean when I talk about the connection between my diet and my environment, here is a brief explanation: The assumption I'm working from here is that our internal state - that is, our energy and emotion - have a profound influence on the external reality that shows up around us.
Rather than explain my entire perspective on this, however, I think that for today, my story alone will suffice.
Just over three months ago (actually 101 days exactly), I decided to commit to a new dietary regimen. I'd been getting what felt like nudges, prods and signs for quite some time pushing me in this direction, and they finally reached a critical mass. I got several books to educate myself fully on my transition, and committed to tracking everything I ate in order to ensure I was indeed on course.
I am hesitant to actually name the dietary approach I took here, because my purpose in this post is not to advocate any specific way of eating. I could have been following the purple jellybean diet and the same lesson would emerge, if that was the right way for me to eat. In other words, the specific diet I followed is incidental, more fundamental is that I listened to my body and environment and followed their feedback.
Now, having said all of that, I'll give you a hint as to what I've been eating (and no, unfortunately it isn't exclusively purple jellybeans): It's trendy, everyone's talking about it.... yes, it's the ketogenic diet. For the unfamiliar, this involves strictly reducing carbohydrates and shifting the body's metabolism to run off of fat (in other words, definitely no jellybeans of any kind are allowed). It's something I've come close to in the past, but this time around I decided to approach it in a more educated and thorough way.
Right around the time I decided to make this nutritional change, I was having some problems at my home. Specifically, my neighbour was routinely making loud noise until after midnight. I'm a big fan of silence and sleep, so this was an issue.
I had several conversations with my neighbour, who seemed very understanding, but was also seemingly unable to comprehend the boundary I was trying to hold. No matter how many conversations we had, the noise continued - until I decided I was going to have to move.
Then I started eating differently. I meticulously tracked my daily nutrition, and had a relatively smooth transition from glucose burning into ketosis (where some people experience severe negative symptoms while their metabolism shifts to a new energy source).
There were some neat physical benefits I noticed right away - but by far the most interesting thing was how eating this way seemed to affect my neighbour.
A week or so in, I was pleasantly surprised to notice that suddenly every night was completely quiet. My neighbour would come home and go to bed it seemed - the noise was gone - and it was bliss.
Then, a couple of weeks in, I decided to experiment with what's known as a carb-up - where you intentionally refeed yourself some carbs to top up the body's stores of whatever essential nutrients they contain. My carb up consisted of a yam with my dinner - nothing too crazy.
Then, later that night, my neighbour resumed their obnoxious, loud ways. The following night, after resuming my previous low-carb regimen, silence.
I suddenly had some real incentive to keep on eating this way.
A couple of weeks later, I decided to repeat the carb up experiment - again a yam or two during the day, and that night, like clockwork, my neighbour was once again sounding off.
I haven't tried another carb up since.
A couple of months in, however, I was swimming in a forest creek and came across some wild berry bushes fully loaded with ripe fruit. I told myself there was no way I couldn't indulge, and decided to eat what probably amounted to one or two small handfuls of berries. Nothing too significant.
However, that night, my neighbour was back to their old ways - and I was once again walking over to knock on their door after midnight to ask them to be quiet.
And this, from a handful of wild berries.
I was shocked, but I also was happy to get such consistent results when I stuck to my regimen. It seemed like a clear equation: eat concentrated sources of carbs=noisy neighbour/boundary violation/poor sleep. Avoid aforementioned foods=quiet, peaceful home.
I don't know if this simple equation will last forever, or if there are other factors and nuances that will come into play, but for the past three months, it has been a wonderful demonstration of how my energy affects my environment - and the significant role diet can play in that equation.
Two side notes I will add are that when I overworked myself and burned out during this period, my neighbour made some noise a few nights in a row. My assumption here is that if I throw my energy out of alignment in any of numerous ways, my neighbour is one of my signposts. Eat a certain food - noisy neighbour. Run myself down in other ways - noisy neighbour.
The second side note I will add is that about a month ago, my neighbour came to apologize to me for the noise they'd been making, and inform me that they would be going away for a month and I would have a significant break from any noise.
My exact thoughts at the moment they told me this were: The diet is working!
Bringing it together
I want to reiterate that my intention in today's post is not to advocate any nutritional approach - it's to share an experience where I listened to my body and my environment for guidance, where I was able to solve an external problem by shifting my own energy (and not even through inner work, just through eating). I think it's pretty cool. It's also something I do all the time, but this is a fun, clear example. I'm not sure if the situation with my neighbour being quiet will last, or if there will be next steps and refinements along this path. I suspect there will be, I've already been tinkering with dropping certain foods, eating more of others etc. It's amazing when we clearly see how we're influencing our reality, and are able to consciously shift it in a way that truly supports us, however strange that process - or what it is we are being asked to shift - may seem.
I also want to add that my intention is not to promote an approach to food or life that is obsessive or imbalanced. If you have history of eating disorders, for example, attempting to emulate what I did in the above story could be very unpleasant for you. It's a wonderful thing to learn how to listen to our bodies and our environment in a grounded, balanced, mature way - we must be cautious not to take things too seriously here, though, and avoid jumping down the rabbit hole of obsessive over analyzing. Stay grounded and have fun.
That's all for today - thanks for reading - and if you have any thoughts, personal experiences in this area or questions, leave a comment below or send me a note!