Thursday, April 23, 2015

Learning to live craving and/or hungry

After all these years, I am concluding that I must learn to live craving or hungry. This latest try has just created more misery. Buddha said something like "life is suffering" or "life contains suffering". That may be it for some of us. A life of craving and/or hunger. LCHF is just fine but the craving is still there. And now one more chief pusher says if it is not working you must be doing something wrong.   He is selling false hope.  

There are some of us that just suffer from some unknown mental or physical defect or characteristic that leaves us craving and/or hungry.  It seems that I am one.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Gut bacteria and overeating

"Researchers in Shanghai studied mice who had been bred to be resistant to obesity. These mice remained slim despite being fed a rich diet and being kept from exercising. However, when some of these mice were injected with the human bacterium enterobacter, they quickly became obese.

Enterobacter was first linked with obesity after being found in high quantities in the gut of a morbidly obese human volunteer, said the report from Shanghai's Jiaotong University.

The mice were injected with the bacterium for up to 10 weeks as part of the experiment.

The experiments show that the bacterium 'may causatively contribute to the development of obesity' in humans, according to the paper published in the International Society for Microbial Ecology."

Anecdotally, a couple of humans loss weight on specific diets that did not feed the bacteria, but there was no total energy input available. So did they lose weight because they ate less by willpower, or limited menu, or because of not feeding bacteria?  

Wiki :

Enterobacter is a genus of common Gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped, non-spore-forming bacteria of the family Enterobacteriaceae. Several strains of these bacteria are pathogenic and cause opportunistic infections in immunocompromised (usually hospitalized) hosts and in those who are on mechanical ventilation. The urinary and respiratory tracts are the most common sites of infection. The genus Enterobacter is a member of the coliform group of bacteria. It does not belong to the fecal coliforms (or thermotolerant coliforms) group of bacteria, unlike Escherichia coli, because it is incapable of growth at 44.5 °C in the presence of bile salts. Some of them showed quorum sensing properties as reported before [1][2]

So it should not be in the gut anyway, so WTF. More useless information with respect to obesity.

Ultimately, the question becomes if one is able to remove all carbohydrates with a caloric density of say 0.2 K/gm, can I adhere to the eating plan long term and lose weight? It is the adherence that is the problem, along with overeating of meat.

Enough. add picture:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Happy Bacteria

"So when these bacteria get happy because of the quality and quantity carbohydrate available, these bacteria let loose a few peptides that they have collected up, opioid peptides, dopamine, morphine, whatever, and we like those"


Reference  Fiaf posts.

If a toxo can cause a mouse to commit suicide by cat, I guess perhaps the food driving life force could be controlled by bacteria.

Ah sure, well ok, how do I test that?

So if I never give those bacteria suitable food to collect up peptides, and never eat starches, the bacteria population should drop below some threshold level, and the craving should go away. OK.

So what does that mean.

No sugar, grain, roots, seeds, sugary fruits, dairy, nuts, processed meat beyond ground beef, very few stem.

So that leaves greens, beef, eggs, perhaps a bit of bacon, mushrooms, coconut oil, perhaps a bit of Harvest gold canola oil,

So it is a diet of beef and greens. Two clean weeks try I guess. I wonder how long before I can go two weeks clean?


Picture just because:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How big of issue is Bacteria?

How much of cravings that I feel is Bacteria?

Bacteria, Physical, Nutritional, Emotional, are the four areas that K Cann identifies as the cause of cravings. Bacterial is one I have not explored. The premise is that dopamine or opioid are released by the bacteria that digest sugars and starches and that is why these food become hyper-palatable or the cause of us liking them.

Ok, so it can also be physical, that for what ever reason we like them. So if it is bacterial, and we do not eat any of these, that is we starve out the bacteria, we should not crave. But in the past, the cravings have only reduced. Perhaps I need to try cleaner low carb? Is this not the same as trying something and when it does not work, assuming we must be doing something wrong. How is this really different than "Candis overgrowth"? Ok, Candis is a yeast, not a bacteria.

So what evidence is there for bacteria producing opioid that we like? Opioid is a peptide, and it can be split from protein under the right conditions; bacteria plus suitable protein, as in the case of wheat. Perhaps a few others, but it is unlikely to come from carbohydrates. So I call bullshit on that part. I cannot deny the possibility sugars causing the release of morphine like molecules from the gut or bacteria, but proteins are also needed as raw material. I think this is just one more theory. The fact remains that carbohydrate drives insulin production, and insulin is the storage hormone.

It all come back to some things are up to us and some are not. I can choose to eat, or I can choose not to eat.

Enough. A picture just because:
Thanks Tess, I either forgot or never read it.

So the bugs made me do it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

More Idiots

So you can criticize but can you offer a cure? No. just more of the same old tired shit.

The diet they are critizing:

Dump sugar
Get enough sleep
Consider modified intermittent fasting (IF)
Exercise different
Up your aminos
Detox- Dump processed food and chemicals

and they pick on...

"go meatless and eliminate alcohol. Get rid of fruit to reset the hunger hormone, leptin. Toss out grains to reset your thyroid, and remove dairy to address your growth hormone levels."

Much of the right advise is for the wrong reasons, as is anyone who just looks at calories, but I do not care anymore.

Getting rid of sugar and processed foods is the best thing we can do for ourselves. An weight loss will make us tired, we will need more that average sleep. Overeating is often driven by stress, so how do we de-stress. Change our attitude, stop caring. Less engagement. Reduce, or let go of our expectations, turn of TV, radio, get off the net, stop being part of society that expects, demands performance. Become a "type B", give stress to others rather than taking on stress. Oh well shit happens. Stop eating for a day or two at days a time. Do something you enjoy that requires energy. Eats lots of meat with real fats, not much starch. How can one not lose weight like that. That leaves veggies and little else.

I grew up among many hogs. Note that pigs, who'd digestive system is much like humans, really like any starch foods. A bit of meat is also just fine for them. Dead horse, dead cow, no pig though. They will go after grain over potatoes long term, but do well on potatoes short term and like potatoes for a change. When I was a kid, there was a big field of potatoes for the extended family. The excess, damaged, knobbly, excess smalls, and massive got dumped to the hogs. They lived of them until they were gone. Note that we can grow much more tonnage of potatoes on land than grains, but potatoes need more care in keeping than grains. Potatoes could be cooked (baked whole), dried and fed year around. But what do I know?

and a picture just because
Meanders a bit, does the Bow. Wide glacial melt water eroded valley. Saskatoon bushes grow along the river in areas, which is what the Plains Cree used for making bows, hence the name.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Maladaptive Behavior

 This post was motivated by Val's comment on the last post, which parallels my own experience.

 "I know in my family, food was treated as a sacrament as well as our curse...
A celebratory meal was our answer to any major or minor life event; my mother self-medicated w/snacks for stress, for depression, for anxiety & I obviously learned my lessons well!"

Maladaptive behavior is any behavior which is not useful or is seen by others as wrong. or   "Maladaptive behaviors refer to types of behaviors that inhibit a person’s ability to adjust to particular situations. This type of behavior is often used to reduce one’s anxiety, but the result is dysfunctional and non-productive."

OK, but overeating produces high blood glucose, high insulin, and both are a relaxant for some of us, and for others, it puts them in hyper-drive. So what is the difference in physiology? Is it in the amount of adrenaline produced? That does not matter, in my case, it is a relaxant, and that s why I overate to get rid of the anxiety. Now I separate anxiety from stress. Anxiety, in my case the fear of not being good enough to satisfy parental expectations, because that was what I was repeatedly told, produces a future consequences, while stress is a current consequences. Anxiety could have be dealt with by removing the cause, ongoing parental abuse, but it was continued until they died off, as did my once a year visit for an hour perhaps. Overcoming such a negative environment is not easy, but I learned to deal with anxiety by not putting myself into such a situation. There are better ways like some things are up to me and some are not. I cannot be responsible for the actions of others or what little mental capacity I was born with. Live with it you abusive people.

You think I have poor judgement, well teach me how to have better or hire someone to teach me. Put up the cash or shut up. Teach me how to deal with abuse and isolation, or leave me alone, like I am anyway, without the verbal abuse. I grew up a farm slave, and did not work as fast or as well as they would have liked. That may be why I can relate to Epictetus so well. Family slavery still exist today, but with TV and radio, it is difficult to keep the young in as much isolation as when I was young. The only thing that was plentiful was food, and we were allowed to eat freely so that is what I did for relief. It is difficult to see survival behaviors as maladaptive, while the situation remains and the behavior provides relief. Afterwords, when I escaped that environment, it was maladaptive behavior, it was habit, it was food addiction, it was chemical dependence, it was an any stress cooping mechanism, it was an any emotion cooping method. I worked or hid and ate. Very little play time, or social time, and that remains my "preferred behavior," likely trained in, not natural. I remain low social need. Now onto recovery.

In each stage of life we need to pick up new skills, and stop practicing old ones. Consider the big five personality characteristics: extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. How could one grow up normal is such an environment? I had to start living above Maslow's hierarchy  bottom two levels before I could change, ( Maslow used the terms "physiological", "safety", "belongingness" and "love", "esteem", "self-actualization", and "self-transcendence") That is how I ended up introverted, quiet, secretive, closed, busy working, highly conscientious, and in general neurotic. The philosophy helped me see all this, and know how to live according to some of Epictetus's concepts, but not according to the current mob culture. There is no god beyond nature, so that part gets rumbled over.  Retirement has provided me the time to study and think these things through, and much of modern culture is horseshit, or natural fertilizer.

I have found that depression can be relieved by knowing what is what, and alone time is not the same as lonely, I keep a dog and a wife for that. Much patience, tolerance and understanding is necessary.

Picture just because:


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Idiots, find the cause and remove the cause

This article linked through Weight Matters demonstrates the basic misunderstanding of child obesity.

Remove all processed foods is necessary for recovery but not sufficient. You also need to remove the cause of overeating. If the child suffers from anxiety, stress, isolation, boredom, abuse, neglect, oppressive over control, insecurity, etc, those problems must be dealt with in some manner. The driving force must be removed or the child must be taught to deal with the driver. If the parent does not do this, someone else may, and that may show the ignorance or arrogance of the parent. If the parent is the driving force, and the child recognizes this, there will be a strained or absent adult to adult relationship.

It is easy to point to the child, and think mental illness, maladjustment, or the like. But is it the child or there environment? The child may just be using food as a mild sedative. High blood glucose/high insulin is a mild sedative.  Perhaps the child need to learn stoic philosophy as a means of dealing with his/her environment.


And a picture just because

Friday, April 3, 2015

Adequate Impression

Proof of moose in the garden
What is an adequate impression? This moose print is adequate for me to form the impression that there was, once again a moose in my garden, but the moose print is not the kind of impression I am speaking of. (and just for the English major, another sentence ended with a proposition.)

An impression is a mental object that correlates to a person, place, thing or concept, thought or other perceived subsisting item in life. But what makes it adequate?

The object may be real or imaginary (seems real but is not) in life and our mental impression may be a true representation, or it may be off a bit. We could represent this with a 2X2 matrix, but in general, we have a true true, true false, false true, false false decision. Now only the true true is real and is an adequate impression. Most situations in relationships are one of the other three as are frequently communications. Word are dull pointers. There are six objects in a finger pointing at the moon.

So what does this all have to do with food?

Well, it seems to me that nature has given us too much food drive in general as a population, and not enough motivation to do things. It seems if we want to push the limits of our existence to the maximum nature will permit, we need to limit our intake to less that we desire and do more.  Of course nature either wills or permits everything that happens, but there again we can put nature's will on one side and our will on the other for the 2x2 matrix, and come up with four options. It is obvious that natures will is not an exact amount, but it has limits and we individuals can push to one side or the other within those limits. As we get closer to the natural  limit, it should logically become more difficult.

Am I right that nature has given us all too much food drive? That would explain population obesity/overweight issues. It is not genetics, but rather a species problem, given adequate food and processing to make the food more available, produce higher palatablity, quicker digestion and adsorption. Quicker digestion and absorption may be the real issue of processed foods.

So what does this all mean? I guess perhaps only that I need to do more and eat less for long life, and it is not just me but a species thing.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One more cause of overeating

Just because

Overeating is a syndrome, not a disease, which means it is a collection of symptoms.

From and it is all one more cause of overeating.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hunger, Cravings, Desires to eat

No flies, well less, on that one... or mosquitoes either
 Picture just because...

If the blind lead the blind, both will fall in the ditch. 

Some kind of biblical or old literature quote.

Warning: Political Incorrect Post, all Opinion.

This is a restatement of the facts as I understand them. Around the blogs on this list, there are a series of wrong concepts that if I was to believe them, it would drive me back into the food. Studies can be biased to make them appear to something just plain wrong. It is beliefs must be changed to gain psychological repair. Reason can change beliefs. If it does not withstand my history, it is questionable, for I may be a black swan. (to disprove the proposition that all swans are white, look for black swans). I have been on the weight yo-yo for sixty years now, and have collected a bit of knowledge about the problem. We are luck for the last 20 years to have so much unsorted knowledge at our finger tips, some wrong, but mixed in is a bit of right.

Hunger is the body demanding food. Cravings and other forms of the body and/or the mind demanding food are not so well understood or even experienced by some people. Some people just have hunger. Good for them. They do no know the problem of cravings. These are the driving force behind eating disorders, compulsive overeating aka emotional eating, food addiction, obesity, and all that other host of issues that drive overeating. Yes, obesity is a driving force of overeating. Circular feedback in the wrong direction.

Appetite is generated, and we can resist for a while, but eventually the desire wins, until it does not. If we remove the cause, the problem becomes overcoming a habit. That is where diet comes in. Exercise may also have a effect at this point where the desires can be displaced. Exercise uses energy and displaces hunger for a short time, as long as you have the impulse and motivation to exercise. Weight loss is simple in theory; just quit eating. It is the doing that is the problem because the physical, habitual, primal and  unconscious brain functions take over and over ride the rational mind. Salivating in the grocery store is not normal.

First we must recognize that the problem has a cause. That cause is beyond our control, for the most part, it is genetic, and/or chemical, and/or induced chemical, or psychological, which we may be able to alter. We may be able to impact the psychological causes.

Sometimes the driving forces is chemical/biological and can be reduced by the elimination of specific foods, as by removing the fast digesting carbohydrates, sugar, ground grains, processed foods, and well cooked and ground calorie dense carbohydrates. Be aware that some of us may need some carbohydrates, at least to start with. That amount is not fixed, and may be dependent on our stored glycogen level. We can alter what we eat easier that how much we want. Some people, including the government disagree with this HFLC approach, but that is their problem. I cannot respect a government that does not follow reason. But there still remains more problems, in the soft psychological sciences and belief system philosophy areas of life.

It is pointless to having family, medical personnel, and the like chewing on the obese. Most do not understand the problems. It is also pointless to try to correct their illogical ideas. They are not listening. Each specific problem must be addressed with the specific solution required. But these problems are often nested, and may require a chain of solutions, and in specific order. Therein lies the problem, sorting and ordering the solution. Carbohydrate induced cravings do not respond to HFLC diets.

If the problem is boredom no diet will fix it. We may need to make changes to our life, get a life, if necessary. If the problem is anxiety, we need to understand the cause of the anxiety, remove it, or learn to deal with the anxiety. It it is stress, we can remove the stress, or learn other methods of dealing with it. It the problem is environmental, we can change our environment, change conditions within the environment, or learn to deal with it. It we eat in front of the TV, perhaps we need to go off line, or off cable, and get back to reality more.

But what do I know?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Religion, Positive Psychology and Circular Logic

Wells Gray, 2014

A picture just because:

Warning: A politically incorrect post 

In reading positive psychology, Seligman, and Sonja Lyubomirsky on Happiness, I have become aware of a circular logic in all of this, philosophy, religion, and in eating disorders. It seem to be a variation of similar circular logic effects. How is this possible? and is it real or am I just seeing an illusion? It it me that sees the circular logic, or is it just there. The whole concept need some cleaning and polishing first, so this is a first draft of a nebulous construct.

The steps of this circular logic looks something like this:
Mission, purpose, objective, goal
Belief that it is right to do right (Note, belief, not logic)
Positive Emotion,
Persistence, Enthusiasm
If fate permits, Achievement
Mental joy
and all this feed back into the positive emotion.
Repeated cycling cause habit.

The emphasis is different on each step for each subject in which we cycle. Some subjects have little input from some steps, hence the steps are invisible for that subject.

To demonstrate this cycle lets first look at the Stoic living by virtue is necessary and sufficient for happiness and a flourishing life, along with Musonius " nature has set us a goal of flourishing" We plug the forgoing in as a mission, and believe that it is an appropriate to do this. We then progress down, feeling a positive emotion, motivation, meaning, engagement, action, achievement, mental joy and all that feeds back into the positive emotion of know we were right and thus close the virtue circuit of doing the right thing for the right reasons. This is circular logic at it's finest. Success and piece of mind is assured, once we believe our actions are virtuous. There in lies the problem, we are defining or accepting what is virtuous without testing it. That is creating a smell, like week old fish in my mind.

Religion state what is good and should be done, yet does not provide the backup logic. It is an instruction to follow a plan of some long dead person. Stoicism and Buddhism, at least, provide some logic to verify the correct direction, by stating what our purpose is at least. We are then free to accept, withhold judgement, or decline there fundamental beliefs, one piece at a time. How can we say that it not our nature to flourish in life? The opposite is to die off. we can languish about for a while, but we have a basic instinct at a cellular level to reproduce and survive, aka flourish.

Now the problem I have with religion is obvious, it is not logical, but a non reasoning diction to do something that is not logical, by we a fooled into thinking it is right, as it has been dictated as so by some long dead. It is the whole belief system that is corrupted. Not of just Jew, Christian, Muslim, or the like, but all that depend on beliefs as a foundation of life. It is living based on belief rather than reason is the real problem.

Religion depends on the people believing what is written is right, which, based on the action of the people of religion, especially ISIS, ISIL, is not right. And yet, if they believe it is right, they are right, and are leading a good life. Any reasoning person would need to question their actions. The problem is belief base circular logic, not logic.

So is the food problem the same, overcoming a belief based food plan, rather than following a logic based one? And our inability to develop a new habit to replace the bad ingrained and societal pressured bad habit formed in childhood and practiced in adulthood of high carbohydrate diets. How does one replace a resistant to change habit? Against the current of family?

The world has more people in areas that it can support. One solution is to eat carbohydrates and die off early, while providing employment through the medical industry. Or eat carbohydrate and die off from probable glyphosate induced cancers or metabolic syndrome? Anyone for the China one child policy.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

If I don't care, it don't matter

only 2 and 1/2 months to spring here
I am in the process of reading Sonja Lyubomirsky's book(s). I was led to them through Positive Psychology stuff, and that is all tied together.  Emphasis is different, but the subject is he same, and the language is different.

It is as tied together as Stoicism and Buddhism, possibly through Darius the Great, as his gold coins (daric(s)) have been found in Asia, and Africa, and the Zoroastrian like concepts abound in both areas. More of the same subject and different emphasis, different language.

It all comes down to; if I do not care, it does not matter, thinking makes it so, some things are up to me and some are not, I can only change me, bad feelings are internally caused as are good, and a few other one line concepts fleshed out differently.  Oh well. Life goes on until it does not.

All this has nothing to do with food or does it have everything to do with the desire to eat? Is the desire to eat driven be a mental issue that can be changed by thinking differently? Could it be that simple? There is not a way to recovery, recover is the way, whatever that means.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pathological Desire for Food

Frost Jacking CC in front step of a condo
It is an ongoing problem that is not understood by many. It is often experienced, and seldom recognized. For those of us who have it, is a bitch of a problem. There is no available solution, only maintenance. If we take a surgical cure, we still may have a slightly different version of the same problem. What am I talking about, this cc or overeating? It could go either way.

Yoni's post kinda shows how much the medical community understands about the issue. Overeating is a ongoing problem. We go on a diet. We lose weight. The diet ends. We start gaining. The problem that caused overeating remains, unidentified, unaddressed. Somehow we found overeating gives us some kind of relief, we internalized that reaction or relief. High blood glucose and/or high insulin or a gut full of food is a relaxant. That is a partial solution to stress/anxiety/emotional upset, and becomes a maladaptive behavior.

Pathological desire to eat or for foods result in a food addiction or addiction like cravings. The only solution that I have found is complete abstinence from those foods. If anyone has other solutions, please advise. If the craving is present, overeating will occur. Will power has an short life against a physical drive. Not eating with cravings is trying to fight nature. How long can you tread water?

Still some medical asshole insists on moderation, and offers nothing for the cravings. He seems to be unaware of those cravings, which is likely the cause of most of the obesity we see today, not hunger. The hunger is due to processing and the speed that processed food can be digested and stored, leaving us hungry. For those also, the only solution is abstinence of processed fast digesting hyperpalitable foods. This is a addiction like issue. Replacement of fast digesting food with slow digesting food removes hunger as a driving force. See The Burn Rate Diet, Dr. S.R. Van Schoyck for more information. The Paleo does that. LCHF also. or 19th Century. Banting. Etc. 

But what do I know? I have only been digging into this overeating problem in a serious way since 2008, and have been living deep cycle gain and loss since 1955, when I started school. Anxiety is a bitch. Expectations cannot be lived up to, when the success are not recognized, but the goal posts moved, or placed beyond reach once in a while. I cannot set goals, compete or have expectations of myself else the anxiety gets ugly.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Pathological Foods

Divi divi tree, well sort of, Windy Point, and sand scour
Are there foods that act as pathological desire triggers? These would be like Kessler's hyper palitable foods, but that are not that great tasting, only with addiction like symptoms of causing the desire to eat more of them.

Pathological because eating them is not good for this human.

Desire, because I have been thus far unwilling to give them up.

The lowly potatoes. They are a economical food. I grow them, as my ancestors have for more than 500 years. It feels like an betrayal of my ancestors to give them up. But then some days, for days at a time, they do not call to me. Other days, oh my god. If there was a god, I might be offended with that. It shows how deep religion is buried into our language and speech. It is a pathological desire. They must go.


Monday, February 23, 2015

And when the diet ends....

and you cut a thin figure
Well not quite right but you might get the picture...   Then what?

The typical response is we stop exercising all that will power and go back toward what we were before.

But if the same problem that caused the overeating is there still, the weight goes back on. So if it is addiction or addiction like issue, and you (I) never again eat those foods I should be OK, right? Even if those foods are dense carbohydrates, O6 oils, and other processed carbage?

But what if it was also a maladaptive issue that has not been addressed? I would expect the weight to come back on. The other problem(s) has not yet been fixed. It has started to. Now I need to get rid of all potential underlying psychological issues. Anxiety, need some form of treatment. Habit needs another. Stress is different from anxiety. Boredom need activity that produce, for me, a positive emotion from the start, has meaning, interest, engagement, commitment, and if fate permits, achievement, satisfaction, mental joy. You might realize that, unless the original problem is dealt with, the weight will come back.

Now how does one figure out what the problem is and how to fix that problem? Self examination may lead to the cause or not. Do we understand the difference between boredom, aka lack of desire to do something unknown, or something we are not keen on doing, just for the sake of doing it for something to do, and how that is different from frustration of not being understood by other people? What is obvious to me is not obvious to others. Do you expect me to explain the obvious? Frustration, isolation, disinterest in what other people are interested in are all drivers of potential stresses, but the treatment cannot be the same. It will require deep analysis of our past and present, and a search for understanding of each separate cause and cure/treatment.

Or how about the stewing over doing something that we are expected to do, and we do not know how to do it and there is no available help? It got dumped on me because I solved the last one, and the one before that, and the one before that, and the one before that, infinitude back to graduation or shortly after that. Being able to solve engineering puzzles does not mean we can live on a steady diet of them without stress.   

I am happy for all yous who have found a solution, but I have not, yet anyway. Parts but not the whole.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Ratcheting Forward

Sunburst of a 38 C
Religious institutions tend to ossify beliefs. The better practice would be to continually ratchet toward a better belief system.

When we look at the development of any 'engineered' product, they keep improving one part at a time until the demand dies off or perfection is reached, that is the product exceeds our needs and wants. We can see it in the steam engines, but they died off about this time. The last one that I know of was the Kitten, which ended production in 1942. Most of the others ended in the 30's, when gas took over in a big way. Grandpaw almost lost the farm over a 1929 McCormick 15-30. Anyways, the concept is fairly straight forward, keep examining and improving my belief system, until I either die off, or arrive at a serene and tranquil state of 'enlightenment' or awakening or what ever.

Yet it is straight forward to see that living virtuously, if I could, would be necessary and sufficient to have a 'good life' in Stoic terms. That is to say any life lived honestly, prudence to do right, temperance, justice, persistence and courage, compassion for self and others, would be a good life. OK. Temperance, with respect to food intake, is the tough one for me. Temperance with respect to work and life balance is also a tough one. Something about being trained into that Protestant work ethic, putting work before other things, was an issue. Not now, with retirement. But without work, there is anxiety, which is actually worse for temperance. Perhaps it is time to schedule myself some work at home. There is a lot that I could do, if I had the motivation to do it.

The Stoics say virtue is necessary and sufficient as the minimum. Once we understand and accept the minimum, everything else is just gravy, unnecessary but nice. God was nature and rational thought, death was final.  Epicurus one one step further in simplification and suggested that family, commerce, wealth and politics have great potential to add stress and can be avoided to make life simpler. The ideal occupation is farmer/gardener. They add friendship and pleasure, gratitude for the essentials for life level of pleasure as a satisfying way of life. Garden with a few goats and/or sheep for close, cheese and milk, self sufficiency of the group farm one could say. There was no god, no afterlife. Death was final, as it is. Minimal reality at it's finest, as long as you can be content with that.  The Cynics went further and eliminated most other comforts and everything but the necessaries of life, live raw in public space, off what they could gather, beg, or were given. Theft was not an option for them, virtue was paramount. It would be much easier to live like that where nobody had much, as where I was raised.

Death is final. I can see the appeal of  death defying religions who promote an afterlife and reward in that life. The current life does not matter, it is all about the reward after death. To bad it is not real. All we get is this one, and we need to learn to deal with suffering, physical and mostly mental/emotional. We need to bring our expectations, delusions of what life should be, our aversions, and desire in line with reality and start to live right knowledge, right intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, attention, concentration. The virtues, in Buddhist terms.

So, with broad strokes, this is the way of the ratchet, or the magpie picking up the shine bits and moving on. My real problem is this underlying anxiety that I feel, which can easily be removed with work, Phen-Fen, alcohol, high blood glucose/ high insulin, nicotine, and other things.