7 Quick Takes Friday – Dolan, Dominic, Doctor Who, & Diet

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— 1 —

Cardinal Dolan is the man. I confess I did not watch anything else coming out of the DNC except for the chatter on twitter and this video of Dolan saying the closing prayer. It was a powerful prayer and sure to do some good.

It seemed to me that Dolan did a good job of affirming those issues of social justice that the Democrats are particularly concerned with while clearly challenging them on the sanctity of life and religious liberty.

This kind of contrast is essential for good evangelization. Point out the bad, but affirm the good. Express total love for the sinner and total indignation for the sin. Hearing and feeling these contrasts can really touch hearts.

— 2 —

What Must I Do to be Saved? by Marcus Grodi

What Must I Do to be Saved? by Marcus Grodi

Over at the Coming Home Network International we just released a new book by my father, Marcus Grodi, entitled What Must I Do to be Saved?.

Here is a quick description:

“A growing majority of Christians today believes that all that is necessary for salvation is an individual’s faith in Jesus. Mega churches everywhere proclaim this “Jesus and Me” theology, built around a simple application of John 3:16, belittling the need for membership in any religious community, the practice of any rituals, the reception of any sacraments, the submission to any leaders, or the adherence to any set of doctrines. Salvation is merely by faith alone in Jesus alone by grace alone. But is this biblically, theologically, and historically sound? This book argues, from the perspective of a biblical hermeneutic or interpretation of continuity, that salvation has always involved more than this simplistic expression of modern individualism.”

While the book is intended as a tool for apologetics, I think it could be a big deal for the New Evangelization as well. I think there are just as many Catholics as there are Protestants who have a pretty major blind spot when it comes to the continuity between Old-Testament Judaism and New-Testament Christianity.

Congrats, Dad on the release of your new book!

— 3 —

The Hamletic Attitude Toward Truth: In an article talking about his new novel An Ocean Full of Angels, Kreeft reiterates what he calls the “Hamlet Principle”. He is referring to the line spoken by Hamlet in his namesake play: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Kreeft writes:
“That famous saying of Hamlet’s is the simplest way I know to define the difference between “post-modernism,” “modernism,” and “pre-modernism”.  Pre-modernism, or traditionalism, agrees with Hamlet.   There are more things in objective reality than in our minds and dreams and sciences and philosophies.  Modernism, or rationalism, says there are not more things but the same number of things in those two places, in other words that we can know it all.  Post-modernism says there are fewer things in objective reality than in our minds; that most of our thoughts are only dreams, prejudices, illusions, or projections.” (http://www.peterkreeft.com/ocean-story.htm) 
I have found this framework based on Hamlet’s famous line to be really insightful in thinking about the attitudes toward truth we encounter in ourselves and other people.

— 4 —

Aslan, Doctor Who, and Jesus: Someone pointed out (I think it was Kreeft in one of his talks) that C.S. Lewis performs an amazing feat in his Chronicles of Narnia: he shows and makes readers feel a bit about Aslan what the disciples must have felt about Christ.

Some excerpts:

“None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don’t understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning–either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in it’s inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of Summer.”
― C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
― C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Ok, so with all that in mind I have a question for any Catholic/Christian “whovians” out there. While obviously this isn’t true for all episodes and themes that come up in the show (and certainly cannot compare to Lewis’ accomplishment), would you say that as a fictional character Doctor Who sometimes accomplishes a similar kind of feat? : )

“I’ve seen him. He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun. He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the center of time and he can see the turn of the universe. And he’s wonderful.”

— 5 —

My son Dominic and I have been enjoying some great little father/son moments recently. He just turned one, is shakily walking, and trying desperately to talk although the noises haven’t formed into words yet.

He gives great hugs. Little-baby-son-hugs are the best.

— 6 —

Over the recent months my wife Teresa and I have been trying out a Paleo/Primal/Ancestral/Just-Eat-Real-Food diet (it goes by many names).

A friend recently asked me to summarize our eating, exercising, and experiences/results. Here is an excerpt from that email:

  • Our everyday diet is built around meat, vegetables, some full-fat dairy, eggs, some fruit, some nuts and seeds, some cleaner sources of carbs such as rice/sweet potatoes, and the occasional dark chocolate.
  • We specifically avoid most grains (especially wheat), most legumes, added/refined sugars, refined/processed carbohydrates, and most highly processed vegetable oils (We stick to Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, butter, ghee, or lard).
  • If/when possible, we go for less processed foods without a lot of extra ingredients that we can’t pronounce and have an eye for animals and vegetables being raised naturally (grass fed beef, pastured eggs, local organic veggies, etc).
  • By macronutrient ratio, we eat a high fat, moderate protein, lower carb diet. By weight, that’s about 2/3 plant foods and 1/3 animal foods (to summarize Catholic scientist, Paul Jaminet, whose plan we most closely emulate. Jennifer Fulwiler referenced the Jaminets and their diet/blog a while back).
  • We do not necessarily eat “low-carb” per se, but when one’s carbohydrate sources are primarily vegetables and fruits, carbs end up being quite a bit lower compared to the standard american diet. Lower-carb helps if weight-loss is an issue. Otherwise, adjust carbs to fit activity level but we get the majority of energy/calories from healthy sources of fat.
  • 1-2x a week I do 2 sets of five bodyweight exercises, each to failure but focusing on form: pushups, overhead presses, pullups, squats, and planks. The whole thing takes me about 10-15 minutes. (Mark Sisson’s free Primal Blueprint Fitness ebook is the plan)
  • About once a week I do some interval training: walk for 2 minutes, sprint for 30 seconds, repeat about 8 times (takes 20 minutes). We also like to take family walks and I often walk/bike the 1/2 mile to work.
  • I have completely given up long, slogging, 5-7 days-a-week, 30-45 minute sessions on the cardio machines or with the weights. I no longer think these are healthy or necessary. I now do about 1 hour of intentional, intense exercise per week.

From about January to May, I lost about 50 pounds without any calorie restriction, hunger, or extensive exercise. I have only lost about 3-5 pounds since May and may have to begin paying a little more attention to calories to get off the last 10-20 pounds. However, maintenance has been extremely easy which is the more important thing (and that is coming from someone who has constantly struggled with weight for over a decade). Teresa and I enjoy cooking and eating together and feel very nourished and satisfied by the food. We consider this a way of eating we could stick to for the rest of our lives.

Teresa is now 15 pounds under her pre-baby weight since starting the diet in May (about 45 pounds) with only the most occasional exercise, no attention to calories, and much more frequent “treats” than I allow myself (lol). Her complexion, body composition, energy levels, cravings/hunger, digestion, and other aspects of health have all improved.

I have cut my exercise down to a fraction of what I am used to and at the same time put on a ton of muscle.  I have run 2 5ks and a Warrior Dash with minimal training. I can bang out a bunch of pushups and pull-ups easily. I am rarely hungry and never bothersomely so even when I skip a meal or fast. My head is clearer, my energy is high and consistent, and some previously persistent health annoyances like heartburn and feeling gross/bloated after eating are gone.

I have become very interested in health/nutrition as of late.

Obviously on the one hand I am interested on a personal level as a husband/father who has always struggled with weight and now wants to help his family to be healthy. I have no desire to spend my time/emotional energy  meticulously counting calories or spending hours upon hours exercising – I have much more important things to concern myself with.

On the other hand, I have become very interested on a philosophical level in thinking about the epistemological framework with which modern scientists go about studying health and nutrition. Modern science seems to look at the human body as broken by default and focuses on “diets”, pills, surgery, etc.  But the unanswered question is this: Why is it so impossibly hard for humans to be healthy? No other animals, except the ones we have domesticated, have such issues with obesity and chronic disease.

What i’ve found in the Paleo/Primal/Ancestral/Just-eat-real-food movement (in addition to success!) is what I consider to be a much more ordered and rational approach to asking questions about the human body and what would nourish it. The result is not a diet, but rather just a very simple, reasonable, conservative approach to health/nutrition and exercise. Furthermore, it is easy and it just works.

I plan on writing on this more in the future – stay tuned if interested. In the mean time, click here for my running list of links and resources.

— 7 —

To wrap up my first 7 Quick Takes Friday (whoohoo!) I just want to thank Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting the Quick Takes over at ConversionDiary.com. I am an amateur but aspiring writer and communicator who frequently starts projects but rarely finishes them (due to over-thinking and then re-working them to death) – and is often frustrated by this fact.

I can say that whipping up this batch of Quick Takes was the most enjoyable and easy-going bit of writing I have been able to do in a while. The format lends itself to my being able to shut off the over-analysis a bit and just share some things that have been on my mind. Fun, fun, fun.

So thanks Jennifer both for hosting 7 Quick Takes Friday! I am excited to keep writing my own and reading the rest.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

4 thoughts on “7 Quick Takes Friday – Dolan, Dominic, Doctor Who, & Diet

  1. There isn’t room here to describe all the disease conditions that may be improved
    with this diet. In my practice I have seen hundreds of people partly or fully recover from diseases they have had for years. In doing so, they have had the added benefit of losing weight. What is important is that your health comes first.

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