Interview with Karol Gajda (and other stuff)

Karol Gajda

So a few weeks ago, I managed to interview Karol Gajda, a Polish traveller, minimalist, online entrepreneur, guitarist and vegan. We talked about freedom, diet, challenges and fear.

They are all fighting for you to be normal. – Karol Gajda

Read the entire interview in the February issue of Singularity magazine.

The other stuff part

So while I was doing research on Karol for the interview, I read about his views on vegetarianism. In particular, on what he means when he says he’s a vegan. Now there are actually “levels” of vegetarianism. My friend called it the Vegetarian Continuum, which I wrote about in the August 2010 issue.

There’s the normal meat eaters. Then the Pescetarians, whose meat only comes from seafood, mainly fish. Then there are the “ovo” and “lacto” combinations, where you consume eggs and/or milk. Then comes the vegans, where you don’t consume meat at all (eggs and milk count as “meat”), or even have animal products in your lifestyle. Then we have the Buddhist vegetarians, where certain plant types are also excluded (the allium family, such as onions and garlic). And then we have the fruitarians, where your diet consists only of fruits, nuts and seeds.

Do you know about Buddhist monks seeking alms? Did you know they are not supposed to refuse any food placed in their alms bowls? Did you also know they cannot throw away food placed in their alms bowls? And finally, did you also know that if meat is placed in their bowls, they have to eat it?

Karol follows the spirit of vegetarianism, that of not killing another animal (or life). As do Buddhist monks. Here’s the thing. As a vegan, Karol doesn’t eat meat. BUT, if despite instructions or precautions or whatever, he ends up having animal products in his food, he will still eat it. For example, if he explicitly said to remove all cheese, but when the food arrived, it still contained cheese, he would still eat it.

Because if he didn’t eat it, it would be a disservice to the animal which died so it could be on his plate. If he refused to eat the incorrectly prepared food, most likely it would be thrown away. The animal was already dead. Throwing the food away meant that the animal died for nothing. Think about that the next time you waste food.

Obesity, overeating and possibly its cure

So here’s just a small idea I have about obesity (or at least the preventable behavioural type). In these modern times, when we no longer have to hunt for food, where food have become plentiful, we start to waste it. We continue to eat because there’s still more food, and not stop when we’re done and full. Economics then take over. More demand meant more supply needed. Which fed (no pun intended) back to growing demand. Which is why we now have Trenta sized Starbucks coffee.

The message seemed to be, it’s ok to have supersized food portions. The worse message is that, it’s ok if we can’t finish it. There’s still more food!

I don’t think it works the same way when Chris Anderson said it’s ok when we start wasting bits.

This is the power of waste. When scarce resources become abundant, smart people treat them differently, exploiting them rather than conserving them. It feels wrong, but done right it can change the world.

Here’s something else to think about. I can’t remember where I read it, but according to scientific studies, the more you eat, the shorter your lifespan. This is because your body is breaking down faster at the cellular level. When you eat, your body breaks down the food into useful materials and turns it into energy. That process wears down your cells. The more it does that, the more wear and tear your cells take.

Eat moderately. Don’t waste food. Don’t overeat, but don’t starve either.

Eat enough to live, then go do something awesome with your life. Then come back here and tell me about it.

Singularity Magazine February 2011

Singularity February 2011

Chinese New Year is on the 3rd February 2011. So in this issue of Singularity, I will tell you how red packets came about, and why they contain money (it involves the story of Nian). You didn’t know red packets contain money? Well, now you know.

I also have an interview with Karol Gajda, entrepreneur, traveller, vegan, minimalist and Freedom Fighter. Learn his definition of “freedom”. I also covered the blinkBL-NK January event.

Download the February 2011 issue (about 3 MB).

There’s also a special alternate cover. Turn to page 4 of the magazine to see it.

Epic Cuteness Contest!

Because this coming Chinese New Year is also the Year of the Rabbit (according to the Chinese Zodiac system), I have a contest! Turn to page 18 to see the cutest rabbits of epicosity in existence! Then vote for your favourite rabbit. You can also use the Twitter hashtag #epiccuterabbits like so

I vote contestant 1 #epiccuterabbits

We have 4 contestants. Results will be tabulated and the winner of epic cuteness will be revealed in the March 2011 issue of Singularity. Vote now!

Editor’s story

This was another month cramped with activity. I launched my own product, a programming guide on spreadsheets and Open XML. I had to learn to write sales copy, do marketing, make sure the sales process go smoothly for the customer.

So I asked the magic elves who helped me out with the December issue last year. They said they’re swamped with work preparing for the end of this year. Their primary employer, a jolly good fella in a red and white suit, wants to get a jump on this year’s tasks.

But they referred me to some fairy friends of theirs. So yeah, I hired 5 fairies to help me. You know what’s the price? One jar of Chinese New Year goodies:

Pineapple pastry

Wait, what? Oh, I’m not supposed to tell them the details of the contract? Oh darn.

Uh, forget what I just told you, ok? Let me tell you about my other assistant. She helps me with simple admin stuff.

Cat assistant

Don’t let her relaxed demeanor fool you. She’s busy destroying junk email using her tele-mechano-kinesis power to reach into my computer and shred the offending emails to pieces. Sometimes, she lets a few of those slip through. Then she would wait by my side, looking at me. I would grab those junk email, crumple them into a ball and let them drop to the floor. My assistant would then pounce on the hapless piece of paper with playful ferocity. Does your paper shredder have fun shredding? Mine does.