The Clarified Self is my blog. Welcome! I chose the name because it best captures the set of ideas I'm accumulating and developing as I accept the limits of human knowledge, and advocate for my own health. There may be a pun in there, and I also think it sounds cool.
I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis during my late 20s. It was a strange time, full of emotional stress, environmental stress, financial stress, bad eating habits, sedentarism, a concussion, two major sports injuries, denial, frustration, and lots of self-compromise. Which of these factors caused my sickness? Certainly all of them. Here are some things I learned along the way:
Self-improvement requires self-awareness. Meaningful relationships require trust. Trust requires honesty.
My parents always used to joke when I was a child: "He wants to do it himself!" I'm not sure which movie they were quoting but I'm sure it had Dom DeLuise in it*. From great philosophers to average bloggers, others have done it all before. Let them help you through the weeds, let them show you how to wield a machete, and then go blaze your own trail.
*turns out it was the Mel Brooks classic Young Frankenstein which does not have Dom DeLuise in it.
Take care of yourself so you can better take care of others
A sick and tired you is no help to others...and there are plenty of others who need your help.
Without a reason to exist, you have no reason to be healthy. Without a reason to be healthy, you will keep eating Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers.
The only false hope is no hope at all
As long as you are here, breathing, reading this post, you are alive--and that amazing organism you call your body wants to be healthy. Hope comes in all shapes and sizes. What do you want and how willing are you to make it happen?
Changing your behavior can be as hard or as easy as you want it to be
Once upon a time, I realized that eating wheat (or gluten) made me ill. Then I kept eating it for a few months. Why wasn't I ready to choose health? (And when did this post suddenly become a confession?
Hint: see "Be honest.") When I was ready, quitting wheat was one of the simplest and most rewarding things I ever did. What's your "wheat"?
A complete understanding requires a limited perspective
This is an idea I distilled from one of my favorite farmer-philosophers, the late Masanobu Fukuoka. The world (planet, nature, universe, multiverse...) is a vast and amazing place. Ask good questions, but don't expect concrete answers. If you find one, use it to your benefit, but only until you realize that it is wrong.
Seek improvement, not perfection
Except for those monkeys on smart drugs reading this from a top-secret government location (hi, guys!), we're all human. If perfection is the goal, expect disappointment. If disappointment is the expectation, why bother? It might have been Voltaire who first sort of said "perfect is the enemy of good". Keep your eye on the ball, and just make contact. There's a reason I've owned a Toyota for most of my life.
I'll be back to this post often, refining, updating, improving and reorganizing. I hope you enjoy my blog because I made it for both of us. Please reach out and let's make it better.
I'm Ethan, a guy whose life used to be controlled by ulcerative colitis. As I systematically tested diets, treatments, and all types of health advice to heal my colon, I learned a lot about my own biology and also how to cook without compromise. I'm here to share the best (and sometimes worst) of that journey with you.