"...in just a few hundred years, Western countries had managed, through enterprise and industry, to overcome the poverty and famine that had gripped the world until the middle of the eighteenth century...Americans had purchased 56 million television sets and 143 million radios."To the Soviet listeners this was astounding and to Khrushchev painfully embarrassing. Political tension aside, what was more important about this moment was how far we'd traveled as a people. de Botton continues:
"The majority of the population of medieval and early modern Europe had belonged to the peasant class. Impoverished, undernourished, cold and fearful while alive, they were usually dead -- following some further agony -- before their fortieth birthday. After a life time of work, their most valuable possession might have been a cow, a goat or a pot. Famine was never far off, and disease was rife..."
I'm not trying to be a killjoy for anyone wanting to experiment, change habits, or test themselves. I just want to share what I've learned over the many years I've practiced caloric restriction. I feel great when I do it - no doubt. I need less sleep, I'm more focused, and I feel lighter which consequently makes my workouts better, my relationships happier, and my production greater, but there's a dark side.
I've learned when I don't get enough calories, my experience of life and being in life are severely impacted. I grow dark, irritable, and depressed. I cut people off and feel less giving and caring for others. At first I feel more control only to have very little control in the end.
Using a diet like this to radically change habits can be helpful, but it should include some raw fruits and vegetables and be limited it to a few days especially when exercising intensely. Austerity raises awareness of so much, but it can also generate some nasty results as noted in the WebMD article The Lemonade Diet (Master Cleanse Diet).
Ride on the edge of discomfort. Challenge yourself everyday. But don't do it to the point of losing yourself and even others in the process.