Studio Zenkai

Bold and Clear, without excess • Kaizen 改善 • With Purpose

Studio Zenkai is dedicated to the craft of programming, hardware hacking, photography, machine learning and how to live sensibly.

The NoBuy Challenge

Not only intermittent fasting is a good way to manage your weight, it is only one of the rare ways to potentially increase longevity. Numerous studies have shown that fasting can help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neurodegeneration and improve immunity.

  • Valter D. Longo, Maira Di Tano, Mark P. Mattson & Novella Guidi. Intermittent and periodic fasting, longevit and disease. Link
  • Levine, M. E. et al. Low protein intake is associated with a major reduction in IGF-1, cancer, and overall mortality in the 65 and younger but not older population. Link
  • Brandhorst, S. et al. A periodic diet that mimics fasting promotes multi-system regeneration, enhanced cognitive performance, and healthspan. Link
  • Cheng, C.-W. et al. Fasting-mimicking diet promotes Ngn3-driven β-cell regeneration to reverse diabetes Link

There many other studies, on fruit flies, mice, and humans, that demonstrates the benefits. A dose of skepticism is always welcome, but the evidence is there: fasting is a practice that many should adopt. I also include practices like “Eat until you are 80% full” (Hara hachi bu) and “Eat slowly” in the same category.

This does not make sense for many as food is seen as a necessity in our society, even a source of happiness. Fasting is seen as a deprivation, reserved for the religious, the poor or the sick. If you made it, you are not supposed to fast, right?

The way I see it, it is easy to eat more than we need in our modern society, and our body does not know how to deal with the excess. Fat is stored in all kinds of places, organs start to malfunction, until immune cells are activated, inflammation is triggered, and this does not mix well with the stress from modern society. Fasting, along with exercise, is a good way to restore the balance and stay nimble.

If voluntarily missing out on food is good, then are there other areas where we can voluntarily miss out on things, at least temporarily? From overflowing landfills to jumbo sized malls, we are surrounded by excess. We are sold clothing that merely last a couple of months, and plastic toys that are discarded within a couple of days. Mind you, I do NOT think that consumption is bad, but I do think the general excess pushes everyone to always consume more than you really need, to the infinity. This over-consumption might lead you to overlooking other important areas in your life, such as relationships, health, and happiness.

It is in this spirit that I started the nobuy challenge. Following periods of excess in 2022, restricting myself to only necessities made sense. I would voluntarily miss out on “stuff” that I did not need, activities that are superficial, and experiences that are not essential to my well-being. Essentially, I would miss out on things that are not essential to my happiness, health, relationships, career, and life, with the idea that this would restore balance.

Heri’s nobuy challenge “[Heri’s nobuy challenge]”)

I started the challenge on January 1st, 2023, and I will continue until February 28th 2023. I will not buy any experiences, such as travel, concerts, movies, services such as haircut or anything else. I will not buy any technology, tools, clothes, furniture, toys, books or anything else. I will not buy any gifts, such as birthday presents. I will not buy food apart from essentials, so this will exclude alcohol, snacks, sauces etc. If I wanted to buy something, I would need to either postpone, cancel, repair, make it msyelf or borrow it.

Needless to say, I am tempted many times a day to break the challenge. Here are interesting things that happened so far:

  • I met a friend I haven’t seen for ages, and of course, we discussed meeting in a coffee shop. You would have to buy drinks and food right? Instead, we met for an invigorating walk along the edge of Rivière des Mille-Iles, and had a great time.
  • One project of mine involved learning rock climbing, which means buying a harness, shoes, and a rope, and at least 1 group learning class. I really wanted this to start asap, but I decided to postpone the project until the challenge is over.
  • Daycare asked us to print forms. Since I do not have a home printer, and generally go to the nearest store to print it, I will convince them to get a PDF with an electronic signature instead.
  • I have a kid’s birthday end of the month. Previously, I would buy what’s best either at the local toy store or from Amazon. Here I would need to be creative and provide instead a memorable experience, such as a trip to the zoo, or a big scavenger hunt at the local park. Buying a birthday cake would be a nice touch, but I can make it myself 😁
  • I have upcoming business/work expenses. I do not know yet how I am going to handle this. The business/work activities cannot be postponed or cancelled.

Note : the idea here is not to be cheap or count how much money you saved, but to be mindful of your consumption. I am in a position where I never look what’s in my bank account, but I am sensible to the idea that I am filling my life with crap. Looking forward to see how this goes!