eat food. not too much. mostly plants.

January 30, 2007
Decluttering stumbles on. Sorry if you all are sick of hearing about it here.

I realize that I've lost some of the sense of "NO MERCY" that I had last week. I stacked up 3 computer keyboards. One is a Microsoft split keyboard that I will likely take into my new job, so it gets a pass. The other two are normal, flat ones; I think they came bundled with PCs but I put them aside in favor of the split ones. NO MERCY! When you A. don't need it and B. could buy a replacement for $4 at Microcenter if you DID need it, there's no way that that item is "paying its rent". (The question then is, do thrifts accept them or not.)

Almost as tough: old broken laptops that would cost more to repair than to replace. Especially that little iBook that was in most respects a better web-browsing "living room" machine than any PC. NO MERCY! Just a question of how to best dispose of it.

My Ever Lovin' Mom wrote "I'm still cheering on your de-cluttering. Your newly organized home should be a nice jumping off point for your new job." That's an encouraging way of thinking about it.

Article of the Moment
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

That's the lead-off summary of Michael Pollan's article Unhappy Meals. (Here's the bugmenot page for NY Times.) I'm glad Nick B LJ'd it, I didn't pay enough attention when it was boingboing'd.

There were a lot of interesting ideas to take away from the article.
  1. As a nation, we've let food become as political as the global warming "debate", with the meat and dairy industries exerting political pressure to shove official committees from their original unbiased conclusions.
  2. The article is fairly damning of reductionist science, at least in fields of nuanced and complex interactions. Or even just how the assumption that everyone's nutritional needs are about the same is flawed. (I have to envy Tim, who claims to have honed the skill of listening to what his body is craving, because his body is clever enough to associate its nutritional needs with the appropriate foods.)
  3. It's amazing how we've learned to dupe our bodies, to create artificial products that have such high concentrations of yumminess but just don't meet our nutritional needs.
  4. He points out that half a century ago, people would spend a quarter of their budget on food, and nowadays it's more like ten percent. And that's parallel to why the food industry is the way it is... in order to feed the population (think back to those predictions of mass famine and starvation from the 1970s) we've been using a lot of nasty chemicals and other tricks.
  5. One way of thinking about the diet change: we eat more seeds, and less leaves than ever before in our evolutionary history.
This ties into a conversation FoSO and I had the other week, where she encouraged me to start trying to get some kind of rudimentary cooking skill going. Of course I have to admit that I don't appreciate food enough; with my "interesting"-based mortality, I need to make a deliberate effort to invest the money and time that eating well would require.

Sometimes I think back to the "caveman diet" my mom was on when they were testing her for allergic reactions. Is that a better way to be? The article talks about how many "traditional cuisines" seem to have the best of both worlds...

Photo of the Moment

--Not a terribly impressive photo, but I enjoyed realizing that every rowhouse on this stretch of my Aunt and Uncle's street is a different color of stone. Across the street, it's all just brick.