28

votes

Focus and Simplicity

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created October 06, 2011 at 1:47 AM

???...one of my mantras -- Focus and Simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it???s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.??? - Steve Jobs. RIP

Some of you know that I have been on a Low Reward lifestyle experiment with Kamal, also known as Kumar and Kumar Escape From Rewardtanamo Bay. This has included abstinence from Paleohacking. With very few exceptions, I have not been around here since August 15th. That is quite remarkable based on my previous involvement several months preceding the experiment -

http://paleohacks.com/questions/53438/you-know-you-are-a-paleohacks-addict-when#axzz1ZxSsZd2u :)


Forget about all the bullshit and banter about biochemistry that is consuming the various blogs/forums for just one moment please.

Low Reward concepts, diet and otherwise, have taught Kamal and me many things. We are going to be writing about this soon for Stephan Guyenet to post on his site. I won't get into all the details, but the short version is that I have lost 10 lbs in 6 weeks on a fairly high carb, low reward diet that is completely sustainable. Note I was weight stable for 6-7 months prior to the experiment and with very few exceptions, only lowered the reward of my diet while keeping the components/staples unchanged. So 10 lbs is a pretty substantial move for me, particularly since I lost the "easy" pounds earlier in the year. Moreover, my decade+ addiction to diet soda (3 liters per day, no joke) has been overcome and I am now at the lowest weight since my early 20s.

Kamal has kicked some serious ass, even more so than me because of his hard core implementation (at least with respect to diet). Good job co-founding member of Rewardaholics Anonymous!

Much more so than the weight loss has been the radical transformation with respect to the role of food and nutrition research in my life. For the first time ever, food is simply fuel. I cannot overstate the significance of this mindset shift, which even after transitioning to my (perverted) Lacto-Ovo Veggie implementation of Paleo was not experienced in spite of many health improvements including weight loss. Food was entertainment. I used to intellectually understand that food was fuel, but now I am experiencing it. Cool!

[EDIT - I am not saying that I no longer like highly rewarding food or have completely lost the desire for it. Anyone that says ice cream or bread is unrewarding is likely a liar.]

But more than that, I have come to realize that incessant hacking and constant searches for the holy grail of nutrition actually compromised my health objectives. Orthorexia is real. Knowledge may be power, but power also corrupts. Is there anything that is going to likely change the following basic tenets

  • Avoid gluten grains
  • Avoid excess Omega-6 vis-a-vis vegetable oils
  • Avoid excess fructose
  • Eat real, whole foods prepared simply with adequate micronutrients
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Move around and stay active
  • Get laid, preferably with someone else participating
  • Chillax

Everything else is in the weeds.

So what's the point of this....Low Reward has taught me that focus and simplicity in all aspects of life tends to lead to positive outcomes. The more you get into the weeds, the greater the possibility of diminishing, if not negative returns on your investment. Isn't one of the goals to just live a peaceful and healthy life with as little effort as possible?

BTW - I am not directing this at people with significant metabolic derangements and life threatening illnesses. Diving into the weeds may be necessary to save your life. I get that.

Oh yeah, I need a question in here - What does focus and simplicity mean to you in terms of your Paleo diet and lifestyle?

Ok, I'm outta here. Be well John Spartan

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Matt - Simple and to the point. Nice

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on October 09, 2011
at 12:24 PM

sometimes close tthe eyes as hard as possible ...hold on and rrelief.... somettimes...close the ears with the hands...hold a little while...listen to the traffic and jungle inside... and relief.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on October 09, 2011
at 12:23 PM

Resetting my mind, not my leptin, is exactly what I'm after. Thanks Kamal.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on October 07, 2011
at 03:46 PM

you guys are the cutest.

584b19d2b6cebc7cdf070b5f8a5a7937

(369)

on October 07, 2011
at 05:19 AM

I wish I could +more than 1. Love it.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on October 06, 2011
at 11:40 PM

@Aravind - I think you must have been drinking my share of diet coke. Really 3 liters a day??

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on October 06, 2011
at 10:06 PM

plants in the north are gate to heaven. if ure friends allow it and u not treat u. plants make u attackable and sensitive. better eat trash and u feel dead and not attackable.. its a thin red line between selfdestruction and treeror by the freinds who hurt you out of love and fear. love the back think of thier fault.. what can we do...

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on October 06, 2011
at 08:53 PM

The only item written on my personal calendar is my hair appointment getting a cut every 5 weeks or so. It has taken a long time to get that simple. I think I would like to live in a yurt, but that is not going to happen so I just go with the concept "less is more" the most I can.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on October 06, 2011
at 08:50 PM

One of the best meals I've ever eaten was also one of the simplest. It was in an old coverted mission building in the Copper Canyon in Mexico in the middle of nowhere. The meal consisted of ground beef, fresh applesauce and fresh corn tortillas straight from a comal. I'll never forget it. I think I could eat that meal every day.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 08:20 PM

I just think of the cows that don't live in outer space.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on October 06, 2011
at 07:00 PM

Am I the only one for whom "ground beef" makes me think of a type of cow that lives underground in a burrow?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 06:50 PM

I also find it to utterly ironic, this Paleo foodie-ism. Similar to the Paleo Mavins who don't want to overdo saturated fat/cholesterol (Cordain/Devaney), or Paleo's who cling to belief in Neolilthic Gods. Paleo materialism would be a fourth .

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 06:43 PM

Welcome to the" Food as Fuel Club" Kamur #2. It's a very quiet, warm and fuzzy place to be. It's funny, I was just about to comment on the "How to make grass fed beef tender "question, but I felt my answer would be seen as too snarky. My answer would have been "Screw the expensive slabs of beef and eat ground beef. Personally I can barely chew anymore because all my beef/lamb is ground. You wouldn't even need teeth!" Now that's simplicity!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 06:05 PM

I know, I just didn't know what you have in mind since you didn't provide any dietary log. Food reward means different things for different people, thats why Stephan had to xplain it many times.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 05:54 PM

Again, reward is not synonymous with palatability, though correlated. Maybe we are just talking past each other. Dunno

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 05:52 PM

Kumar #2 - you are just bitter because I am Kumar #1

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 05:50 PM

I find it ironic to see Steve Jobs quoted on paleo site tbh... He was anti-primer when food is in question and that is probably the reason why he finished too early.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 05:48 PM

For instance, the most unrewarding experience is when your taste of smell is out - i.g. you have common cold or something - you catn't feel any taste. I hate that, I couldn't live 2 days like it. Thats why I always fight virus in a single day :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 05:47 PM

Yes, there is. That something is **"food is simply fuel"**. I thought you think about feeling the one has when drinking water, which is just a fuel too and rarely is very rewarding (maybe in desert). I thought that you talk about bland, unspicy foods. That is the only unrewarding thing to me. If you talk about reward in the physiological sense (i.e. dopamine pathways, opiate receptors etc) then I agree with you - such food should be generally omitted.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 05:40 PM

"I have had virtually no alcohol since going low reward"...it seems that people use the term "virtually no" in different ways.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on October 06, 2011
at 04:50 PM

As far as rural living goes, it has brought both simplicity and complexity. It has helped to have easy access to amazing hiking and backpacking. Also we have been able to take up hunting. But rural living can be less simple in my opinion than living in a walkable city. I love going to Seattle because we never drive when we are there. We walk to the market each day, get what's fresh, walk home, cook. The family walk is like part of the dinner prep. Here I just run to the market then rush back - a lot less focused on that end.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on October 06, 2011
at 04:44 PM

Cool it dummies! I have a Dr. Scholl's clog with your butts' names on it (it's a really big clog).

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:41 PM

Agreed Matthew. I think the term "reward" coupled with Stephan's usage of the word "dominant" with respect to obesity has really cluttered the issue. Unfortunate, but oh well. "I have an enjoyable but probably quite low reward diet" as you wrote sums up my current state. There is only one thing missing...I've had virtually no alcohol since going low reward. Is life without alcohol even a life worth living. I think not!!!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:40 PM

Agreed Matthew. I think the terminology reward coupled with Stephan's usage of the word "dominant" with respect to obesity has really cluttered the issue. Unforunate, but oh well. "I have an enjoyable but probably quite low reward diet" sums up my current state. There is only one thing missing...I've had virtually no alcohol since going low reward. Is life without alcohol even a life worth living. I think not!!!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Agreed Matthew. I think the term "reward" coupled with Stephan's usage of the word "dominant" with respect to obesity has really cluttered the issue. Unfortunate, but oh well. "Enjoy but probably quite low reward diet" sums up my current state. There is only one thing missing...I've had virtually no alcohol since going low reward. Is life without alcohol even a life worth living. I think not!!!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:36 PM

Agreed Matthew. I think the terminology reward coupled with Stephan's usage of the word "dominant" with respect to obesity has really cluttered the issue. Unforunate, but oh well. "Enjoy but probably quite low reward diet" sums up my current state. There is only one thing missing...I've had virtually no alcohol since going low reward. Is life without alcohol even a life worth living. I think not!!!

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on October 06, 2011
at 04:28 PM

Aravind - It was a good questions :) I have an enjoyable but probably quite low reward diet. I think there is a problem with words, people see the same words in different ways. Food as fuel to me does not imply that the food is tasteless or not enjoyable.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:27 PM

Also, I find it interesting that some people that have an affinity for a Paleo diet take such great exception to the notion that food is fuel. I am not at all about re-enactment, but being epicurious or a foodie is most definitely a neolithic invention. That does not at all make it bad because we are not cavemen, but I do find the strong opposition to the concept very interesting

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:23 PM

+1 for Mer-Bear. Now stop hitting on my PH wife

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:18 PM

Also, I find it interesting that people that have an affinity to a Paleo diet also take such great exception to the notion that food is fuel. I am not at all about re-enactment, but being epicurious or a foodie is most definitely a neolithic invention. That does not at all make it bad because we are not cavemen, but I do find the strong opposition to the concept very interesting

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:14 PM

@majkinetor - you wrote "But food is there every day so why not make it happy experience". Is there something that leads you to believe that eating low reward diet would cause it to not be enjoyable? This what I took exception to and the basis for my response to you

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:12 PM

I agree with Ben and Kamal. Moreover, the point of my post was not to debate the merits of Reward Theory. It was simply a means to an end to inquire about other people's thoughts on focus and simplicity.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on October 06, 2011
at 04:02 PM

I agree. But we haven't had much time to learn how to choose not to have what we want. Most people in the past didn't have a choice.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:58 PM

@Maj, I'd agree that looking forward to meals with people is a good thing. But that is enjoying a meal in it's wholeness, the society it engenders, etc. That is wholly different from the way many in the US view food as reward, think about food and cooking constantly, watch TV shows about cooking food, talk about food in the same way is sex, etc etc. If one can handle it, like many in traditional Italy can, great. But clearly looking at the US population there are many who can not.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:52 PM

I wouldn't disagree. One of the biggest issues in the US at least is simply abundance. If you can deal with it then fine, surplus is clearly not a problem. But if you have issues knowing how much is appropriate then the sheer presence of all of what's here is indeed a problem

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:52 PM

I don't think it's "horrible" to think of food as fuel. Don't get me wrong, I love me a tasty bacon-cheddar burger. But temporarily or permanently lowering food reward can be used for many purposes--losing weight, as part of a resetting of reward stimuli in general, etc. Many people throughout the world eat very plain and bland foods and enjoy the taste because they don't have the access we do to a variety of tasty foods in combination. While I will never permanently eat a bland diet, my current low-reward low-palatability diet is serving me well. No evangelism, just another option.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:40 PM

oh here we go again. If we aren't fond of the food reward hypothesis, it means we lack understanding? Try again. So. Derivative.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:39 PM

p.s. Don't think I didn't notice haters-gonna-hate panda!

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:39 PM

+1000 majkinetor

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:36 PM

Do you more easily get simplicity and focus from living out in the sticks, Mer-Bear?

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 02:20 PM

Ben - I really don't need that visual of Kamal.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:14 PM

if you can manage a tantric tryst while commenting on this thread more power to you. I want details.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 01:42 PM

"If there is a choice, choose movement and interaction with things and beings around you rather than ruminating on edible things."...Does that include checking paleohacks in a group setting?

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on October 06, 2011
at 01:39 PM

Cursing and sexual intercourse are forbidden in that pacifist utopia. I think you have some real work to do!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 06, 2011
at 01:04 PM

i love the OP. I agree food should first and foremost be fuel. after that recognition and acknowledgment of course you can make it as tasty as you want! My food tastes great always. But looking at food as the highlight of your day etc is simply a recipe for disaster. turn off foodTV, stop googling endless recipes, eat real whole food that tastes great and derive pleasure from the rest of 22-23 hours of your day

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 11:41 AM

Wifey - I was expecting something in return for the "Be well John Spartan" line. Showing you that my movie tastes are diverse and include many B/C grade movies too. Blech!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 10:44 AM

Simplicity means for me, minimum that should be done but not less then that. Focus is way of life - if you hit the spot, you missed everything else.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 10:41 AM

Its not driven by food. But food is there every day so , why not making it happy experience.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 10:29 AM

BTW - You didn't really answer the question - what does focus and simplicity mean to you?

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 10:21 AM

Your comment that it is horrible to think of food as fuel encapsulates one of the many misunderstandings about reward. I still love eating and am eating very palatable foods. Reward is not synonymous with palatability. Food doesn't make me enjoy life. The people I love are part of why I enjoy life. I think it is horrible that happiness is driven by food and "makes you enjoy life". But I do respect your opinion and appreciate the input. Thanks so much!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:08 AM

Great idea! I'm in. Let's go!

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:57 AM

Thanks hubbs. I agree with it all and I am so very guilty for overly complicating this stuff. I have been for years. I need to work on this.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 02:56 AM

AKD is awesome. I think we need to spam her FB wall with our love, like we did with Shari a few weeks ago.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:54 AM

akd thank you for so beautifully articulating something I have been unable to find words for myself. I feel exactly this same way about food. I have always loved it but the love I have to it today is only minimally related to it's taste. It is all the other things now tied up with my food that I love and you expressed it perfectly. I love your mindset as well and think that sounds about as perfect as it can get.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:53 AM

I really needed to "hear" this tonight. Good luck!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 02:51 AM

Parsimony is much kinder than her toxic sister Antimony

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 02:50 AM

You're a dummy Kumar>1. For that I am making you Kumar#3 and will appoint a new #2.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:49 AM

Parsimony is your friend? I had a date with her once, but she doesn't want to go out again until I get my shit together.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:43 AM

I'm Kumar #1. You don't even have the right number of syllables.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:40 AM

Don't you know it baby.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 02:39 AM

You love the big a-hole

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 02:37 AM

+1. Now go to bed Kumar #2

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 02:32 AM

Good to bed Kumar!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 02:32 AM

Ok Kumar. I knew I was gonna get in trouble for this.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:31 AM

Nice post Kumar! (now go to bed!)

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13 Answers

13
21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:30 AM

"All I am saying is that the peace you are seeking is already inside you, in the harmonious functioning of the body" --UG Krishnamurti

Still trying hard to decondition what I've passively "learned" during my lifetime. Thinking about the past and future far more than necessary, feeling above some people and below others, the itch to check email incessantly, hesitating to show warmth or love.

Low reward, carbohydrate hypothesis, blah blah. Who cares? I'm trying to reset my mind, not my leptin. No matter if low-reward eating is a tautology, simplistic, or based on debatable evidence, it is a notable chunk of the effort some need to return to a state where simple and mindful actions comprise the bulk of life. I am (extremely!) sure that my mind is still extremely conditioned to respond to stress in very negative ways. Thus, my ultimate goal is to be able to be calm when it is possible, which is presumably 99% of the time. To get to this, Aravind and I are trying out a return to simple food, mindful thought, and non-habit forming actions. Wish us luck, and we wish you luck!

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:53 AM

I really needed to "hear" this tonight. Good luck!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 02:32 AM

Good to bed Kumar!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 02:50 AM

You're a dummy Kumar>1. For that I am making you Kumar#3 and will appoint a new #2.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:43 AM

I'm Kumar #1. You don't even have the right number of syllables.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on October 06, 2011
at 10:06 PM

plants in the north are gate to heaven. if ure friends allow it and u not treat u. plants make u attackable and sensitive. better eat trash and u feel dead and not attackable.. its a thin red line between selfdestruction and treeror by the freinds who hurt you out of love and fear. love the back think of thier fault.. what can we do...

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 02:37 AM

+1. Now go to bed Kumar #2

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on October 09, 2011
at 12:23 PM

Resetting my mind, not my leptin, is exactly what I'm after. Thanks Kamal.

11
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:35 PM

What does focus and simplicity mean to you in terms of your Paleo diet and lifestyle?

Us humans generally do quite well when we get everything we need.

However we generally do quite badly when we get what we want.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on October 06, 2011
at 04:02 PM

I agree. But we haven't had much time to learn how to choose not to have what we want. Most people in the past didn't have a choice.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Matt - Simple and to the point. Nice

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 08:20 PM

I just think of the cows that don't live in outer space.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:41 PM

Agreed Matthew. I think the term "reward" coupled with Stephan's usage of the word "dominant" with respect to obesity has really cluttered the issue. Unfortunate, but oh well. "I have an enjoyable but probably quite low reward diet" as you wrote sums up my current state. There is only one thing missing...I've had virtually no alcohol since going low reward. Is life without alcohol even a life worth living. I think not!!!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:40 PM

Agreed Matthew. I think the terminology reward coupled with Stephan's usage of the word "dominant" with respect to obesity has really cluttered the issue. Unforunate, but oh well. "I have an enjoyable but probably quite low reward diet" sums up my current state. There is only one thing missing...I've had virtually no alcohol since going low reward. Is life without alcohol even a life worth living. I think not!!!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:27 PM

Also, I find it interesting that some people that have an affinity for a Paleo diet take such great exception to the notion that food is fuel. I am not at all about re-enactment, but being epicurious or a foodie is most definitely a neolithic invention. That does not at all make it bad because we are not cavemen, but I do find the strong opposition to the concept very interesting

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on October 06, 2011
at 07:00 PM

Am I the only one for whom "ground beef" makes me think of a type of cow that lives underground in a burrow?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:52 PM

I wouldn't disagree. One of the biggest issues in the US at least is simply abundance. If you can deal with it then fine, surplus is clearly not a problem. But if you have issues knowing how much is appropriate then the sheer presence of all of what's here is indeed a problem

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on October 06, 2011
at 04:28 PM

Aravind - It was a good questions :) I have an enjoyable but probably quite low reward diet. I think there is a problem with words, people see the same words in different ways. Food as fuel to me does not imply that the food is tasteless or not enjoyable.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 06:43 PM

Welcome to the" Food as Fuel Club" Kamur #2. It's a very quiet, warm and fuzzy place to be. It's funny, I was just about to comment on the "How to make grass fed beef tender "question, but I felt my answer would be seen as too snarky. My answer would have been "Screw the expensive slabs of beef and eat ground beef. Personally I can barely chew anymore because all my beef/lamb is ground. You wouldn't even need teeth!" Now that's simplicity!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:18 PM

Also, I find it interesting that people that have an affinity to a Paleo diet also take such great exception to the notion that food is fuel. I am not at all about re-enactment, but being epicurious or a foodie is most definitely a neolithic invention. That does not at all make it bad because we are not cavemen, but I do find the strong opposition to the concept very interesting

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 05:40 PM

"I have had virtually no alcohol since going low reward"...it seems that people use the term "virtually no" in different ways.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 05:52 PM

Kumar #2 - you are just bitter because I am Kumar #1

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Agreed Matthew. I think the term "reward" coupled with Stephan's usage of the word "dominant" with respect to obesity has really cluttered the issue. Unfortunate, but oh well. "Enjoy but probably quite low reward diet" sums up my current state. There is only one thing missing...I've had virtually no alcohol since going low reward. Is life without alcohol even a life worth living. I think not!!!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:36 PM

Agreed Matthew. I think the terminology reward coupled with Stephan's usage of the word "dominant" with respect to obesity has really cluttered the issue. Unforunate, but oh well. "Enjoy but probably quite low reward diet" sums up my current state. There is only one thing missing...I've had virtually no alcohol since going low reward. Is life without alcohol even a life worth living. I think not!!!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 06:50 PM

I also find it to utterly ironic, this Paleo foodie-ism. Similar to the Paleo Mavins who don't want to overdo saturated fat/cholesterol (Cordain/Devaney), or Paleo's who cling to belief in Neolilthic Gods. Paleo materialism would be a fourth .

10
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:46 AM

let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food. -hippocrates

yay, aravind! im really proud of you and what you have been able to accomplish. for me, i LOVE food. but i love it in a whole new way than i did a year ago, before i discovered "paleo" or whateverthehellyouwannacallit. i used to love food just because it tasted good, but now i love it because i know its good for me, and its healing to me. i get more of a thrill out of that than anything. i dont think about food in terms of what im craving right now, but rather what i can eat to optimize my health. then, i have fun cooking it. i love the meditation of shopping for lovely seasonable produce, and i love introducing new food to my kids, helping them grow their little bean plants, letting hazel smell all the spices that i put into a dish. theres a new joy to food, prep, and eating. i love feeding the people i love food that is delicious and will also help them be the best they can be, so we can all live together for a very long time. it's amazing to me that my MS has been occupying a very small portion of my brain (literally and figuratively).

i do not have a background in science (i dont think a semester of stats in grad school counts as anything) so i have a hard time following along with the discussions on the blogs sometimes. im also a bit rebellious and contrary (just a wee bit) so when the discussion starts getting heavily into that stuff, i find myself reacting in the opposite direction. i have the desire to learn more about the details, but at the end of the day, i just have to trust that if i eat a diverse diet of traditional, seasonal foods and "try to get the most nutrients in the fewest calories" (a la meredith) then everything else will fall into place. so far that has been true, so thats where im sticking.

there is a lot more i want to work on, particularly in the exercise and meditation area, but overall parsimony is my friend, and im happiest and most fulfilled when i stick by her side.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 02:56 AM

AKD is awesome. I think we need to spam her FB wall with our love, like we did with Shari a few weeks ago.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:49 AM

Parsimony is your friend? I had a date with her once, but she doesn't want to go out again until I get my shit together.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:08 AM

Great idea! I'm in. Let's go!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:54 AM

akd thank you for so beautifully articulating something I have been unable to find words for myself. I feel exactly this same way about food. I have always loved it but the love I have to it today is only minimally related to it's taste. It is all the other things now tied up with my food that I love and you expressed it perfectly. I love your mindset as well and think that sounds about as perfect as it can get.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on October 07, 2011
at 03:46 PM

you guys are the cutest.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 02:51 AM

Parsimony is much kinder than her toxic sister Antimony

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on October 09, 2011
at 12:24 PM

sometimes close tthe eyes as hard as possible ...hold on and rrelief.... somettimes...close the ears with the hands...hold a little while...listen to the traffic and jungle inside... and relief.

7
0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:53 PM

I keep thinking of these images when I ponder FOCUS and SIMPLICITY:

The cereal isle a the market.

An over stuffed closet.

Costco.

I am easily overwhelmed by too much "stuff". Having just a few real "things" whether it be clothes, food, gurus, thoughts helps me to focus on and thus enjoy these things more. So, for me simplicity leads to focus and that couples to create really rewarding experiences.

By the way, have you ever seen the movie Tropic Thunder? It's really heavy. Goes into a lot of this stuff.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:36 PM

Do you more easily get simplicity and focus from living out in the sticks, Mer-Bear?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:39 PM

p.s. Don't think I didn't notice haters-gonna-hate panda!

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on October 06, 2011
at 04:50 PM

As far as rural living goes, it has brought both simplicity and complexity. It has helped to have easy access to amazing hiking and backpacking. Also we have been able to take up hunting. But rural living can be less simple in my opinion than living in a walkable city. I love going to Seattle because we never drive when we are there. We walk to the market each day, get what's fresh, walk home, cook. The family walk is like part of the dinner prep. Here I just run to the market then rush back - a lot less focused on that end.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on October 06, 2011
at 04:44 PM

Cool it dummies! I have a Dr. Scholl's clog with your butts' names on it (it's a really big clog).

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:23 PM

+1 for Mer-Bear. Now stop hitting on my PH wife

6
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 06, 2011
at 01:36 PM

Focus and simplicity in terms of a paleo diet and lifestyle mean eating minimally and living maximally.

Food is fuel first, it gives me the energy and mood to want to live the rest of my hours exuberantly and actively. It tastes good always. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Focus on whole, single ingredients as much as possible. Prepare them to taste good but with less, rather than more added flavors and ingredients.

If there is a choice, choose movement and interaction with things and beings around you rather than ruminating on edible things.

If presented with the opportunity to stop and think about it always choose to consume less and move around more. Humans seem to function better running a little leaner and hungrier than they do softer and fuller.

Summation: move a lot and eat not too much. make it all fun and tasty enough to enjoy.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:14 PM

if you can manage a tantric tryst while commenting on this thread more power to you. I want details.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 01:42 PM

"If there is a choice, choose movement and interaction with things and beings around you rather than ruminating on edible things."...Does that include checking paleohacks in a group setting?

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 02:20 PM

Ben - I really don't need that visual of Kamal.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on October 06, 2011
at 08:50 PM

One of the best meals I've ever eaten was also one of the simplest. It was in an old coverted mission building in the Copper Canyon in Mexico in the middle of nowhere. The meal consisted of ground beef, fresh applesauce and fresh corn tortillas straight from a comal. I'll never forget it. I think I could eat that meal every day.

5
5740b342b3b4ca4af7625f9505f7eb5d

(281)

on October 06, 2011
at 11:06 AM

If a simpler lifestyle makes you happy, there is no need to seek additional reward in food. If people do need that extra reward, perhaps the overall life-reward quotient needs to be increased. This point remains open to debate.

It's not one-to-one, but I have noticed a consistent, repeatable correlation between the relative amounts of simple and the relative amounts of complex in my life, and how I feel about myself, the people around me and my life in general.

  • Too much simplicity - life gets dull.

  • Too much complexity - life becomes overwhelming, and I start becoming more dysfunctional, trying to meet the contradictory demands of all that complexity.

The balance? Simple Complexity

5
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 07:30 AM

Much more so than the weight loss has been the radical transformation with respect to the role of food and nutrition research in my life. For the first time ever, food is simply fuel.

That is horrible.

You eat every day, two times a day, it should be something you looking forward too, that makes you happy and makes you enjoy life and people you eat with....

Now, I know there are people who do not enjoy eating at all and look at it like a fuel, just like there are those who don't like music or art in general.

Anyway, what is in your diet that lowers reward ? I don't see anything in your list. Meat and fat ARE rewarding. Cereals are not rewarding for many people. Me and my wife find fruit annoying to the point that we eat it couple a times per month and it was like that from year 1. Sodas are rewarding if you drink them 3L per day (I used to do that too) but when you stop it, they soon become disgusting. The only true low reward concept I found is shangri la diet.

OK, good chocolate is always rewarding for almost everyone.

I believe that there is reward component, its enough to light a joint and there you go - you see it in action and full power. But I don't believe a solution is to stop to enjoy food whatsoever. We can live between those extremes.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 10:21 AM

Your comment that it is horrible to think of food as fuel encapsulates one of the many misunderstandings about reward. I still love eating and am eating very palatable foods. Reward is not synonymous with palatability. Food doesn't make me enjoy life. The people I love are part of why I enjoy life. I think it is horrible that happiness is driven by food and "makes you enjoy life". But I do respect your opinion and appreciate the input. Thanks so much!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 06, 2011
at 01:04 PM

i love the OP. I agree food should first and foremost be fuel. after that recognition and acknowledgment of course you can make it as tasty as you want! My food tastes great always. But looking at food as the highlight of your day etc is simply a recipe for disaster. turn off foodTV, stop googling endless recipes, eat real whole food that tastes great and derive pleasure from the rest of 22-23 hours of your day

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 10:41 AM

Its not driven by food. But food is there every day so , why not making it happy experience.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:12 PM

I agree with Ben and Kamal. Moreover, the point of my post was not to debate the merits of Reward Theory. It was simply a means to an end to inquire about other people's thoughts on focus and simplicity.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 04:14 PM

@majkinetor - you wrote "But food is there every day so why not make it happy experience". Is there something that leads you to believe that eating low reward diet would cause it to not be enjoyable? This what I took exception to and the basis for my response to you

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 05:47 PM

Yes, there is. That something is **"food is simply fuel"**. I thought you think about feeling the one has when drinking water, which is just a fuel too and rarely is very rewarding (maybe in desert). I thought that you talk about bland, unspicy foods. That is the only unrewarding thing to me. If you talk about reward in the physiological sense (i.e. dopamine pathways, opiate receptors etc) then I agree with you - such food should be generally omitted.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:52 PM

I don't think it's "horrible" to think of food as fuel. Don't get me wrong, I love me a tasty bacon-cheddar burger. But temporarily or permanently lowering food reward can be used for many purposes--losing weight, as part of a resetting of reward stimuli in general, etc. Many people throughout the world eat very plain and bland foods and enjoy the taste because they don't have the access we do to a variety of tasty foods in combination. While I will never permanently eat a bland diet, my current low-reward low-palatability diet is serving me well. No evangelism, just another option.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 05:48 PM

For instance, the most unrewarding experience is when your taste of smell is out - i.g. you have common cold or something - you catn't feel any taste. I hate that, I couldn't live 2 days like it. Thats why I always fight virus in a single day :)

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 10:29 AM

BTW - You didn't really answer the question - what does focus and simplicity mean to you?

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 05:54 PM

Again, reward is not synonymous with palatability, though correlated. Maybe we are just talking past each other. Dunno

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:58 PM

@Maj, I'd agree that looking forward to meals with people is a good thing. But that is enjoying a meal in it's wholeness, the society it engenders, etc. That is wholly different from the way many in the US view food as reward, think about food and cooking constantly, watch TV shows about cooking food, talk about food in the same way is sex, etc etc. If one can handle it, like many in traditional Italy can, great. But clearly looking at the US population there are many who can not.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 10:44 AM

Simplicity means for me, minimum that should be done but not less then that. Focus is way of life - if you hit the spot, you missed everything else.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:39 PM

+1000 majkinetor

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on October 06, 2011
at 03:40 PM

oh here we go again. If we aren't fond of the food reward hypothesis, it means we lack understanding? Try again. So. Derivative.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2011
at 06:05 PM

I know, I just didn't know what you have in mind since you didn't provide any dietary log. Food reward means different things for different people, thats why Stephan had to xplain it many times.

4
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on October 06, 2011
at 02:35 AM

Perfect timing Aravind. In the midst of our collective iSadness and iCrying this point will hit home with many today. In the end it all should be about living the best life possible. Sometimes we need to take a step back to see that we are missing the mark. Sometimes we can't see the forest for the gut irritants and rancid oils so-to-speak. Thanks for giving me even more to think about (you big a-hole ;) )

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:40 AM

Don't you know it baby.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on October 06, 2011
at 02:39 AM

You love the big a-hole

4
D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on October 06, 2011
at 02:12 AM

Sounds like you've reached a middlepath of sorts. The road is long but I keep fighting to reach nutritional balance and harmony!

3
Ea36147178112f8793341ec7a01c531d

(102)

on October 07, 2011
at 01:43 AM

Perfect! I need to simplify if I want this to work. I have started to get annoyed with all of the bloggers, writers, paleo people coming out of the damn woodwork. I need to remember to focus on real whole foods, moving, and just enjoying life.

2
66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on October 07, 2011
at 12:06 AM

I have always been of the mind that food is fuel. The way I look at it the more we get away from the 'food is fuel' reality the more we fall into becoming limited and chained to certain conventions. Do I need good, healthy food to survive? Yes. Do I need fancy preparation methods, sauces, exotic spices, expensive ingredients? No, but I can certainly desire them. The less I am attached to anything that does not truly matter in my Life the more free I am to enjoy the simple things. Wanting, desiring and coveting things takes valuable energy away from experiencing things in Life that are rare and enjoyable. With my energy free to flow where it is needed I can experience raising my son as a true parent, present in the here and now. I can look at the World and see beauty where most see nothing. The World is fleeting, always in a state of flux. I can focus on something until I am satisfied and then flow onto some other important aspect of Life with no lingering guilt or regret or second guessing myself. I give of myself 100% to anything I do, I am not trapped in a false World of want and desire for things that add nothing meaningful to my Life.

2
7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on October 06, 2011
at 11:15 AM

I love your post and excited to read more. The first thing that comes to my mind is...I don't have to have a tums or other antacid always on hand..

This might seem trivial but it's a big pain in the a$$.

  • In my pocket
  • In my purse
  • In my car
  • In my desk
  • On both floors of the house in multiple rooms

I can also lay down and go to sleep flat and not up on pillows because my digestion and heartburn suck.

Everytime I see a heartburn/pharma commercial I laugh and laugh...

1
Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on October 06, 2011
at 01:23 PM

For me, my paleo lifestyle began as a minimalist lifestyle. What's the easiest way to get into better shape? Build up my endurance by walking a lot. What is the healthiest way for me to walk (especially given my other health concerns)? Barefoot. How do I handle my food sensitivities? Organic, whole, gluten-free foods.

And so on. I agree with you that once the basic principles are understood, that a lot can be lost or misdirected by looking to details. That said, I think very few people have really mastered certain principles, hence the need for a site like this one to work toward a deeper understanding.

Thus, focus and simplicity for me mean a life where I'm less distracted. I have the things which matter most to me, and really nothing beyond that. I live simply, in good health and good spirits. I own very little, and work hard to pay down my loan debt as soon as I can. I am also working hard to complete a master's degree in one year (it typically takes 18 months to 2 years).

In order to have that kind of lifestyle, I've embraced Paleo - for my health, for energy, and yes, for focus and simplicity in my approach to food and fitness.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on October 06, 2011
at 08:53 PM

The only item written on my personal calendar is my hair appointment getting a cut every 5 weeks or so. It has taken a long time to get that simple. I think I would like to live in a yurt, but that is not going to happen so I just go with the concept "less is more" the most I can.

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