Explaining what ‘Smart’ Means to a 7-Year-Old

I had the following conversation almost verbatim with my 7-year-old daughter the other morning. I was driving her to her early morning school program before going to work and started driving in the wrong direction, then suddenly realized it and corrected myself.

“Stupid Daddy.” I said aloud to myself. “I almost forgot to bring you to school.”

“You’re not stupid, Daddy – you’re very smart.” She said.

“What do you mean by ‘smart’?” I asked. (I’m the kind of guy who attempts a socratic dialog with a 7-year-old at 7am.)

“Well, you’re very good at remembering things.” She offered.

“A lot of people have good memories but do dumb things. So what does ‘smart’ mean?”

“Your brain!” She was grasping at straws now.

“Everybody has a brain but not everybody is smart.”

“Then I don’t know.” She surrendered.

“Well then, do you want me to tell you what ‘smart’ is?”

“OK”

“Being smart is simply acting smart.”

“What do you mean, Daddy?”, tossing the socratic dialog back into my lap.

I was ready. “Well, we all have lots of thoughts, and some of them are good, and some not so good. Acting on the good thoughts is being smart. Imagine that you have 2 people in your head and one says: ‘it would sure be fun to crawl out the window and sit on the roof!’ And then you have another thought that says: ‘if I crawl on the roof I might fall and kill myself.’ Then YOU listen to these different thoughts and decide: ‘I should listen to the thought that said not to go on the roof.’”

“You mean like in the cartoons where the angel and the devil appear on somebody’s shoulders?”

“Exactly! You need to know which one to listen to. We all have plenty of thoughts and some people think every thought they have must be good because it’s theirs. YOU need to realize that your thoughts aren’t you and decide which thoughts are the smart ones.”

There was a flash of recognition that came across her face – her thoughts weren’t her. She got it.

I think I successfully explained the psychological concept of Executive Function – the theory as to why smart people do dumb things –  to a 7-year-old – a concept some people never get their entire lives.

I hope she really did get it.

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Why Do So Many People Look Down on Low Carb Diets?

I find it amusing from the perspective of a guy who actively seeks out saturated fat in his diet that people are still stigmatized for going on a low carb diet. Despite the fact that a lot of research has come out in recent years vindicating low carb diets from being labeled dangerous quackery, I STILL find it challenging to find a full-fat yogurt or 80% lean ground beef in my grocery store as everyone still seems so enamored of low-fat options.

Something about low carb elicits a sense of revulsion in many people – so much so that many low carbers go to great lengths to hide their adherence to low carb.

Why is that? Why would low carb – just one of many diet approaches you can find in your bookstore alongside some very wacky alternatives – be marked with a scarlet letter?

Here’s some of my guesses:

Continue reading “Why Do So Many People Look Down on Low Carb Diets?”

The Pleasurable Respite of A Weight Loss Stall, Part-Time Low Carb, and My 10th Anniversary on Low Carb

10thcake

Putting aside the niggly details surrounding my lack of progress in my current attempts at weight loss, I really can’t complain:

From a Paper in the AMA Journal: Let’s End the Diet Debates

Right after I posted this last post, I read an article that makes it seem like I’m not alone in my thinking.  The authors of a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association just last month seem to be thinking along the same lines as I am:

As the obesity epidemic persists, the time has come to end the pursuit of the “ideal” diet for weight loss and disease prevention. The dietary debate in the scientific community and reported in the media about the optimal macronutrient-focused weight loss diet sheds little light on the treatment of obesity and may mislead the public regarding proper weight management.

I find the ‘science wars’ on nutrition and weight loss tiring. Looking for the ‘best’ approach to weight loss is the wrong approach. ‘Best’ needs to be defined by the individual. Everyone who wants to lose weight should experiment with multiple approaches and find not only the approach that works for them, but also makes them happy. It’s a lifelong thing – and I hate the word ‘struggle’ – I’d rather call it a ‘practice’. Every day, show up for your diet, ‘punch the clock’, make the effort and then after giving an approach a chance, evaluate how you feel physically and psychologically. Continue reading “From a Paper in the AMA Journal: Let’s End the Diet Debates”

Low Carb Diets Don’t Work and Bumble Bees Can’t Fly

I'm the one to the right...
I’m the one to the right…

I remember as a kid, whenever the popular press reported something people didn’t want to hear – oh, let’s say that all that margarine that was supposed to be good for us was suddenly pronounced bad for us – there was always a person who would trot out this old saw: “You know, science says that bumble bees can’t fly.”

This was supposed to be a way to diss science, call it a poopyhead, and use what is known as the ‘poisoning the well’ logical fallacy. “Well, science goofed on that bumble bee thing because every dope knows bumble bees DO fly. So this particular fact of the day must be wrong as well.”

It’s flawed reasoning.

(By the way, ‘science’ never said bumble bees don’t fly. This oft-repeated comment was stupid on so many levels.)

Science DOES get it right – a lot. Think of rockets, moon shots and even your humdrum jet flight. Those things weigh 400 tons and routinely leap into the air, serve lousy food, and bore the crap of everyone onboard, including the crew, until landing hundreds, if not thousands of miles away. Plane crashes make the news because they are so rare. Continue reading “Low Carb Diets Don’t Work and Bumble Bees Can’t Fly”

Low Carb Crockpot Beef and Daikon Radish

Daikon Radish, for those of you unfamiliar with this vegetable
Daikon Radish, for those of you unfamiliar with this vegetable

This kitchen experiment was prompted by a recipe my wife made with short ribs and daikon radish. You often find this mild radish in Japanese cuisine, julienned into fine threads and served raw with sushi. I had never considered cooking radishes, but I thought I I was eating potatoes when I tried my wife’s dish.

This gave me the idea of a beef ‘stew’ of some sort so it was time to perform an experiment and potentially waste $20 worth of food. Of course, being a hot an muggy day, I was inspired to make it a crockpot recipe (I wonder about me.)

Using just the daikon and the stew meat as the main ingredients and a large can of fire-roasted tomatoes in a supporting role, I threw in whatever else I found lying about the fridge, low carb, and reaching it’s golden years in terms of edible lifespan.

  • 2 pound stew meat
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 shakes tabasco sauce
  • 1 large can fire-roasted chopped tomatoes
  • 10 shakes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 daikon radishes, each as long as a forearm, diced into chunks about the size of a thumb
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oregano

I used the fire-roasted tomatoes in particular to save a step: browning the meat beforehand. I think this step is to introduce the flavor notes from the browning and does not change anything else about the result. I spared myself the extra time spent but getting those flavor notes from the tomatoes.

I placed the beef at the bottom, then added can of tomatoes then the cut veggies.

You will note that I did NOT use beef stock nor add water. The hope was that the liquid from the tomatoes and the juices from the meat and veggies would be enough. Crock pots are tricky in that they need enough liquid to transfer the heat to the solid pieces of food – and crock pots are s-l-o-w so you don’t know for 8 hours if you’ve created a delight or a disaster when experimenting.

I crossed my fingers and set the crock pot on low for 8 hours.

After 6 hours I had a small bowl.

The stuff was great. 6 hours proved to be enough.

The combination of vegetables made for a flavorful broth, the meat was tender, the fire-roasted tomatoes added nice flavor notes and the Worcestershire sauce and tabasco added some complexity that didn’t overwhelm the dish or make it too spicy. The chunks of daikon reminiscent of potato in texture and played their part nicely. Imagine a vegetable soup with meat and potatoes.

I didn’t know what I was going to get when I started this, but these are all fine ingredients that tasted great together.

The feedback I got was it might have used a little more salt, and in retrospect I would dice the daikon a little smaller next time – I found myself breaking the daikon into smaller pieces.

Given the temperature, eating hot soup was somewhat bone-headed as it put me in a sweat, but regardless, I think I have another interesting crockpot recipe to add to my repertoire for the colder months when this would fit the bill after coming in from the cold on a winter day.

I have one of those large oval crockpots. I’m guesstimating that we have 8 servings here. If that’s the case, here’s the nutrition info:

Calories: 333
Net Carbs: 8 grams
Total fat: 20 grams
Protein: 26.5