Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s how to keep the haters from spoiling it…

What you are grateful for contributes to your happiness. What you take for granted, doesn’t. I’m grateful for my family, and for still having access to plenty of food. I don’t take that for granted, because I know that food supplies are getting tight worldwide.

To me, Thanksgiving is a typical religious harvest-festival. It’s related to Erntedankfest in some German lands. It’s also a similar concept to Diwali in India, celebrating and giving thanks for the rice harvest. Personally, I resist turning it into a secularized, commercialized celebration of gluttony.

What’s for dinner at Kalkin’s house? A typical Thanksgiving dinner at my house involves traditional crops from the New World, such as cranberries, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, wild rice, corn, and beans, but in varied forms, not quite traditional but not too exotic either. Cranberry pie or tarts. Corn or cranberry tea-bread. Pumpkin or sweet-potato stuffed pastries. Stuffed pumpkins. Mixed-grain pilafs with plenty of wild-rice. It would be very typical for me that a pie or pastry be the savory main course instead of dessert. This year it’s pumpkin-spice birthday cake for my wife. Compared to most families, we eat a much lighter meal, in fact not significantly heavier than on any other day, though perhaps a little richer. Compared to most Americans, we eat a much higher volume of vegetables, around 3 times or so as much. Home-made desserts are only slightly sweet, for both aesthetic reasons and so as not to spike our insulin levels. For the same reason I do not add sugar or marshmallows to sweet-potatoes; aren’t they already sweet enough?! This year the sweet potatoes have PURPLE flesh; those used to be more common and are still common in some countries but got rare in the USA. I like the orange ones too, preferably deep orange.

One of my buddies who hunts plans his annual “meat-induced coma”. At his house, the main course is usually venison. He likes to talk to his kids about family solidarity.

The America-hating, God-hating controlled media, political class, and several politically-activist organizations have published a number of articles about how to promote their political agendas around the Thanksgiving dinner table. Several have even openly encouraged picking fights! I’m also seeing numerous claims that Thanksgiving is “racist”, implying that it shouldn’t be celebrated at all, as part of the neoMarxist cultural cleansing of America.

I have a better idea: preserve family integrity and focus on spending good times with people you love. Be a good host or a good guest; be the man who causes everyone’s face to light up when he enters the room, because they know they’re going to have a good time.

But here are some tips just in case some approval-seeking family members drink the kool-aid:

  • Expressing disagreement often backfires. Instead of discouraging someone from advocating bad ideas, it actually reinforced the behavior! It actually gives them a little jolt of dopamine—a neurochemical reward. “I was a good boy or girl and deserve a pat on the head for political advocacy!”
  • It especially backfires if they consider you low status, or they secretly don’t like you anyway. It’s the same reason bullies feel good by hurting low-status people.
  • They seek the approval of high-status people, astonishingly even if the high-status person is nowhere in sight and has no idea what they’ve done. It’s like Pavlov’s dogs salivating with no food in sight; a completely conditioned response that has nothing to do with anything relevant to the event.
  • Instead of expressing disagreement, react as little as possible.
  • By all means, avoid getting upset! Instead of taking it as a challenge, think of the other person as being a little crazy, and you’re trying to help control the craziness.
  • Bear in mind that it was the haters that put them up to this. They’re not usually creative enough to think this stuff up on their own. They’re looking for approval and validation. Don’t hold it against them that they are all-too-human.
  • Say as little as possible in response. Ideally, look back intently like you’re really paying strong attention, and waiting for them to say something more, as if you’re waiting for them to get to the point. This might seem counterintuitive. Aren’t you hoping they’ll shut up? Well, they will feel increasingly awkward and frustrated if you keep waiting for more without giving them any feedback to encourage them.
  • Give as little verbal feedback as possible, neither positive nor negative. “Oh. I see. Really? Is that so?”
  • DON’T tell them what you are thinking, even if they ask. Stay quiet! Oddly enough, let them do all the talking. Trust me. This is a trick used in high-stakes negotiations when one side is weak.
  • Turn it into a game. Have fun with it. See if you can get them to keep talking until they get flustered.
  • Once you’ve exhausted them, change the subject.
  • Once the topic is something else, give positive feedback for anything you agree with. “You’re right! Good point! I agree!”

There are some tricks I could teach you above and beyond this one, but they would take a lot more time to explain. KISMIF (keep it simple, make it fun).

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, fill it with love and family solidarity, and may your travels be safe and comfortable.

Stop calling heart-attack food “paleo”

I keep seeing on social media where some guy will post photos of his ribs-and-booze supper, someone else will chime in warning him that his diet is unhealthy, and he insists that “no, no, food pyramid is all wrong, this is the way you’re supposed to eat. It’s paleo.”

The USDA food pyramid might very well be wrong, but so is the idea that prehistoric people ate “lots of meat and no carbs”. Exactly how they ate depended on where in the world they were; they ate what was available locally. Most of them would have eaten a high ratio of foraged wild vegetables.

It would have some carbs too—just not as high a ratio, not refined, not fried, and not necessarily year-round. Simple sugars—like the ones found in that barbeque sauce those ribs are drenched in—are worse than starches, because they hit the bloodstream so fast. In excess, they trigger insulin desensitization. The ratio of carbohydrates increased once humans were civilized, because carbohydrates are easy to store, and stored food is what makes predictable processes possible. Those were mostly starches; until historically fairly recently, refined sugar was a luxury reserved for the rich.

This is closer to “paleo”, but balance probably not optimal.

Carbs supported the calorie-intensive heavy-labor lifestyle associated with farming and construction. Carbs are not as calorie-dense as either fat or protein, but they burn more efficiently. Hunter-gatherers don’t do heavy labor; by definition they don’t do farming or heavy construction. They spend their work hours foraging and sneaking up on prey, and a lot of their time is spent resting and playing. As people living in urban and suburban areas have shifted into more sedentary lifestyles, their need for carbs has shifted back down again.

To put this into perspective, life is all about maintaining homeostasis, or in other word, a balance between deadly extremes. Too hot, and you die of heat-stroke. Too cold, and you die of hypothermia. Too wet and you drown. Too dry and you die of thirst. As soon as your diet starts getting extreme, suspect that you are getting too much of one thing and not enough of another. Our ancestors knew this, but fat Americans, and increasingly Europeans, are falling for food fads.

“Diet”, by the way, is a noun, not a verb. Diet is what you eat regularly, not something you do only after you get fat again. Eat sensibly all the time, instead of starving yourself or eating fake diet foods to compensate for an unhealthy diet or lifestyle.

  • Whatever else you eat, eat a high ratio of green veggies to slow down your digestion and clean out your guts.
  • That’s not a serving of veggies, it’s a garnish! Most Americans should eat about 2 or 3 times as much green veggies as they actually do.
  • Watery, quick-growing vegetables like cucumbers, zucchini, and lettuce are insubstantial. Eat hearty cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage or collards, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, daily, every meal. Generous daily servings of bok choi (and fish) are how people in Hong Kong live so long despite extreme urban stress.
  • Green veggies, not corn or potatoes, both of which are loaded with carbs. You can eat carbs but don’t count them as your serving of veggies.
  • Avoid fried carbs. Some of them are carcinogenic. Avoid potato chips and french-fries (chips in UK).
  • Favor low-sugar fruits like blueberries, strawberries, grapefruit, and tomatoes over sugary fruits like grapes and pineapple.
  • Avoid processed foods and especially fast-food. Especially avoid sodas, even diet sodas.
  • Don’t eat preserved meat! It’s full of nitrates associated with heart disease and cancer. I’m looking at you, mein deutscher Junge! I’m aware that a lot of publicity has come out recently claiming that nitrates and nitrites are good for you, but I suspect that’s PR, not real science.
  • Don’t eat hydrogenated fats (“trans-fats”); your body’s mechanisms to get them out of your arteries can’t handle their broken structures. Not realizing that trans-fats were the real culprit was what triggered the anti-fat hysteria of the 1970s and 1980s. Fast foods are loaded with these; they’re created when oil is used for deep frying over and over again. Avoid deep-fried and breaded foods generally. Use coconut oil in lieu of shortening for baked goods; you’ll get used to and eventually start liking the flavor.
  • Polyunsaturated oils (like sunflower oil or safflower oil) are suspect; they go rancid easily and might be doing that in your body. Eat them in moderation and preferably in natural rather than refined forms. Use olive oil for salad dressing, and sauté in cold-pressed canola.
More of these, please

The problem with making generalities is that they obscure some important details. Diets are often grossly classified in terms of ideologies rather than in terms of optimal health.

With that qualification, “pescatarians” average the greatest longevity (all other factors being the same), followed by strict vegans. That makes sense, because pescaterians are getting more (preferably cold-water) fish oil, and therefor a more nearly optimal ratio of omega fatty acids. Eating a lot of fish is probably what contributes to Japanese longevity despite a lot of other bad habits. The vegans are probably getting more fiber, and they are probably more conscious of everything they eat; in other words, it’s probably not eschewing animal products altogether that contributes to their longevity; it’s all that brown rice, quinoa, and kale that they do eat.

If meat-eaters avoid preserved meats, the longevity gap between themselves and vegetarians narrows, which is why I am wary of preserved meats.

One of the world’s healthiest cuisines

“Vegetarian” doesn’t mean much; it’s a diet defined by what is not eaten rather than what is. It’s a diet defined by ideology, not optimal health. It could be very healthy or unhealthy. I would guess that roughly the healthiest vegetarian diet on the planet would be that of southern India; that and the relative rarity of vices among Indians (drugs and booze less common than in Europe and the Americas; satellite porn usually the worst of it) are why southern Indians live longer than most people who live at same level of poverty, and even longer than many people who are more affluent but have unhealthy habits.

Additional reading:

I’d post some cookbooks if I didn’t think they would probably be faddish, and the authors not lousy cooks. Maybe someone else can recommend one, and I’ll post it later. I think I eat healthy but my diet isn’t mainstream enough to recommend to a broad audience. You probably already know what is healthy; if you just do more of your own cooking, and stop eating processed foods and fast foods, that would be enough to get you back to the trimmer physiques of your recent ancestors.

This is worth reading to understand some of the mechanisms, even if you don’t have heart disease or cancer yet. It’s sort of like needing to buy insurance before your house burns down. It’s also worth mentioning that the author is a bit of a shady character, but that doesn’t bother me. He’s recommending a low-inflammation diet because he thinks it works, not because he’s trying to be a goody-goody.