Weekly Head Voices #156: Karma Chameleon.

Scene from a recent lunch with a very flat cat. Whilst appreciating these moments with direct experience mode set to 11, one does have to realise that it’s all much more complicated than it looks.

Welcome to this, the 156th edition of the Weekly Head Voices, voices who are planning to sing about the two weeks from Monday October 8 to Sunday October 21.

Summer has arrived, and it’s really very hot down here.

As I’m writing this at 21:41, I am doing my best to limit my motion to the absolute minimum in a bid to keep my temperature within healthy limits.

You have to imagine me sitting utterly still, almost like a chameleon on a twig, with only my fingers making small darting movements over the keyboard.

Time is fun when you’re having flies.

Karma Running.

This morning, after losing all my karma in traffic (there was an accident on one of the main roads in my town, resulting in the normally already impressive level of stupidity of the driving mob, which I am part of, reaching hitherto unseen levels; WHEN IS THE AI GOING TO TAKE OVER PLEASE?!), I started my long road to forgiveness, and zen, by taking a barefoot run on the beach near my place of work.

It looked like this:

Goldilocks sand: Not too hard, not too soft, just right.

I wish I could better communicate how it felt.

Imagine the 30 Celsius morning sun on your back, a slight breeze from the sea and your bare feet rhythmically brushing the wet sand as you glide softly along the coast.

Simply keep on doing this until your body creates the stillness that your mind needs.

This is my new favourite run.


A friend from work told me about this idea of exercising at 80% of your maximum heart rate.

The idea behind this is to train your aerobic system without injuring anything, and also to be able to do so with much more volume (read: more kilometres).

Four weeks ago I tried to squeeze in too much running in the half hour I had at my disposal. Due to me being doubly stupid, I also did this in my Xero Tolerance 5mm sole sandals, and so I was rewarded with a brand new kind of pain in my posterior tibial tendon.

This is the same tendon previously mentioned on this blog, also in the context of running injuries.

However, this time I must have injured the tendon more effectively than the previous time (practice makes perfect!), because the pain seemed to be a more permanent new inhabitant of my foot.

Long story short, the suggestion of lower heart rate training came at the perfect time, with my ankle serving as a continuous and visceral (literally) reminder to keep an eye on my heart rate.

This has been going swimmingly.

I am slowly increasing my distance, but, more importantly, runs are again characterised by a whole lot of grinning.

It has not escaped me that a man running on sandals (or barefoot) with a probably fairly unpredictable-looking grin on his big hairy face could give fellow humans pause for thought.

Grab bag of thought- and/or debate-provoking pieces.

Not exercising worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease, study reveals

Over a period of more than 20 years, 122000 people were put on a treadmill at Cleveland clinic. It turns out that exercise plays a crucial role in not dying.

Core quote: “Being unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test has a worse prognosis, as far as death, than being hypertensive, being diabetic or being a current smoker”.

Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth

I’m really sorry about this one, fellow meat lovers.

This also looks like a pretty solid study. Core quote: “The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world.”

(I have slowly started to work on the vegetarian recipe section of my notes.)

World’s largest sleep study shows too much shut-eye can be bad for your brain

It is well known that we here at The Voices are huge fans of sleep.

However, now it turns out that lots of sleep is not going to cut it. You have to sleep just the right amount: Not too much and not too little.

You probably knew this, but this large study confirms it: Between 7 and 8 hours of sleep, no more and no less, is best for optimal mental performance.

Hard hitting quote: “One startling revelation was that most participants who slept four hours or less performed as if they were almost nine years older.”

The End

Thank you for connecting with me by reading this post. I am already looking forward to our next encounter, whichever form that may take!

25 thoughts on “Weekly Head Voices #156: Karma Chameleon.”

  1. I made a mental note of that meat thing to use the next time some animal cuddling hipster presses my buttons on how every animal should run free in kilometers of space before we eat it.

    Knew those people were screwing over my planet. If only they would stop slowing down the animal food skyscrapers we could reclaim land the size of entire countries instead of waste even more of it per ratio.

    Or is that not how the results of that study were meant to be used?

  2. My family and I have been what I call “heathen vegans” for years. What this means is we aim for 100% plant based meals most of the time, and then every few days we have a meat day. Often I’ll eat a meal of only meat, a crispy lamb shoulder for example… mmm. When my cholesterol was a very high 6.9 some years ago I took it down to 5.4 in 3 months on a vegan diet. The doctor said this was impossible without statins. He is wrong, at least in my body. The benefits are clear. It’s been a long learning curve but we now have a set of killer vegan meals and I have been convinced that the complaints about vegan meals is simply a lack of knowledge on how to cook vegan tasty. For example, my wife’s sesame ramen is better than any meat version. For a good start, check out the 5 minute dinners from my 2 favourite Irishmen: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLb98DDyoMyQramTMRAfiRryuZmN0mtqOS

      1. Will do. My wife has a collection of printouts from various places. I’ll scan and send when I get home next week. Btw, I truely hate faux meat. I don’t understand why anyone tries to create pretend meat. It’s never going to convince carnivors, so wtf! Also, we have a fancy food processor. Highly recommended for the more advanced stuff. The sour cream substitute for burritos made mainly from cashews in the processor is in my opinion tastier that real cream.

      2. She sent me these you can get to right away, along with her comments. I’ll send others to your inbox when I scan them next week. The buddha bowl is amazing, seriously. Doesn’t look like much but when you pop those pepitas on top and they are still sizzling, super yum. Don’t ever skimp on things like the coriander leaves or nuts. These are things that can make or break the recipe. Try adding a new recipe every week and build up a repertoire menu. Enjoy:

        This one is an excellent recipe. Super yummy!! The white rice can be replaced with brown if you prefer.

        This one can feel like a mission to make because of all the chopping and toasting the pepitas but boy it’s worth it!!! Delicious as dinner or take to work lunch or a side to some main dish. Super nutritious.

        So this recipe is very easy to make. You can make it as a soup if preferred. It is easy to make and tasty and cheap. I usually fry the onion etc with coconut oil as it adds a lovely flavor. Sometimes I add some vegetables to this and often times some spinach at the very end, or on day two to change it slightly.

        For breakfast, these are easy to prep in single portions in a small glass the night before, nothing to cook, and then just add the fresh fruit in the morning. Keeps you going all morning.

  3. One surprising key point from the exercise article: “Extreme cardiorespiratory fitness (≥2 SDs above the mean for age and sex) was associated with the lowest risk-adjusted all-cause mortality compared with all other performance groups.”

    I’ve steadily been migrating to more vegetarian eating & cooking, with a once a week, smaller-but-higher-quality-meat barbecue to offset culturally induced cravings. Then, today, I had a lunch experience that wholly changed my understanding of how good vegan cooking can be. This was at Sanctuary Vegan Bistro: they even share some secrets in their cookbook: https://www.sanctuarybistro.com/vegan-cookbook/

      1. You may want to be careful how much dairy protein you consume, specifically casein. There are many studies linking it directly as a cancer promoter.

        For example, this human study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4166373/
        Conclusions: The milk protein, casein, promotes the proliferation of prostate cancer cells such as PC3 and LNCaP.

        I first heard about this with a rat study where the rats were exposed to a known carcinogen, and then their diet was altered with varying degrees of casein. At 20% calorie intake, cancers formed. When reduced to 5%, cancers stopped developing and in some cases retreated.

        The topic is controversial only because of lobby groups in the dairy industry. The evidence is compelling. I love cheese, but I now just limit how much of it I consume. Again, it’s simple, too much of a good thing…

    1. Fab link, thanks, added to my list. I like to think that there is a secret movement towards at least partially vegan diets. Secret because of the weakling stigma attached to it. That stigma is being blown away by the increasing number of extreme athletes that are gaining performance over the animal protein fanatics. The surprising yet obvious fact is that only plants can manufacture protein (and technically fungi if you don’t consider them plants). And it turns out that primary proteins (from plants) are better for you than secondary proteins (collected by animals that eat plants). It’s weird to think that all the protein in that cow was made by the grass, not by the cow. The cow just accumulated the grass protein. The dietary problems with many people trying vegan diets is that they miss out on the whole foods. That is compounded by the lack of knowledge in both nutrition and taste in a vegan meal.

      I have a rule: eat food with fibre, and everything else will follow. When you eat white rice for example, only the carbs remain, the germ is removed, which contains all the protein. A bowl of whole rice a day contains more than 3 times the protein required to sustain an adult, and is even enough for a healthy growing child.

      I have another rule: don’t feast every day. That’s what’s wrong with the western diet. It’s not that we eat red meat, it’s eating this every day. I like to think of eating in two ways: normal eating, and feasting. If you limit your feasting to every second or third day, you’ll maintain a healthy diet. This way you still get to eat all the “cultural” food, haha, thanks for that too.

      Regarding quality, since we eat so much less of it, it’s easy to absorb the extra cost of organic meat. But for me it’s more about the quality of life for the animal. The last 20 years have seen an increase in factory farming, which in my opinion is nothing short of torture for much of the animals’ lives. I cannot justify a few bucks savings in return for torture. In Australia, the organic label guarantees welfare standards that I think should be a minimum, not just in the rearing, but right up to the minute of slaughter. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. There are other labels but when I looked into them, most are marketing strategies that are designed to comfort the consumer an does little extra for the humane treatment of the animals. It’s sick and I don’t participate with my wallet.

      I might sound like a raving hippie, but I’m not. These are all logical conclusions. I’ll override my logical conclusions to my remaining vices such as alcohol. Cheers.

      1. Thank you for writing multiple interesting blog posts in these here comments Karl, this is amazing.

        I found your fibre-rule and rice example especially valuable. Will try to apply.

        1. Sometimes I get a bit too passionate about this stuff, and can’t help the brain dump. Glad to hear it’s welcome information.

          1. Thank you Karl, very useful stuff and couldn’t agree more.

            I also found that the veggie meals open up a whole new universe of surprising flavours, but it takes a significant effort to change the habits we grow up with. Not so easy in a rushed society. Also I’m lucky to have a wife that enjoys finding new recipes, and I realize that makes the transition easier. At the end of the day we’re just replacing nice flavours (lamb choppies! Hmm) with other nice flavours (sweet potatoe wraps! Also Hmm), losing nothing, gaining a tasty and healthy diet and doing something positive for the planet and those poor little lambs with their big teary eyes. Hurray :)!

            Will definitely try a few of your recipes. And SSHT don’t you know you’re not supposed to tell about the secret movement??

      2. The animal quality of life was what did it for me, too. I drove down the I-5 one day, looked out the window, and felt very ill; those feedlots are highly disturbing (no grass, no space, bad quality air). We started small by switching to “pasture raised” eggs: in California, at least, you have to be careful, because “organic” and “free range” don’t mean what you would think.

        And since you mention fiber and rice: our favorite ingredient now is beans—great for both fiber and protein! If you come across any gluten free vegan recipes you like, please pass them on (gluten-free because of a Celiac in the family, not to be hip in San Francisco :). And those Irish guys with the blender are pretty awesome; cookbook’s on the way.

  4. “Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth”….. Mmmm……

    I am sure that not producing any GOU’s reduces one’s impact on our planet from near infinity to a tiny constant…. so…. “Enjoy your salads, you… you human gazelles!!!!” he shouted from the top of the food chain, on the way to Dale’s Black Angus Grill!!! Heee haaaa!!!

    1. I’m really careful in raising opinions in such exalted company, but I feel your comment was ignored by most of the commentators on this post. This while I have a complicated family with 3 GOU’s. Population growth probably has the biggest impact on our planet, although we should apparently plateau at about 13bn eventually. Feeding that many people is problematic.
      But I would like some advice on converting pre-teen GOU’s to less-meat diets.

      1. You have answered your own question…. take them to the vet… he’ll know what to do…. (Hehe…running for cover) :)

  5. I have gone from raving vegan hippy to conscientious consumer and have settled as a bit of a fatalist when it comes to environmental topics in general. I do not think that there is such a thing as sustainebility, only supply and demand. We are a glorified bacteria population in a petri dish and only environmental pressure (i.e. a limit in supply) will curb demand.

    Sure, certain enlightened individuals (hat tip readers) may make purchasing decisions that make them feel better and this is a good thing, possibly even a great thing but I do not see the real impact on a macro scale.

    You can buy all the Priuses you want but then a single accident e.g. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliso_Canyon_gas_leak will offset the gains from like seven million Priuses and where does your cow fit in and here we are, what difference did it make?

    Stated differently, we know that rapidly-growing urban middle class populations demand more expensive meat like beef on the one hand and on the other hand we know that globally the average person is becoming increasingle wealthy, so I think it stands to reason that the demand for beef will only increase going forward.

    In my opinion people should focus on what works for them. What works for me is lots of excercise, a healthy diet, good eating patterns, enough sleep and a day or two of cheating per week (on everything except the excercise).

    Actually it seems I have just settled on being a raving libertarian…

    p.s. on the topic of fake meats I am regularly eating Impossible Burgers ( http://impossiblefoods.com ) and I can’t tell the difference… would be curious to know what their carbon footprint is compared to beef.

    1. Most of your comment makes a lot of sense to me. We are all trying to find our way I guess.

      That being said, I see every day, down here, how consumer pressure improves the behaviour of large supermarket chains (for example), even when that ends up costing the consumer more. Maybe we are able to move in the direction of more sustainable at least?

      Please be very wary of that libertarianism (or were you joking?!). As humans, I think we already have more than enough holding us back from advancement. Sure, personal freedom is important, but caring for each other is at the very least equally important, perhaps more. Libertarianism seems to emphasise the former at the cost of the latter.

      Anyways, I recently learned to try and stop arguing with ideologically loaded terms like “libertarianism”, and rather to strip everything back to what we all truly want as humans. We share the desire to recognise and be recognised, and to care and be cared for, no?

      P.S. I seem to have pulled much of your comment out of context, but you triggered my ideological keyword alarm. :P Let me know how wrong I am. :)

      1. This feels like old facebook where people used to actually talk. I love it.

        On the topic of consumer pressure to supermarket chains, I am futtocking skeptical that the average consumer is “pressuring” in the right directions, where “right” is defined as the optimal solution to the trade off between pollution, energy consumption, resource depletion, etc.

        Example 1: reusable porcelain cups do not seem to be clear winners compared to recycled disposable cups. Example study: http://www.bekerrecycling.nl/nl/file/20110104172024/3/An-environmental-comparison-of-single-use-cups-and-reusable-cups-.html

        Example 2: “farm to table”. This movement seems to ignore economies of scale and is likely just a millenial fad IMO. There has been some work done on this e.g. “The ecology of scale” paper, some stuff in Wikipedia under “Food miles”.

        I think we have seen time and time again how public policy can be misguided. Just because there is consensus does not make it true or good. I still have a little chuckle at all the “no cellphone use allowed” signs at gas stations, or how much consumer pressure there is to stock homeopathic products at Whole Foods, etc.

        On the topic of libertarianism, you make a good point. I just don’t have enough time to think about this stuff so this really helps. It does seem that there needs to be some kind of trade off between doing whats best for you, and taking others into consideration. More medidation required on this one…

      2. p.s. I realised I’m probably playing devil’s advocate on much of this stuff. My ideal supermarket (as a proxy for what people should be eating) consists of loads of fresh stuff and leafy greens with a small selection of red and white meats, and a tiny selection of fish from sustainably managed populations.

        Certainly in contrast with the majority daily “meat feast” diets we are seeing. However this is where my libertarian side comes up again, since it well known that too much meat is bad for you, so if everyone optimized for what’s good for them, that should solve the red meat demand problem? Maybe I’m a healthetarian

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