Monthly Archives: August 2012

Grass-fed beef better for health than regular corn-fed one

If you are like me into trying to eat good as in tasting good and good for your health you must be already aware of 2 things:

  1. Fat comes in 3 sorts:
    • Saturated fat: not good, help grow the "bad" cholesterol
      • ..with trans-fats being hydrogenated fat (non-naturally occurring fat, at least not at large scale) industrial foods tended to use a lot until recently and being the worst of all
    • Mono-unsaturated fat: the "good" fat one find in Olive, Walnut, Rape seed/Canola… oils
    • Poly-unsaturated fat that are somewhat in between.
  2. Beef fat is bad for you, even worst than pork.

So, here is the news:

First, Poly-unsaturated fat are split into Omega 3 and 6 (at least mostly). Our current diet is too low in Omega 3 (roughly 1:40 ratio vs. Omega 3 vs. Omega 6, while it should be 1:1 !).

Second, beef fed with corn -which mostly contains Omega 6- is not only loaded with saturated fat but also with Omega 6 we already consume too much of.

However, grass, as all dark green leafs, is full of Omega 3 so when beef is fed grass vs. corn… their fat will be much more balanced as far as Omega 3 and 6 are concerned! This also holds true for pork, lamb, chicken….

Here is an extract of this book (summarized):

The Ultimate Omega-3 Diet: Evelyn Tribole: Books
ISBN: 0071469869
ISBN-13: 9780071469869

 

 

 

 

Most people consume fats their ancestors never ate. This means you probably consume about 20 times more omega-6 fats than your great-great-grandfather. You probably also do not consume enough omega-3 fats, whereas your ancestors most likely did. Before 1850, cattle grazed for years on grass that was naturally rich in omega-3 fats. People who ate that beef regularly got full helpings of omega-3 fats unknowingly. Today, cattle are slaughtered at about a year old. In their short life spans, they accumulate less omega-3 in their meat than cows did 150 years ago. Today, commercial growers feed cows and commercially raised chickens, pigs, lamb and fish a diet rich in omega-6 fats but poor in omega-3 fats.”

As far as I am concerned this was an interesting development as I’m already feeding my family solely with grass fed (and without anti-biotic or growth hormones) beef for the last 6 years.

I buy it in bulk (but pre-cut and frozen) from Amy and Mark Ramsden’s Mountain Beef farm who are small local growers in Oregon. Not only I was doing this because it was a small local farmer, diminishing my beef CO2 emission (little travel), tasted really good (their hamburgers have nothing in common with regular ones, even "Angus" ones), healthier (no hormones, no antibiotics), not helping GMO corn to expand even more but now I even know it’s better for our Omega 3 intake.

Have a look at their slide show, how their beef is raised: www.mountain-beef.com/slideshow

How to think

I was reading an interesting article from Ed Boyden on "how to think" a while back (www.technologyreview.com/blog/boyden/21925) and I liked the concept this researcher highlighted. These really fit well as part of a healthy GTD-like process, trying to optimize a knowledge worker time.

Read the full article for more details, but here are his 10 points, and how they relate to each-other and to GTD.

In a nutshell his concepts can be summarized around:

  • Generating and acting on ideas
  • Planning
  • Documenting
  • .. and a few more that are good concepts but not new ones.

 

  • Synthesize new ideas constantly. Never read passively. Annotate, model…
    How often do we think of something and quickly forget it because we either think we’ll remember it or we don’t have an easy way to take note?

Linked with that point, the following 2 "rules" help those ideas to either die quickly or come to fruition sooner rather than later.

  • Keep it simple.
  • Make your mistakes quickly.

On learning, his first one (rapid prototyping) is complementary to the previous 3 rules, while the other is more GTD like: Learn how to learn (rapidly). Which Boyden boils down to 2 key things:

  • Be able to rapidly prototype ideas
  • Know how your brain works. This is very similar to GTD’s model of doing things that demand lots of brain power when your brain is in its best shape for this kind of work. In my case it’s more later in the afternoon than early morning but the key point is really that it’s unique to each of us.

If you take his planning advices to the letter, however, you’ll spend most of your day planning:

  • Always have a long-term plan. Even if you change it every day.
  • Make contingency maps. Draw all the things you need to do on a big piece of paper

But he does have a point that at least thinking about those at high-level really helps to get ready. The trick is to find the balance between too much planning (vs. doing) or not enough.

The next two are about knowledge and how to capture it:

  • As you develop skills, write up best-practices protocols.
  • Document everything obsessively. If you don’t record it, it may never have an impact on the world.

Both talk to a plague of the information economy: knowledge often leave a group or company when the worker leaves. And I don’t even mention things we used to do and forgot how to do or the best way of doing them. Once again, the key is balance between not enough and too much.

Finally his two last points are actually very similar to what was heavily detailed is the "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" book (whose author Stephen Covey unfortunately recently left us) so I won’t comment more.

  • Work backward from your goal. (i.e. set clear goals !)
  • Collaborate

Getting things done project overload

One of the things I’ve been struggling a lot with when I started using GTD, was the concept of projects and, more specifically the lack of structure around these.

Until a few months back I always had problem really feeling comfortable with the concept of a laundry list of projects that you review each week. It’s just not the way my brain works. It’s just not how human brain works.

The "ah-ah" moment was went I linked this issue with the "Pyramid Principle" I learned a while back when I was in grad school .

The pyramid principle (applied to presentations or other forms of communication) starts from 2 assumptions (based of scientific research):

  1. Most people only have 3-5, 7 is considered exceptional, short-term memory "blocks".
  2. The brain then structures the data in a logical fashion to move this is longer term memory.

Therefore, to improve the chances of people retaining the data you present, you should:

  1. Group concepts in logical groups and subgroup
  2. At each level of this hierarchy, you want -ideally- to have 3 subgroups, 2 to 4/5 being the lower and higher boundaries

So, how does this apply to GTD projects?

Simple: the reason I felt uncomfortable was that my brain could not really get around, during my weekly review, going through a list of 50-100 projects. That I needed more structure to feel more confident I was not missing anything.

So, here is how I solved this.

  1. I never have an action not associated with a project. Lost in some kind of GTD Limbo. I just created a project "_misc" for all projects that are purely serial (not needing several actions in parallel) and not directly linked to an existing project. In the same idea I have a "IT – Admin" task for various actions I need not to forget but that do not really belong to a project, example of these tasks are such as filling up an expense report, change Voicemail message while traveling…)
  2. I structure my projects into blocks I can more easily digest. The structure is something like:
    1. Work projects linked with the business will have a "regular" name.
      • I will then list them with a small word in front of each project name to bucket them one more time such as:
        • Marketing: Shows
        • Marketing: Partners
        • Marketing: PR
        • Special Projects: A
        • Special Projects: B
        • etc…
      • Sorting the projects per name will allow me to visualize the buckets easily
      • I create this list when my year begin, starting from a list on OneNote (being much more easy to work with when you want to organize your thoughts) that I can then easily send to Outlook through the "create an task in outlook" feature.
    2. Team Management related project, same concept, this time adding a "x_" in front (same reason: that they all appear together when sorted by name
    3. Personal projects, this time starting with "y_". In this case I can even sort them out using Outlook filters for views and have "work per project" and "perso per project" views.

This structure allows me to:

  • Avoid having something too complicated,
  • Stay within Outlook capabilities (with Netcentrics add-in to have the additional "project" field though)
  • Have the full list of projects in one view
  • Still be able to digest the information when going through it each week and spot more easily if I miss something