Antifragile Eating, Washing Dishes & Games That Compound
Here is your weekly dose of Longevity Minded, three things I’m exploring in the realms of healthy longevity and simple living this week.
Let’s dive in.
🫀 Live Longer
Becoming Antifragile: The 1,000 Year Old Diet
He is regarded as one of the most profound thinkers of modern times, largely for developing the concept of antifragility.
Antifragile: Things that benefit or thrive as a result of stressors, shocks, volatility, noise, mistakes, faults, attacks, or failure.
For example, exercise is an antifragile activity. We put our bodies under stress, shock, and strain but yet it benefits us by making us stronger and healthier.
Of the many areas Taleb covers in his book Antifragile, he describes an antifragile way of eating. His approach to nutrition won me over by being simplistic, highly logical, and grounded in evolution and our ancestor’s way of life.
Here are the guidelines:
Eat nothing invented or re-engineered by humans.
Drink no liquid that isn’t ~1,000 years old (water, coffee, tea, wine―and no, this isn’t an invitation to drink as much wine as you can gullet).
Fasting is good for us and natural. When you starve yourself of food, the bad proteins are broken down first and recycled by your body (a process called autophagy).
In nature, we had to expend energy to eat. Lions do not eat then hunt for fun. So, we do not need to load up on food before doing something. Instead, re-feed after.
We consumed plants regularly and meat irregularly. So, it makes sense to eat mostly plant-based most of the time and feast on meat intermittently.
This approach is echoed and summarized by Michael Pollan in his book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto:
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
💪 Feel Healthier
Washing Dishes Mindfully
Whenever I take a break from meditation, I kick myself for ever stopping as soon as I begin the practice again.
This passage from Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh in his book The Miracle of Mindfulness perfectly captures a key benefit I seek from practicing meditation.
“If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.”
What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes.
In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink.
If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future—and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.”
🧠 Cultivate Purpose
Playing Long-Term Games That Compound
Time for self-reflection. Ask yourself:
If I kept doing everything I did today, every day for a year, where would I end up? Is this aligned with my goals? Is this where (and who) I want to be?
Achieving and becoming everything you dream of is accomplished through the decisions you make on the micro-scale of a day. Every minute beholds a new opportunity to change your trajectory over time.
As Albert Einstein famously said:
“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn't, pays it.”
But compounding doesn’t just apply to our finances.
If we are tactful in the design of our days, the profound benefits of compounding will accumulate over time in each area of our lives (relationships, career, health, hobbies, etc.).
So, what actions can you start (or continue) taking today that have the possibility to produce something great with time?
And, as always, please give me feedback. Which section is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Other suggestions? Just hit reply to this email and let me know.
Much love to you and yours,
P.S. If you enjoyed today’s newsletter, follow me @jackrossdixon on Twitter for daily tweets and threads on how to live longer, feel healthier, and cultivate purpose while living simply.