Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

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BRUTE
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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by BRUTE »

there's likely a near infinite number of variables that influence cancer. humans should likely not work, not sit, not drive, and much more. brute has done optimizations in one area that had major other benefits - he doesn't eat this way just because of cancer. cancer is just a bonus.

incidentally, brute currently lives away from urban pollution and doesn't drink tap water.

regarding the marriage, brute is not sure this is true. brute has yet to see a happy marriage last longer than a year ;)

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Ego
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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by Ego »

jennypenny wrote: I know you're a big proponent of hormetism (sp?) which I think means deliberately stressing your body or subjecting it to minor 'harm' to try to make it stronger. Is it possible to distinguish between the small stuff that will do long term damage and the small stuff that will make the body more resilient?
On an individual basis I think it is very difficult to distinguish between the two in the short-term. Over time, maybe. But by the time I figure out that I've tried the wrong thing, or overdosed, it could be too late. That's why epidemiological studies are important.

Precautionary principle.

ETA, A good example is the Hygiene Hypothesis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygiene_hypothesis) which has some good epidemiological evidence as well as experimental evidence.
Last edited by Ego on Wed Jul 27, 2016 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

jennypenny said: Is it possible to distinguish between the small stuff that will do long term damage and the small stuff that will make the body more resilient?
You are trying to bring out the anti-fragile capabilities of your body, so the answer would likely most often be infrequent or irregular large doses, rather than frequent, small regular doses. For instance, if you aren't a regular drinker, occasionally getting very drunk can reset some of your brain systems, and maybe even knock you out of a state of depression. Unfortunately, although many of us would like to determine the perfect protocol, it might be the case that the imperfect, irregular protocol is best. For instance, the worst thing about the SAD might be how very standard it is. Maybe somebody should to an experiment in which they follow a completely different diet every week for a year, and see how that goes.

BRUTE
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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by BRUTE »

7Wannabe5 wrote:Maybe somebody should to an experiment in which they follow a completely different diet every week for a year, and see how that goes.
what would be measured?

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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I don't know. I guess the same stuff that was measured in "Super-Size Me" and "Fat Head."

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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by theanimal »

I'm in agreement with Ego and Brute here. I find that most objections so far have followed along the lines of avoiding a perceived austere diet (or whatever noun you wish to substitute). This is the same exact objection people have with the ERE lifestyle. It is obvious that someone living an ERE lifestyle is not living a lesser quality life than someone following/pursuing the standard consumer lifestyle.

I think we may be experiencing a difference in Wheaton Levels here. As Jacob mentioned in another thread with regards to fitness, how does a couch potato realize what they're missing or how far out of shape they actually are compared to someone who excercises vigorously every day? I believe it's the same with food.

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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by shade-tree »

Ego wrote:I was gearing up, but then said to myself fuck it let the idiots eat whatever they want.
+1

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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

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thanimal said: I'm in agreement with Ego and Brute here. I find that most objections so far have followed along the lines of avoiding a perceived austere diet (or whatever noun you wish to substitute). This is the same exact objection people have with the ERE lifestyle. It is obvious that someone living an ERE lifestyle is not living a lesser quality life than someone following/pursuing the standard consumer lifestyle.
Well, it kind of depends on what you mean by austere, in terms of both ERE and Diet. There's a difference between choosing to not spend money on owning a car and choosing to never spend money on symphony tickets, and there is a difference between choosing to not eat Doritos and choosing to never eat Fresh Plum Napoleon. Because I have become so reflexively or semi-compulsively frugal over the years, I sometimes err on the side of not spending money in realms where the pleasure or the benefit truly would greatly outweigh the expense for me. Off the top of my head, two categories would be tickets for high quality live theatrical or musical performances, and well-crafted, expensive bras. If I were to blindly follow Jacob's lead in the realm of frugality, my budget in these two realms would be far less than optimal for ME.

In the realm of diet, I will frankly acknowledge that I err more on the side of sometimes eating the Doritos, and, therefore, not manifesting my own ideal behavior in the realm of food. However, because I understand that in any realm, blind allegiance to simple rules or formula is unlikely to prove optimal, I am not about to jump on anybody's Vegan or Paleo bandwagon. What I should do, because I can very well "afford" it, given my cooking and gardening skills, and plenitude of dining partners who have similar skills/resources and/or plenty of money to spend on any sort of food or dining experience, is place my standard at the level of the very highest quality possible, and I do not, and will never include raw kale whipped in a blender with vinegar tonic and peppermint extract, tofu cheesecake (I have been served this abomination countless times within my social circle. I also forbid tofu turkey, tofu hotdogs, or anything else tofu does not and will not ever truly resemble. Tofu is a delicious and nutritious food when prepared in many ways that honor both its unique texture and flavor. It should not serve as play-dough for Vegans.) with or without crust of bran, or a meal that consists of a cup of coffee doused with amino acid powder and butter and a side of Canadian bacon, in the realm of my standard. If you will all excuse me, I have just moved my copies of "How to Cook a Wolf", "The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book", "The Art of Simple Food", and "Stocking Up" to the top of my stacks, and I have some reading to do.

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Ego
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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

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7Wannabe5 wrote:... and plenitude of dining partners who have similar skills/resources and/or plenty of money to spend on any sort of food or dining experience, is place my standard at the level of the very highest quality possible, and I do not, and will never include raw kale whipped in a blender with vinegar tonic and peppermint extract, tofu cheesecake (I have been served this abomination countless times within my social circle. I also forbid tofu turkey, tofu hotdogs, or anything else tofu does not and will not ever truly resemble. Tofu is a delicious and nutritious food when prepared in many ways that honor both its unique texture and flavor. It should not serve as play-dough for Vegans.) .....
It should not serve as play-dough for vegans. There you have it. McCarthy has spoken.

For someone who experiences pleasures and delights from things that are so outside the norm they are nearly impossible for most here to comprehend, you display a remarkable lack of curiosity and inflexible thinking with regard to the things others find pleasurable and delightful.

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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Ego said: It should not serve as play-dough for vegans. There you have it. McCarthy has spoken.
That was my faux blue-haired matron voice. My sister was cooking some tofu hotdogs for dinner just last night. She lived in Santa Cruz, California for many years. I lived or worked in Ann Arbor for most of my adult life. I get that it is part of the tribal food of your people for which you have sentimental attachment ;) Your people and my people are not so very different. IOW, I was just making the same sort of smart-azz comment I might make to my sister if she asked me if I wanted one of her tofu hotdogs. I actually very much like tempeh reubens, for instance, and there is a copy of "The Inspired Vegan" in my kitchen, and "The Moosewood Cookbook" is one of my most tattered and spattered volumes. However, sausages made out of pig meat simply taste much better than tofu hotdogs to me. BRUTE would tell me that the sausage hotdog is better for me. You would say the tofu hotdog is better for me. Since I don't know for sure which one of you is right, I will eat what I like best of all things.

Dragline
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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by Dragline »

Ego wrote:I am not doing a very good job of communicating what I mean.

I get the feeling people think I am saying that they should continue past the point of diminishing returns on this graph...

Image

I am not! Why? Because that graph does not represent how the world works. The world works like this....

Image

Dragline's (80% Healthy Habits / 20% Unhealthy Habits) metric encourages people to stop at or before the point of diminishing marginal returns.
Not exactly, but maybe I can explain a little better using the graphs you provided. I think the graph misrepresents reality not due to the shape of its curve, but due to the illusory certainty of using a line, which implies a known and fixed causal relationship between the variables on the two axes that does not vary.

It reality, I think it would look more like a funnel of probability distribution, narrow on the left and getting very wide on the right but decisively capped on the high (positive outcome) end. What you cannot know is exactly where in the distribution your individual outcome will be, especially over long periods of time. At a certain point, the potential variation (random outcome) overwhelms the potential benefits and your longevity becomes more due to luck than to anything you did. Moreover, when I say "you cannot know", I mean that literally -- no matter how much data you have, you still cannot know because you are dealing with a complex adaptive system. (Believing that everything is knowable with enough data is a 18th/19th Century idea that is fundamental error in perception -- look up Laplace's Demon for more on that.)

A better illustration might be made by putting "healthy habits" on the x-axis and "actual longevity" on the y-axis with a similar funnel, which would similarly widen yet be decisively capped on the positive end.

I realize there are those that do not accept human limitations on the "high end" implied by the Gompertz mortality curve (listen to Dave Asprey on Bullet-Proof Radio for one, who believes he can live over 150 years using supplements and proper eating, etc.), but such longevity hypotheses are not supported by any data. Your probability of death still doubles every eight years and your individual binary outcome will be uncertain. But you'll make a nice data-point on someone's future mortality curve.

Here's something I wrote on this that is related and gives you a little more on Gompertz: http://www.prospectingmimeticfractals.c ... of-old-men

Consider the cognitive biases (from Thinking, Fast and Slow) towards aging discussed at the end -- we all like to deny that our positive outcomes are sometimes just lucky ones.

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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@Dragline: Bravo! (On the math and science erudition. You might still want to choose to cut back on the whiskey habit. Dunno.)

So, you would agree that if a predominantly heterosexual female found herself single at 51, and wished to still find herself in sexual relationship of some previous standing, at the age of 85, polyamory would be, by far, her most rational choice of practice? Also, to what extent should she place weight on current health profile of potential partners in the 45-65 range? It seems to me that what you are suggesting is that choosing younger male partners in relatively poor health would be much better than choosing older male partners in relatively good health. This does not match my druthers, but I may attempt some change to my palate on the basis of your funnel graph.

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Ego
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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by Ego »

Mrs. Ego teaches an optional healthy eating class that corresponds with the local food bank distribution. A few weeks ago she did one that revolved around the 4th of July barbecue. She arrived with all of the ingredients for the side dishes, desserts and healthy drinks but admitted to the class that she did not have time to prepare a healthy alternative for the main meal so she was just going to serve grilled hot-dogs. She begged them to not tell her boss.

At the end of class she followed up with a Q&A about the various ingredients then, as an afterthought, asked, "What kind of meat was in the hot dogs?" Most guessed beef or chicken though a few said turkey. None of them could believe they had eaten tofu dogs. Imagine how different it would have been had she told them in the beginning what they were about to eat.
theanimal wrote: I think we may be experiencing a difference in Wheaton Levels here. As Jacob mentioned in another thread with regards to fitness, how does a couch potato realize what they're missing or how far out of shape they actually are compared to someone who excercises vigorously every day? I believe it's the same with food.
Yes! The Wheaton levels for this example look something like this:

1) The person experiences a version of the hot-dog trick (substituting unhealthy foods with healthy alternatives) and realizes just how subjective pleasure and deliciousness are.

2) The person quietly attempts the hot-dog trick on others. Anyone who cooks food for others has probably done this.

3) The person regularly substitutes healthy alternatives and consciously tinkers with their own subjective definition of delicious.

4) The person begins to find the healthy alternatives more delicious and satisfying than the unhealthy alternative.

5) The person begins to dislike the unhealthy alternative.

6) The person no longer sees the unhealthy alternative as food.
Dragline wrote:I realize there are those that do not accept human limitations on the "high end" implied by the Gompertz mortality curve, but such longevity hypotheses are not supported by any data. Your probability of death still doubles every eight years and your individual binary outcome will be uncertain. But you'll make a nice data-point on someone's future mortality curve.
So we should just raise our hands in the air and let your fractal-god take the wheel? No thanks.

We do not control all risks but we DO influence some of them. You acknowledged that fact when you gave your pareto (80% healthy habits / 20% unhealthy habits) opinion.

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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by Dragline »

Ego wrote: So we should just raise our hands in the air and let your fractal-god take the wheel? No thanks.

We do not control all of our risks but we DO influence them. You acknowledged that fact when you gave your pareto (80% healthy habits / 20% unhealthy habits) opinion.
As to the first, you don't really have a choice as to the fractal/complex nature of nature. Believing in outdated scientific reductionism that was discarded and overtaken by better explanations in the 20th Century does not change the reality of uncertainty, whether or not there is any deity involved. You are stuck with it regardless, whether you accept or deny it.

I never disputed the second point. But it begs the question of how far that influence runs and what other factors are at play. At some point the incremental effort yields no tangible benefit at all due to those other factors. Moreover, you probably can't even know what that point is for any given individual.

BRUTE
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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by BRUTE »

Dragline wrote:
Ego wrote: So we should just raise our hands in the air and let your fractal-god take the wheel? No thanks.

We do not control all of our risks but we DO influence them. You acknowledged that fact when you gave your pareto (80% healthy habits / 20% unhealthy habits) opinion.
As to the first, you don't really have a choice as to the fractal/complex nature of nature. Believing in outdated scientific reductionism that was discarded and overtaken by better explanations in the 20th Century does not change the reality of uncertainty, whether or not there is any deity involved. You are stuck with it regardless, whether you accept or deny it.

I never disputed the second point. But it begs the question of how far that influence runs and what other factors are at play. At some point the incremental effort yields no tangible benefit at all due to those other factors. Moreover, you probably can't even know what that point is for any given individual.
while not everything is knowable by humans, and there's a lot of variation and uncertainty in what works for individual humans, there are some pretty well known causations.

1)eating sugar above a (today considered minimal) amount is bad in almost every way for almost every human. there are some humans who can tolerate it really well, just like some humans are lifelong drinkers and don't have problems or lifelong smokers who never get lung cancer. but it's true for a significant part of the population. unlike smoking, it's really easy to see along the way if it's causing problems, humans don't have to eat sugar for 20 years and then see if they are obese or have high triglycerides or small particle VLDL. what sugar does is relatively gradual and linear, and up to a point, reversable.

2)it's a scientific fact that all carbs are just sugars chained together, and get turned into simple sugars somewhere in digestion. they all have the same effect, though with a modifier of x depending on the form and other cofactors. sugars ingested alone seem to spike insulin less than those ingested together with fat or fiber or in long chains ("whole grains").

tbh Dragline sounds like a "the science isn't out yet on smoking" proponent. yea, some humans never get lung cancer. yea, metaphysically, some things are unknowable. but that sugar's pretty damn bad for humans over a certain level is clear.

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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

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Ego said: Yes! The Wheaton levels for this example look something like this:
I hear tell Paul Wheaton and Sepp Holzer are pretty big fans of pork run on berry bramble and homemade pie ;)

I truly do attempt to be an open-minded person, so I decided to give tofu hotdogs another try. Since I do not believe that deliciousness is purely subjective in the sense of being learned solely through culture or experience, I gave some thought to why I might prefer a high quality meat hotdog to a high quality tofu dog, and it was a combination of texture, bite of the casing and the added taste appeal of the fat http://gizmodo.com/the-science-behind-w ... 1511695998 So, my sister and I pan-grilled some garden peppers and onion in olive oil with the tofu dogs for lunch. We steamed the buns, and topped them with avocado and mustard and some more finely chopped onion. My honest verdict remains that they are not nearly as tasty as a decent meat hotdog, such as a Koegel Vienna Beef. However, I would add the caveat that I generally choose to eat tofu stir fry much more often than I choose to eat any kind of hotdog. Black bean burritos, pasta with sauteed vegetables and cheese, and tofu stir fry were 3 of the dishes I cooked most often when I had to cook every night on a budget. Also, if I had to choose between limiting the cuisine I had to eat for the rest of my life to Vietnamese Vegan or Detroit Coney Island, I would choose Vietnamese Vegan. I just don't think that there is any strong rationale for choosing as hard and fast as you seem to be advocating.

I will also cop to the fact that my current practice sucks on any listing of Wheaton levels, but I think the reason I am in minor skirmish with you is that I can't stomach the big divide between being concerned about food at the level of Zone O, but not in the other zones. A tofu hotdog is a highly processed food. I have no clue how to start from soybeans growing in my perma-culture and end up with tofu hotdog. There is no way I would ever choose to go to that much trouble even if I love me some tofu hotdogs. I won't even choose to grow soybeans in the first place because they are a crappy choice compared to hundreds of other varieties of beans I might grow in their stead in my region. I am pretty sure that tofu hotdogs are made in factories by people working at a crappy factory job. I lived near an Eden tofu factory and it was pretty darn stinky. On my chart of Wheaton levels, tofu hotdogs would earn the same place of distinction as driving a Prius. What's the increased risk of cancer from breathing the air polluted by tractor and the truck driving from tofu field to the tofu dog factory to the air-conditioned grocery store with a load of tofu dogs vs. killing a fat little chicken you raised in your own backyard on worms and "weeds" and throwing it on the grill? I don't think telling more and more people to eat tofu dogs instead of Koegel Vienna Beef is the answer. I think rolling back the blanket of mystery that alienates us from our food supply at almost every level and thereby makes us wholly dependent on it, is the way forward. Please recall that the obesity epidemic about which you are so concerned is very highly correlated with women entering the work force in droves, and not so highly correlated with tons of healthy vegetables being served at the average American table in the mid 20th century. What has gone missing isn't so much knowledge about what constitutes an extremely healthy diet, but more the time, skill and leisure necessary to prepare even a moderately healthy meal. I greatly commend Mrs. Ego's efforts with the food bank clientele. I'm sure it is as frustrating at times as my attempts to teach inner-city immigrant children. Unfortunately, I think it may be the case that what would most improve the nutritional and other outcomes of these women and children would be having one parent at home to cook and care for them. The poor Bengali and Yemenese kids in my neighborhood eat far better at home than at school, but I must say they still very much like cupcakes and gummy worms and all the other sugary treats that are part of the traditional part of their family cultural diet. Some Bengali treats are too sweet even for the like of me ;)

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Ego
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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by Ego »

Yeah, the tofu dog is a terrible example. I never eat them. But I do eat mock chicken occasionally when it appears at Grocery Outlet. Green smoothies are a much better example.

Today we are eating something-tempeh and brown rice in the park. Our procedures with the picnic basket, the checkered cloth and real dishes has become more ornate. We've had a few Chinese tourists take our photo. :D

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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by BRUTE »

Ego wrote:The Wheaton levels for this example look something like this:

1) The person experiences a version of the hot-dog trick (substituting unhealthy foods with healthy alternatives) and realizes just how subjective pleasure and deliciousness are.

2) The person quietly attempts the hot-dog trick on others. Anyone who cooks food for others has probably done this.

3) The person regularly substitutes healthy alternatives and consciously tinkers with their own subjective definition of delicious.

4) The person begins to find the healthy alternatives more delicious and satisfying than the unhealthy alternative.

5) The person begins to dislike the unhealthy alternative.

6) The person no longer sees the unhealthy alternative as food.
brute thinks this is a great list.

7) walking past a donut shop or bakery, with that offensive baking smell, makes the human gag involuntarily

8) when in a high-stress situation, instead of deviating from the diet, the human instead falls back on and finds comfort in the diet

7Wannabe5
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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

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Ego said: Today we are eating something-tempeh and brown rice in the park. Our procedures with the picnic basket, the checkered cloth and real dishes has become more ornate. We've had a few Chinese tourists take our photo. :D
Picnic, Yay! The Peacemaker and I sometimes meet for picnic lunch in the park on our bikes. Everybody thinks we look so cute together because they don't know we are poly-amorous. I still don't understand why a green smoothie is better than a salad made with the same ingredients? I kind of think it is just another excuse for men to play with a device that has a strong motor and sharp blades.

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Re: Is the point of life just to avoid getting cancer?

Post by theanimal »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
I hear tell Paul Wheaton and Sepp Holzer are pretty big fans of pork run on berry bramble and homemade pie ;)
Judging by their appearance...They may know some things about permaculture and designing systems, but it does not appear that translates over to health.

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