Digestable #31: The Healing Power of Cold, Vitamins Make Us Fat, The Work Required to Have an Opinion, Brave.com


Welcome to another edition of Digestable, the short, weekly email where we follow our curiosity and wrestle with timeless topics. This edition was emailed to subscribers on November 14, 2021.

What’s new? Check it out:

Embrace the Cold: Just in time for winter, Andrew Huberman nicely sums up the latest in cold exposure research:

  • Get cold easily? Exposure to cold water (a shower, ice bath, cold plunge, etc.) for 11 minutes per week adjusts brown fat which in turn heats the body more robustly and raises comfort in cold environments. It burns body fat as well, and you can accumulate your 11 minutes in 2-3 sessions per week.
  • Using cold exposure to improve resilience? Try 1X weekly, 1-3min
  • Using cold exposure to improve metabolism and lose weight? Try 2X weekly for 11min total
  • Using cold exposure to improve recovery? Try 3-6min after training (*note: cold within 4 hours post-hypertrophy training may be counterproductive).
  • How cold does it need to be? “I really want to get out but can stay in safely!”

The Work Required to Have an Opinion: American billionaire and Warren Buffet’s right-hand-man Charlie Munger (now 97 years old!) famously stated:“I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.” And, “You have to work hard on it. Ask yourself what are the arguments on the other side. It’s bad to have an opinion you’re proud of if you can’t state the arguments for the other side better than your opponents. This is a great mental discipline.” Read more about this great mental discipline on Farnam Street.

A Surprising Theory on Why We Get Fat: Mark Sctzkehar is the author of The End of Craving: Recovering the Lost Wisdom of Eating Well and he poses a few surprising ideas:

  • Due to the artificial ingredients and biological tampering in processed food, the number of calories in the processed food does not correlate with how it tastes and our brain can’t deal with this discrepancy. This disconnect is wreaking havoc on our physiology (likely even more than macronutrients like carbs, fat, or protein).
  • Fortifying our foods with vitamins is likely contributing to our weight gain (livestock farmers will understand this easier than the rest of us).
  • Your body is actually on your side when it comes to avoiding weight gain, it wants to maintain a healthy “set point.” Some foods are pushing our set points higher.

Mark stresses, “We all have to stop trying to be these nutritionists, thinking that we know about how much protein we need and counting calories and carbs and fat. Scientists who are absolute specialists in this . . . are always invariably surprised. This idea that we have deep knowledge of the nutritional make up of food and of our own needs is a total myth.” If you want to learn more without reading the book, you’ll enjoy this podcast interview with the author.

Browse privately. Search privately. And ditch Big Tech. If you aren’t using the Brave web browser yet, what are you waiting for? So far, on my iPhone, Brave has blocked over 77,000 ads, saved 2.36 GB of data, and saved over 1 hour of loading time. My desktop browser stats are similar. Having used Brave for well over a year I have not noticed any downsides, and all my Chrome extensions work on Brave. Download it to your computer and mobile devices, set it as your default browser, and thank me later.

Quote I’m Pondering: “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently . . . Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” – Habakkuk 3:16-19

Social safety nets like Employment Insurance and the Canada Recovery Benefit did not exist when this was written ~600 BC. The prophet Habakkuk is describing a situation where every source of provision and sustenance has disappeared. Death would have been a likely outcome. Yet, the response makes even a Stoic seem soft in comparison. Not a “stiff upper lip,” but, “I will rejoice,” and, “I will be joyful.” The expectation is not that circumstances will get easier, but rather, “he enables me.”

The Jewish people have committed to memory and even inscribed passages like this onto the doorposts of their houses. It is “written on the tablets of our hearts,” they would say. Regardless of your spiritual leanings, you need to account for this counterintuitive psychological posture when you wonder how Jewish people, culture, and religion still survive (and thrive) 2600 years later. You can’t say the same for Habakkuk’s tyrannical enemies, the Chaldeans. May this same posture described by Habakkuk inhabit and animate me today.

Where did your curiosity lead you this week? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks again for following along. I’m having a riot putting these together, so if you are enjoying this newsletter I’d love it if you shared it with a friend or two and we can keep the great conversations growing.

Yours truly,

P.S. My daughter, Adia, turned 14 this week! Happy Birthday, Adia! I love you even though you unsubscribed from my newsletter.

Adia put thousands of miles on her scooter this year.

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