Author Topic: The Antifragile Diet  (Read 5064 times)

Offline David in MN

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The Antifragile Diet
« on: March 17, 2015, 06:34:59 AM »
I've just finished Nassim Taleb's Antifragile appendixes and all. I highly recommend his books (The Black Swan, Fooled By Randomness). Taleb was a quant (quantative trader) on Wall Street who now plies his expertise of fat tailed low probability events for use in life. Challenging but enjoyable reads. He gave eating advice (though the book is mainly economic) in Antifragile I found fascinating. My takaways:

Eat what your ancestors ate.
Taleb posits that we should only eat that which our ancestors ate 1000 years ago. Interestingly, this means each of us might be better off on different diets depending on our geographical history. Fair argument that a Norwegian and an Ethiopian are tuned to different diets. While I grasp the concept that this lets one avoid modern processed food and GMOs, Taleb goes further. He insists modern hybrids of fruit should be avoided. (It seems the Portuguese bred oranges to be sweet so the could be a portable dessert.) Fascinating.

Avoid Poison.
Processed sugar is poison. It will make you sick and eventually kill you. (I personally still enjoy the rare pastry and key lime pie but he has a point.) Avoid sugar. Taleb openly wonders why Coke and Pepsi aren't spoken of with the same scorn as Marlboro or Brown & Williams, who also knowingly sold poison. (I had to pause and meditate on this argument.) Likewise avoid all chemical additives.

You can't beat Mother Nature
We are so foolish we decided that not only was something natural bad (butter) but we could chemically make something better (trans fat). Turns out hubris isn't good. When in doubt, bet on nature. Taleb also uses thius as the logic why game meat "just tastes better".

What to drink.
Water, tea, coffee, wine/beer (depending on ancestry). That's it. Spartan.

How often to eat.
Modern science seems to want to have us eat 5 to 7 meals per day. Yet our ancestors may have only eaten once per day, if that. Fasting is built into all faiths (perhaps they knew something we forgot) and days of over-indulgence permeate all cultures. Perhaps a varied and inconsistent diet beat modern averages. There is some evidence (debated) that skipping breakfast is good for humans and it seems natural for our ancestors to gorge on meat one day and then spend days eating nuts and leaves.

I'm sure I forgot some. Anyone else reading his work and considering his advice? I'd like to glean others' thoughts, his work always fascinates me.

Offline Marinesg1012

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Re: The Antifragile Diet
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2015, 07:53:11 AM »
Eat what your ancestors ate.
Taleb posits that we should only eat that which our ancestors ate 1000 years ago. Interestingly, this means each of us might be better off on different diets depending on our geographical history. Fair argument that a Norwegian and an Ethiopian are tuned to different diets. While I grasp the concept that this lets one avoid modern processed food and GMOs, Taleb goes further. He insists modern hybrids of fruit should be avoided. (It seems the Portuguese bred oranges to be sweet so the could be a portable dessert.) Fascinating.

I agree with this, you have to figure that people have evolved with different foods depending on geographical location and hence should be better adapted at dealing with those foods. If it happens with alcohol tolerances then you have to assume the same for the other foods.

Offline gopack84

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Re: The Antifragile Diet
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2015, 09:00:54 AM »
What to drink.
Water, tea, coffee, wine/beer (depending on ancestry). That's it. Spartan.

Cool, I'll have to look into this.

Regarding the "What to drink" question though, I wonder what he would think about blood/milk? I know this is kind of disgusting to most of us today but some cultures have a much more pronounced disposition to lactose intolerance than others. And I've heard there's several African cultures that routinely ate a mixture of blood and milk to supplement their diets. And interestingly enough most people descended from those regions are not lactose intolerant. But that's kind of a curiosity corner case. For most of us, I'd tend to agree what he said is a pretty good starting point for what to drink.

Pretty fascinating stuff. Gotta try to find this book.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: The Antifragile Diet
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2015, 04:27:10 PM »
I was liking this idea - eat what your ancestors ate.  Then I realized...

that means no CHOCOLATE since my American mutt-hood does not include central/south American ancestry...  :'(

so, I will be ignoring this diet book  ;D

Offline David in MN

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Re: The Antifragile Diet
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2015, 07:30:27 PM »
I feel I need to clarify. This is a book about how to benefit from rare "fat tail" events, primarily in economics and investing. The diet chapter just caught my interest and pertained best to TSP. Quantitative options trading, derivatives, and the like don't come up here often.

Offline Carl

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Re: The Antifragile Diet
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2015, 04:30:52 PM »
I was liking this idea - eat what your ancestors ate.  Then I realized...

that means no CHOCOLATE since my American mutt-hood does not include central/south American ancestry...  :'(

so, I will be ignoring this diet book  ;D

I am positive that early man ordered chocolate from AMAZON... ::)

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: The Antifragile Diet
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2015, 06:02:40 PM »
I am positive that early man ordered chocolate from AMAZON... ::)
Well, that may be where it originated.

"The cacao tree is native to the Americas. It may have originated in the foothills of the Andes in the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America, current day Colombia and Venezuela."   ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocoa_bean