Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Insult Fortune Cookie Debuts!

Channeling Don Rickles on Twitter

Apropos of nothing, I’ve started a new series on Twitter and Facebook: Insult Fortune Cookie™. It’s just an outlet for my weird sense of humor. Here’s a sample:

Insult Fortune Cookie

And yes, Insult Fortune Cookies are low–carb, high–fat, and contain no grains—they’re totally Paleo! Look for user @InsltFortunCkie and the #InsultFortuneCookie hashtag on Twitter!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

10 Myths about Introverts

We’re Not Loners, Geeky, or Antisocial

I am an introvert. A hard core introvert. For me, talking to people in person is painful. At parties, I’ll sit in an out of the way spot and keep to myself, even around the people I know. If I go to a bar (a very rare event as it is), I’ll quietly have a drink and not bother with anyone. When I do talk, I leave every conversation feeling awkward and embarrassed. If I don’t already know you and there’s no specific reason to talk to you (like you work at a store and I need help finding something), you’ll have to speak to me first or you’ll never hear a word from me.

Shy Face

Of course, not every introvert is that extreme, and there are some complex factors at work in my case, which I’ll be writing about in the future. But approximately 25% of the population are introverts; in and of itself, there’s nothing wrong with being one. Extroverts don’t necessarily see it that way. I think most introverts don’t see it that way, either. But it’s true.

Here’s a find from Google+: Peter Urbanski discovered a book review by Carl King about The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Laney. (That’s a rather roundabout way to get to the good stuff, but hey, that’s the nature of the internet.) From Peter’s post,1 here’s Carl’s list of 10 common misconceptions about introverts:2

  • Myth #1: Introverts don’t like to talk.
    This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

  • Myth #2: Introverts are shy.
    Shyness has nothing to do with being an introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

  • Myth #3: Introverts are rude.
    Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

  • Myth #4: Introverts don’t like people.
    On the contrary, introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

  • Myth #5: Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
    Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public for as long. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to get it. They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for introverts.

  • Myth #6: Introverts always want to be alone.
    Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with one person at a time.

  • Myth #7: Introverts are weird.
    Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

  • Myth #8: Introverts are aloof nerds.
    Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

  • Myth #9: Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
    Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called dopamine. Introverts and extroverts have different dominant neuro–pathways. Just look it up.

  • Myth #10: Introverts can fix themselves and become extroverts.
    A world without introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an extrovert can learn in order to interact with introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot [and should not –MP] fix themselves and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of introverts increases with IQ.[3]

So, next time you deal with an introvert (even if that introvert is yourself), remember: you’re dealing with an interesting, intelligent, genuine individual. Like me.

Are you an introvert? What do you do to make that work to your advantage? Share in the comments!

NOTES

1Urbanski, Peter. Google+ post. Google+. N.p., n.d. Web. 2011-09-25. Reproduced by permission.
2King, Carl. 10 Myths about Introverts. CarlKingdom. N.p., n.d. Web. 2011-09-25.
3Silverman, Linda. Parenting Young Gifted Children. Journal of Children in Contemporary Society 18 (1986): 73-87. Print.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Beat the Detour!

Thinking Sooner Can Help You Follow Through on Good Intentions Later

It’s easier to think at your desk than on your feet. Knowing this, you can make it easier to follow through on your own good intentions.

Good intentions often fail when something comes up. For example, you intend to exercise at lunch, but then at 11:45 you see you won’t finish what you’re doing in time to leave. Or you plan to make a difficult phone call on a given day, but there never seems to be a good time.

Is that something a legitimate reason to change course? Or a rationalization for avoiding doing what you intended?

It’s a judgment call. But to make it, you need to answer a few questions. What are the arguments each way? What are the consequences of each choice? Is there an ulterior motive distorting your perspective?

Answering these questions doesn’t take rocket science, just common sense. But when that something comes up, you may not be not in an ideal mental state to do the thinking. You may feel pulled in two directions, burdened by time pressure and doubt. Many people have trouble thinking on their feet at such a time. Common sense fails them.

I teach tactics that could help you deal with this pressure. You could think on paper for 1–3 minutes, using techniques to clear the confusion and address the conflict. But frankly, it is better to avoid this pressured situation altogether.

Interruptions, Interruptions

It’s better to do that thinking earlier—in advance—at the time when you set your intention. At the moment of commitment, you are motivated. The reasons for scheduling time at the gym or putting the phone call on your agenda are clear. This is the optimal time to think through contingencies.

With just the slightest additional effort, you can predict the real and rationalized obstacles that could get in the way of following through. And then you can troubleshoot them. What will you do if you can’t leave for the gym on time? What will you tell yourself to make sure you make that call no matter what? Do you need to set a reminder?

By thinking through the issues in advance, you eliminate the pressure when something comes up. You won’t have to think about what to do, you can simply remember your conclusion. Remembering on your feet is much easier than thinking on your feet.

So, next time you form a good intention, seize the opportunity. Follow through on your good intention now, by thinking through how you’ll handle the somethings later. Ensure nothing will stop you from following through on your good intention, when it’s time to act.

Jean Moroney teaches managers and other professionals how to tap their own knowledge bank to solve problems faster, make better decisions, and communicate more effectively. Corporations hire her to train their managers in Thinking Tactics to help them get more done with fewer resources. Find out about her class, Tap Your Own Brilliance, at Thinking Directions.

This article originally appeared in Jean’s free email newsletter. Reproduced by permission.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Something in My Head Goes BOOM

Inspiration That Will Help with Motivation

Exercise. It’s crucial to health—everyone knows this. Yet many, many people, even those who take great care with their diet, don’t do it. I’m one of them. It wasn't always like that, but that's the way it is now. I found something that provided some insight into my thinking about exercise, the thinking deep down that I'm not even consciously aware of.

RunningImage from Polyvore

An article yesterday at Whole9 included this bit:

You can do short–ish high intensity stuff sometimes, or long and hard stuff occasionally, or long, low intensity activity daily—but not daily high intensity training, or large volumes of moderate intensity training, or (god forbid) both. Unless you’re a professional athlete, of course, in which case you value performance over health. Most of us don’t fall into this category.1
[emphasis mine]

This made something go BOOM in my head. I’ve never been a professional athlete, but in my younger days I was a serious (and very good) one, involved in all kinds of school sports. Believe me, performance was no less important to me then than it is to the pros.

My BOOM realization was that this thinking has, to this day, a tremendous influence on my attitude toward exercise. For various reasons (some of them legitimate), I have not engaged in any exercise for many years. To a great extent, I think, the (until now) subconscious idea that my performance after all that time cannot match my performance at my younger peak has prevented me from even trying. If I can’t perform like I used to, right off the bat, then there’s no point in doing it at all.

Obviously, that’s not the right way to look at exercise. I’m not competing any longer, so the concern needs to be health, not performance. Sure, I’ll see performance improve over time—it has to, relative to my current non–exercising state. And there will be competition—I love sports too much not to play games from time to time as my conditioning gets better. But I can’t allow the fact that I’ll probably never be the athlete I was 30 years ago stop me from adding exercise to the enormously successful paleo nutrition I’ve adopted over the past few years.

So, thanks to my Paleostar e–friends, Melissa and Dallas, at Whole9Life for giving me that BOOM. It will be a whole lot easier to get back into exercising now that I have identified this roadblock. That identification has also put me in the right frame of mind to identify others.

P.S. The whole article is excellent, be sure to give it a read.

P.P.S. I’m not being entirely accurate when I say I never exercise. I started doing some regular walking this summer, specifically for exercise, but over the past three weeks or so I’ve all but stopped. The incessant rain has something to do with it, as does another major factor I'll be discussing in another article, but it is true that this is the first exercise I've done in a very long time.

Is there anything in your thinking that’s holding you back, whether with regard to exercise or anything else you need to do to improve your life? You’re not alone (I have many). Bring it up in the comments and we’ll talk it over.

NOTES

1Clark, Dallas, and Melissa Clark. The Whole9 Health Equation. Whole9. Whole9Life, 19 Sept. 2011. Web. 19 Sept. 2011.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

This Week’s Paleo Rodeo

Yee Haw!

I have joined The Paleo Rodeo:

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo–related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e–mail list. ... The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever–growing paleosphere.

Issue #76 is available at Modern Paleo. Look for my link in the long list of great posts!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Made of Yum: Primal Palate’s Sweet Potato Fries

First in a Series

We introduce our Made of Yum™ recipe series with something simple, special, and spectacular! Unfortunately, although I love to, I don’t get to cook nearly as often as I would like. That is, I cook every day, but (being a long–time member of the Noble Bachelor Ranks1) really only for myself. Other than whipping up something quick on the griddle or grill I appear to be genetically incapable of cooking for less than eight people. I suppose I could make a lot and have leftovers, but it just doesn’t occur to me to do it that way. So, both to share something wonderful and to help me be more insipred to cook better food more often, I’m presenting here the first in a series of Paleo–inspired recipes.

Though it’s been a controversial topic in the Paleosphere, the growing consensus seems to be that carbohydrate consumption is not inherently bad. I’m not making any recommendations (see The Fine Print), but my personal experience has been that low–to–no carbs is excellent for the beginning of a Paleo journey, leading to rapid weight loss and setting a foundation for any number of n=1 experiments to determine which foods, carbs or otherwise, work for you in an individually optimized diet.

Sweet potatoes have long been considered by many Paleo advocates as an acceptable carb source. They’re basic, inexpensive, and versatile. I’ve loved sweet potato fries in particular since before discovering Paleo. Bill Staley and Hayley Mason (the Paleostars responsible for The Food Lovers’ Primal Palate) have a book coming out in October, Make It Paleo, filled with fantastic paleo recipes. Here’s a simple and delicious recipe for sweet potato fries, courtesy of Bill and Haley:2

Bill & Hayley’s Sweet Potato FriesImage from Primal Palate

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to bake at 400°.
  2. Rinse sweet potato under cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel, and cut into thin spears.
  3. Toss spears with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Spread seasoned spears evenly onto a baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes.

You can produce an infinite variety of results by trying different spice combinations. My personal favorite is home–made Emeril’s Essence (much different and much better, to my taste, than the store–bought variety).

What are your favorite paleo recipes? Share them, and any thoughts you have on carbs as part of a paleo diet, in the comments!

NOTES

1Malcolm Reynolds is my hero.Smiley
2Staley, Bill, and Hayley Mason. Sweet Potato Fries. The Food Lovers’ Primal Palate. 2011–06–21. Web. 2011–08–31. Reproduced by permission.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Ate What???

Cheat Like You Mean It

Cheating is something you hear a lot about in the paleo world. Some contend that having an blueberry muffin now and again is OK, others look for paleo–compliant equivalents of otherwise bad food, and the extreme want to toss you out of the paleosphere for merely mentioning the word bread. It’s a hot topic, everyone has a different opinion, and tempers can flare.

I’m firmly on the side of enjoying life. If you think about that statement for a moment, you’ll see that it’s ambivalent. So, do I endorse cheating? If you’re changing your diet for specific health reasons, such as combating diabetes or other metabolic problems, cheating is obviously a bad idea. However, for the rest of us I think there can be some leeway. As in all things, though, the most important thing is to really do it right.

A guy who favored cheatingImage from Wikimedia CommonsSo if you’re going to cheat, don’t hold back. Legendary theologian and all around bad boy Martin Luther once said, Sin boldly!1 (A friend of mine modified that to Turn out the lights and sin boldly but that’s a story for another time.) Call me a perfectionist, but I’ve always been a big believer in going all out or not going at all. In that spirit, here’s how I cheat:

  1. First, get the least healthy, the most processed, the flat–out whitest white bread you can find. We didn’t have any Wonder Bread®, so I had to make do with something lesser. (I don’t live alone, and not everyone in the house follows a paleo diet, so things like this are always at hand. Bad for most days, but great for cheat days):
  2. Next, schmear it with some butter: (Like most, I used to think butter was bad, so I considered this to be part of the health hazard of this treat. I now know that it’s the only healthy thing in it.)
  3. Then pile one slice as high as you can with the worst mass–market potato chips you can find (I vote for Ruffles®, although these were a generic store–brand equivalent):
  4. Place the other slice of death bread on top:
  5. Smoosh it all the way down:
  6. And, of course, eat it!
  7. Finally, do it all over again:

Now, before either one of us has a heart attack, I only indulge in these bad boys maybe once every few years. (That was true even before I found paleo.) But, as I said, I firmly believe that if you’re going to do something, go all the way. I think you can agree that the Potato Chip Sandwich is definitely going all the way.

Melissa McEwen of Hunt.Gather.Love. fame tweeted this yesterday:

The most #faileo food of the month goes to [7–Eleven Introduces The Hot Dog Flavored Potato Chip]2

As is my nature, I issued a challenge:

I can beat that. Will blog it tomorrow...3

I think I win.Winnah!

So, help me find more fun, health–wrecking ways to indulge in the occasional cheat! (Or at least to make fun of them.) What are your favorite death foods?

NOTES

1Martin Luther.Wikiquote. 2011–08–20. Web. 2011–08–25.
2McEwen, Melissa. Twitter. 2011–08–24. Web. 2011–08–25.
3Pizolato, Michael. Twitter. 2011–08–24. Web. 2011–08–25.
Wonder Bread® is a registered trademark of Interstate Bakeries Corporation.
Ruffles® is a registered trademark of the Frito–Lay Corporation.