The theory that underpins the The Shangri-La Diet is in part based on numerous studies that have explored how animals (including humans) develop a desire for flavors that they encounter over and over in association with calories. If we taste a flavor and our body soon after absorbs a good supply of calories, our bodies will begin to crave that flavor. Lately, I’ve been perusing various search engines of scientific journals. I’ve been looking for studies that might support (or refute) SLD. Here is an interesting one I found:Flavor–nutrient learning in restrained and unrestrained eaters
Female participants consumed two differently flavored desserts. Each was presented three times on separate days. One was formulated with a high-energy content (1882 kJ) and the other with a low-energy content (226 kJ). After training, we found little evidence for learned satiation. However, we did observe flavor-preference learning. Specifically, participants acquired a greater liking and desire-to-eat the dessert flavor that was paired with a higher energy density during training.*
* Emphasis added by me. Also, I don’t mean to suggest that the authors of this study are proponents of SLD or even that they are aware of it, only that the author of SLD cites flavor calorie association studies as early inspirations for his own ideas.
In other words,
The more we eat high-energy content foods (HECF), the more we will crave such foods.
The more we eat foods with the same flavor, the more we will crave those foods, as long as those foods are also dense sources of calories.
Like every good geek who plays poker, I have read books on poker, lots of books. So when I got my Kindle, I started thinking about how wonderful it would be to carry around my poker library with me. Poker books tend to be heavy and thick. And if you like to travel light like me, a few less poker books in your carry on bag would make a big difference.
So what is available for the Kindle now? Well there are several books by Phil Helmuth. They all look like crap honestly. I don’t particularly like him anyway, but more importantly, I did once buy his book, “Play Poker Like the Pros” and returned it within a few hours. I just couldn’t read it and from what I did read, it was very light on useful advice.
I want to let everyone who works on the ImprovEverywhere missions that you are definitely penetrating the zeitgeist in the rest of the country.
When I was in Phoenix, I was attending a book club fairly regularly and struck up a friendship with the facilitator. We met for lunch one day and because she knew I was an improvisor, she brought along a friend who had also done some improv. The friend knew that I had worked at ImprovOlympic in Chicago and for the UCB in New York, but she didn’t want to know those theatres. Instead, the only things both of them wanted to hear about were the missions I had done with ImprovEverywhere.
Now tonight, across the country in Illinois, I’m sitting in a computer programming class at the local community college and the teacher spontaneously brought up ImprovEverywhere. He talked about the Frozen Grand Central mission. He was giggling with delight as he told us about it.
I’ve been reading a lot about diet and disease. The first book I bought for my Kindle was Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. It is a thick book and I’m only about half way through but it has been enlightening.
I am probably too easily swayed by these kinds of books, ones which set out to prove that conventional wisdom is dead wrong. Years ago, before the Oliver Stone movie, I read way too many books about the Kennedy assassination and was convinced that elements of the CIA were involved (something I still find credible). Later I read a book about how the primary hypothesis about AIDS may well be wrong, and was, for a time, convinced. So I know that I need to temper my enthusiasm for this book.
Watching my mother slowly come apart has been a strange experience. First it was her speech. In the early stages, she was hesitant, sometimes using the wrong word to express something. She might answer a question with a yes or no, only to correct herself moments later with the right answer. Over time, her phrases became simpler and more direct and much less frequent. She still speaks, but the expectation is that she will eventually be mute.
Her emotional expressions have also been dulled by dementia. For instance, she doesn’t seem to express pain very often and you have to pay close attention to notice when she is upset or angry or happy. Eventually that too will go.
One thing that remains is her sense of humor. She loves to laugh, both at the things we do and at herself.
Back in August, I posted this video about my new ‘diet’ plan.
Calling it a diet is misleading though. It’s more of a way to trick your body into losing weight. I’ve lost more than 30 pounds since I made that video, about 40 pounds total on the Shangri-la Diet. It has not been hard. It hasn’t taken a lot of will power. I don’t starve myself. I never feel deprived.
I have always been a geek of sorts. As a child I would ride my bike to the local Radio Shack and lust after the TRS-80 computers. I would sit for hours writing programs in Basic. The sales guys loved it, an 11 year old kid typing away in the store. When a customer would ask about the amazing new computers (with 4KB of RAM!), they would point at me and say how easy it was to program one of them, “See even a kid can do it.”
Not long after this, I begged my mom for an Atari 800 computer. I spent so many hours programming it in my basement. I made all kinds of visual experiments, writing programs which exploited the incredible graphics modes like 160×96 screen pixels and even 320×192 pixels (these modes only allowed for 2 colors at a time). I attended an Atari computer camp in Minnesota the summer of 1983, where I completed my first computer game, a text only ripoff of Risk but with a more geographically accurate map.
Last summer, I started a video journal at youtube.com which was about my experience living in Scottsdale, Arizona. I haven’t updated it in some time. I want to tell you why.
I’d left New York the previous fall to stay with my father in Arizona. He had recently been ill and wanted to spend the winter in Scottsdale. At first I just wanted to help him move and find an apartment. But as the time approached, I realized that I could use a break from NYC. I decided I would spend the winter with him. It wasn’t because I was being a good son. I did want to help my dad and it was a terrific opportunity to spend the kind of time with him that I’d never been able to do before. But I had other reasons too. My father is a poker player and intended to spend the winter at Casino Arizona playing hold’em. I had already been making a little money playing poker. It seemed like an ideal opportunity to see if I was good enough to be a pro.
It was a fantastic winter. Arizona is probably the best place to spend a winter in the states. The desert is beautiful. Nearly everyday is sunny and a day with a high in the 50s is rare. We played poker almost every day, my father’s health improved and we began talking about this winter when Dad would again return to Arizona. I decided to stay through the summer, continue to play poker and find a nice 2 bedroom apartment where my dad could join me when the weather in Illinois began to get cold again.