43 Folders

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Food for thought

One of the secrets to Napoleon's amazing success (and he was a guy who definitely got things done) was embracing the high-tech innovation of canned food. He's the one who coined the phrase "an army marches on its stomach," after all. After observing my own habits, I know what he means.

It's not just that being hungry throws me off (although it does). It's that if I want to think clearly for any length of time (like, say, four hours in a row), I can't be loaded up on potato chips, peanut M&Ms and whatever other delicious junk food has piled up on the snack table in my office. I need the stuff my *mom* made me eat.

Forget things like heart disease and obesity. The difference it makes in my brain is subtle enough that if I wasn't paying attention, I'd miss it - but once I started keeping track, I realized it's freakin' huge.

Of course, the snack table is easier. It's more tempting, too.

Here's how I fight off its dreadful, mind-wrecking lies:

  • Edamame - You'll see these parboiled soybeans in particularly authentic sushi bars sitting on the counter like peanuts. We get 'em from a local (Florida) farm, but you can find them in the freezer section of any decent Asian market. Stick in boiling water just long enough to turn bright green, salt to taste, stick in a Ziploc baggie and go.
  • Green beans - Blanched, with lime juice and pepper (or whatever acid+savory is easy to reach). Easiest thing in the world to make, and you can eat 'em like french fries… that is, fries from the Light Side of the Force.
  • Peanuts - At the office, I prefer them roasted, but research says the boiled variety is more nutritious. (And contrary to what you might expect from roadside food, is as delectable as a fine paté.)
  • Cold Salmon - Tastes good, won't stink up the workspace, and will help counteract the effects that junk food fats have on your concentration, judgment and cognitive ability. Other people might look at this as "leftovers," but for me, it's a secret weapon.

You can read more about eating for your brain at Psychology Today and LifeHack. And you might have some great snack-hacks I don't know about - in which case, spill.

About grant

grant's picture


grant lives in a palatial suburban estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, surrounded by chickens, dogs, cats, children and semi-animate piles of clutter. Older, irregular writings on various topics can be found at Flying Fists, although lately he spends more time trying to get people to join him recording songs of discovery (and reading the latest weird science headlines) at The Guild of Scientific Troubadours.

He is an Aquarius, a vayu/kapha body type with a tendency to stagnant liver heat, and remembers when the internet was just a bunch of UFO enthusiasts and HAM radio nuts dialing up to local BBSes to post on something called FIDOnet.

His day job is writing about unexplained phenomena for Sun, a magazine that has yet to catch up with FIDOnet's amazing technological breakthrough, but can be found on dead trees in supermarkets nationwide.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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