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Die liewe internet!

InformationOh, the internet – that amazing global collaboration that brings the world to a digital device near you.

Like all awesome technological progress, it also brings plenty of problems. In this case, it’s the huge amount of useless or even dangerous information it puts at your fingertips.

Let’s see how we can sort the digital wheat from the chaff.

Honestly assess your information diet

recent post likened the abundant information from the digital revolution to the abundant calories from the agricultural revolution.

Calories are food for our bodies. Information is food for our minds. 

So, how’s your mental diet been lately? Do you feed your mind with healthy amounts of wisdom-rich information? Or is it more like one long empty information binge?

Empty information is just like empty calories: great for instant endorphin releases, terrible for long-term health and vitality. 

Cutting out empty information is key to a healthy digital diet.

Video streaming

Digital video entertainment offers an excellent example of this comparison between information and food: 

  • Semi-illegal streaming of series and movies is like dirt-cheap empty calories. A decidedly average experience that makes you prone to catching some nasty viruses, but oh so addictive.
  • Budget subscription platforms like Netflix are like a cheap all-you-can-eat buffet. To get good value from your purchase, you have to stuff yourself to bursting point.
  • Platforms like Google Play where you pay for what you watch promote quality over quantity. This is like buying a fine chocolate and enjoying it slowly, preferably with friends.
  • Going to see a highly rated new movie in the cinema is like a fine dining experience.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the last two are much preferred to the first two.

Just like food, endorphins from digital treats are sometimes useful to improve mood or enhance a nice social situation. And just like food, we should focus on healthier snacking.

The key bit of wisdom in the above-linked post goes thusly: if you can’t get yourself to pay for a healthier snack, you clearly don’t need it.

So, it’s either healthy digital snacking or no digital snacking. 

It’s not just video

This simple rule works for any other type of online information.

Online news offers a highly topical example in these virus-infested times. Having all the world’s problems conveniently summarized at your fingertips is a smooth highway to overwhelm and anxiety.

Oorspronklike post: https://schalkcloete.com/intelligent-internet-use/

 

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Benut jou rekenaar (desktop) ten volle!

RekenaarThis week, we’ll be spending some quality time with the digital revolution – that wave of clever gadgets that changed our lives forever.

Like all the other technology revolutions, this one certainly has its pros and cons. Our mission is simple: catch all the pros and dodge all the cons.

And what better place to start than the digital agent that first infiltrated our homes: the personal computer (PC).

Ergonomics

This should be top priority for anyone spending a sizable chunk of their day on a PC.

Make sure your work space features the following work and life enhancers:

  1. A supportive chair at a height where your feet comfortably rest on the floor.
  2. Positioning of your mouse and keyboard so that your forearms (and the entire weight of your arms) can rest comfortably on a flat surface.
  3. Positioning of your monitor so that your neck is always in a comfortable position.

Movement

It’s vital to get into the habit of moving your body at least once per hour. 

Actually, there are some studies that want us to get up every 30 minutes, but I find that too disruptive.

A fitness watch that buzzes when you’ve been stagnant for one hour is just the right tool for the job. The cheap Mi Band 4 discussed earlier helped me to finally get this right.

Discipline

Creating a comfortable environment for PC use is awesome when you’re at your productive best, but wrought with danger when you’re getting lost in Netflix or YouTube.

The single best antidote for this slow poison oozing from your PC is RescueTime

You can use it to block distracting websites after a certain amount of time, depending on whether it’s work hours or not. It also gives you some eye-opening statistics on how you use your PC.

Efficiency

There are three keys to graduating from PC user to PC master:

  1. Become an expert in the software you use regularly as well as your chosen operating system. A good test of your expertise is how many keyboard shortcuts you know by heart.
  2. Two words… Blind typing.
  3. Excellent organization of your files (including fully automatic cloud backup), combined with a keystroke launcher like Launchy.

Comfort

Those who have mastered the movement habit, good discipline and high efficiency have earned the privilege of taking ergonomics to the next level: genuine comfort.

Personally, I do most of my work on my PC in a comfortable recliner in front of my TV, which serves only as a computer screen.

Over here in the far North, I’m always working under a lovely soft duvet, often with a nice cup of hot tea on the table beside me. This makes the process of working on my PC deeply pleasant.

So, once you’ve proven yourself worthy, proudly claim your just reward: a luxuriously comfortable workstation 🙂

Hier is die oorspronklike post: https://schalkcloete.com/intelligent-pc-use/

 

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Wees slimmer as jou slimfoon!

SlimfoonMy oudste trek nou heel toevallig met sy blog by die maniere waarop ons tegnologie kan bestuur:

The smartphone is one of the sharpest parts on the double-edged sword of the digital revolution.

It put the world at our fingertips, but, in so doing, it created the most distracted and overwhelmed generation ever.

As always, today’s post is all about swiping right on the good and left the bad.

Notifications

As the world is finally cracking down on smoking, saving millions of lives, a new addiction is quickly filling that void: notifications

Addiction is horrible for the user, but great for sales and even better for profits. Tobacco companies exploited this despicable marketing strategy for decades. Now it’s the turn of app developers.

And notifications lie at the heart of this digital addiction: that hypnotic “ping” or alluring little number on an icon telling you that someone liked the selfie you just posted.

Indeed, notifications are highly addictive and extraordinarily distracting.

Turn them off.

All of them (including email).

Your phone should only demand your attention for calls, texts and important reminders.  

Addictive apps

There are countless apps out there that essentially sell distraction. Why on Earth would the most distracted generation in history pay good money for more distraction?

Simple: addiction.

Here’s a simple 3-step digital detox strategy:

  1. Classify: Carefully consider each installed app and classify it as either essential or addictive.
  2. Clean: Delete all addictive apps without which you’ll still be able to breathe.
  3. Rearrange: Shift apps around as follows:
    1. Essential apps on the home screen
    2. Non-classified apps on the next screen (so you have to swipe at least once to see them)
    3. Addictive apps you literally can’t live without on the last screen (so they’re multiple swipes away)

Inefficiency

A smartphone is great for getting information on demand, but there are many tasks where your PC is a way better tool.

Here are three examples of badly inefficient smartphone tasks:

  1. Writing longer messages, emails or documents.
  2. Doing serious online research (you phone is OK for some of life’s big questions like why dogs eat grass and cats are scared of cucumbers).
  3. Online shopping.

Who owns who?

Do you own your phone or is it the other way around? Be honest now…

If you’re in full control of when you use this digital tool, you’re the owner and all is well.

If this digital tool regularly takes control of your actions, you’re the owned and have a serious problem.

Rule your phone with an iron first that will make the world’s worst dictators squirm. There should be no doubt about who’s the boss 😉

 

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Emosionele oorlewing in die tyd van Korona

Was jou hande! Bly by die huis!

Moenie aan jou gesig vat nie!

Ja, instruksies oor hoe om die verspreiding van die virus te beperk, kom van alle kante op ons af.

Soms is daar ’n paar instruksies op die lysie wat vaer is, moeiliker om vas te vat, ingewikkelder om uit te voer: Bly kalm! Moenie paniekerig raak nie!

Ja, die fisieke sy van enige situasie is dikwels makliker om te hanteer as die emosionele aspekte. Ons is nou eenmaal geneig om ons fisieke welsyn bó ons emosionele gesondheid te stel. As ons in hierdie tyd egter nalaat om ook na ons geestesgesondheid om te sien, kan die pandemie merke op ons laat wat ons nog lank ná die Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Die ooreenkoms tussen kos en inligting!

My seunskind se blog trek nou heel toevallig by die belangrikheid daarvan om die inligting te beheer wat na jou toe kom en seker te maak jy stel jou nie aan goed bloot wat jou net ontstel en waaraan jy niks kan doen nie. 

InformationThe digital revolution is the dominant influencing factor in our lives today. It’s impact is so great that the whole of next week will be dedicated to digital mastery.

But before we get to that, let’s take a bit of a detour and talk about diet…

Information: food for your mind

The previous post introduced the striking similarities between food and information.

Just like nutrient-rich food nurtures your body, wisdom-rich information nurtures your mind. And of course, on the dark side, we find empty calories and empty information. 

The good, the bad, and the useless

Distinguishing between good and bad information is easy:

If it takes your mind to creative places that can genuinely benefit your life (or the lives of others), it’s good. If it gets you stuck in a distressed or distracted state with no positive outcome, it’s bad. 

Good information is like nuts, seeds and berries – super tasty and very good for you. Bad information is like a tub of cheap ice cream – not really all that great, but for some reason you can’t stop eating.

And then there’s the useless. This is the mindless flipping through TV channels, the purposeless scrolling on Facebook or the random YouTube adventures. It’s primary cost is time. 

In terms of our food analogy, useless information is like filler carbs – not good, not bad, just there. And just like filler carbs, too much of it can crowd out your capacity to consume the good stuff.

Treat your information like food

This analogy is very interesting to play with in day-to-day life.

Does the information you consumed today remind you more of a green salad or a deep-fried doughnut?

Are there perhaps some signs of addiction to your deep-fried doughnut digital treats? Or perhaps an information snacking problem? Do you know where to find the green salads of information?

Do You Maintain a Healthy Information Diet?

 

 

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Gesonde eetgewoontes!

Eat
We all have a pretty good idea of what we should and shouldn’t eat. The real challenge is actually implementing this common sense, consistently.

That’s why the last two weeks were dedicated to strategies for building permanent healthy eating habits, allowing optimal nutrition to happen naturally. Let’s summarize how this can be done.

The checklist

There are five categories of foods that should be an integral part of healthy living. To automate our consumption of these foods, we need to maximize taste, practicality and affordability. Here’s how this can be done:

  • Nuts, seeds and berries: Here we focused on maximizing the practicality and affordability of this surprisingly tasty superfood combo, particularly through bulk purchases of seeds.
  • Raw green veggies: These green nutrient bombs taste rather bland, but things like a green drink and smart combinations with other tasty foods can make them regulars in your diet.
  • Cooked veggies, mushrooms and beans: This strategy revolves around the use meat and other flavors to include surprisingly large quantities of these colorful bits of health into cooked meals.
  • Fish and eggs: The convenience of smoked and canned omega-3 fish and scrambled eggs or omelettes make these high quality protein sources easy to include.
  • Avocado (and other fruit): Here we discussed the fine art of avocado ripeness management together with several ways to make fruit consumption even easier.

Next, we need to keep self-destruct foods out of our lives. A strong defense against the world’s worst foods that lurk around every corner in your local supermarket looks like this:

  • Refuse to pay for self-destruction: Trading time, effort, vitality and life expectancy for fleeting endorphin highs is a truly terrible deal. Realizing this on a deep level is a great first layer of defense.
  • Healthier snacking: Sometimes really tasty treats can actually have some longer-term benefits. For these rare occasions, choosing healthier alternatives makes all the sense in the world.
  • Home-made meals: Taking care of your health becomes a lot easier when you take direct control of what goes into your body. Home-made food also makes overeating much less likely.
  • Whole foods: Buying more whole produce is a great way to keep self-destruct foods out of your life. Getting into the habit reading food labels can also add many good years to your life.

So there you have it. These strategies combine very nicely to build healthy nutritional habits that last a (considerably longer) lifetime 🙂

Recap: Building permanent healthy eating habits

 
Lewer kommentaar

Posted by op 20/12/2019 in Gesondheid, leefstyl

 

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The world’s worst foods: Convenience-first foods

KitskosOK, what do I mean by convenience-first foods? Well, these are all those foods that are made with convenience as the first priority. An obvious example is fast food.

Wow, this is getting tough… First I attack the great taste of empty calorie carbs and fats and now I attack convenience. But there are good reasons behind today’s post as well. Let’s take a look.

What’s so bad about convenience-first foods?

Foods that are made for convenience first generally prioritize taste second, budget third, and health dead last. This is a serious problem.

Like the empty calorie carbs and fats we discussed over the past two days, this prioritization creates a badly lopsided calorie/nutrient ratio. As a result, your body gets plenty of fuel, but no maintenance – perfect for contracting serious lifestyle diseases like heart attacks, stroke, cancer and diabetes. 

But we’ve covered this problem in detail on MondayThe other big reason to avoid convenience-first food is that it makes overeating far too easy. A totally lopsided calorie/nutrient ratio is bad enough, but when this is combined with a calorie overload, it gets really scary.

Any food that does not place health first should have some friction built into the process of eating it. Because of our primitive cravings, this friction is critical for staying at a healthy weight. Convenience-first foods remove all this friction, driving the global obesity epidemic.

Lastly, the processing required to make convenience foods so convenient often destroys much of the remaining nutrients and/or introduces some potentially dangerous additives. Rapid cooking (frying and deep frying), typical of fast foods, also tends to destroy nutrients and add trans fats and other toxins. 

Some examples of convenience-first foods

Anything that places convenience before health falls in this category. Here are some examples:

  • Almost all fast food
  • Many ready meals
  • Frozen pizza
  • Sandwich spreads
  • Processed meats
  • Anything fried in vegetable oil (olive oil is OK)

Yes, convenience is important in today’s world where everyone is so super-busy. But it just takes a little bit of thinking to make healthy eating super convenient. We’ll get to this next week…

The world’s worst foods: Convenience-first foods

 

 
Lewer kommentaar

Posted by op 05/12/2019 in Gesondheid, leefstyl

 

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The world’s worst foods: Empty calorie fats

CupcakeToday’s discussion is closely related to yesterday’s post on empty calorie carbs. But there are a couple of important peculiarities about the health impacts of these fatty treats… 

What’s so bad about empty calorie fats?

Just like empty calorie carbs, empty calorie fats give your body plenty of fuel, but no nutrients to repair the damages from burning this fuel. In the long run, this causes serious damage to the body – much like an engine that is run without oil changes and other maintenance.

There’s one type of empty calorie fat that is especially hazardous: trans fats. These fats are mostly found in margarine, shortening and vegetable oil – and any food that contains (or is fried in) these ingredients.

Luckily, the authorities are acting to outlaw this dangerous ingredient, but it’s worth checking the labels of fatty foods just to be sure.

After trans fats, saturated fat is the most problematic. Food labels also state the amount of saturated fat in any food, so this information is readily available to you.

Most sources put the safe limit of saturated fat at or slightly below 20 g per day. Go beyond that, and you will increase your risk of heart disease. Cancer is also associated with diets high in saturated fats.

Other fats (mono and polyunsaturated fats) are generally quite good for you and can represent 30-40% of your calorie intake without problems.

Some examples of empty calorie fats

Any food where the label lists plenty of fat (especially saturated fat) and virtually no nutrients fall in this category. Here are some examples:

  • Chips
  • Cake and icing
  • Cream and ice cream
  • Biscuits and crackers
  • Mayonnaise
  • Arguably also milk chocolate and bacon

Much like empty calorie carbs, the big problem is that these foods are truly delicious. Therefore, we’ll spend some time later in this chapter to build our defenses against these carefully engineered addictions.

But don’t worry, there won’t be any expectations to never eat any delicious treat ever again 🙂 Like most things in life, we just need a healthy balance.

 

The world’s worst foods: Empty calorie fats

 
Kommentare af op The world’s worst foods: Empty calorie fats

Posted by op 03/12/2019 in Gesondheid, leefstyl, Schalk Cloete Jnr., Uncategorized

 

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The world’s worst foods: Empty calorie carbs

After last week’s exploration of the world’s best foods, we must now turn our attention to the dark side of the food spectrum: that place where many good life years are sacrificed for fleeting endorphin highs.

Empty calorie carbs are the best place to start, since they represent the largest group of nutrient-free hyper-palatable carriers of degenerative disease.

What’s so bad about empty calorie carbs?

Our bodies need energy to live and live well. We cannot absorb energy from the sun like plants do. Instead, we get our energy from food which, directly or indirectly, comes from the sunlight captured by plants.

Unfortunately, the process of turning food into useful energy in our bodies is rather messy. Like any chemical processing facility, this conversion process leads to plenty of wear & tear and produces lots of waste products, some of which are quite toxic.

Repairing the wear and tear, removing the waste, and neutralizing the toxins is a full-time job. And these maintenance functions depend on a wide range of nutrients that occur naturally in all whole foods.

The problem is that our supermarkets are filled with shiny packets of super tasty foods that offer lots of calories, but no nutrients. In other words, these foods give your body plenty of fuel, but zero maintenance. It’s much like running an engine on some low-grade fuel and never servicing it.

Empty calorie carbs further fuel this fire by bypassing the body’s natural satiety response. These carbs are mostly simple sugars that can be broken down and absorbed very easily. Hence, the feeling of fullness arrives very late. In addition, these foods trigger a chemical response in the body (sugar rush) that easily turns into an addiction, driving additional over-consumption.

Lastly, although empty calorie carbs don’t offer nutrients, they often come with plenty of additives, such as preservatives, sweeteners and colorants, that may have significant adverse health effects.

The best known lifestyle disease caused by empty calorie carbs is type-2 diabetes, but it is also linked to several other big killers like heart disease and cancer.

Some examples of empty calorie carbs

This basically includes all kinds of snacks with lots of sugar or other refined carbohydrates (a.k.a. the White Death).

  • Soft drinks
  • Candy
  • White bread
  • Cake and cookies
  • Pastries
  • Sugary breakfast cereals

These hyper-palatable treats are engineered to maximize our cravings, forcing billions to get the calorie/nutrient ratio all wrong.

Hopefully, society will eventually evolve to the point where these foods are taxed to correctly reflect their true cost and labeled with health warnings like cigarettes are today. Until that day, we’re on our own against these carefully engineered addictions

The world’s worst foods: Empty calorie carbs

 
Lewer kommentaar

Posted by op 02/12/2019 in Gesondheid, leefstyl

 

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Net een treetjie op ‘n slag is nodig

everydaymaynotbe-min2Die idee van “mini-habits” of selfs “atomic habits” is deesdae oral om ons. Doodeenvoudig: Stel vir jouself sulke klein doelwitte dat jy feitlik nie kan misluk nie. Sodoende verseker jy eintlik jou sukses en word dit soveel makliker om vol te hou met wat jy ook al wil verbeter in jou lewe. Hier is die idee van net met 1% verbeter in ‘n week:
(Moenie skrik vir die grafiek nie – jy kan hom maar ignoreer ook! 🙂 )

A 1% improvement sounds like nothing, right? Anyone could become 1% better in a week if they tried.

However, when you unleash the superpower of consistency on this simple idea, it takes on a whole new form. The numbers tell the story:

  • Improve by 1% every week for a year and you’ll be 66% better. Not bad.
  • 2 years? 179%.
  • 5 years? Thanks to the power of compounding, 5 years of 1% weekly improvements will make you a whopping 13 times better!
  • After 15 years (only a third of a standard career), it gets pretty ridiculous: 2325 times better! Now we are getting to the realm of billionaires, presidents and great inventors.

These numbers told me to end each Supermorning week with a 1% improvement post. So, here are my top 3 improvements over the past week:

  1. Started this blog and kept to my daily post commitment
  2. Totally clean eating habits and 10 hours of light-to-moderate exercise
  3. Published an article in the largest publication on Medium

In fact, this week was much more than 1% improvement 🙂 You can see the sharp upwards spike in my daily consistency data below (the little red bit). I really hope I can maintain this performance!

Did you grow your 1% this week? Any plans for how you can grow 1% next week? Feel free to share – a little commitment here could make a big difference!

The graph shows my cumulative performance against a target of 35 points daily. Up to now, I have only been averaging a bit more than 33 points per day, hence the slow downwards trend. 33 points per day is still good, but I really want to get back above the 35 point target!

Week 1 of getting 1% better

 

 

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Goed begin is half gewin!

SonopEk het oor baie jare heen op die harde manier geleer dat my dag grootliks bepaal word deur hoe ek hom begin. Dalk het ek ‘n bietjie gehelp dat my liewe kind dit soveel vinniger geleer het en dit nou in so ‘n mooi projek kan omsit. Hier is die betrokke post, met die skakel heel onder:

Win the morning, win the day

Cliché, but true. We all know this, but very few of us manage to do it with any degree of consistency.

Perhaps part of the reason is that we have never really stopped to think about why it’s so important.

So, let’s do that now. Imagine you’re in a maze with doors all around you. When you go through one door, you are faced with several new doors to choose from. This will be our life analogy for the day.

Yes, each day is a series of choices. And each choice we make shapes the next choices available to us. 

The diagram on the right shows why it is so important to start the day with the right choices. If you screw up the first couple of choices, the day is likely to be a mess.

We’ve all been there. Snooze the alarm, run late for work, skip breakfast, run out of energy, grab some unhealthy snacks, get home tired and frustrated, snap unnecessarily at a loved one, sooth the pain with some empty calories and equally empty entertainment, get to bed way too late, repeat.

On the other hand, starting the day right makes it so much easier to have a great day.And a great life is simply a long series of great days.

We’ll talk a lot more about morning routines in coming posts. But for now, let’s just start with building the habit of giving ourselves a fair shot at a great day by getting our asses up and running at the same time each morning (discussed yesterday).

Why not give this a try? A new post will be waiting for you every morning, giving you one minute of quiet reflection before life starts happening.

Win the morning, win the day

 

 

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