Leadership and the Environment


319: Avoid doof

Ep. 319

Food is fundamental to our environmental problems.

Most of what American restaurants and supermarkets sell looks like food but isn't by my definition. It makes us obese, diseased, fatigued, poor, dependent, and such, whereas food, like fruits and vegetables, bring us together. Many of us are addicted to salt, sugar, fat, and convenience.

Yet people addicted to salt, sugar, fat, and convenience can point to addicts to other things, like alcohol or cocaine, and say, "they don't need their thing but we need to eat." But no one confuses Doritos with broccoli. But the terms "junk food," "fast food," and even "frankenfood" have the term food in them, leading people to confuse them with food.

I introduced the term doof---food backward---to distinguish between doof and food. Doof is all the stuff sold to go in your mouth refined from food, usually designed and engineered to cause you to crave more of it, usually through salt, sugar, fat, convenience, or other engineering.

Here are my notes I read from:

  • What motivated the problem: reading about food, nutrition, health, and the environment
  • My favorite food writers, and podcast guests, Drs. Joel Fuhrman and Michael Greger
  • Their books Eat to Live, Fast Food Genocide, How Not To Die, and How Not To Diet
  • Their videos
  • The problem: the term "food" in junk food, fast food. Other addictions, like tobacco or alcohol, people say you don't need them, but they need food.
  • Beer versus water versus Doritos versus broccoli
  • Solution: New term
  • One that isn't sticking as well: craving-oriented mouth filler
  • One that people like: doof
  • Sounds like doofus. Helps you not confuse doof with food, like you don't confuse poppy seeds with heroin.
  • Next episode I'll share my story of shopping in a supermarket for the first time in years, nearly all doof.
  • Michael Pollan's "Eat food, mostly plants, not too much." Doof clarifies.
  • Won't confuse McDonald's, Gatorade, Starbucks with food since they don't serve it.
  • Enjoy food. Avoid doof.
  • Spread the word!

More Episodes


414: Nir Eyal, part 2: He committed to avoiding flying before the pandemic

Ep. 414
We covered two main points: how I inspired him and how he inspired me. If I'm not too presumptuous to say I inspired him, that is, the first part is about his choosing not to fly. Several months into the pandemic at the time, we were all used to not flying, but when he committed, before the pandemic, most people I talked to called not flying impossible.Some backstory: Nir emailed me about 24 hours after our first conversation to say he had already substituted one flight with speaking remotely. In this episode, he shares about how he made it happen.Then we get into a back and forth about technology. We agreed on some and disagreed on other parts. Then I switched to what he inspired me on: barefoot running. When most people say barefoot running, they mean minimal shoe. Nir was the first person I met who ran without shoes. Finally I had a role model who ran in Manhattan without shoes. I had been emailed with him between conversations about it. Finally I could share with him. He shared how he got started, what motivated him.I'm sorry the technology conversation probably sounded annoying. On the one hand it's annoying for everyone, on the other, what do you do when you disagree on something? Not talk about it? Avoiding the conflict doesn't resolve it. It leaves it to fester. That's fine on issues that don't matter, but the air we breathe, water we drink, and soil we eat from matter. I hope to run with him when he gets back so New York can see two old men running barefoot together, laughing.We can not talk about it and just let the ballot box decide. As far as the environment goes, we saw how that worked out in 2016.I closed the episode with a plug based on the couple stories about famous, successful people inspiring me to physical, emotional, and intellectual fitness and life improvement. If you want to bring into your peer group the most amazing people you can think of, start a new branch of Leadership and the Environment. Since we recorded, several branches have started, coming from Sweden, England, Italy, and soon Japan.I will train you in the basics of starting a podcast and the elite skills of connecting with people you only dreamed of.The guy who started Leadership and the Environment Sweden just reported back to me how his third guest was an important government official from his home town and she is putting him in touch with a Parliament member. It happens that fast.If you want to start LatE Acting, LatE Silicon Valley, LatE Hip Hop, LatE Sports, or any field, contact me. I'll train you, you'll meet the people of your dreams, lead them to contribute to a legacy of stewardship, and they'll thank you. It takes some effort, but anyone can do it.

413: Michael Moss, part 1.5: Maybe that was the addiction speaking

Ep. 413
Michael wrote me the morning before we scheduled this conversation to say he ended up spending more time on the screen when he intended less. He wondered if we should skip it. Longtime listeners may remember similar results with guests Jim Harshaw and Caspar Craven.I told him I'm not looking for a Disney version implying that acting sustainable was easy. I believe listeners engage more with hearing the challenges than perfection, though it would mean him sounding human. He magnanimously agreed. So we'll get to hear his challenges.As it happens, his next book is called Hooked: Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions, which overlaps with getting hooked on screen time. We ended up with some sneak preview of the book and how it relates to polluting behavior, especially Michael's challenge.We describe a parallel between changing eating habits and sustainability habits came across, as well as the techniques doof industries use to establish habits that help them, however unhealthy for you or damaging to Earth's ability to sustain life and human society. Since they work to get past your defenses, often with children too young to have developed defenses, I would call them insidious or creepy, like a tick creeping slowly past your defenses.The challenge in changing these habits, from one perspective, is to create new neural pathways. We focus on the objects of our craving and the craving, but looking past our craving to seeing that we are training ourselves and the feelings of withdrawal will pass seems to make iteasier.