Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Less Red Meat, More Chinese

Little surges of delight.

The joy of figuring out practical things. Algorithms of daily life, such as "supplement vitamin D, lightly, in the dead of winter, when I stop walking to and from the train with bare arms."

I think I've quit eating red meat. We'll see how that goes. I've eaten (at least) a quarter pound of hamburger daily for most of my adult life. I'm very, very used to it. I couldn't have succeeded in my weight loss without it. But now it might be time. There's a tectonic rhythm to these lifestyle changes: the pressure builds for a long time, and then suddenly, one day, for no observable reason, there's abrupt, surprising movement, and everything reorders around the new behavior.

... or it might not. My body's kicked back pretty hard against efforts to stop meat-eating before. But I'm still eating tons of animal protein, more than my body can possibly process. So swapping in bean salad for my nightly burger might pass under the radar.

It would be nice to not be supporting the factory feed-lot world any more. And nice not to have to clean grease off the stove top (wall, counter) every evening. Meat is kind of a chore.

In unrelated news: I've been reading about language acquisition recently, and it seems that "massive comprehensible input" method is what's recommended now. Read and listen -- to stuff you can mostly understand -- and your brain does the rest behind the scenes. But you have to do a lot of it, and it only works if you're receiving comprehensible, interesting messages. There's not much point in even trying to speak or write until you've absorbed a ton of it. Which makes my failure with Chinese make sense. I never had comprehensible input, of any kind: so my dogged memorization of Chinese characters yielded exactly nothing in the way of reading capacity. You have to understand something, and build on that kernel. It's a bootstrap problem. If you're not actually receiving messages the clutch doesn't engage: you can rev the engine all you like, but you're not going anywhere.

So if I ever take up Chinese again, I'm going to get a tutor I can hear and make them point to things and talk about them in Chinese, walk me through kids' books with pictures. What's that? What's he doing? Why?

Thanksgiving tomorrow. Going to my daughter's wife's aunt's, for a totally low-stress, unfraught holiday. Grateful for that.


am said...

Gracias for the tip about language acquisition. Making that adjustment has accelerated mi learning process! This is el dia cuarenta y nueve de mi commitment aprender español before yo die. Con daily sessions of up to dos horas en Duolingo, leyendo a libros de niños, escuchando a La Casa en Mango Street en mi carro, y joining personas hablando español los miércoles en un cuarto pequeño en the Senior Center. No fines de semanas or Thanksgiving day off para mi. Yo estudio hoy, también. Yo soy un bebé escuchando. Es un mundo nuevo! I only know a few verbs well, and all are in the present tense.

Muy interesante about changing lifelong eating patterns. I've avoided milk and eggs for years due to what seemed to be allergic reactions, and my health has been excellent on substantial amounts of canned Alaska salmon for protein. Lately, though, I've been eating dairy and eggs and wondering if my body can do without the salmon. I like all kinds of beans and will probably be eating more beans. In the past, beans seemed to cause itching but now that dairy and eggs aren't causing problems, I am hoping to be able to eat beans without experiencing physical problems.

I love food. One of life's many simple joys! We have much to be grateful for today.

Sabine said...

As always, I admire your concise way of sharing your progress and admitting your concerns.

When I got ill with autoimmune hepatitis 20 years ago, I had to stop eating meat because it was too much agony when processed by my digestive system. Becoming vegetarian had not been part of my life plan and I wept with fury.
Now, 20 years of almost no meat (the occasional nibble esp. when being invited by friends/family) I cannot report any negative effects, none to show in my lab reports and I don't eat tons of pulses or tofu either. I take Vit D irregularly.

2 language stories:

I watched my daughter at age 10 learning German - up to then she had memorised two sentences in case she got lost. That school year, she was in an immersion class where all subjects were taught in German, plus two periods of language training every day. The thing that did it was that all her fellow pupils came from different countries, only two spoke English, the rest was from all over the globe and in order to make friends, they all needed to speak German with each other. They all mastered it by xmas (3 months later).

I have a colleague from Romania who speaks almost perfect German after 2 years. At any meeting she asks all in attendance to note her language/grammar mistakes and to share them with her afterwards so she won't repeat them. She takes endless notes and god-love-her, is forever after me with questions about cases and past tense and whatnots. She will go very far, academically. But seriously, I occasionally have to tell her to take a break.