Living Luminously


Enabling Children

We tried to buy a place around the corner (not right adjacent, but no crossing streets, so we could have let pretty small kids walk it alone), but we could only afford to lowball it and didn't get it.  We don't want to move because moving is horrible but if the place burned down or something we would probably all or mostly all move together.

I would like to see this energy directed somewhere more empathetic.  Can many humans with a healthy relationship to food and no medical dietary restrictions be physically healthy on a vegan diet (and a B12 supplement)?  Probably.  Does everyone you're talking to have all those qualities?  Absolutely not.  Are their traditions, tastes, and convenience, and every flowthrough effect of their culture, enjoyment, and flexibility, wholly worthless?  You aren't likely to save many animals by telling them so even if you feel that way.

I had an accidentally mostly-vegan lunch today.  I'm not a vegan (I'm a pescetarian), but I happened to choose today to make baba ganoush, and of course I wanted bread to put it on and I had some ciabatta, and I also had some Beyond sausages in the fridge that I wanted to try so I fried a couple of those up.  By coincidence, my dinner last night was also vegan!  I made Singapore noodles, with tofu and cabbage and broccoli and shiitake mushrooms.  However, with both meals I drank a glass of milk.  Trying to figure out how to completely replace dairy products in my diet would be a tremendous undertaking that would substantially reduce my quality of life, and if you want to make that ask, you should acknowledge its contents.

I know someone on an elimination diet for medical reasons who cannot have any legumes including soy and peanuts.  (Nor eggs and dairy, but meat is fine - in fact, as I understand it, meat is one of the things people are least likely to be reactive to in a wide variety of cases.)  He can eat gluten, but can't have it in the house - it'll make the celiac family members sick.  What would you like him to do?  Go out to eat a plate of seitan at a restaurant every day during a pandemic?  Do you think the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is stating that this person will be fine on quinoa and sunflower seeds and almonds, for months, while their medical team isolates a hopefully narrower set of problem foods, or do you think the AND were making a generalization that doesn't apply to everyone?

Vat meat is coming.  Plant-based meat options are better every year.  They haven't cracked fully general vegan eggs yet but they have approximately-perfect vegan mayonnaise.  All we have to do is send market signals and, on the margin, in the meantime, give people recipes.

(Broil 2 large globe eggplants on high for one hour, turning them over after 30 minutes.  Let rest until cool enough to handle.  Slit open, scoop out, and strain the insides; pat dry with paper towels.  Add minced garlic to taste and two tablespoons of lemon juice poured directly over the garlic, and stir vigorously until mostly broken down.  Mix in 3 tablespoons tahini, then a steady stream of olive oil while stirring constantly.  Salt until it tastes amazing.)

Enabling Children

We did this approximately by accident.  We had a kid, and separately had a habit of letting our friends crash in our spare bedrooms, and one of them did enough caretaking (letting us SLEEP!) that we were like "wait... if she leaves... that will hit the kid like a divorce" and arranged to keep her forever.  Now we live with her and her fiancée and additional Spare Room Friends and a second kid, and we are very crowded in our large house and don't have room for any more Spare Room Friends which is very sad, and plot to purchase neighboring houses as soon as they come on the market and knock down intervening fencing.

We really like this arrangement and so do the kids, and it's been especially wonderful during lockdown since we can do well-attended in-bubble dinners and D&D and TV nights.  It might be hard to do on purpose, especially if you want to do it before you actually have a kid for people to get attached to.  Finding one compatible coparent who is committed to being in it for the duration of at least one childhood no matter what kind of kid you wind up with is already pretty hard.  But we know a family who invited in a Spare Room Friend expressly on the expectation that the SRF would help take care of their child, which seems pretty doable, and if things didn't work out they could presumably swap for a different SRF.

So I guess my advice is acquire at least one spare room and invite a friend who likes kids to live in it and see if they and your baby get along.

"Can you keep this confidential? How do you know?"

It's not really workable to say "oh yeah, I can keep secrets, I keep so many secrets, like for example," so I tend to describe my surface area - things like "sometimes my literate three year old looks at my screen and asks me what a phrase means in front of the contents of my living room, I'm not good at not laughing at things I read if they're funny, I consider it morally wrong to lie and am not volunteering to do it anyway for you but am good at deflecting with the truth so cannot guarantee to conceal the existence of a secret but can decline to elaborate on it to inquisitors, if it seems to me like it legitimately concerns a third party I would try to ask you first but if it were time sensitive might make a judgment call and can take into account whatever you'd like to say now about that eventuality, given all this do you want to tell me?"

Organizing a Group Buy of Flour

I'd like to do something like this - it turns out we go through flour with breathtaking speed if I'm trying to personally keep up with household bread consumption through baking. But I can't find a distributor! I looked at the ones in my area listed on King Arthur Flour's website, and one doesn't have it (I think; they have no search function so I had to look manually through pages of random foods), and the other won't let me check without my having a restaurant account.

Should I floss?

I went from rarely flossing, to flossing every night, when I started trying to set an example for my eldest child. When my new baby was born, I neglected flossing for several weeks, since doing things with a new baby is hard. I promptly experienced unpleasant gum problems that I doubt are coincidental, and have put in more effort towards flossing on a daily basis.

The LessWrong 2018 Review

No, I mean, it redirects me to with the weird stuff stripped out, and shows me all posts, not sorted by karma and including the one that was posted eight hours ago and so on.

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