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Gear Not Stuff: November Edition/Kitchen Edition

Gear Not Stuff: November Edition/Kitchen Edition

Three kitchen tools that can improve your health and make it easier to eat healthily.


  • Full access to this post is for Members (non Members get access to only one of the three pieces of gear we’re highlighting).
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  • ICYMI, on Wednesday, we covered the fine art of not dying in dangerous places. It’s an important post. Read it here.
  • Instead of Burn The Ships, please consider doing CHAD 1000X this weekend.

It’s the second Friday of the month, so it’s time for Gear, Not Stuff.

The concept for Gear Not Stuff is simple.

We live in a world of mass consumerism and have more stuff than ever. As I point out in Scarcity Brain, the average home contains at least 10,000 items.

We no longer have the pause of traveling to a store to buy stuff—we can buy it right from our computer, phone, or TV. Online retailers also leverage elements of the scarcity loop to increase the probability that we’ll buy.

Our shift to material abundance has changed our relationship with our possessions, and curious forces are now leading us to acquire more stuff than we need. Minimalism, as you’ll know if you read Scarcity Brain, has also failed us. Luckily, I found a smarter way we can get more from less.

In thinking about how we can make smarter purchasing decisions, I’ve begun delineating between gear and stuff.

Stuff is a possession for the sake of it. Stuff adds to a collection of (too many) items. We often buy stuff impulsively to fix boredom or stress or to solve a problem we could figure out creatively with another item.

Gear, on the other hand, has a clear purpose of helping us achieve a higher purpose. Gear is a tool we can use to have better experiences that make us healthier and give our lives meaning.

I’ve had to learn and think a lot about gear due to the nature of my work and the wild scenarios it throws at me.

This month, we’re covering kitchen items that can improve your health and make it easier to eat healthily. We’re covering:

  • A tool that can slow down overeating and make your meals more enjoyable.
  • A perfect health food cooker.
  • The ultimate cutting tool (hint: it’s not a knife).

Let’s roll …

A Good Set of Chopsticks

I use chopsticks whenever I’m eating a meal that doesn’t require a knife—usually rice and noodle dishes.

Using chopsticks rather than a fork or spoon slows down the process of eating. This is a good thing.

Way too much research has shown that eating slowly is beneficial:

  • It helps prevent overeating. This is because it takes time for the receptors in your stomach to signal to your brain that you’re full. Eat too fast, and you’ll have eaten more than you need before the “you’re full” signals arrive.
  • It leads to better digestion and fewer digestion issues.
  • It makes the meal more enjoyable.

“Mindful eating” is a practice many nutritionists recommend. But it’s basically just a fancy way of saying, “eat slower.”

And, as the practice’s name implies, it also requires that you use your mind.

Chopsticks make mindful eating easy. They’re a mindless way to slow down how fast you eat, according to research.

The science suggests that longer chopsticks (around nine inches instead of seven) are especially good at slowing our rate of eating.

So then the question is, what chopsticks should I use?

It turns out that not all chopsticks are alike. They differ in materials, length, shape, and more. And their construction often depends on their origin. For example, Japanese chopsticks are usually pointier, while Chinese chopsticks have thicker ends. Vietnamese chopsticks are generally longer.

Here’s some general advice:

  • If you really want to slow your eating, get smoother, pointier chopsticks. Those make grabbing the food slightly more challenging than rougher chopsticks with more square ends (like you get for free with Chinese takeout).
  • Consider using bamboo chopsticks. Bamboo is not only sustainable, it’s also antibacterial and antifungal. Unlike metal, it doesn’t heat up if your food is scorching hot.

With all that said, here’s a good set of five re-useable bamboo chopsticks.

The World’s Healthiest Carb Cooker