Victor Johanson

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since Oct 18, 2011
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Fairbanks, Alaska
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Recent posts by Victor Johanson

John Suavecito wrote:Yes, I'm half Norwegian and they're always trying to get us to pay $40 for a dinner of lutefisk.  Cod fish soaked in lye.  "It's a delicacy".  No thanks.  I like fresh herring and salmon, but fermented? I'll pass. The fermenting and soaking in lye was necessary at one time to have enough food to avoid starvation.   And the fresh stuff doesn't cost $40.
John S
PDX OR



We grew up eating Swedish food, but never had lutefisk until I went to a Sons of Norway smorgasbord as an adult and tried some. It was pretty blah. I went with a guy whose wife was from Sweden, and she said it wasn't representative of quality lutefisk, but I doubt it gets too much better. I don't think lutefisk is fermented though, just soaked in the lye. It had a really bland taste and the texture was gelatinous. Nothing to gag on, but palatability is definitely sacrificed for preservation.
11 months ago

John Suavecito wrote:The passage I read sounded like the person couldn't get himself to eat the undigested caribou stomach contents.  Of course, he had more choices than people in the past.

I liked how Weston Price explained that after getting to know some indigenous people, they showed him one of their secrets.  They removed a small organ from the back of one of the animals and it was crucial for their nutrition.  How many people today know about that? What have we lost by mistreating and disrespecting the people who knew how to live well in these places?

John S
PDX OR



I read that the plains natives liked the ruminated greens, and would hold contests where two people would eat the small intestine and its contents from each end; whoever reached the middle first won. They weren't forced by arctic conditions to resort to eating that. Human tastes are pretty malleable (hence the term "acquired taste"). I heard an account of George Attla, a musher from Huslia, who recalled having to travel to Anchorage as a boy for medical care. His mom fixed him his favorite dish upon his return--beaver tail. He was looking forward to it, but after eating city food for weeks, gagged on the first bite and spat it out. "Stinkhead" is also eaten up here, which is salmon heads wrapped in grass and buried in the sand until they naturally ferment. I doubt most people would find that palatable. I asked a native from Bristol Bay if he ever ate that and if he liked it; he told me he grew up eating it and liked it as a kid. Not sure he still would, though. Scandinavians still eat surströmming, which is fermented herring. I'm half Swedish and it's on my bucket list. Here's a hilarious clip of William Shatner introducing it to some western palates (some of which don't react well):



Often superficial observations are coupled with unwarranted assumptions, leading to inaccurate reports. Wide cultural differences render confusion likely. The lady who wrote "Plants That We Eat" got sick of hearing the trope that arctic people are almost exclusively carnivorous, and wanted to correct the popular opinion.
11 months ago

John Suavecito wrote:Many of the Arctic peoples had to eat partially digested Caribou food, extracted from their stomachs, or they couldn't get enough vitamin C, which is required by humans.
That wouldn't be an abundance of plant materials.



I don't know that they had to--I've read that partially digested Caribou fodder was considered a delicacy, as many fermented foods are. So they weren't necessarily eating it out of desperation. Berries in particular, high in vitamin C, are and have long been easily kept frozen all winter up here, where they occur in ridiculous abundance. I have a bunch outside right now. "Plants That We Eat" documents all that, among other ancient strategies employed by Arctic Alaskans for preserving plant foods through the winter. It's still in print and interesting reading; well worth checking out.
11 months ago

John Suavecito wrote:There are small amounts of fruits and vegetables that can be preserved. When they are covered by feet of snow, it's tougher. But most people in more temperate areas wouldn't consider partially digested caribou food removed from their stomachs to be vegetables.   The point is, it's way tougher to eat an optimal mix of fruits and vegetables in the Arctic.

John S
PDX OR



The book to which I referred is silent regarding recycled stomach greens. Its subject matter is confined to actual plants widely consumed for most of the year by Arctic peoples, contrary to what is commonly believed. Whether their diet is optimal hasn't been established, but Weston A. Price noted that the Inupiat displayed the most robust health and constitution among all the indigenous peoples he studied worldwide.
11 months ago

John Suavecito wrote:For some people in Arctic areas, they have little choice. Many of them got really good omega 3's, fresh air, no toxins, good exercise, and community connections, which is excellent, but not the whole picture. It might be the best diet if you live there, but hardly any of us live in the Arctic Circle. There are no vegetables or fruits available for most of the year.

John S
PDX OR



According to this book:

https://www.amazon.com/Plants-That-Eat-Nigi%C3%B1aqtaut-traditional/dp/1602230749

there are many plants available in the Arctic which are used widely by the Inupiat, both in and out of season (they have long employed various primitive preservation techniques). Part of the book's purpose is to dispel the widely reported narrative that native Alaskans living a subsistence lifestyle are almost exclusively carnivorous. They may consume a higher percentage of meat and fish than most, but roots, leaves, and berries are important foods that are eaten regularly.
11 months ago

Brody Ekberg wrote:That ice bath would be a lot warmer than the -20 degree air!



No, it wouldn't. Water is far denser than air, and thus a better conductor of heat. It's why you can stick your hand in a 450 degree oven for a good while without getting burned, but immersing it in a pot of boiling water even for a few seconds will result in serious injury, despite being less than half that temperature. I've walked around naked in -20 degree air before. I've also jumped into a swimming pool in the fall down in Texas, after some nights in the 20s, and there was no comparison--water instantaneously sucks the heat right out, way more than the 38 degree showers I take, even though the pool water may have been warmer than that (I doubt it was colder). Cryotherapy chambers  are set at -230 degrees for a reason.
1 year ago

Roberto pokachinni wrote:I am planning to take the mid sized chest freezer to my property for the same use as demonstrated by Christine C.  



I was told the other day that someone is selling plunging tanks made from working chest freezers. There are thermostats sold by brewing suppliers that turn them into refrigerators by cycling the power as required, so you can set the temps above freezing. Seems like a genius idea.
1 year ago
I've been doing the cold showers for a few years now. I bought a horse trough to do plunging, but still haven't set it up. Generally I'll do the Wim Hof breathing first thing when I get up in the morning, and then step into the shower and blast myself with cold well water. I live just outside Fairbanks, Alaska, where the groundwater is 38 degrees, so it's pretty bracing. When I first started, I was dancing and hooting, but after a couple weeks it became tolerable, and I even started craving it. I'll let the water run over all parts of my body, and stay in it until I'm acclimated, which usually takes a couple minutes or so. Then I'll blast it on full hot and luxuriate in that for awhile, before another dose of the cold (which is fully cold by then, since all the water in the pipes and tank has been exhausted). I used to start with hot first, but reasoned that the shock of cold on my unprepared flesh would provide a more vigorous vascular contraction and enhance the positive effects. The second cold interval is definitely not as much of a challenge after the hot shower, even though the water is colder, so maybe that's valid. Getting out, I feel super warm no matter how cold the house is.

I first read about this in connection with some old Russian guru. One theory is that blood being forced into the core from the extremities invigorates and rejuvenates the internal organs, and helps dislodge any debris or deposits that may be forming in the vessels. It's supposed to juice the metabolism too. One thing's for sure--I'm wide awake and very alert afterward! It's a great way to start the day. Highly recommended, and guaranteed to increase one's will to power.

Joe Rogan had an episode where he discussed it. He said a friend of his was diagnosed with a high PSA, and thought maybe cold plunging would help. His numbers went from the triple digits down to 1, and in addition, his testosterone skyrocketed. But those effects are apparently dependent on not warming up first. Joe gets in a tub of ice water for three minutes when he gets up, before he works out instead of after. So it appears there are many benefits to this practice.

Wim Hof has released a cellphone app to help with the breathing part; I just downloaded that and it's been helpful. The basic breathing stuff is free, and more advanced stuff is available for a price.
1 year ago

jack vegas wrote:Not to spoil all the fun since I'm just as guilty as the next guy of endlessly brainstorming alternate technologies, but it seems like most of the approaches described here will cost more to build than simply purchasing a conventional refrigerator and running it from a set of photovoltaic panels with a battery pack and inverter.  I suspect such a conventional system could be assembled for under $2000.  Maybe under $1000 with a used refrigerator and scrounged battery pack.



Cost breakdown for the solar ammonia absorption icemaker is $510. That was a few years ago, but it's probably not too much more now. An Icyball clone can be made much cheaper:

https://crosleyautoclub.com/IcyBall/HomeBuilt/HomeBuilt.html

An icehouse would be more expensive, though.
1 year ago