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human food for a human being
October 24, 2010 1:13 AM   Subscribe

The wet organic cat food I give to my cat is highly nutritious. It is also homogenous and prepared in large quantities. Is there a human equivalent to this that I can prepare for myself?

It would need to be something I can prepare in large amounts and will keep for up to a week. It would be best if it's vegan but vegetarian works too. It doesn't matter if it's flavorless. In fact I could probably tolerate it tasting mildly awful. It can also be any consistency. You could say that I need not experience any joy whatsoever while eating this. I simply aim to spend as little time cooking and worrying about my diet as possible.
posted by triceryclops to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
Rice and beans is probably the easiest answer to this.
posted by rachaelfaith at 1:19 AM on October 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


How about putting tofu, beans and vitamin pills in a blender? Should keep in the fridge, I'd think.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:28 AM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Previously.
posted by stray at 1:40 AM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also previously.
posted by stray at 1:41 AM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think for it to be really good for you you would also need some green vegetables. Frozen chopped kale might be a good thing to throw in because it's low in oxalic acid (which prevents absorption of calcium.) Also, if you're keeping it vegan and don't want to do the vitamin pill route, add some nutritional yeast so you can get vitamin b12.
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:42 AM on October 24, 2010


Nutraloaf
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:56 AM on October 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Have a look at these two links for an introduction to what is being and has been used in emergency feeding situations. (The second is a pdf.)
posted by Ahab at 2:06 AM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wanted to mention that a meal might be nutritionally complete and yet still rather detrimental to one's health.

Taking zero pleasure in one's meals for days upon days would almost certainly increase one's likelihood of suffering from depression.

I'm not suggesting that everyone eat lavishly every day, or even care that much about food, but, just like we'd try to get a bare minimum of protein, fibre, and vitamins, it really wouldn't hurt to work out how to get the bare minimum of enjoyment from meals to stay healthy, and then, perhaps, work out how do that with the least amount of effort possible.
posted by surenoproblem at 2:19 AM on October 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


A personal anecdote which may deter you from eating the same thing day after day after day-- I was tested over a year ago for food intolerances and many were found (over 30). When I was asking my doctor what caused this state of affairs, she said that intolerances develop when one eats the same foods day after day, week after week.

In an effort to be more efficient in my day-to-day life, I was eating similar meals with perhaps a rotation of about 30 foods within a given month. I thought I had quite a lot of variety in my diet. In fact I was making myself sick by eating the same salads, salmon, breads, oranges, etc spiced the same way, every week.

Turns out that a human being should consume a rotation of a minimum of 100 different foods in a given month to stay healthy - any less, and intolerances begin to develop.

As creatures of habit - or as life-hackers wishing to spend less time on tasks less loved - it may seem like a good idea to default to a basic meal that provides the essentials, but based on my personal experience, and that of several of my friends and acquaintances, I would urge you to reconsider your plan for your homogenous meal.
posted by seawallrunner at 2:29 AM on October 24, 2010 [42 favorites]


You could just buy a big tub of protein powder, jars of chickpeas, olive oil and big piles of greens. Drink the protein and eat greens with chickpeas and oil. I know it's not a homogenous mash but it's probably the easiest way to eat with no effort.
posted by creasy boy at 2:32 AM on October 24, 2010


Your body is not a "pet" your mind "keeps".
On the other hand, it is.
Beans and rice.
posted by evil_esto at 3:08 AM on October 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


Plumpy'nut on wikipedia. A bit of commentary from Alertnet/Reuters. And unimix porridge.

From a small amount of direct experience eating unimix, I have to say that surenoproblem and seawallrunner are both very very right. Physically and mentally, you need variety.
posted by Ahab at 3:17 AM on October 24, 2010


This question gets asked a lot. (Especially in October, which is interesting.)

Single food providing a balanced diet?, September 2010

Everything the body needs, January 2010

Can I fuel my body off just SPIZ nutrition drink water and the occasional recreational meal, October 2009

Food me., March 2009

I seek the King of Nutrition Drinks, October 2007

help me eliminate thinking about food, February 2007

A human version of Science Diet?, October 2006

What's the simplest, cheapest yet most complete diet available?, May 2006
posted by Houstonian at 3:32 AM on October 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


Zupreem Primate Dry is what monkey chow guy ate.

Some of the features of this exciting option:

* 100% complete and balanced nutrition
* Fed to primates in zoos for more than 25 years
* Highly palatable
* Contains stabilized form of Vitamin C
* Contains Vitamin D3
* Extrusion cooking enhances carbohydrate bioavailability
* Biscuit expands and maintains shape if soaked in liquid
* Formulated by veterinarians and nutritionists

The emphasis on highly palatable is mine, mostly for hilarity. I think that the chap who ate it for a month can in fact testify that this is true (if at all) only to non H. sapiens sapiens palates.
posted by atrazine at 4:40 AM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Haha, apparently the stuff is so foul that the experiment was terminated after a week.
posted by atrazine at 4:43 AM on October 24, 2010



A personal anecdote which may deter you from eating the same thing day after day after day-- I was tested over a year ago for food intolerances and many were found (over 30). When I was asking my doctor what caused this state of affairs, she said that intolerances develop when one eats the same foods day after day, week after week.


I know that anecdote is not proof, but I had a friend some years back who did the same thing. He figured out an "efficient" diet made up of very few things (I think maybe six or eight items total) and he ended up with some pretty serious health issues that his doctor blamed on that highly restricted diet. Maybe MonkeyChow wouldn't do this to you, but I'd still be very reluctant to go down that path without involving a sympathetic nutritionist or doctor as an observer just in case.
posted by Forktine at 7:44 AM on October 24, 2010


Haha, apparently the stuff is so foul that the experiment was terminated after a week

Actually, I just watched all the monkey chow diaries videos on YouTube (funny stuff) and from the beginning the experiment was only meant to go for a week. He was REALLY ready to be done with it by then, though.

After watching that I feel really bad for animals having to eat that stuff. No wonder pets beg at the table so much.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:16 AM on October 24, 2010


You should also consider that the reason we feed our pets these sorts of foods is mainly the convenience. It is quite possible that they might live a few more months if fed a more varied, specially prepared diet, but it would be terribly inconvenient and most people wouldn't think it was worth it. There's a different calculus when it comes to human lives.
posted by peacheater at 8:44 AM on October 24, 2010


Fatty Meat (especially that fed its natural diet for proper fat balance). The Inuit do it. The amount of vitamins in the meat is sufficient to stay alive if you are not leaching them out of your body with grains, etc. You might want to supplement with occasional berries or probiotics.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 1:08 PM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uhm, if you weren't vegetarian that is. Sorry, I got nothin' now.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 1:11 PM on October 24, 2010


For the fatty meat option, you need to eat all the organs and eyeballs and bone marrow and so on as well. That's where a lot of the nutrients hang out.

I spent some time last year on a small isolated island where the diet for years at a time (in between the extremely irregular supply ships) is fish, coconut, and chicken. The islanders do very well, health-wise, and have no obvious deficiencies. But they do eat EVERY part of the fish and chicken, and they eat the fish raw more often than not.
posted by lollusc at 5:07 PM on October 24, 2010


MFK Fisher's WWII-era (and later annotated in the 50's) How to Cook a Wolf has both a recipe for something like this in her "How to Keep Alive" chapter. It must be noted that the point of the essay and the book as a whole is actually how you should NOT do that if you can possibly afford to avoid it, but there you go.
posted by kalessin at 6:44 PM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Turns out that a human being should consume a rotation of a minimum of 100 different foods in a given month to stay healthy
That seems highly unlikely to me. I do totally agree that variety is important, but it is also important to remember that most people in the world do not have access to a minimum of 100 different foods in a given month, yet are healthy enough. Most people have staples in their diet and do fine with them.
posted by davar at 1:34 AM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


"most people in the world do not have access to a minimum of 100 different foods in a given month, yet are healthy enough"

"Healthy enough"? Have you ever actually *looked* at the health and mortality statistics for developing countries vs. developed countries?

Look up the healthiest countries in the world. All places with modern supermarkets offering a wide variety of foods.

Look up the least healthy countries. All places where most people are subsisting on one or two staples.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:42 AM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Look up the least healthy countries. All places where most people are subsisting on one or two staples.
I said in my comment that variety is important. The comment was not about eating 2 different foods, but about eating 30 different foods not being enough. 100 different foods every month is a whole lot. I don't think that most people in healthy countries eat so many different foods, and all those diets that are often mentioned as "healthiest diets in the world" have staples (like rice or wheat). Most people in the world eat rice every day but do not get food intolerancies. There is more to it than that.

I live in the Netherlands. Most people here eat bread for breakfast and bread for lunch. Many people have a few standard things they put on bread. It is not uncommon at all for people to eat the exact same thing for breakfast and lunch every day or to only switch between two or three different kinds of sandwich toppings. Many people eat potatoes at least 5 times a week (the other 2 days they go exotic and eat pasta or rice) and vary between maybe 10 different kinds of vegetables in a month. I don't think the variety in meat is all that great either. For fruit outside of summer most eat apples, but people will also eat bananas, tangerines or oranges. Most people here do not eat 100 different foods in a month. I am definitely not saying that this is the healthiest diet in the world, but people are not developing food intolerancies en masse, and our life expectancy is good.
posted by davar at 4:43 AM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


our life expectancy is good.

And you're the tallest people in the world, so you must be doing something right, diet-wise!
posted by dmt at 8:17 AM on October 25, 2010


Look up the healthiest countries in the world. All places with modern supermarkets offering a wide variety of foods.

All places with low levels of preventable infectious disease morbidity and mortality, especially among children.

Look up the least healthy countries. All places where most people are subsisting on one or two staples.

All places with high levels of preventable infectious disease morbidity and mortality, especially among young children.

I type this to suggest that the Western fascination/obsession with diet as the primary determinant of health is not entirely correct.
posted by docgonzo at 8:38 AM on October 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


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