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help me eliminate thinking about food.
February 4, 2007 11:10 PM   Subscribe

a "food pill" meal, please.

i'm trying to ease myself away from thinking about food as a was to derive pleasure and more towards thinking about it as a fuel.

does anyone have any recipies for a dish that contains enough of everything you need that if you ate it a couple of times a day you would get what you needed to maintain? vitamins, fiber, protein, carbs, the works.

or is this impractical/impossible?

i don't really much care about getting bored with eating the same thing all the time, as that is indirectly the goal anyhow. i just want to make something that my body will use and derive usefulness from and not hate me for having eaten.
posted by radiosilents to Food & Drink (29 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Buy MREs from a local camping store.
posted by krisjohn at 11:16 PM on February 4, 2007


If you want to feel "full" or "satiated" without increasing calories, look into adding more fiber and water to your diet.

Eating bananas, for example, is a good high-fiber, complex carbohydrate snack that helps satiate and doesn't spike your blood sugar level the same way that a couple Twinkies would.

Some folks eat trail mix for breakfast, which is a high-protein, low-fat meal that steadies the body's chemistry in the morning.

I'm trying to answer your question here, but keep in mind that you might have more success with your diet strategy if you derive pleasure in eating good, healthy food, as opposed to taking pleasure from food in general.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:23 PM on February 4, 2007


The MREs are a good suggestion. The camping section of the retail store I work in also has some freeze dried meals for hiking and camping.

There's a good chance you won't be thinking about the pleasure of eating while your eating the MREs (I know from personal experience).
posted by philomathoholic at 11:44 PM on February 4, 2007


Eating the same thing over and over every day for weeks will make you sick. Make sure to vary the ingredients.

You might want to research "The Zone" diet, which largely involves finding the optimum balance of carbs/protein/fat.

Also anything relating to "calorie restriction with proper nutrition" should be handy for figuring out what your body really needs, and cutting out the rest.

Be sure to keep an eye on what type of essential amino acids you are getting, or take an amino acid complex if you don't think you are getting all your essentials.

Drinking a good amount of tea or water a few hours after meals will really help keep your mind off snacking, as you don't tend to get hungry if your stomach is diluted with fluids. It's also healthy for many other reasons as well especially if you get into something like high quality green tea.
posted by parallax7d at 11:54 PM on February 4, 2007


Don't start eating MRE's 3 times a day. Oh my word. There is no reason to do that unless you are on the front lines and can't make it to the mess. And your stranded in the Mekong River delta.
posted by parallax7d at 11:57 PM on February 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


You might want to look into food used for humanitarian aid, like these Mainstay rations. I've eaten the normal survival-type rations before, and they're bland in a non-disagreeable kind of way.

Keep in mind these are high-calorie, high-fat foods. Snacking on them is probably bad for your health.
posted by meowzilla at 12:11 AM on February 5, 2007


I think that there was another thread recently which was tangentially related, and we came to the conclusion that a human can live on potatoes and milk and nothing else whatever. Between them they have everything we need to stay healthy.

But doing that for weeks (or years) sure would be monotonous....
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:32 AM on February 5, 2007


If you want to take this to the logical extreme, you could always base your diet on "monkey chow," the bulk food given to new world and old world primates.
How to feed a monkey
Monkey Chow. Scroll down to "ZuPreem ZuCrunch." Don't forget the Zupreem Primate O's!
Treats, for when you need a little something after dinner.
Tested on humans. (previously)
posted by lekvar at 12:50 AM on February 5, 2007


It seems you need to define what you consider a healthy daily dietary intake. Healthy should really mean more than "what can I survive on?" When I set up my current feed plan (appetizing, no?) I used a free account at fitday.com to enter every last bit I ate or drank (less water) for a week. I was surprised by the day-to-day inconsistency this revealed!

While I don't think your idea of eating the same thing all day, every day, is impossible, I don't think it is healthy. I eat nearly the same thing every day, but I eat fresh fruit and a lot of vegetables. I designed the way I eat around the nutrients I want available to my body, time/ease of preparation, and how easy it would be for me to keep the routine. I love it, and I find pleasure in eating without pleasure/cravings guiding my food choices.

While I will not completely detail what I eat every week (if you're interested, I will… otherwise I think I'll hold off as it may seem that I have an eating disorder, what with all these detailed weights and measures), I will say that I roast a couple of chickens or braise a roast every Sunday (basically, ultra-tasty enchilada filling), refrigerate the meat and eat it all week long. Plus, lots of steamed vegetables.

Enthusiastic second on parallax7d's suggestion to check out the "Zone" diet. I eat a kind of cross between a "Paleo" and "Zone" diet, including zero sugar and processed carbs, a very small amount of starchy carbs, a lot of vegetables and a good bit of fruit. It's very easy to reheat refrigerated meat, steam a few cups of precut Costco broccoli, and nuke a little bit of yam for dinner, takes less than ten minutes and gives you what you need.

On preview: yeah monkey chow... just add fruit and vegetables!
posted by chudder at 12:55 AM on February 5, 2007


One square meal claims to have exactly 1/3 of all the required nutrients you need per day in each serving.
posted by scodger at 12:56 AM on February 5, 2007


Eating the same thing over and over every day for weeks will make you sick. Make sure to vary the ingredients.

That's certainly not true. There are many things, that if exclusively consumed, will result in nutrient deficiencies. However, as long as you're getting all your nutrients it doesn't particularly matter what form they're in.

(You could argue that composition matters in terms of fiber intake, etc, but for the sake of simplicity, I'm including that in 'nutrients')
posted by chrisamiller at 2:24 AM on February 5, 2007


Always eating the same thing can, I believe, lead to food sensitivity, intolerance, and, rarely, allergy.
posted by chudder at 2:42 AM on February 5, 2007


previously: Is there a human equivalent to premium cat food?
posted by Saucy Intruder at 3:12 AM on February 5, 2007


I've looked into the idea of 'people food' a bit. The closest workable method I've seen is army MRE's. These have actually been tested large scale and proven to work. Most camping MRE's are not the same as the army ones, so you gotta get the ones from the army suppliers.

The problem with MRE's is they are fairly low in fiber. If you eat them for a couple of days, you might become consitipated. Possibly adding Mueslix to your meal would address this.

There are other products on the market typically sold to hardcore vegans to ensure proper nutrition. The one's I tried are disgusting and I can't concieve of eating them daily.

Realistically its smarter to eat a normal diet. Enjoying your food is a survival trait because you eat what you like to eat, and what you like to eat tends to be what you need to eat.
posted by Osmanthus at 3:28 AM on February 5, 2007


In college I had a roommate who did this. He'd worked out a "scientific" diet, involving a small number of ingredients. I think it was some sort of green like kale, a grain of some sort, tahini, a specific variety of expensive bread from the hippy store, and something else. He ate them in a set number of combinations for every meal, every day, along with some vegan vitamin supplements. He did ok, except that about once every two weeks he'd go off and eat a disgustingly huge pile of fast food --- my guess was that there was a nutrient (and fat, and probably calories in general) deficiency in his scientific diet, which he compensated for with the fast food.

Less ridiculously, millions upon millions of poor people around the world eat extremely monotonous diets, involving cheap starch with very occasional additions of vegetables, maggi cubes, or processed meat. What the starch is varies from place to place --- think rice, yams, cassava, cornmeal, etc --- but the monotony is very real, as are the micronutrient deficiencies that go along with that sort of diet. The point here is if your question is, "what is the minimum I need to eat to stay alive and functioning," the bar is pretty low.

MREs and the packaged humanitarian rations are formulated for people in high-stress, high-effort situations --- too many calories for a sedentary lifestyle. I don't think that this is the solution for you.

Rather than just one dish that you eat three times a day (for which monkeychow is probably as good as it gets), why not develop a system or "menu" of a few meals, which you can rotate between? That way you ensure good nutrition, by eating a range of foods, but you can also attain your goal of "food as fuel" by putting these meals together in a systematic way. Make the food ahead, concentrating on one-pot recipes, then freeze in one-meal portions, labeled (if you so desire) by day and meal. So on Monday morning all you do is reach into the freezer and pull out the packages labeled "monday lunch" and "monday dinner," etc.
posted by Forktine at 4:30 AM on February 5, 2007


The "intense" type of pleasure from eating basically comes from refined carbohydrates including sugar, salt and fats, particularly animal fats. If you cut those out of your diet and eat unprocessed food instead you'll find that you naturally eat a healthy diet - your body will have the opportunity to ask for what it really wants instead of being drowned out by pleasure cravings. This way, you don't have to think - but you will have to listen.
posted by teleskiving at 5:26 AM on February 5, 2007


You could try the "440 Meal" Jamie Hyneman is seen drinking on one episode of Mythbusters... do let me know how it is.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:23 AM on February 5, 2007


Other bad point about MREs - they are very high in sodium. Great if you're sweating bullets in the tropics, not so good if you have high blood pressure.

Along the lines of some of the other suggestions above, you could eat the exact same set of foods every day rather than the same food for every meal. Lots of people do this, including several of my friends, because they are too lazy to care. You know, cereal for breakfast, a ham sandwich for lunch, spaghetti for dinner (although these aren't very healthy suggestions, probably). But for the people I'm thinking of, they already didn't care about food - they didn't have to break themselves of it, they just developed their eating habits to keep themselves fed with minimal fuss.

On the other hand, if you think you have a food addiction, you could try seeing a therapist about it. Alot of people, fat and thin, have emotional eating issues.
posted by cabingirl at 7:01 AM on February 5, 2007


For a period of about 6 months I had to take a medication that killed my interest in food, and during that time I subsisted pretty much exclusively on Powerbars, eating only to keep myself "fueled." I don't know how healthy that was, but I survived (although I lost a great deal of weight, but I really had no appetite and was only eating one bar some days, so YMMV).
posted by amro at 7:04 AM on February 5, 2007


If you're trying to be less obsessive about food, look into whether you might have a sugar addiction. People addicted to sugar tend to constantly think about food and when they eat something, it makes them want even more. Furthermore, the body then reacts to sugar like a drug addict getting a "fix" - temporary euphoria.

There are lots of books on this, right now I'm reading "Anatomy of a Food Addiction" by Anne Katharine.

In terms of well-rounded, basic meals, an easy and nutritious staple is to make a rice bowl with brown rice, black beans, salsa (make sure there's no added sugars), corn, and maybe a sprinkling of lowfat cheddar or a dollop of sour cream. Add some fresh avocado now & then for some extra nutrition. This meal provides a lot of the fiber & protein you need.
posted by tastybrains at 7:16 AM on February 5, 2007


amro: What medication was that? IMHO, something that removes the interest in food would be a godsend to those who "nervous eat" or constantly graze.
posted by sandra_s at 8:57 AM on February 5, 2007


I'd be leery of both "meal replacement" products and supplements (vitamin pills etc.). Chemical nutrients are not a sufficient replacement for whole nutrients from natural foods. If you're going to drastically reduce the variety in your diet, a sensible multivitamin supplement might be worth considering because it seems to me you're all but guaranteed to be shortchanging some aspects of your diet with this profound lack of variation.

Googling "complete meal" (no quotes) will net you some worthwhile results.

Finally, I know this is contrary to the letter of your question but in the presumed spirit of what you are seeking I have to question your premise. I doubt very strongly that making eating boring and unpleasant is going to make you stop thinking about food. I would expect it to do very much the opposite. Simplistic, one-idea solutions to unhealthy relationships with food are all the same in one important respect: they consistently fail. Not that there's any harm in trying, just something to keep in mind.
posted by nanojath at 10:36 AM on February 5, 2007


STIR FRY:

tofu + nutritional yeast + olive oil + [brown rice OR lentils OR buckwheat OR quinoa] + frozen vegetables + multivitamin

==

protein + vitamin + fat + [complex carb/fiber/other good things] + nutrients

you can add salt or pepper or whatever spice you have around the house to flavor this. it is healthy and has most of what you need to get by. I've eaten this but with different spices for days on end and functioned properly.
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 10:51 AM on February 5, 2007


Just another side note: In the spirit of what nanojath said, human beings are designed to like food, a lot. As Victoria Moran wrote in Fit From Within:

We are supposed to like food ... we need to like it enough to want to eat it every day for our entire lives, and to live as long as we possibly can.

You'll never be able to stop liking food or finding pleasure in a good meal. You'll never be able to stop thinking about food when you smell something delicious. The best you can hope for is to not obsessively think about food, and not be fixated on food.

We're not robots, unfortunately.
posted by tastybrains at 11:23 AM on February 5, 2007


If what you want is to stop obsessing about food generally you should check out the Shangri-La diet. In a sentence, you consume doses of calories in almost-tasteless forms and that somehow breaks the association between taste and nutrition in your mind. Your appetite decreases and you don't obsess over food as much.

It isn't a replacement for all other foods, but it's more of a hack for your body's when-to-be-hungry / when-to-stop-feeling-hungry mechanisms.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:31 PM on February 5, 2007


These sites on restricted calorie high nutrition diets may be helpful:
CRON
Walford.com
Roy Walford's CRON Salad
posted by BoscosMom at 6:01 PM on February 5, 2007


Here's a link to a Megamuffin recipe that seems pretty close to a "food pill". I'm not a nutritionist, yada, yada, yada... and I don't know how reliable any of these sites are, I just remembered seeing something about it on PBS. The muffin looks interesting though.
posted by BoscosMom at 6:18 PM on February 5, 2007


I've started a water regimen, of one pint each hour, in order to cut down on snacking. I've also got a tub of pre-washed baby spinach on-hand (well ... in the fridge), in case I'm desperate and want to munch on something.

I just started this last week, so I can't speak to its long-term success. But I can say that there's a box of chocolate-covered Krispy-Kremes in the office kitchen. Normally I'd have eaten two by now, but I haven't touched them yet, and I don't have any real desire to do so.

Side benefit: I wash my hands each time I use the bathroom. I'm now washing my hands once or twice an hour. "This is me, not getting a cold!"

Just in case someone brings it up, a pint an hour isn't dangerous in a hyponatremia kind of way. That's more of a risk if it's all drunk at once — "excessive and rapid" being the watchwords.
posted by Alt F4 at 7:22 AM on February 6, 2007


we came to the conclusion that a human can live on potatoes and milk and nothing else whatever

do I infer that you could live on mashed potato and nothing else, then? yes!
posted by 6am at 9:01 AM on February 6, 2007


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