The Anti-Atkins diet
November 16, 2006 5:00 PM   Subscribe

What food will help my crazy fast metabolism?

I have a ludicrously fast, high maintenance metabolism. Through trial and error, I've discovered that I feel really good if I graze on pasta all day long. As happy as I am to not have hunger related moodswings and energy dips, I think I'm going to get sick of pasta very soon. I'm looking for suggestions of other foods that will provide the same benefits of pasta. Bonus for portable foods that are easy to prepare. I've tried various trail mixes and energy bars, and neither of them work for me, I'm guessing the sugar content is too high. I maintain a good fiber intake to try and regulate the sugar, too.

Also, I've had my thyroid and blood sugar tested, and both are normal.
Also also, please don't reply with something along the lines of "I wish I had your problem". I have to monitor my food intake as carefully as people trying to lose weight, and it ain't fun for me either.
posted by yorick to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It doesn't taste so great, but just regular oatmeal is pretty ribsticking. The instant variety is pretty easy to prepare.
posted by WaterSprite at 5:08 PM on November 16, 2006

For a quick fix, I like bread with some complexity to it- back in high school I used to use my parents' breadmaker, and I would just take the whole loaf with me and eat it throughout the day. I preferred breads with something interesting in them- seeds, fruit, or whatnot. Definitely easy to prepare if you've got a breadmaker.

Of course, I think longer term you want something less likely to cause uneven blood sugar - my metabolism has slowed with age so this isn't as big of an issue for me anymore, but even so I find protein-heavy foods to give me a longer stable blood sugar run than carbohydrates in their various forms. Thus, I'm a big fan of beef jerky for portable snacking needs.
posted by nat at 5:17 PM on November 16, 2006

posted by Packy_1962 at 5:17 PM on November 16, 2006

I don't think I have a crazy metabolism, but I do burn a lot of calories running. Energy bars and trail mix and nuts don't really cut it for me, either.

Protein shakes do, though. You could buy the kind that you mix with milk or soy milk or maybe even water, but I think they're not so great-tasting. (The spriutine mixes, which I've gotten from Whole Foods are pretty OK, though.) I blend a banana, a spoonful of peanut butter and soymilk and chocoloate syrup (or just chocolate soymilk). I'm sure it would work fine with milk, too. I sometimes drink one between lunch and dinner and notice a real difference. You could drink one between breakfast and lunch, and lunch and dinner, though, if you need more constant fuel.

Also, eggs keep me full for a long time. You could take an egg salad sandwich, or just a hard boiled egg on bread for a snack (or just an egg, but I was trying to give you carbs, too).

Carbs are great for immediate energy, but you'll also burn through them faster than protein.
posted by Airhen at 5:20 PM on November 16, 2006

I do have your problem, so I sympathize. I'll second the suggestion of eggs -- I always keep some hard-boiled in my fridge at home or work to snack on. For snacks or light meals, I eat a lot of the following:

- peanut butter, on whole-wheat bread or crackers; add bananas or dried fruit for more of a boost
- nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, and pistachios are most satisfying for me) or trail mix
- yogurt -- not the syrupy-sweetened kind, but the whole-fat greek style (you can get it at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods) with fruit or granola, plus a little honey
- cheese (especially soft, rich cheeses like Brie or Havarti) on bread or crackers as above; layer on some mayonnaise and/or avocado slices for more rich goodness
posted by scody at 5:32 PM on November 16, 2006

Can you clarify: are you worried about feeling hungry/low in energy? Or are you worried about losing weight? In the first case, I would suggest more fibrous food. In the second case, I would suggest adding more high-protein food, and things with good (ie not saturated) fat. Olive oil, baby, on everything.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:37 PM on November 16, 2006

To combine a bunch of the above... When I make pancakes I load them up with whole wheat flours, oatmeal, dry milk, honey etc. pretty much anything I can think of to make them heartier. They're nice and small for a single snack, quick and easy to make, cheap as dirt and very filling.
posted by Science! at 5:45 PM on November 16, 2006

My wife has a super high metabolism.

Brown rice.

May sound boring but short grain organic brown rice has a light nutty flavor and it mixes well with just about anything.

For super quick meals:
In the morning I sometimes mix it with sauteed mushrooms, scrambled eggs and a little cheddar.

For lunch mix with chicken, black beans, cheese, then nuke it and add salsa, lettuce for a wicked taco salad kinda meal.

Somewhat longer prep:
IMO, the single best energy food is a brown rice stir fry with leafy greens and Salmon mixed in. Eat variations of those ingredients for a month, and you'll be bouncing off the walls with energy but without the hard crashing.

But if not b-rice, anything with a longterm steady bloodsugar release mixed with a little protein and veggies.

Oh, and brown rice is easy to fix. I put it on heat, set the timer for boil, turn it down, reset timer for cook time, and forget it until it's done.

ratio: 1rice to 2water
throw all in covered pot
bring to boil
do not remove cover!
turn to lowest setting
boil for approx 32 minutes. (sea level, gas stove)
experiment a bit with amount of water and length on stove until it's how you like it
posted by nicholai88 at 5:51 PM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

I would eat a protein with a carb as a snack or mini meals throughout the day. This combo will keep you satisfied longer, keep your blood sugars stable, and is probably healthier than just eating plain pasta. Ideas:

apple and a piece or two of individually wrapped cheese. (Of course the cheese doesn't have to be wrapped, but I find these travel well.)

graham crackers and skim milk

hard boiled egg and a piece of fruit

toast with peanut butter and milk

whole grain cereal with milk
posted by LoriFLA at 6:27 PM on November 16, 2006

I have your problem. It's annoying, especially trying to explain it to people.

Meat and grains stick the longest on me. I generally have a meat-based dish for lunch, and some instant oatmeal as a snack. (My job also has the oatmeal free in the breakroom, so that's an added bonus.)

So, ideas - meat soups, some jerky, or a sandwich with meat on it. Since you like pasta, make a meat and cheese lasagna or baked ziti, or any pasta with a hearty meat sauce.
posted by spinifex23 at 6:55 PM on November 16, 2006

Same problem here... A good steak or chicken quesadilla does this trick for me. I've also had good results with eggs, meats, any anything heavy and high in protein to echo the previous posts. Surprisingly, I also am quite satisfied with Quaker's new Weight Control oatmeal as it has a higher protein content than the old formula.
posted by galimatias at 7:38 PM on November 16, 2006

I used to have the same problem as you (it's more or less settled down as I got older). I carried dried apricots in my bag, and they helped me when I was crashing. Too sweet for you?

Here's another vote for the Spirutine shakes (which aren't spelled like that, sorry). I liked -- well, could stand to drink -- the chocolate flavor. They helped me keep weight on, and were filling. I made them with rice milk, cow's milk, or water.

I still have cheese and crackers for my post-breakfast snack, and they help me keep my blood-sugar levels stable.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:53 PM on November 16, 2006

When my fast metabolism was really bugging me, my doctor advised lots of complex carbohydrates. Nothing makes me feel better than legumes + whole grains. Plenty of carbs and amino acids.

Whole grain pasta isn't that great, but try angel hair/capellini. The thinness makes it palatable.

The doc also said give up smoking and coffee. I managed to quit smoking.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:11 PM on November 16, 2006

What you need to understand is the glycemic effect of foods. If you don't want energy swings, you need to shoot for mostly constant blood sugar. That means complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and no refined sugars such as white bread, white rice, and pasta. I know you said you like the stuff, but just trust me here. Eat complex carbohydrates and mix them with a source of protein but low fat, or eat protein-rich foods containing fat, without much carbs.

That's how you keep your blood glucose levels from spiking, and that's how you keep you energy levels steady.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 10:28 PM on November 16, 2006

I have found that whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice will leave me hungry in a couple hours, but eggs or peanut butter (protein) in the morning keep me satisfied til at least noon. For snacks I'd say a good hefty bagel. Cheese is always good.
Do you eat meat? I don't but am under the impression that it can slow down your system. [Am I displaying my ignorance here? IANADietian]
posted by bobobox at 11:01 PM on November 16, 2006

hard boiled eggs
posted by milarepa at 4:45 AM on November 17, 2006

I have the same problem, and have found that a good authentic New-York bagel (preferably an egg bagel) with a bunch of cream cheese or hummus is an absolute hunger ass-kicker.
posted by saladin at 7:01 AM on November 17, 2006

Instead of typing the recipe in, I'm going to link to something similar that my mom passed down to me. You can make this and it will keep for a few days in the fridge. I like to just cut myself a slice and paste on spicy mustard. Bake up two or three and you're set for the week.

Nut Loaf

Thanks for asking this question! I know what you mean about having to monitor the diet.
posted by iurodivii at 11:45 AM on November 17, 2006

and drink lots of water
posted by edtut at 2:39 AM on November 18, 2006

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