Homogeneous diets

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benneh
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Homogeneous diets

Postby benneh » Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:23 pm UTC

I am not a food-lover; I eat because otherwise I will starve to death, and that's about it. I am also incredibly lazy. As such, my ideal diet would consist of some sort of nutrient-rich gruel that I could shovel into my face once a day and be done with, with minimal preparation or cleanup. As far as I'm aware, no such thing currently exists, but is there anything that comes close?

There is a guy who supposedly subsisted entirely on beer and water for 46 days in an attempt to mimic a group of German monks who used to give up food for Lent (and also possibly to garner some publicity for his beer-based blog). That didn't seem too sustainable, and I'm not convinced that being permanently on the verge of drunkenness is a great idea either, but this story is what got me thinking about this in the first place. If such a simple diet were plausible -- that is, if it weren't dangerously unhealthy, if the particular beer he was drinking were easily and relatively cheaply available, etc. -- I could happily spend the rest of my life like that.

So what is the simplest combination of foodstuffs that a human being could subsist on? Where 'simplest' takes into account things such as procurement and preparation, as well as actual variety.

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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby PAstrychef » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:34 pm UTC

Some guys skiing across Antarctica that I met at the South Pole had made up food bars that pretty much matched your needs. You could make them in big batches once a month or so, and gnaw on them as necessary. There are bars made for emergency needs that offer complete nutrition in various calorie sizes. Check out Mayday and Mainstay brands.
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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby benneh » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:12 am UTC

PAstrychef wrote:Some guys skiing across Antarctica that I met at the South Pole had made up food bars that pretty much matched your needs. You could make them in big batches once a month or so, and gnaw on them as necessary.

That sounds plausible - any idea what was in them?

PAstrychef wrote:There are bars made for emergency needs that offer complete nutrition in various calorie sizes. Check out Mayday and Mainstay brands.

Thank you, this is exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for. Unfortunately both of those brands are American, and I am not, so they refuse to deliver to me, but a quick googling tells me that there are similar products available in the UK. I shall investigate.

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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby philsov » Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:53 pm UTC

meatloaf.

1.5 lbs Ground Beef
1 Egg
8 oz milk Milk
1 cup flour (I use rolled oats + blender)
spices (garlic, onion, sauce, etc)

light glaze of equal parts ketchup, mustard, brown sugar on top

Bake for ~1 hour at 350 F.

Calorie dense and in a near-perfect (imo) macronutrient ratio. Prone to spoilage (freezes well, make large batches -- adjust ratio of ingredients to fit baking container) and not very portable, but otherwise...
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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby benneh » Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:07 pm UTC

philsov wrote:meatloaf.

...

Calorie dense and in a near-perfect (imo) macronutrient ratio. Prone to spoilage (freezes well, make large batches -- adjust ratio of ingredients to fit baking container) and not very portable, but otherwise...

But could one live on meatloaf? It may contain some excellent macronutrients, but what about the necessary vitamins and whatnot?

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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby philsov » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:42 pm UTC

Centrum?

Huh. Let's see what the fitday has to say...

batoutofhell.PNG


Lacking in... A, C, D, E, Calcium, and Potassium. Everything else accounted for.

So we'll... throw in some carrots, an orange, some almonds, 8 oz more milk, and portion out the meatloaf so you're not on 3000 cals a day. It's less homogeneous but I took the easy outs for the select vitamin deficiencies. If you did some more searching you could probably find some foods that are more hybridy and reduce the total by a decent factor.

batoutofhell2.PNG


Not too shabby. Like I said, fitday has a decent database so you can probably whip up something better if you invested some time in it.
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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby webzter_again » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:21 pm UTC

philsov wrote:Lacking in... A, C, D, E, Calcium, and Potassium. Everything else accounted for.

So we'll... throw in some carrots, an orange, some almonds, 8 oz more milk, and portion out the meatloaf so you're not on 3000 cals a day. It's less homogeneous but I took the easy outs for the select vitamin deficiencies. If you did some more searching you could probably find some foods that are more hybridy and reduce the total by a decent factor.


I think you're on to something! Spinach would probably fold into the meatloaf well and give us a good boost on the vitamin A and C. Or, instead of the orange, one could chop up some rose hip. The taste might throw off the meatloaf a bit but one could adapt easily. Almonds, especially an almond flour, would be barely noticeable. With those supplying the calcium, you might be able to get away without the milk? Carrots would work into the meatloaf just fine. I'd imagine one could work the meatloaf into something akin to a jerky as well. Very portable.

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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby philsov » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:25 pm UTC

I was thinking orange and milk on the side, but, yes, the almonds and carrots would meld well together with the meatloaf imo.
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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby webzter_again » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:58 pm UTC

philsov wrote:I was thinking orange and milk on the side, but, yes, the almonds and carrots would meld well together with the meatloaf imo.


Right, sorry, that's where I was going with the spinach and rose hips. Get everything in the meatloaf and then make meatloaf jerky.

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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby philsov » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:20 am UTC

Another thing to consider is cost. I dunno how expensive beef is in the UK, but here even ground beef can be pretty pricey per weight and/or per calorie. So I present a 2nd option -- oatmeal and eggs.

cheap.png


Niacin can easily be supplemented with cheap OTC pills.

You can make the oatmeal overnight in a pressure cooker/crock pot (steel-cut oats!), and eggs can be cooked in huge batches. Fruit can be diced and thrown into the oatmeal, as can the almonds (or similar nut?) This again provides a good macro nutrient ratio, but the perk is that this diet costs ~40% less. It'll be hard to eat all of it in one sitting, though -- but that can be said for anything that isn't something like pure fat. And chugging down olive oil will make your digestive system dislike your mouth...
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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby benneh » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:30 pm UTC

All right, I ordered some emergency rations and tried eating them for a couple of days; it did not go well. Even after eating the recommended amount, I still felt as if I hadn't eaten enough. I guess they're just too compact - my body refuses to believe that there's enough food in those tiny, tiny bars to sustain me. And they tasted nasty, to the point where I couldn't make myself eat much more than the recommended amount. So it looks like the 'ingenious combinations of regular foodstuffs' approach is the way to go.

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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:52 pm UTC

I know it doesn't fit your definition of homogeneous (points for using the right word, by the way) but what comes to my mind when you guys are designing this meatloaf is an MRE. And then I was thinking about the recipes they use for that sort of thing. This could end up being a long thread...
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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby Роберт » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:10 pm UTC

In case you missed it from dinosaur comics:
http://www.mazuri.com/mazurimonkeycrunch20.aspx
Suggested here:
http://www.qwantz.com/index.php?comic=2260

Let us know if you try it!
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benneh
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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby benneh » Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:In case you missed it from dinosaur comics:
http://www.mazuri.com/mazurimonkeycrunch20.aspx
Suggested here:
http://www.qwantz.com/index.php?comic=2260

Let us know if you try it!

I did see that, and thought about mentioning it here :D
The food is marketed as being suitable for all primates, not just a specific species, so I assume it can't be that specialised. And there is an option on the website that sells it to email the company with any questions - I think I will send them an email, asking if it's suitable for humans, just to see their response.

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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby Роберт » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:33 pm UTC

benneh wrote:I think I will send them an email, asking if t's suitable for humans, just to see their response.

There's all sorts of legal issues for claiming something is suitable for humans, I think. So they will probably avoid telling that it is - it's not worth the legal risk, even though it is fine for primates.
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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby benneh » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:31 pm UTC

Their reply:
Thanks for your inquiry. I'm sorry, but I wouldn't recommend our feeds for human consumption, as the ingredients used are not necessarily sourced from human-grade materials and a feed mill is really not designed to manufacture at the standards that are required for food for human consumption.

How disappointing.

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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby Роберт » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:42 pm UTC

benneh wrote:Their reply:
Thanks for your inquiry. I'm sorry, but I wouldn't recommend our feeds for human consumption, as the ingredients used are not necessarily sourced from human-grade materials and a feed mill is really not designed to manufacture at the standards that are required for food for human consumption.

How disappointing.

How so?
Human-Grade or Food-Grade refers to the quality of a finished product. The term applies to a product that is legally suitable and approved for consumption by a person (“edible”).
from http://www.thehonestkitchen.com/2010/08 ... od-really/

It's a legal definition. It has nothing to do with whether or not you can eat it, just what kind of legal recourse you can seek if it turns out badly for you when you do eat it. So, if you would never ever eat food that was dropped on the floor of a fast-food restaurant, you should avoid it, but if it doesn't phase you to eat food off the floor, then you might want to specifically know what goes into the food to decide if you're okay with it.

Does it have whole animal carcasses ground up in it? Maybe you'd want to avoid it.
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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby benneh » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:33 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
benneh wrote:Their reply:
Thanks for your inquiry. I'm sorry, but I wouldn't recommend our feeds for human consumption, as the ingredients used are not necessarily sourced from human-grade materials and a feed mill is really not designed to manufacture at the standards that are required for food for human consumption.

How disappointing.

How so?
Human-Grade or Food-Grade refers to the quality of a finished product. The term applies to a product that is legally suitable and approved for consumption by a person (“edible”).
from http://www.thehonestkitchen.com/2010/08 ... od-really/

It's a legal definition. It has nothing to do with whether or not you can eat it, just what kind of legal recourse you can seek if it turns out badly for you when you do eat it. So, if you would never ever eat food that was dropped on the floor of a fast-food restaurant, you should avoid it, but if it doesn't phase you to eat food off the floor, then you might want to specifically know what goes into the food to decide if you're okay with it.

Does it have whole animal carcasses ground up in it? Maybe you'd want to avoid it.

I'm sure I could attempt to find out whether what goes into it is safe for humans, but without any legal enforcement I'm not sure how much I would trust any answers I got.

Also, when asking if they could recommend anywhere to buy similar, human-edible products I was advised to contact my "university county extension" for suggestions. After consulting google and wikipedia, I still have no idea what such a thing is. Does anyone else recognise the term?

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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby Роберт » Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:18 pm UTC

benneh wrote:Also, when asking if they could recommend anywhere to buy similar, human-edible products I was advised to contact my "university county extension" for suggestions. After consulting google and wikipedia, I still have no idea what such a thing is. Does anyone else recognise the term?

I have no idea what they meant by that.

Edit: I'd like to add that I know lots of people who have eaten dog food. Primate food is probably less risky than dog food.
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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby benneh » Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:20 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:Edit: I'd like to add that I know lots of people who have eaten dog food. Primate food is probably less risky than dog food.

Oh, I doubt eating a bit will kill you, but there's a difference between eating some dog food for a bet/to see what it tastes like/because you can and actually living on the stuff.

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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby webzter_again » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:56 am UTC

benneh wrote:Also, when asking if they could recommend anywhere to buy similar, human-edible products I was advised to contact my "university county extension" for suggestions. After consulting google and wikipedia, I still have no idea what such a thing is. Does anyone else recognise the term?


If they're a US-based company, they're probably referencing the local cooperative extension office. These are also often called county extensions. They're tied to the land-grant universities here (as far as I know) and you can look at a bit of the history here: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/

As an example, here's the county extension website for Michigan State University (the land grant university that happens to be closest to me... as in I can walk to their farms from here): http://msue.anr.msu.edu/

Роберт wrote:In case you missed it from dinosaur comics:
http://www.mazuri.com/mazurimonkeycrunch20.aspx


Apologies for the late edit... but I knew I had run across Monkey Chow before. Here's a gentleman that ate monkey chow for a week. (linked directly to day 7 wrap-up). I suspect his assertions aren't wholly correct re long-term viability of the diet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23xJq0dq7LU

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benneh
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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby benneh » Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:24 pm UTC

webzter_again wrote:
benneh wrote:Also, when asking if they could recommend anywhere to buy similar, human-edible products I was advised to contact my "university county extension" for suggestions. After consulting google and wikipedia, I still have no idea what such a thing is. Does anyone else recognise the term?


If they're a US-based company, they're probably referencing the local cooperative extension office. These are also often called county extensions. They're tied to the land-grant universities here (as far as I know) and you can look at a bit of the history here: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/

As an example, here's the county extension website for Michigan State University (the land grant university that happens to be closest to me... as in I can walk to their farms from here): http://msue.anr.msu.edu/

Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, not being american, I can't really act on this advice, however.

webzter_again wrote:Apologies for the late edit... but I knew I had run across Monkey Chow before. Here's a gentleman that ate monkey chow for a week. (linked directly to day 7 wrap-up). I suspect his assertions aren't wholly correct re long-term viability of the diet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23xJq0dq7LU

This was very informative (also, quite amusing). His main complaint about the diet seemed to be that the monkey chow tasted awful, which I suppose is a personal preference and I can't really comment on. As far as the cravings for regular food and general boredom with the diet, I don't think that would be a problem for me; my diet is already fairly monotonous, and I have no desire to completely forbid myself any other foods if I feel like them. All in all, I'm fairly pleased with his results.

I'll be indisposed for a while, but when the situation allows for it I'm considering visiting a doctor and asking for a professional opinion. I refuse to believe that this sort of diet simply doesn't exist.

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Re: Homogeneous diets

Postby Роберт » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:14 pm UTC

I liked this quote from the ACSH:
We know that the plethora of diets in the marketplace can be confusing -- and ACSH certainly does not endorse most of them, nor do we endorse this one.

From http://www.acsh.org/factsfears/newsID.7 ... detail.asp
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