For several months, I brought the same thing: granola, yogurt, and chopped melon. I love food and love variety, so I was really surprised to discover that I simply didn't get tired of it or resentful. Every day, I looked forward to having it.
Every now and then I would have a bowl of canned soup instead, but that was literally the only variety I had. Like others in the article, I found the peacefulness and simplicity of not having to stress out about where to go for lunch more than made up for the monotony. In fact, knowing all day what I was going to have for lunch led to a greater anticipation of it.
I think this worked for me because I was only doing this for lunch and not for every meal of the day. So this actually increased the meta-variety of my eating: dinner meals were varied and lunch meals were not. So I got to experience both repetition and novelty.
It was a really interesting experience that I'd encourage others to try. In general, I think repetition and ritual tends to be undervalued in Western culture, but has always been an important part of the human experience.
Wait... did you just take the second derivative of your lunch?
very often in life, we mistaken boredom for peacefulness. a simple and stress-free life can be just as, if not more, rewarding then the hectic one we leave behind.
I'm not saying nobody should eat out, but to do it every day just seems wasteful. And I find cooking to be quite a bit more enriching than takeout.
Number 1 was social. People went out for lunch in groups, and it was an "enforced" break in the day. It's a cultural issue that can be hard to replicate for "lunch bringers" in some places. Not so fun to eat alone in a drab lunch room if your friends and peers are down the street having pizza, I guess.
Number 2 was time, or at least the perception of time. Tech people (in my context) tend to work long hours and whether you are trying to maintain a social life or bring up a couple of kids, once you add that to work hours there isn't a ton left. More than one person I know had commented that they didn't find the time to make and bring lunches that didn't leave them feeling left out. It's easy to bring a crappy sandwich, harder to bring something you really enjoy. At least for them.
This is what I liked while working in HP. We had a canteen where pretty much everybody went. You could buy a number of simple cheaper meals, a fancy expensive meal, or bring your own thing. Everybody could still sit together.
And if everyone chooses to eat cheap lunch, we could all just work less, and the system would be balanced again ;).
3 mentions in the same day out of a total of 8 mentions ever on HN (not including the 2 meta-comments). User dcomp noticed it also.
(oops, just bumped those numbers up one)
Heteroscedasticity is like changing variance.
Nice! I hadn't thought about that.
Both seem related to a kind of intelligent mindfulness.
I wish I could have pingado (espresso with milk) and pão francês na chapa (a grilled bread with margarine or cream cheese). Dinner would be the left overs of lunch, of just some salad, bread, turkey... never get tired of it.
eating the same meal twice in a row makes me not want it again for weeks. there are also very few foods that i won't eat, so maybe that's correlated with the love of variety.
(variety in) food is such a simple pleasure for me that i guess i will never understand this behavior.
No one on r/fitness or /fit/ is going to call you crazy for eating the same thing each day.
But when you're a vegetarian (as I was), to maintain a reasonably nutritious diet requires some repetition. For example, getting certain protein and nutrients in one meal so you don't have to think about it in the others.
I'm no longer a strict vegetarian (just mostly), but the diet habits I learned mean that my overall diet is better, lower calorie.
I now think it's important for EVERYONE to do strict vegetarianism. Not for ethical or environmental concerns, but simply because it forces you to think about what you're eating and to read labels (and thus learn that the "vegetarian" tacos you're eating have gelatin (meat product) in the sour cream).
In addition, being a strict vegetarian in a sustainable way requires learning about what your body requires.
After a few months (or however long it requires to build a stable, nutritious diet), you'll be extremely well informed. Of course, you could also just read all this stuff on various articles, but trial by fire is an excellent way to learn.
Glad you were able to stick to bringing lunch. I always end up being too lazy and enjoy the break from the office or home office. If I don’t have variety I will become pretty cranky.
Reaching consensus on where to eat with my group of lunchmates definitely caused stress, especially after we'd all gotten mostly burned out on the nearby options.
Honestly amazed this is the default position for anyone. What situation of living prompts this?
This also meant I would go out for lunch each day as I didn't want to carry food with me on my commute. The cost savings of riding to work vs driving and paying for parking meant I was ahead. If I took public transport and brought lunch from home it would have worked out slightly cheaper but taken 30mins longer each way.
Sure I could have carried lunch with me on my cycle commute but and saved more money, but then I would have enjoyed the ride less. I figure I would still be ahead compared to people who don't cycle and pay for gym classes/memberships.
As a single person who liked variety and worked a lot, it was a slam dunk: fast, tasty, and relatively cheap.
My co-workers thought I was crazy when I microwaved a potato and put soy sauce and mustard on it. I simply didn't have anything else.
Later I got pickles and cheese (the greatest thing I had ever had up till then). But I was so grateful for having something the thought of feel anything negative about it didn't even cross my mind. I couldn't afford snacks, so that was my meal, my only food for hours before and after.
I think so many "problems" society has today is because we are all a bunch of rich snobs. And I have to remind myself to remember how grateful I was when I was really poor. I never want to lose that gratitude, it's protection against all kinds of mental/emotional problems.
Personally I find I get wrapped up in the little things quite often, and only after do I really understand I wasted so much effort on something meaningless. I'm not suggesting trauma tourism, but I am interested in a way to broaden my horizons and understand this mindset. Is there anything you'd suggest one can do?
But, I do teach my kids how to appreciate things by simply not giving them too much to begin with. And I also intentionally choose, on a daily basis, to take less than I want (food control), put the music a tiny bit lower than I want (protect my ears), etc...
When I get angry at something, I say to myself, "what is the truth here?" And if I am honest, most of the time the problem is really me. When I see that, I then force myself to evaluate what is really going on, and I look really hard for the feeling I want to have.
One of the first things I did to start this was to remind myself there are people I have met with far less than I have and were happier. Pictures of kids in Africa with toy cars made out of rusty wire. One kid looked 18, and he was posing quite pleased with his creation.
I feel like the biggest battle I face now is complacency. So if you can choose to remove things from your life that give you pleasure, for the express purpose of changing an environment that fights against you making progress, then do it.
A couple weeks ago I quit coffee "again". My thought process is "choose something really, really good, not what your heart wants." I really like coffee, but I over do it and I get sick eventually. But I really enjoy hot chocolate (organic sugar, homemade syrup), and I can drink it all day and not have any bad side effects.
The real super power is built a little at a time, with practice. At first, I just "delayed" having coffee. Then later, I took less coffee than I want. All the while saying "this isn't good for you, you are going to make a better choice". Not lying to myself, but also not making an excuse.
Encourage yourself to always face the truth, that is the start. Then if you say something to yourself, that is a very real action. Eventually you will do something outside your head. Something small, something doable. Keep doing that every day and you can change anything.
I consistently eat one meal a day right now. The reason is that I simply don't need that much, and I am really hungry by dinner time. But if I want to eat lunch I do.
The "appreciate food" angle was what really helped get into intermittent fasting. The fact that my food tasted _so_ much better (the same food as always) made me appreciate feeling hungry for an hour or more before meals.
If I am hungry, I know full well that dinner is going to be good, no matter what it is.
Thanks for the reminder on this topic. I have taken a year off of running as an experiment for weight control. I found food intake was the primary mover for weight control, not exercise. I've lost a lot of weight with no exercise. Looking forward to start running again this spring. :) (got a little giddy from the reminder your comment gave me)
Excellent point which people seem to not understand. The amount of calories you burn running an hour can be equal to a very little amount of food - one candy bar.
Naturally ignoring the fitness benefits of exercise a small reduction in calories can equal a lot of heavy exercise.
A friend pointed out to me once "food has a lot of energy in it." I have never measured a candy bar's actual effects, but I suspect it would take a few miles of running to use one up?
The things I will absolutely not screw up again, ever, are the things I really, really suffered from. But then I could apply this to seeing how other people destroyed their lives, and use the pain I already have to protect me from those mistakes too.
Was it Ben Franklin that said "experience is the worst way to learn"? (I think it's in reference to making bad decisions)
I have also spent time cooking a specific meal (the same one) over and over again at home tweaking it to get it to be as good, or better, than the restaurant, so I can have the same experience without the expense.
But also, it's funny how simple foods can be satisfying. I've been around some really rich people that are total food snobs and I feel a little sorry for them. They can't enjoy homemade or simple foods.
I found too that if I put a bowl/cover over the potato, it steams it as well, and cooks faster and is more moist.
One point though, looking back at both those phases of my life, I noticed that I became aware of my snobbery only after I could afford everything, not while I was going through the tough times.
(You can subsist on potatoes, and you can even do it for a while- but for example young children develop deformities if they lack certain vitamins, which potatoes do not have)
There are tons of greens in everyone's backyard in America right now that you can eat. Half the weeds in your yard are editable and would fill in all the missing nutrients.
Education is the problem here, maybe not so much resources. (unless famine?)
But also, when I eat the same meal every day, I do feel a certain hunger for other things after awhile, so I don't disagree about nutrients.
I've not had to rummage food from dumpsters, but I've been broke & eaten a nutritionally inadequate diet as a result, and I saw what it did to me.
I don't disagree at all, I think everyone wants some variety, or at the very least the ability to choose.
It seemed your comment was worded unclearly, which may be why the down votes...
Let me know if you stuck, and I can post some resources.
I fully recognize the non-typical nature of this routine, but if you find something that works for you, go with it.
And I would just like to add everyone's body is a little different. People may have different level / type of deficiencies, and for me that is Vitamin B. So I guess you cant really have meal that works for you and works for everyone else. It is important for everyone trying this to do it themselves and test it out with your body. Not to mention you get to think about how to cook your favourite food.
I personally did something similar for 6 months, but due to different circumstances I can no longer do meal prep. During that time I had an idea about making a web app that help you select your meal prep. You input foods that you like and loath, input regional location so that we know what you can get and and not, and price range, how much it would cost per meal ( Not everyone is rich and well off )
It will hopefully have a List of Meal prep that you may like, along with instructions and where to buy those ingredients.
Genetic modification is a term of art, one which doesn’t apply (yet) to fruits on the market.
This will not be true forever, papaya and banana are likely to be the first ones.
Bananas in particular are a triploid, so any given strain is effectively one big clone propagated by vegetative cutting, hence the lack of seeds. This leaves them unusually susceptible to funguses, which can adapt to them, while they can't remix their genome to adapt back.
Other than a lack of fiber and ease of consuming too many calories, one could do much worse than fast food--McDonalds, Taco Bell, etc. I think it's easier to get it wrong using a so-called whole foods diet. The ingredient diversity of fast foods makes it more fail-safe, particularly if you're disposed to repetitively eating the same kinds of foods.
I mean, obviously you can't subsist on french fries, but if the issue is laziness, lack of time, access to good groceries, or lack of money, it can make sense. It's difficult to beat a McDonald's Double Cheeseburger for dietary money-value!
Granted, the removal of trans fats has helped. And note that I'm not arguing a whole foods diet can't be better. I'm not recommending a fast food diet ;) But we sometimes underestimate the effort involved in following a good diet and discount the benefits of a good-enough diet.
A burger, medium fries and diet drink is 588 calories apparently. So three of those a day is only 1764 calories! A massive deficit for almost everyone.
However, it really relies on two things (three, if you count "no snacks at all or other drinks")
1 - diet drinks only. If you change your diet code to a medium coke you are now at 2500cal/day. So instead of a deficit, you have a surplus for most people.
2 - you picked the basic smallest burger. Even if you only change that to a 1/4 pounder, you're up at 2300cal. And it mostly goes (way) up from there (with some exceptions, but even the fillet-of-fish or mcchicken are >100cal more than the basic burger.
So if you change it to "if you only eat from a severely limited subset of the McDonalds menu 3x a day and nothing else, you might be underweight". Sure, that's true. I'd hate to be your GI tract with that severe lack of fiber and vegetables, but you could do it for a while.
If you eat anything like a "typical" order for breakfast/lunch/dinner there, you are likely to have a pretty severe surplus. Hardly surprising, really. Hell some of the breakfast offerings are > 1000cal by themselves.
In the general “hamburger” class (and overall, because hamburgers are their signature category) the Big Mac and Quarterpounder are their signature items.
I agree with the sentiment, but your numbers are somewhat off - a Double Quarter Pounder on its own is 750 calories, and a medium fries is 340 calories. You can get a cheeseburger at 300 calories, but I don't think that would feel filling.
If you're having McDonalds regularly, it works better if you just have one main meal a day. So you can have your 750 calorie burger, 340 calories fries, diet soda / water, and still have room for small snacks at other times of the day.
And personally, I'd be putting on weight at 1764 calories a day. I need to stay around 1500 - 1600, unless I put in a ton of extra exercise. I'm shorter than average.
[Edit: FWIW, not actually recommending others do this, do your own experiments. I've been keeping weight & body fat logs for 14 years, so I've got lots of personal data to track & measure against.]
I used the McDonald's calorie calculator on their website. I picked the hamburger 250 calories (it's their main item and I guess most people get it), medium fries 337 calories (so not even picking the smallest items), and Diet Coke 1 calorie (maybe that one is bending over backwards to be low calorie) = just 588 calories. A very light lunch!
Of course it's been almost 20 years since I worked there, but I don't imagine it has changed all that much.
(it's their main item and I guess most people get it),
If for arguments sake a more typical lunch was 1/4pounder w/cheese, medium fries, medium (regular coke) you are something like 1100 calories - well into heavy lunch territory.
I also know that 1764 calories is not a huge deficit for me.
Do you work outside in the sun? Do you eat a lot of fish? Do you take a vitamin D supplement? If you answered "no" to all of these questions then you probably have a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is very common.
>The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005 to 2006 data were analyzed for vitamin D levels in adult participants (N = 4495). Vitamin D deficiency was defined as a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations ≤20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L). The overall prevalence rate of vitamin D deficiency was 41.6%, with the highest rate seen in blacks (82.1%), followed by Hispanics (69.2%).
I've found for me personally that vitamin D supplementation helps, but my tendons/muscle attachments are still weak and injury prone unless I get some real sun.
Getting less than 5 minutes of sun per month and never eating any foods that contains Vitimin D such as fish for several years might be to blame.
This isn't something you should self-medicate. It's tremendously simple for a doctor to confirm your hypothesis.
How do you?
By definition you don't need micronutrients often, so you don't need to eat a lot of them every day, which is what makes the variety scheme work.
Breakfast - 2 eggs, scrambled with generous amounts of mushrooms and spinach, and a little cheese tossed in.
Lunch - Veggie mix that I chop up all together every few days - green peppers, pasilla peppers, green onion, yellow onions, eggplant, jicama, cauliflower, and whatever other root veggies looked good at the store - turnips, rutabagas, and such things. I stir-fry them with lime juice, tomato paste, fish sauce, turmeric, coriander, ginger, and cayenne pepper. At the end, I add a little coconut milk, and it ends up being a decent approximation of a red curry.
Dinner - baked chicken wings with some hot sauce.
Or as I like it call it, salt. ;-)
If you eat something different every day, it's hard to be mindful of consuming too many calories. Especially given the high levels of fructose corn syrup in just about everything.
You can go broke even with a high paying job if you don't manage expenses. You can also get fat eating all the right foods but in too much quantity.
It is hard to keep up though - I eventually stopped the eating/exercise regime and gained a significant portion of the lost weight back.
I have no idea how long he sticks to his own advice though.
I care a lot more about being a healthy weight than eating a variety of foods.
I like this because this is in a part of my day where I need to focus on work, and being productive, and don't need to be distracted by food decisions.
I also LOVE food - so dinner, and weekends, are times where I actually love making decisions about where to eat, what to eat.
Not OP, but I've been eating 3-4 eggs (usually hard- or soft-boiled, but occasionally scrambled with bacon or sausage, never with bread/toast though) almost every weekday morning for the past 5 years, and all my recent bloodwork has shown cholesterol levels in the healthy range.
However, large-scale epidemiological studies have found only tenuous associations between the intake of eggs and cardiovascular disease risk. Well-controlled, clinical studies show the impact of dietary cholesterol challenges via egg intake on serum lipids is highly variable, with the majority of individuals (~ 2/3 of the population) having only minimal responses, while those with a significant response increase both LDL and HDL-cholesterol, typically with a maintenance of the LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio.
For those interested in my diet plan, I eat the following:
7am 3 cups of water followed by 3 cups of coffee.
10am 1 cup bone broth + 1 protein shake if I'm still hungry
12pm 2 cups of salad + 1 avocado + 2 eggs + 1 keto cookie (Fat Snax, they're delicious)
4pm 1 protein bar (Keto Collagen Protein Bar) or 1 30g of Macadamia Nuts
6pm 500 calories of meat + 2 cups of salad + 1 ChocoZero (Keto Chocolate)
This is about 1,800 calories a day which puts me at a steady pace to lose about 1 lb of fat a week assuming I don't cheat.
I really like this diet plan because I can bulk buy most things at Costco and the snacks on Amazon. The best hack has been pre-packed hard boiled eggs, that's reduced my lunch into a 2 min prep for just the advocado and putting everything together. My lunch requires no meal prep so I only have to think about dinner. And I've reduced dinner down to just a meat which I can cook up in a bunch of different ways twice or 3 times a week.
It has helped me save money, save time, keep fit. Great for post-holidays.
edit: here are some sources that look serious if you're interested but there's plenty of evidence. I'm an endurance athlete (so I'm mindful about dehydration) and I enjoy coffee a lot so I researched this a bit.
A pound of fat is 3500 calories, so you've really got to be hitting a 500 calorie a day deficit to get there. 1800 cal a day seems a bit high to achieve a lb of weight loss per week (2k/day recommended intake), unless of course you're very tall in which case your baseline might be 2300 cal.
I actually don't do strict keto, I have a lot of protein in my meals, way more than I should if I were on keto alone.
But I've tried balanced, low fat, high fat, etc. And I have found this works best for my body day-to-day. I think that if you don't feel good, then its ultimately unsustainable and bad for you and that should be your ultimate gauge.
Someone build a blue apron except for ingredients for weekly meal prep.
And here I thought it was because they are pretty seriously overpriced, not to mention environmentally questionable.
However after you've done it for 2 months you have a ton of their nice recipe cards and can just go buy ingredients yourself.
But I don't judge those who do this, because I understand the relaxation of decision points, the ease of calorie consciousness and weight management, and the ability to balance nutrition that comes with a standard meal.
You always get to choose which one you want, but it's exactly that: a choice!
Now my spouse is vegetarian, and the kids don't eat beef (long story). If we eat meat, it's just a nice little bit of chicken or pork that the kids and I can put on our portion. And due to a health scare, I have replaced the cheese sandwiches with hummus on bread.
Recently my family went on a trip and I had to stay behind. So, on the first day, I went to store and brought home ... a steak!
When it came time for me to make my supper, I looked at the little steak, then proceeded to chop it into bits and turned it into ... a small stir-fry on rice for supper. The beef was a treat, and I spiced it up more than usual.
During the remaining five days of my family's trip, I lived on oatmeal for breakfast, a hummus sandwich for lunch, and a small stir-fry on rice for supper.
I would cooked 5 portions of the stir fry on the weekend and have dinner for M-F. I did vary it up with different types of meat and vegetables, but otherwise it was the same.
Never got sick of it.
I often don't have the time and energy to plan and prepare healthy and enjoyable weekday lunches, so now they are all Huel. It's also very convenient if I'm travelling or busy at what would normally be a mealtime (Huel while driving is great).
People are just exploiting insecure men to sell nutrient powders.
There is no magic "food" quality that is granted to chemicals, at the end of the day you need your macro and micro nutrients and that's it. As it stands we're also well adapted for finding and consuming nutrition, so we've evolved means of enjoying consuming those chemicals in certain ratios.
Almost every day since the mid-80's, I have what I call a Tarnower lunch: half a can of pineapple chunks, half a can of mandarin oranges, a dollop of cottage cheese and a few walnut pieces, along with a small bran muffin. Tastes fine, not too bad nutritionally, and no congnitive overhead.
Tuna shakes were a meme from the old misc.fitness.weights days. I was never sure whether anyone actually drank them regularly, or just said they did because it sounded hardcore.
And what do you do with the other half of the can of pineapples?
And, finding that other people do something that my wife regards as a bit odd.
As to the other half can, I eat iton the next day.
I'd bonk on that after half an hour.
I think oatmeal would work better for actual surfing.
As many comments here show, you realize just how unimportant it all is when finding your next meal is a struggle.
I do love food and cooking, but the sheer convenience, speed and cost saving was impossible to ignore. I've never been leaner and healthier in my life, and I would still indulge myself cooking my favorite meals on the weekends.
10/10 would repeat.
What I learned over the last 2 years is important: don't ever eat crap out of convenience - there's lots of healthy alternative options out there even if you live in a very expensive neighborhood (like I); never ever through out limp vegetables! You can still throw it in a pot with broth and make "soup/stew"; invest into your future (your kids) and don't be ashamed to admit your days are counted ...
I take this as a life lesson. Once I have a job again, I will appreciate food even more.
"The Norwegian art of the packed lunch, Matpakke - Most Boring Lunch in the world - Ever?"
That's not to say I eat a completely new-to-me meal every day. When I was single, I would cook and then eat the same meal 3-4 days in a row, but I would change it up every week.
Now, what we (my girlfriend and I) usually do is cook and bake on Sundays, then freeze about half and eat the rest during the week, interspersed with meals from the freezer, from previous weeks. We like to cook big portions, especially soups, curries, stews and such.
Baking-wise, we prefer to bake sourdough bread or slow-raised bread with minimal yeast. We also make homemade ice cream and bake cakes.
I can understand that some people think it takes way too much time and effort that they would rather spend on other things, but we consider it quality time spent together, doing something we both love to do.
I think it's not that life is way too short, but that you enjoy new food. For me, sometimes the food decision tree feels like too much time lost to food while other more interesting tasks could be done, and then I choose a tuna/chicken salad and get over with it.
I rarely use more than ~20g of sourdough or 4-5g of yeast for a full-sized loaf with ~1kg flour. Sometimes a tiny (~0.1g) bit of yeast to help out the sourdough if the current batch is slightly lazy.