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Thread: A system of eating

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    A system of eating

    Over the past year or so, and some previous attempts, I have learned to cook a variety of dishes, things like:
    • Harrissa
    • Riz Djerban
    • Dal Tarka
    • Matzo ball soup
    • Chapati
    • Pakoras
    • Lasagna
    • Jamaican beans and rice
    • Numerous pastas

    And so on...

    But when cooking like this I have found that I need tons of spices and ingredients and utensils. It becomes overwhelming, very overwhelming. It can be so overwhelming that I simply won't cook. I will go to Chipotle or an Indian buffet!

    Purpose defeated!

    Then I watched a video of how world renowned mountain climber Alex Honnold eats. While I am not a mountain climber and I certainly won't (and can't!) eat like him I did learn a really valuable lesson: Have a system of eating that works for your lifestyle.

    He eats lots of muesli, raspberries, peppers, avocado sandwiches, plant-based "milks," nut butters, and indulges in mac & cheese. He also eats energy bars. He eats these foods for several reasons:
    -These items need little or no refrigeration. He lives in a van.
    -All these are nutritious and he is a world-class athlete.
    -These foods require very little preparation and few utensils. Again, he lives in a van.
    -He has found a handful of foods he really likes and he maximizes their usage.

    So I got to thinking, can I learn some lessons from his system of eating to create my own?

    I am in the process of doing this. I have made some kick-butt advances already.

  2. #2
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Saint Paul, Minnesota
    What Honnold is doing is a form of voluntary simplicity, applied to his diet (and kitchen) in spades. There's nothing wrong with that provided your palate is okay with the relative lack of variety and you consider the impact of such a limited way of eating on other people you may want to entertain at home (*ahem*).

    When I first started my ultra-low-carb/high-fat eating plan, I have to admit I was bummed out about no longer being able to eat the wide variety of foods I had before. So bummed out, in fact, that for the first month or so I subsisted on eggs, cheese, salad from a bag, and high-fat meats like sausage and bacon. (Doesn't sound really healthful but a few months of this and I lost 15 pounds and my cholesterol numbers were notably lower.) I was at the stage that I didn't even want to think about cooking food; just put in front of me what I could eat and, well, fine.

    After a couple of months I'm back to being interested in real cooking. It's different now in that, because DW is not eating LCHF I tend to make a couple of dishes which are very flexible; for example, now I roast a chicken so we can have roast chicken one or two nights and leftovers can go to sandwiches, salad toppings, chicken in soup, chicken salad, ... Ditto for roast beef or pork. A standardized recipe for (cauliflower-crust) pizza can be topped with any number of things, leftover or not.

    For me it's tricky to balance being a foodie with what I can eat and my desire to work around that. This system has been a good compromise for me; maybe Honnold's way will be good for you. Store your extras for a month or two and see how you like it. If you don't, you can go back without having to re-buy everything.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    if it works for you, one can definitely in theory adapt to a more limited palate, and it might even be healthier. I think there is some risk of going to Indian buffet not out of difficulty but out of sheer boredom with the food though, as temptation is afterall everywhere in the modern world. Most home cooks don't try to imitate restaurants anyway as it doesn't really work, but they don't necessarily go the other extreme either.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Points well-taken Steve and ANM.

    Steve, you seem to have created a system. I like it!

    ANM, I hear ya on the "sheer boredom."

    My plan is create a system that straddles the border of simple and interesting.
    So I make these for lunches and dinner:
    -Red Lentil curry
    -Brown lentil curry
    -Sockeye salmon fillets with a steamed veggie and roasted potato cubes
    -Whole wheat penne pasta and marinara
    -Whole wheat linguine with olive oil/anchovy/garlic sauce
    -Over medium eggs and breakfast potatoes
    -Oatmeal with nuts and raisins

    Breakfast is usually:
    -Steamed veggies (broccoli or cauliflower)
    -Raw veggies (bell peppers, celery with PB & raisins, an avocado, etc.)
    -Raw fruits (apples, oranges, bananas, etc.)

    I distribute some extra veggies or fruits with the lunches and dinners and I also have a handful of nuts once a day usually.

    As you can see, this is a fairly simple system that means I buy mostly the same groceries each time, I keep the same handful of spices in the cupboard, and I can get proficient at cooking these efficiently. But it also has some interesting flavors and textures. And I can take leftovers for work the next day.

    I intend to work in two or maybe three other lunch/dinner options as I discover them. That will close the system for the time being.

    This isn't rocket science, or even a novel idea.

    But for me, thinking of it as a small system seemed to be an "ah-ha! moment."

    Noting how Honnold and other van dwellers cook and eat really got my mind turning.

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