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10 foods for essentials

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Updated about 6 hours ago
Created June 24, 2014 at 8:53 AM

Is it possible to stick to 10 foods only and get all of the nutrients, vitamins, minerals etc from that? And in that case - which foods?

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1147 · June 27, 2014 at 3:34 PM

none. I have now eaten them twice, grasshoppers in Mexico and fly larvae in Italy. The problem with the device for producing bugs that I have in mind is, you need a green house to mate the flies and harvest the eggs which you then raise.

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10994 · June 27, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Which bugs are staples in your diet?

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1147 · June 27, 2014 at 1:32 PM

There is a lot of info on the web, just google "entomophagy". The original site was food-insects.com, all academic people contributing. But it went dormant about ten years ago.

I worked out nutritional profiles on my own, and in fact I became a believer when I figured how much more nutrient dense bugs were, in the nutrients we usually associate with meat. Recently I looked at the Mg/P ratio and I got further confirmation that bugs are the way to go. I should really post about this, but I am going through a rough stretch at work.

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10994 · June 27, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Interesting Glb,do you have any documentation about either past civilizations who incorporated insects or articles saying it would be a plausible replacement for traditional meat? I would be interested in learning more on this subject just for the heck of it. I've tried a lot of diets, but I've never tried insects, lol.

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41452 · June 27, 2014 at 12:31 PM

As long as you live on a restricted diet from the categories above, I think most folks would be good. But too often, folks make chicken and bacon their basis and eat far too veggies…

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598 · June 26, 2014 at 9:47 PM

oh yeah, that...

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0 · June 25, 2014 at 7:52 PM

And way too much potassium!

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10994 · June 25, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Lol @Methodician, #sarcasm.

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598 · June 25, 2014 at 3:42 PM

I favor this list even though the rules are bendy. My lists were more to make the point: yes, you can live well on a ridiculously restricted diet.

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598 · June 25, 2014 at 3:39 PM

'Ya got me there. I built this list looking at food databases and wanted to be very specific. I could just put "seaweed" or even "iodine" because that's the only reason it's on there. Of course iodine isn't in the USDA food database, or others I'm aware of.

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41452 · June 25, 2014 at 3:55 AM

Wakame is common, simple, and cheap?

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41452 · June 25, 2014 at 3:54 AM

I really don't eat that much bacon, maybe buy a pound every few months when the mood strikes. But you know paleos... we love our bacon.

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598 · June 25, 2014 at 3:53 AM

Me? Not at the time. My gut flora wouldn't allow that much greens. I came up from barely tolerating greens to being able to eat at least one big salad per day plus fruit and other frbrous plant foods with no ill effect. Given time (maybe 4 months straight) I'm confident that my body and pretty much anyone else's could learn to live quite well on that list.

Thrive? Define it. It's not optimal but if I were sent to space and told to list a few foods I needed, given 5 minutes to decide, I might pick that list. And I'm pretty sure I'd live on it for a normal average human life span.

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598 · June 25, 2014 at 3:47 AM

No it's not. Shame @Stephen 4... You're supposed to be scientific!

30 bananas a day would meet almost 2/3 of your nutritional requirements.

You'd have a complete 100% deficiency of sodium, Cobolamin (B12), Vitamin D (unless you spend time with no shirt in the sun), and several amino acids.

You'd also be deficient in vitamin A, Calcium, Zinc, Selenium, and agruably monounsaturated fat and saturated fat. You'd be pretty deficient in some other stuff too.

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10994 · June 25, 2014 at 3:35 AM

Considering I've lived for long stretches of time on beef and potatoes alone I'd say that this is a pretty good list.

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10994 · June 25, 2014 at 3:31 AM

:: Bacon > Everything

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1197 · June 25, 2014 at 2:46 AM

Great list - I seem to eat almost exactly like you do. but I do Pork Belly instead of bacon - don't like a smokey flavor

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1197 · June 25, 2014 at 2:44 AM

Maybe YOU'd be strong as an ox and perfectly healthy, but I wouldn't. 20 ounces of meat? What about the oxalates in the Spinach, if you are eating only that veg every day? And all those bananas would make me puke and spike my blood sugar. I thought one of the biggest points of Paleo was people observing the way their bodies respond to food, and adjusting, since everyone has different needs.

While the OP is asking for a pared down list, to take it to such an extreme as to suggest that one could eat only these things for the rest of your life & thrive is total hyperbole.

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1197 · June 25, 2014 at 2:35 AM

I agree with you @Matt 11 - but some people with hectic schedules may benefit from a list of staples. I tend to rely on certain foods and eschew too much variety, just because I rarely have the time to come up with new recipes and ways of incorporating other foods into my diet.

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41452 · June 25, 2014 at 2:14 AM

PUFAs, nitrates, and AGEs, oh my!

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26182 · June 25, 2014 at 1:58 AM

Pepper > almonds :: ACV > mushrooms

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26182 · June 25, 2014 at 1:56 AM

I was waiting for the bacon answer. reset the "days without mentioning bacon" meter to 0.

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26182 · June 25, 2014 at 1:54 AM

That's not what he's asking

1. 100g carbs

2. 100g protein

3. 150g fat

4. 64oz water.

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10994 · June 25, 2014 at 1:42 AM

30 bananas a day should be best answer imo.

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10994 · June 25, 2014 at 1:41 AM

In the comment section on my answer @CDone broke it down even simpler with:

  1. Carbs
  2. Protein
  3. Fat
  4. Water

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10994 · June 24, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Lol, I was inspired by your blanket 'Cow' statement :p.

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26182 · June 24, 2014 at 2:46 PM

man, you cheated even more than i did. Is there anything that you left off the list? My new list is: 1. Protein 2. Fat 3. Carbohydrates 4. Water

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10994 · June 24, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Good list.

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41452 · June 24, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Good point, a restricted diet is not a paleo diet!

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0 · June 24, 2014 at 10:22 AM

I like to keep it simple. At least now that I'll have a tighter budget as a student.

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26182 · June 24, 2014 at 1:02 PM

While I think this is counter-productive, for some reason I want to play along. So here's my list (in no particular order). Note: This assumes you do not need some AIP or anything like that.

  1. Cow: all cuts of beef, including liver and kidney.
  2. Potatoes: Sweet, Purple, or white, I don't care, solid nutrient dense food
  3. Spinach: Kale if you prefer, but Spinach is my #1 green
  4. Eggs: Nothing more needed to be said here.
  5. Apple Cider Vinegar: Needed to flavor greens and make bone broth out of the cow bones
  6. Olive Oil: see above, also great for rendering and cooking
  7. Salt and Pepper: Yeah I am cheating, you picked the arbitrary number, not me.
  8. Sardines: Originally had Salmon, but changed my mind. While I prefer Salmon, the Vitamin D, E, the Calcium and Selenium might be missing from my other choices. I think Shrimp should be considered too
  9. Blue Berries:
  10. Seaweed

Not a perfect list, but I think that can get you pretty far and allow you to maintain a fairly diverse meal profile. Still, missing a lot of variety for no reason.

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10994 · June 24, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Good list.

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0 · June 25, 2014 at 8:01 PM

I buy the following nearly every week, to restock the larder:

1. onions (any kind)

2. garlic (frozen is great)

3. sweet potatoes or squash

4. broccoli or kale

5. cod or maquerel

6. eggs

7. chicken or any marked down meat, including offals

8. coconut milk

9. turmeric or other spices/herbs

10. olive oil or coconut oil

8 to 10 I actually buy once a month or so, when they are marked down, and in bulk. However I use them every day, and with the exception of coconut milk, I would find it difficult to cook without them!

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1147 · June 25, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Staples:

- insect larvae

- roots and tubers

- tropical, or tropical originated (cucurbita), fruit

- greens

That is the only diet that can really keep you in balance with Mg, Ca and P, while providing lots of zinc. You will notice that it is a chimp, or pre-paleo, diet. I would still supplement with

- seafood and/or seaweed for iodine and selenium. Seafood preferred due to Omega 3, but it is a supplement (2 cans of sardines a week or so)

- olive oil or lard. Larvae give you 5,000 Kcal/kg, but they still do not have enough fat.

- bone broth or gelatin for glycine. Larvae themselves are balanced, but all vegetable proteins are deficient.

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10994 · June 27, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Which bugs are staples in your diet?

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10994 · June 27, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Interesting Glb,do you have any documentation about either past civilizations who incorporated insects or articles saying it would be a plausible replacement for traditional meat? I would be interested in learning more on this subject just for the heck of it. I've tried a lot of diets, but I've never tried insects, lol.

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41452 · June 25, 2014 at 1:17 AM

Oh, so we're going to cheat and use vague categories, eh? I'll bite then…

  1. Beef & Pork. Not really for the nutrition, but these are the tastiest! Beef does have a good amount of zinc. Beef liver is great for vitamin A and copper. Pork… vitamin B1, in addition to vitamin BACON!
  2. Eggs. Across the board nutrition.
  3. Fish & Seafood. Minerals and omega-3 fats.
  4. Greens. Requisite veggies! Phytonutrients!
  5. Roots and Tubers. More veggies, with some added calories!
  6. Berries. Phytonutrients!
  7. Olive oil & butter. The tastiest fats, loads of MUFAs.

That's it for paleo categories… personally I do dairy, rice an corn as well.

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1197 · June 25, 2014 at 2:46 AM

Great list - I seem to eat almost exactly like you do. but I do Pork Belly instead of bacon - don't like a smokey flavor

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26182 · June 25, 2014 at 1:56 AM

I was waiting for the bacon answer. reset the "days without mentioning bacon" meter to 0.

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598 · June 25, 2014 at 3:42 PM

I favor this list even though the rules are bendy. My lists were more to make the point: yes, you can live well on a ridiculously restricted diet.

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245 · June 24, 2014 at 11:19 PM

You only need one food...bananas. 30 a day, or so I'm told.

:trollface:

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10994 · June 25, 2014 at 1:42 AM

30 bananas a day should be best answer imo.

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1147 · June 24, 2014 at 9:43 PM

One of the essentials has to be sweet potato or butternut squash, due to the combination of beta carotene, potassium and magnesium. I would list kiwifruit for vitamin C.

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598 · June 24, 2014 at 8:47 PM

Can't help myself... Here's a roughly 2300 calorie daily meal plan I threw together in 5 minutes that you could live on for the rest of your life getting plenty of nutrients. You'd be strong as an ox and perfectly healthy.

No offal, nothing weird, just simple CHEAP food everyone's familiar with.

  1. Bananas: 4 medium
  2. Spinach: 6 cups (a big plate)
  3. Seaweed: 2 ounces
  4. Salted almonds: 3 ounces
  5. 80/20 Ground Beef: 10 ounces
  6. Braised Pork Chops: 5 ounces
  7. Canned Sardines (in water): 5 ounces

Can someone best me and put together a list of just 4 or 5 items?

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26182 · June 25, 2014 at 1:54 AM

That's not what he's asking

1. 100g carbs

2. 100g protein

3. 150g fat

4. 64oz water.

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1197 · June 25, 2014 at 2:44 AM

Maybe YOU'd be strong as an ox and perfectly healthy, but I wouldn't. 20 ounces of meat? What about the oxalates in the Spinach, if you are eating only that veg every day? And all those bananas would make me puke and spike my blood sugar. I thought one of the biggest points of Paleo was people observing the way their bodies respond to food, and adjusting, since everyone has different needs.

While the OP is asking for a pared down list, to take it to such an extreme as to suggest that one could eat only these things for the rest of your life & thrive is total hyperbole.

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10994 · June 25, 2014 at 1:41 AM

In the comment section on my answer @CDone broke it down even simpler with:

  1. Carbs
  2. Protein
  3. Fat
  4. Water

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41452 · June 25, 2014 at 3:55 AM

Wakame is common, simple, and cheap?

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598 · June 24, 2014 at 8:28 PM

This isn't a tall order guys. It seems silly but it's something I've thought about too. I'd say you could get everything you need from a very narrow list, and there must be 50 different narrow combos. It would be optimal to cycle through different combos but unnecessary.

Here's an arbitrary example:

  1. Beef (could even just stick to ground beef if you don't like offal - you'd still get by just fine but again not optimal unless you eat nose to tail)
  2. potatoes (preferably sweet potato if liver not eaten but just any old potato either way will do)
  3. Sardines (bone in preferably but again, not necessary if you get ratios right of other things - like loads of spinach, almond, and seaweed for Calcium)
  4. Almonds (generally well-rounded plus gets you vitamin E in quantities beyond necessity)
  5. Olive Oil (completely unnecessary in this stack but it will help keep life worth living)
  6. Spinach (nuff said)
  7. Seaweed (iodine and other trace goodies for icing on the nutritional cake)
  8. Mushrooms (they are fun to eat and nutritious that's all)

You could take one or two items off that list and still be okay, or swap some out for other things. You could use bananas instead of potatoes for instance.

I agree it's silly in practice but it makes for an interesting thought experiment. Especially if you're into space colonizatino and stuff.

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10994 · June 25, 2014 at 3:35 AM

Considering I've lived for long stretches of time on beef and potatoes alone I'd say that this is a pretty good list.

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26182 · June 25, 2014 at 1:58 AM

Pepper > almonds :: ACV > mushrooms

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10994 · June 24, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Well it was hard to narrow everything down to just 10, but I think I've done it. I think you will get most of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients from the following foods:

  1. Meat (red meat, poultry, fish, organs).
  2. Vegetables (tubers, greens, Allium and Cruciferous families).
  3. Fruits (I love ripe white pineapple, unfortunately I've only seen it for sale in Hawaii).
  4. Nuts (omg, so many to choose from).
  5. Seeds (whole grains, beans).
  6. Dairy (milk, butter, cheese, yogurt from cows, goats and, sheep?).
  7. Eggs (fish eggs and bird eggs).
  8. Spices (salt, pepper, turmeric, oregano, etc).
  9. Oils (olive oil, coconut oil, etc).
  10. Sweets (maybe not paleo, but occasionally indulging definitely can be, let bee spit (honey) fulfill your paleo sweet tooth).

So just to be clear, pick one food from each category per day / per week at least and then rotate what's in season or what tastes good to you.

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26182 · June 24, 2014 at 2:46 PM

man, you cheated even more than i did. Is there anything that you left off the list? My new list is: 1. Protein 2. Fat 3. Carbohydrates 4. Water

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17103 · June 24, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Why would you want to stick to just an arbitrary list of foods when so much more is available out there?

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0 · June 24, 2014 at 10:22 AM

I like to keep it simple. At least now that I'll have a tighter budget as a student.

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41452 · June 24, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Good point, a restricted diet is not a paleo diet!

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