More Vitamins…or, The Science Experiment

Flemming, your comment on my “Why Don’t You Take Vitamins?” post intrigued me. I started wondering  how close I got to Nancy Clark’s “variety” diet, so I spent all of last week dutifully tallying up my food choices. I tried to eat “normally,” resisting the urge to incorporate more variety than I actually eat and thus tampering with the results.

I’m not sure if I broke out my foods correctly. I counted all  pasta (tortellini, fettucini, macaroni…wow, do I enjoy my carbs!) as one category. Same deal with bread. Whether rolls, sandwich bread, or hamburger buns it all showed up as the same thing—white bread. I know, I know, I need to go to whole wheat. And personally I love whole wheat bread…but husband doesn’t care for it AT ALL and this is just one of those marriage compromises. Just like the brand of toothpaste we use. I also noticed that my “leafy green” category is pretty slim…something I’m definitely going to try to work on because I also love spinach, and peas, and lots of other green, healthy veggies. I just get careless and forget to buy them. As far as a list goes, however, I was surprised how close I got to Clark’s recommended 35 different food items. When you eat a PB&H sandwich, some form of potato chips, and some form of fruit for lunch three days a week, it doesn’t seem as though there’s much room left for true variety.

I’m curious to read more of  Clark’s articles/books. I think the 4 meals a day plan might be right up my alley. I’m usually crashing about 4:00 every day…an hour shy of my appointment with running (or running appointment, lol) and a possible time for a “second lunch.” So I end up doing what she warns about, and heading to the coffee shop for a quick cookie pick-me-up.

If anyone’s interested, the results of my little science experiment are below. It’s an interesting little test to try on yourself. Thanks,  Flemming!

Megan’s Weekly Food Tally:

  1. grain/bread products (tortilla, pasta, white bread, bagel, cheerios)
  2. honey
  3. granola
  4. rice
  5. dairy products (ricotta, mozzarella, cheddar, milk, ice cream)
  6. egg
  7. ham
  8. turkey burger
  9. chicken
  10. beef pizza
  11. peanut butter
  12. potato 
  13. green beans
  14. bell pepper
  15. mushrooms
  16. romaine lettuce
  17. salsa/tomatoes
  18. mango
  19. strawberries
  20. pinapple
  21. apple
  22. blueberries
  23. cranberry juice
  24. gatorade
  25. JUNK sugar (cake, chocolate chip cookie, jelly beans, sprite)



4 responses

  1. Ok miss fellow geek .. 🙂

    While I admire your honesty in item 32, I’m thinking that items 1,2,3,4 and 7 are the same item, grain.

    also, 9,10,11,12 and part of 32 (ice cream) are all “dairy”

    Does Ben & Jerry’s phish phood count towards the seafood requirement? If so, I’m doing really good!

  2. Yeah, lol, that shortens the list. See, this is where I get confused. When I think about it like that, then I end up with really big categories — like food pyramid style. That’s never going to add up to 35!

  3. You are absolutely correct in that when you think about it like that then you dont get much variety..

    so we’ll have to define “different foods” .. there are AT LEAST 12 flavors of potato chips.. not to mention brands .. they are not different foods though.

    Too many runners eat a repetitive menu with the same 10 to 15 foods each week.
    Repetitive eating keeps life simple, minimizes decisions, and simplifies shopping, but it
    can result in an inadequate diet and chronic fatigue. The more different foods you eat, the
    more different types of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you consume. A good
    target is 35 different foods per week. Start counting

    Quite frankly I’m not sure what EXACTLY Ms Clark means by 35 different food. But I’m guessing that she’s just trying to underline the need for variety and completeness. I mean to me a sandwich is a sandwich is a sanwich and if doesn’t have chicken on it well then it’s not a sandwich. I eat too much yogurt. etc etc .. big “no variety” sinner here. I do get my vitamins though..

  4. It seems vastly unfair to me (although I understand why, nutritionally) that all those lovely carbs get put into one category, while brussel sprouts and broccoli get to live happy lives as distinct food products. But that’s just my long-standing love affair with pasta (and bias towards smelly vegetables) coming out.

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