The Monkey Chow Diet

We wrote about Seth Roberts’ Shangri-La Diet in the New York Times last summer, which he has since turned into a best-selling book. Seth’s research suggested that the key to weight control was consuming flavorless calories.

Adam Scott has a new diet idea: Monkey Chow. For the next week, he plans an experiment in which he consumes only Monkey Chow. As he puts it:

“Wouldn’t it make economic sense for people to have a pelletised,
nutritionally complete food source with a long unrefrigerated shelf
life? Think of the immediate financial savings – less than a dollar
per meal; no dishes or pots and pans required; no electricity for the
fridge, freezer, stove, microwave. Not to mention the time saved – no
shopping, no cooking, no dishwashing.”

Since there is no Human Chow, he is going to give Monkey Chow a shot. He is blogging about it. So far he is through Day 2. It doesn’t sound like it is going well.

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  1. jcl says:

    If it works, does this mean United Nations has found a new way to feed a continent by easier means?

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
  2. jcl says:

    If it works, does this mean United Nations has found a new way to feed a continent by easier means?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  3. jonathan says:

    Sadly no, it won’t make economic sense. For one thing, Scott’s not going to be a nice person to know which means his circle of friends will diminish as will his effectiveness at work,
    Secondly, eating is one of our primary social activities. Cooking, whether for friends or for yourself is one of the few opportunities we have to be creative, and to think.
    Cut out that thinking time and your attentiveness and other skills will suffer, plus no one will come round for dinner.
    Thirdly, the agriculture sector is an enormous contributor to the world economy. If we all stop eating real food, that sector will cease, causing a cascade into all other sectors of the economy (rising fuel prices, unemployment, migration to cities etc etc).
    So no, not really much of an economic argument to support it.

    Of course if all you’re used to eating is over-flavoured, over-salted and over-sweetened processed foods, it might do you good to detox your system. But after you’re fed up with the same thing every day, resist the urge to go down the empty calories route of supposedly cheap food (that is so nutritionally devoid that you have to buy two or three times the helping, thus wiping out the cost benefit) and buy organic food instead. Remember when strawberries actually tasted of something? And potatoes were weird shapes?
    Being well-fed with tasty nutritious food, even if it costs slightly more than the rubbish supermarkets force on us, ultimately makes more economic sense because of fewer days off sick, better mood, more energy and more restful sleep.

    Maybe there should be a control experiment going on at the same time?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2
  4. jonathan says:

    Sadly no, it won’t make economic sense. For one thing, Scott’s not going to be a nice person to know which means his circle of friends will diminish as will his effectiveness at work,
    Secondly, eating is one of our primary social activities. Cooking, whether for friends or for yourself is one of the few opportunities we have to be creative, and to think.
    Cut out that thinking time and your attentiveness and other skills will suffer, plus no one will come round for dinner.
    Thirdly, the agriculture sector is an enormous contributor to the world economy. If we all stop eating real food, that sector will cease, causing a cascade into all other sectors of the economy (rising fuel prices, unemployment, migration to cities etc etc).
    So no, not really much of an economic argument to support it.

    Of course if all you’re used to eating is over-flavoured, over-salted and over-sweetened processed foods, it might do you good to detox your system. But after you’re fed up with the same thing every day, resist the urge to go down the empty calories route of supposedly cheap food (that is so nutritionally devoid that you have to buy two or three times the helping, thus wiping out the cost benefit) and buy organic food instead. Remember when strawberries actually tasted of something? And potatoes were weird shapes?
    Being well-fed with tasty nutritious food, even if it costs slightly more than the rubbish supermarkets force on us, ultimately makes more economic sense because of fewer days off sick, better mood, more energy and more restful sleep.

    Maybe there should be a control experiment going on at the same time?

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
  5. John S. says:

    Johnathan, the detox seems to have wiped out your sense of humor as well. I think you need a Happy Meal.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
  6. John S. says:

    Johnathan, the detox seems to have wiped out your sense of humor as well. I think you need a Happy Meal.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
  7. www.acsh.org says:

    Interesting! This provides… grist (which probably tastes better than the monkey chow) for some nutrition commentary:
    The Ultimate Convenience Diet: Monkey Chow
    at:
    http://www.acsh.org/factsfears/newsID.758/news_detail.asp

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  8. www.acsh.org says:

    Interesting! This provides… grist (which probably tastes better than the monkey chow) for some nutrition commentary:
    The Ultimate Convenience Diet: Monkey Chow
    at:
    http://www.acsh.org/factsfears/newsID.758/news_detail.asp

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1