Food is a necessity of life, but how much food is enough? To examine the food excess in my life, I decided to only eat seven categories of food for a week as part of my Excess Experiment. Did I survive? Did I stick to my guidelines?
I know I’ve said this many times before, but I love food. I love talking about it, I love eating it, and I especially love making it.
I’ve experimented with my diet before, such as when I went vegan, and while I really enjoyed it (once I figured out how to get enough protein), I really don’t enjoy cutting back on what I eat. I realized this when I tested how food impacts my happiness. I thought removing one type of food was difficult, but this past week I decided to abstain from all foods except seven(ish). It sounds like a terrible choice and why would I ever do that (I asked that same question), but it’s because I’m trying to realize all the excess I have in my life. I started reading a book about mutiny against excess and decided to try it out for myself. When I saw that food was the first excess item, my thoughts ranged from “oh great, here we go again” to “yay! I’m going to get healthy!”. My ‘experiment’ continued along those same lines.
So, what foods did I choose? Before I give you a list, let me explain something. In my introduction post, I mentioned I have “student lifestyle restrictions”. What that means is I am completely dependent on my university for my food. I still reside in a dorm, so while I would love for my list to have singular food items like sweet potatoes and apples, it’s not really possible for me. The likelihood of the campus dining halls not having any of those singular foods is a little too high for comfort. So instead, I chose slightly larger categories of food as my guideline for this week.
- Raw fruit
- Raw/steamed veggies
- Protein spreads (peanut butter and hummus)
- Whole wheat bread
- Soy milk
- Granola bar
- Chex cereal
I think that’s a pretty good list! If you didn’t notice, it is vegan, but still more restrictive than my past vegan experiences. The granola bar made it on the list because it’s what I usually eat for breakfast, and the Chex cereal is there for my sanity. When salads get boring, cereal is a welcome change.
So, how did my week go?
It was awful.
Just kidding, it wasn’t super terrible, but I didn’t really stick to my guidelines very well. I mean, I spent the whole first paragraph of this post talking about how much I love food. Did I really expect to succeed in this food-depriving experiment? Anyways, I was ready to quit by Monday dinner. I had a big dinner with a bunch of my friends (which doesn’t happen a lot), and I probably looked really grumpy while I munched on my dry salad and hummus toast. I had to think about my guidelines and what I could/couldn’t eat, and that took away from the happy experience of being with some of the people I love the most. Not to mention I knew we would eat cake later that evening and would therefore already be disregarding my restrictions. That cake sure was good though.
So yeah. It lasted one day.
Honestly, there’s nothing really wrong with having a large variety of foods. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s a good thing. To be clear, I don’t mean eating pizza, cereal, roast beef, a sandwich, applesauce, pita bread, and s’mores ice cream all for one meal is a good thing, but within reasonable bounds, variety is good. And since food is such a social and enjoyable activity for me, I don’t think I’ll be removing all the food excess from my life. However, this experiment did remind me of the simpler foods I enjoy, like raw veggies and hummus toast. It got me refocused on healthy eating and away from my daily slices of pizza.
This food experiment with excess may have failed, but at least it got me thinking. What are your thoughts on food and food excess?