Sunday, September 02, 2007

Just Two Foods and a Drink Please

Kids are really great at playing make believe. It’s sort of what they do. But even as adults some of us like to imagine various “what if” scenarios. One of my favorites concerns food.

No, it’s not imagining what if I could eat all I wanted of anything without any ill effects on my weight or health. That’s fun to imagine, but it doesn’t involve much thought. A better question that I sometimes ask friends and family is, “If you could pick only two foods and one drink to consume for the rest of your life, what would they be?”

Ok, first some ground rules: Water is not a food product and we will assume, for the purpose of this exercise, that water will always be available. Secondly, condiments are not food products. We can use whatever condiments we wish to dress up our chosen foods. And finally, a food product cannot be an aggregate of several different food products. For example, you cannot select lasagna as one of your chosen foods because lasagna consists of pasta, beef, cheese, and tomatoes. That’s four separate food products.

Now, when I ask people this fun question, I get lots of various answers. Most often, though, people tend to select the foods they like best. My daughter chose chocolate and pasta as her foods with Coke as her drink.

But remember, the game rules state that you must survive on your choices for the rest of your life. That means you should pick items that you’re not likely to get tired of too quickly, that you can prepare in a variety of ways, and most importantly, that will actually sustain your existence.

When I reminded my daughter that neither chocolate nor pasta had any significant vitamins and that she would likely develop scurvy in short order, she had to rethink her choices.

Many people love potatoes. Potatoes can be prepared in myriad different ways, so there is not as much chance you will tire of them over time. You can have baked potatoes, home fires, french fries, mashed, scalloped (but only if your other food choice is cheese and your drink choice is milk), or potato chips. But it’s doubtful you could get the entire spectrum of nutrients from potatoes alone. Still, it might be a good choice, depending on what you pick for your other food and drink.

Pasta is another possibility because, again, it can be prepared in a number of ways. But, like potatoes, pasta is nutrient poor. A lot of the world’s population relies on rice as a staple, so you might think rice would be a perfect choice. But that’s only if you eat the long-grained brown rice, since all of rice’s nutrients are in the husk.

I’ve thought about it, and personally, I’ve decided on two foods that I enjoy eating but can be prepared in numerous ways and are also likely to sustain me for a long time, along with my drink of choice.

The first food I would select is cheese. There are all kinds of cheeses and they can be prepared in a lot of different ways in combination with my second food choice. That second food choice is the egg. I love eggs and I love cheese. So I can make scrambled eggs with cheese, boiled eggs, omelets, pepper jack eggs, and so on. Eggs are perfect protein foods. Cheese has a lot of calcium for my bones and teeth. Eggs have a nice supply of omega-3 fatty acids.

But what about my vitamins? That’s where my drink choice comes in. I love vegetable juice. I would pick V8. It has lots of vitamins and anti-oxidants. Plus I love it.

I had no problem picking cheese as my first food choice, because cheese is one of my favorite foods. But my second choice was a toss up between eggs or fish. I like them both, and fish is probably healthier, but eggs are more versatile. So the scales tipped in the direction of the incredible, edible egg.

Thankfully, though, back in the real world, nobody has to make those choices. I can eat both eggs and fish. But it’s sometimes fun to imagine.

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