The Maurice Reeves Rule for Food Substitutes

July 21, 2010
Having a wife who’s diabetic and having weight issues of my own, I have often notion of “real food” versus “engineered food”, or “food substitute.”
By real food I mean genuine food you can identify, with products you can readily identify.  For example, a steak and a salad is real food.  You know where they both came from.  Fruit salad is real food.  A fried egg is real food.
Food substitutes are things like Muscle Milk, Luna Bars, those Cookie Diet cookies.  They were engineered and created in a lab.  You’re not stocking a jar of soy protein isolate in your pantry.
And the whole notion of engineered foods bothers me a bit.  I don’t think people should eat it.  It’s not good for you, despite the claims.  And here’s how I think I can prove it, with a simple rule:
If after eating Food Substitute X, you are still craving Real Food Y, then Food Substitute X was not worth eating.
Let me give you a concrete example:
Who among you has eaten a steak dinner, with a salad and a baked potato and said “You know what would really go well with this?  A Slim-Fast.”  I venture none of you.  But how many of your food substitute eaters have dutifully drank your diet shakes and eaten your magic diet bars and a half-hour later, an hour later, sat there thinking “I WOULD KILL FOR A DONUT.” I venture all of you.
And you know what?  Most times, you probably end up caving, especially in times of stress, which in these modern times, feels like all the time.  So what you’ve really done is increased the total number of calories you’ve eaten, felt guilty because you still cheated on your diet, and felt miserable because you ate something you didn’t really enjoy.
I say, ditch the food substitutes.  Eat the real food.  Enjoy your steak, enjoy your bowl of pasta, and feel contented in knowing where your food came from, and how sated you really are.
(FYI – I have cross-posted this to my other (often neglected) blog: I Have A Lot of Nothing To Say.)