Thought for the Day: How Many Foods Do You Eat?

“The average person eats no more than about 30 foods on a regular basis.”

from the University of Washington Center for Obesity Research,

Quoted in Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, by Mary Roach

Shared with me by a friend.

Now I understand why, back when I was doing Monday menus and posting them, and reading other people’s menus, I was so shocked by how boring I thought most other people’s menus are (sorry, that may not be an attractive confession, but it is certainly a transparent one). And when my husband first worked at the grocery store he kept telling me that other people do not eat like we do (although we’ve been eating more like other people lately, relying far too often on frozen pizza, fish sticks, and frozen breaded shrimp- oh, look, more transparency, make it stop before I shame myself irretrievably).

Of course, it’s hard to know what exactly that means, ’30 foods.’ ¬†Does rice count as one food, or does it make a difference whether you have it in sushi, fried rice, plain rice as a side dish, spanish rice, rice pudding, rice as part of lentil rice tacos, rice as a quiche crust, or a salad?

Is spaghetti spaghetti whether you’ve had it as noodle fritters, fried with vegetables as a sustitute for yaki soba noodles, or tossed with day lilies, green onions and Asian seasonings for a cold salad on the Fourth of July?

If I eat almonds by the handful, in almond coconut pancakes, and as a salad topping, is that one food, or three?

And my smoothie- is that one food, or the sum of all its ingredients (yogurt, two greens, two fruits, tea, stevia, and lime juice, sometimes with chia seeds, sometimes with an 3rd fruit as well)

Sometimes I think scientists make these vague statements just to plague me. And then I remember the humbling thought that they neither know nor care who I am, which makes them only generally rather than personally annoying.

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