I usually take a salad for lunch at work. Its a decent sized salad generally made up of baby spinach leaves, some lettuce, rocket or watercress, (little) tomatoes, celery, red capsicum and cucumber. Its topped with an assortment of tinned tuna or salmon, avocado, mushrooms and dressed with some kind of oil and vinegar (usually just olive oil and balsamic).
I’ve had several people ask me if it gets boring having the same thing every day. I’ve always wondered how they can think that – to me the bowl is a variety in of itself even when the ingredients are the same for several weeks. Throw in – do I want mushrooms or avocado? Do I want salmon, tuna, boiled egg? Are radishes in season? Which bite-sized tomato does the supermarket stock this week? As far as I can see my boring salad is the epitome of variety. It interesting that the people who suggest my lunch is boring are the ones who seem to get the same thing everyday to me. Its a sandwich and a bag of crisps. Sure the sandwich filling might vary a little, and sometimes its a pannini or a baguette instead of sliced bread. But its essentially the same.
So Mark’s article on food variety – Is Food Variety Important? got me thinking. My satiety from the salad varies, although I always enjoy unless I’m still badly hungover and need still need something greasy (yes yes, but I still manage to do my job). Its physically filling but some days I feel hungry again as soon as I’ve started breaking it down and moving the water content of the salad through my system (at least from what I understand about digestion). I’m trying to pay more attention to it to try and notice what’s going on: breaking the no refined carbs rule the day before tends to add to it. But so can exercise – both strength training and cardio – depending on how well I manage to refuel afterwards.
But I do find it interesting that while the salad might need tweaking to meet all my nutritional needs, I’m still satisfied with it. I’ve had other meals that I’ve loved that have lost their allure because I ate them constantly until I was sick of them. Mark’s article links to a few studies that suggest that’s a way to wean yourself off the bad stuff, but I don’t think that will work for me . To much variety in the world I could easily just move from one junky thing to the next.