“Variety doesn’t really matter to me. I would be perfectly happy to eat the same Chickpea rice salad or chicken sandwich every day.”
This person can be stuck in a “food rut.” I should reveal that my interest in this subject is not purely philosophical.
Stucking in a food rut is comfortable and easy. We don’t have to think twice about what we cook and just eat and go. Food ruts are also often emotionally intertwined. They give us a sense of stability, enjoyment makes us feel good. We typically eat things we like—foods that taste good. (Hence, when eating the same foods that bring us pleasure, we fire up serotonin in our heads).
However, as convenient, comforting and yummy as eating the same foods every day maybe, when we are stuck in food run, we also often miss out on some essential key nutrients.
“The staple + fat + relish combination is what dominated eating in traditional peasant cultures”
“Newness or difference from the norm is a very urban, almost postmodern, idea. It is recent. It is class-based.”
So, when accounting for the totality of human experience, it is the variety-seekers—not the same-lunchers—who are the unusual ones.
Eating the same thing over and over can also simplify the decisions people make about what they put into their bodies.
Perhaps there is more to them, eating the same thing each day reveals something deeper about who people are, or at least perceived to be.
Of course, most people around the world who eat the same thing every day aren’t doing so voluntarily. “I would say most people most of the time have little choice in their staple as if they live in rice culture, they will have rice for every meal; ditto potatoes.”
It’s easy to stick to eating the same foods every day—especially if you love them. But it may not be the best thing for your health.
Here are Things That Happen When You Eat the Same Thing every day, and my go-to simple tips for getting unstuck from a food rut…
Here is the Scary Reason…
Humans were designed to graze and hunt, and therefore our diets became naturally varied. This is likely an evolutionary design so that we attain and access a wide variety of nutrients throughout the day, week, month, and over long-term periods of time to optimize our body’s functions.
It can lead to nutritional deficiencies
Our bodies need a wide range of macro- and micronutrients, and eating a wide variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables, can help us meet our body’s needs. Almost everyone would agree that “eat the rainbow” is a good rule of thumb.
It hurts your gut health
Eating a wide variety of foods provides the environment the gut needs to grow the healthy bacteria that can boost our immune system and improve digestion. This is the article for understanding gut health role.
It can stunt your weight loss
People who ate a varied diet had a much lower risk of metabolic disease—a combination of unhealthy factors that can lead to heart disease and diabetes. People eating a good variety watched their cholesterol drop, had less abdominal fat, and lower blood pressure. Hence, we’re able to lose weight faster than those who had less variety.
It may impact how long you live
In research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, investigators tracked the health of more than 50,000 women and found that those who ate a wide variety of healthy foods tended to live longer than women who ate the same foods day after day.
It leads to serious food boredom, developing an eating disorder
“Food should be fun! It should be something you look forward to”. The constant refusal to eat specific foods or nonacceptance to eat any type of new food group can give consequence in malnutrition and unhealthy weight loss. Don’t miss the signs of healthy eating obsession.
Changing up what you eat exposes you to great new foods and new recipes, and helps bring back the fun in eating.” Start with these healthy food recipes worth trying.
You may be overdosing on certain nutrients
If you consume too much of certain foods, you may be putting your health at risk. For example, too much turmeric can interfere with blood clotting and liver function, or if you eat, say, fish every day, mercury toxicity becomes a concern—especially if you’re consuming predatory fish (like tuna) and if you are a small person—toxicity is weight-related.
It can hurt your immune system
The enhanced nutrition from a varied diet seems to boost immunity. This helped people resist infections; people whose diets had little variation were more likely to get sick due to a weakened immune system. Here are natural immune booster foods.
You Get Disconnected from Food & Your Body
Lastly, eating the same thing every day takes the “intuitive” out of eating.
Instead of listening to your body—and going with your gut, you listen to your head, your tastebuds, convenience or your emotions.
You get out of touch with your body’s natural guess.
“Auto-pilot” mode—like any routine—becomes second nature.
Simply put, you forget what it’s like to truly listen to your body. In the name of your body.
How to Make it Work for You
Mix it up
Eating the same exact thing every day for every meal isn’t good for you. Instead of eating a salad every day for lunch is great, especially if you mix up the protein and other ingredients on a daily or weekly basis. Even small changes to your go-to meals can make a big difference.
Slight Edge Small Changes
Very small components up of a meal. Perhaps you have chicken most meals with sweet potato and green beans. Try a Japanese sweet potato instead of a regular sweet potato. Asparagus instead of green beans. Or Tofu instead of chicken breast.
Go to the produce section in the store without a list—and shop seasonally. Notice what’s on sale, what’s the freshest and what’s in season. Buy that this week. On this note, also check out local farmer’s markets for seasonal varieties.
Have Someone Else Cook
let someone else do the cooking. Or, if you live in a city with local healthy meal delivery, chef or restaurants, consider varying it up by trying it outside your usual norm packed lunch or dinner.
Change Your Habit
Instead of focusing so much on changing up your food variety, consider changing the fixed habits you have around eaten the same thing every day. For instance, if you’re in the habit of eating the same thing for dinner every night, instead of waiting until you’re really hungry to decide what to eat (and defaulting to the same thing every time), consider meal prepping a few easy options to grab when you get home late.
Frequently eating similar meals can be healthy, but it’s important to make sure you’re eating well-balanced meals loaded with nutrient-dense foods. It’s too easy to miss out on important nutrients if you get stuck in a food rut.
Reframe change by thinking: “How can I nourish my body and fuel my body at this meal?” You nourish through a widely-varied diet.
I want to hear what you think about this article.
By Priyanshi Bhatnagar