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Over on this thread, Khurram wrote: Khurram, I know you're a minimalist and for the sake of convenience and cost you've chosen to consume the monkey chow rather than whole foods. While I'm skeptical of that approach, I can respect and understand your perspective. But I'm curious why you have chosen Purina primate chow, and that particular formulation, as the supplement to your high veggie diet? Back when you started eating the monkey chow there weren't many options, but today there are quite a few meal replacements alternatives designed for people. I'm wondering why you've stuck with the primate chow, and whether you've considered or tried some of the others. In particularly, the primate chow you're eating has pig fat ("procine animal fat preserved with DHA") as one of the top ingredients. Not only does this preclude it as an option for veg[itari]ans (which you apparently don't care about - fair enough), but it result in there being nearly as much saturated fat as MUFA in the biscuits. That seems less than optimal in my book. Perhaps even more importantly, the monkey chow is 25-30% of calories from protein - which seems much too high given our current understanding of the role of (reduced) dietary protein in health and longevity. I thought you might have chosen that particular monkey chow because it was what they fed the monkeys in the NIA primate study, where both control and CR monkeys lived a long time relative to most monkeys in captivity, and which some of the credit may have gone to their healthier diet formulation compared with the Wisconsin monkeys. But in fact, both the Wisconsin monkey diet (Teklad #85387 - see table 1 of this paper for details) and importantly, NIA monkey diet had lower saturated fat (no pig fat as an ingredient) and much lower protein (only 15-17%) than the chow you've chosen. The composition of the NIA monkey chow link is courtesy of Michael's mega-review of the CR primate study. (Side Note: Michael - in your review of the CR monkey results, did you notice that the NIA monkey chow formulation has 0.1256% (by weight) added methionine in addition to the methionine that was in the fish meal protein that comprised a pretty large part of the chow? Given the apparent benefits of protein/methionine restriction, could this have contributed to the failure of CR to work in the NIA monkeys?! As I recall, the CR monkeys didn't exhibited reduced IGF-1, while human CR practitioners do, except those eating a high protein (hence higher methionine?) diet [Fontana, 2008 PMID: 18843793] ). Khurram, I can understand you might not be able to get your hands on the NIA monkey chow, but what made you choose this high protein formulation from Purina (5057/5058) relative to the 5037/5038 formulation, with basically the same ingredients as 5057/5058 but much lower protein, i.e. 15-17% - which the chow in the CR monkey studies? Moreover, now that there are many more options these days for "human chow", I'm curious why you're sticking with the monkey chow. Here are a few, with some of my observations about them: Ensure - Perhaps the most oldest and most familiar meal replacement, has lower protein (14% of calories) and no animal fat, but it also has a lot of added sugar so isn't the best option. It is about $3 / 500kcal. Soylent - The current darling of the geeky meal replacement crowd. From its nutrition facts, its basically just water, maltodextrin, canola and algae oil, soy protein powder and a multivitamin. Far from ideal, but vegan, only 20% of calories from protein, and reasonably low in saturated fat (2.5g / 500kcal serving) It too is about $3 / 500kcal when you buy it in liquid form, a little bit less in powder, but you need to supply your own fat/oil, and water. Huel - Short for Human Fuel. Its a UK competitor for Soylent, although with more protein (30% of calories!) and more saturated fat (3.5g / 500kcal) from MCT powder from coconuts. No soy (pea protein instead), and carbs and fiber from Oats, rather than carbs from maltodextrin. Otherwise pretty crappy ingredients + a multivitamin. Cheap - only about $2 / 500kcal. Ambronite is a better meal replacement shake alternative, made from (mostly) organic, whole food ingredients, but it also has too much protein (24% of calories), and it is quite expensive ($8.50 / 500kcal!). Meal Squares are nice because they are small cakes rather than a shake, but they have too much protein (40% of calories!), aren't vegan (contain eggs, whey protein), way too much saturated fat (4g/400kcal from coconut oil), are padded with isolated vitamins, but aren't too expensive (~$3.75 / 500kcal). Honestly none of these is close to optimal from my perspective, even for a heavily-processed meal alternative. They either have too much sugar (Ensure, Soylent), aren't vegan (MealSquares) and/or have too much protein (Heul, Ambronite, MealSquares). If I had to pick one, Ambronite looks the best, but its also the most expensive, not surprisingly. In case you're wondering why I've done all this research, I've been kicking around the idea of trying to develop a better alternative to all these. Not so much for me - I enjoy whole foods and have plenty of time for meal prep and eating. But for other people who want a convenient and healthy meal replacement alternative. Does anyone know of other meal replacement alternatives out there? What would people think of, and want to see in, a healthier CR-friendly, meal replacement formula? Mega-muffins and Mega-leather were earlier attempts at this, but I think we could do better today. The question is would anyone be interested? --Dean
Thanks to the magic of the Internet archive, below is a copy of Michael Rae's version 2.0 of Michael Sherman's original Megamuffin recipe (available here: http://web.archive.org/web/20060417082532/http://recipes.calorierestriction.org/r.view?r=242&_mode=details). Version 2.0 was posted to April Smith's CR Diary Blog on November 29, 2006, which is available in the Internet Archive here: https://web.archive.org/web/20130501033927/http://www.mprize.org/blogs/archives/2006/11/have_a_megamuff.html Attached to this post is (supposedly) Version 3.0, with less protein, but all I can find scouring the Internet is a version of it in XML format, which doesn't seem to have easily readable ingredients or instructions, at least as far as I can tell by opening the file using a free online XML viewing tool. Perhaps someone else (Michael?) has a copy of the 3.0 recipe version. M3 Megamuffins Q3 2010d.xml Enjoy! --Dean -------------------------------- Have A Megamuffin While You Wait Here's the long awaited re-post of the M2 Megamuffin recipe. This is the version that MR eats and that my friend Susan eats. I eat a smaller, savory version that I'll publish later on. Yes, they take a morning to make. But once you've made them, you freeze them and have 24 muffins ready to eat when you're ready for them. M2 Megamuffins Large dry ingredients 2 boxes (454 g/1 lb) Ener-G rice bran 1 C dark rye flour 2 2/3 cup psyllium husk 1 cup wheat bran 3 T sodium-free “baking powder�? (Hain Featherweight) 6 x 20 g scoops Jarrow whey protein powder 2/3 cup brewer's yeast • 89 g raw almonds • 100 g almond meal Blender ingredients 1 T NAC (N-acetylcysteine) powder 0.5 T PURE sucralose + 1/8 tsp PURE Neotame; or, 1 T PURE sucralose 5 T Pumpkin Pie Spice (Unsweetened) 45 mg (elemental) zinc (supplement) 3 whole omega-3 eggs (flax-fed preferred over fish oil or other DHA) 3 cups skim milk • 300 g endive • 340 g guava • 240 g canned unsalted plain pumpkin (not pie mix) • 200 g whole orange 3 T Reconstituted Z-Trim Large Pot or Bowl Wet ingredients 24 egg whites (750 mL) 5 T High-Oleic Sunflower or olive oil • 800 Calories’ dried fruit (Eg, the following together: • 21 g “Just Cranberries�? • 28 g “Just Blueberries�? • 203 g Trader Joe’s organic dried cranberries (610 Calories) Sprinkle On Top 3/8 T K metabisulfite Bake for 50 minutes at 325ºF (350ºF in our crummy oven). . INSTRUCTIONS 1. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside. 2. Put pumpkin pie spice, sucralose, NAC, Reconstituted Z-Trim, and whole eggs in blender. Cram as much of the endive, cut-up oranges and guava, and pumpkin into the thing as you can at a time and blend until very smooth. Sequentially dump into the separate large pot or bowl (NOT the one containing the dry ingredients!). 3. Throw the remaining Large Pot or Bowl Wet ingredients (egg whites, olive oil or HOSO, and dried fruit) into the wet-ingredient Large Pot or Bowl. Mix thoroughly. 4. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly until you have a uniform mixture. This is hard work for about 5 minutes. Make sure there are no dry spots left. 5. Preheat oven 325F. 6. Quickly distribute the now-rising dough evenly into two 10�? x 14�? baking pans. For maximal efficiency and minimal hassle, use baker’s parchment. 7. Sprinkle metabisulfite onto the surface of the muffins. 8. “Tent�? the muffins: use enough tin foil to cover the sides of the pans, cutting a rectangular hole in the center of the foil to expose all but ~1-2�? of the top surface. This minimizes excess browning while allowing for the cooking of the centers. 9. Cook in preheated oven for 50 minutes. If they don’t both fit on one level, swap them top-to-bottom in the oven after 30 minutes since it is always hotter at the top and you want both batches to get the same amount of heat. 12. Remove from oven, invert carefully out of the pan. 13. Using a tape measure, cut into an appropriate number of slices. The analysis assumes 20 muffins, so each pan is cut in half one way and 5 (2.75�?) the other. I currently cut a batch into 24, yielding more muffins and fewer Calories each. 14. Pack in zip-loc freezer bags to retain moisture. Keep refrigerated or frozen. I put them straight into the freezer. IMO, they’re best when frozen and then thawed, rather than fresh. INGREDIENTS NOTES * You can substitute other dried fruit, of course. I use a mixture of the readily-available oiled, sugared dried cranberries with 'Just Blueberries' and “Just Cranberries,�? which are available at Whole Foods and elsewhere & as the name implies are dried berries -- period. This REALLY brings the Cal down, and because these things are at full volume, you would likely have a really hard time if you used these exclusively for 800 Calories. I typically use 21 g (75 Cal) of cranberries, 56 g (100 Cal) with the remainder the regular ones. * Psyllium husk is not entered in DWIDP or the USDA database. I have seen WILDLY variant nutrition info on the web, some of which is patently wrong. Sherm offered an educated guess as to the truth a couple of years back; I finally got authoritative info via the WUSTL nutritionist, who got the following from a nutrition database from the University of Minnesota, and it matches that guess pretty darned closely: 357.24 g of psyllium seed husks = 179 calories, 1.79 g fat, 288.65 g. carbohydrate, 10.36 g. protein, 125 mg sodium, 257.22 g dietary fiber, 204.3 g soluble fiber. Note that there is considerable brand-to-brand variation in the weight of a given volume of husk, due to how finely it's ground, so double-check this before scooping into the mixing bowl. * Spices are a matter of personal preference. * Other non-caloric sweeteners could be used in place of sucralose, but sucralose APPEARS to be the most well-documentedly safe noncaloric sweetener. NB that this is PURE sucralose, not 'Splenda' (which is 'cut' with maltodextrin). Sucralose is available from Warren Taylor < email@example.com >, although he is currently cutting it with cellulose: you’ll have to adjust the volume of sucralose you use accordingly, but at least it adds no empty Calories. * I use eggs from flax-fed hens, to lower AA, cholesterol, and SaFA relative to what the analysis says. Alas, this DOES mean some extra DHA -- my only dietary source. * I use commercial liquid egg whites rather than hand-separated egg whites -- MUCH less hassle. * I used to use Ener-G brand sodium-free baking powder, which is loaded with Ca (this contributes over 500 mg of Ca per serving) without adding Na. K-based products are a good second best. This really is a needlessly high amount, which is why I switched to the Hain Featherweight, which is mostly potassium bicarbonate. Do, in any case, chose some low- to zero-sodium version. * I use baking parchment, after a tip from John Roberts, which REALLY reduces the hassle of extracting the muffins and cleaning up afterward, & avoids any evil gunk you might get off of the sides of the pan. Environmentally rather a poor option, alas :( -- although it can be re-used for many batches. * The rice bran is probably the most important ingredient for nutrition, although its phytic acid does mean that the mineral bioavailability is reduced. Buy it in sealed containers if possible, to avoid peroxidation of the fats and loss of the tocotrienols. I buy Ener-G rice bran at a local health food store. You can easily get it by mail from their web site http://www.ener-g.comor 1-800-331-5222. Look under "flours" to find the rice bran product and buy the 8 oz (227g) size which costs less than $2! * For the protein powder, use plain, unflavored, unsweetened stuff, and (to get the best nutritional bennies) use a concentrate rather than an isolate. I use Jarrow's American Whey (Unflavored/Natural), mostly because it meets the above criteria and I get it on the cheap; other reputable brands will do as well. NB that the scoop that comes with this brand is 23 g, whereas I use a 20 g scoop. * NAC (N-acetylcysteine) powder is available from Carlson, which can be purchased from the Vitamin Shoppe and elsewhere. K metabisulfite is available in home wine-making hobby stores, where they commonly just know it as “sufites.�? Briefly, they reduce the formation of “glycotoxins�? (food AGE; see: http://lists.calorierestriction.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0108&L=crsociety&P=R5769 … and NAC also reduces formation of acrylamide. * HOSO: High-oleic sunflower oil. Similar fatty acid profile to olive oil, but with a taste more compatible with a muffin. True, pure, unrefined HOS is quite tasty but I haven’t been able to find it for years: some regular grocery stores carry refined HOSO, and Omega Nutrition makes an unrefined, blended oil mixed w/sesame and coconut oil, making the taste & fatty acid profile a little poorer than the real thing. Spectrum Naturals carries a 'naturally refined' HOSO as well. According to the company, they do the extraction with expeller pressing, the bleaching using a clay and diatomaceous earth filtration system, and then a vaccuum-chamber steam deodorization -- ie, no chemical processes at any step. I'd still rather have the phytosterols and (likely) other missing goodies, but it seems that this is less likely to produce evil & more likely to leave fat-soluble antioxidants intact. Now if only they'd produce it in dark glass ... * Z-Trim: a fat substitute. See: . Gives the mouth feel with negligible Calories. I use it in vegetarian “gravy,�? stews, and mixed spiced steamed vegetables. Buy the “Corn Fiber Fat Replacement Powder�? (yummy!) at . Recipe Nutrient Analysis: This is the result of cutting the above recipe into 24 muffins (use a ruler to get equal-sized portions): =========================================== Nutrition Summary =========================================== General (42%) =========================================== Energy | 280.1 kcal 45% Protein | 19.3 g 41% Carbs | 34.7 g 63% Fiber | 12.6 g 42% Fat | 11.2 g 53% Water | 110.1 g 7% P:C:F 28/36/36 Vitamins (50%) =========================================== Vitamin A | 2114.1 IU 70% Folate | 72.8 mcg 18% B1 (Thiamine) | 0.9 mg 77% B2 (Riboflavin) | 0.9 mg 65% B3 (Niacin) | 10.1 mg 63% B5 (Pantothenic Acid)| 5.7 mg 113% B6 (Pyridoxine) | 1.1 mg 65% B12 (Cyanocobalamin)| 0.5 mcg 22% Vitamin C | 40.2 mg 45% Vitamin D | 14.8 IU 4% Vitamin E | 5.6 mg 38% Vitamin K | 34.4 mcg 29% Minerals (52%) =========================================== Minerals (50%) =========================================== Calcium | 239.1 mg 24% Copper | 0.6 mg 67% Iron | 3.5 mg 44% Magnesium | 227.4 mg 54% Manganese | 3.7 mg 161% Phosphorus | 531.0 mg 76% Potassium | 1047.4 mg 22% Selenium | 32.0 mcg 58% Sodium | 133.4 mg 10% Zinc | 4.6 mg 42% Lipids (14%) =========================================== Saturated | 1.8 g 9% Omega-3 | 0.2 g 4% Omega-6 | 2.8 g 35% Cholesterol | 27.0 m P