Back in 2005 I got this idea to eat nothing but nuts for an entire week. I originally sent it out as a daily email but I thought I would post it here just because it amuses me and is loosely related to nutrition and health. Enjoy…
Day 1: Sunday, January 23, 2005
Today, it begins the Grand Nut Experiment. I will eat nothing but nuts for an entire week. Why? No reason, I’m just curious.
The first thing I ate when I got up this morning was the rest of my mixed nuts from the New Year’s Eve party. A bit stale, but still tasty. On Wednesday, I bought many of the nuts I would eat during the experiment. The collection is as follows.
1. Peanuts (salted in the shell). = 2720 cals
So, the total calories of the nuts I have is 21,520 cals or about 3600 per day.
I weigh 187 pounds (clothed), and I feel pretty good.
I love eating nuts!
This first day went pretty well. I didn’t cave even though I was at a friend’s who was serving corn chips that had an intoxicating odor and a fabulous looking pan crust pizza. While everyone enjoyed their mouth-watering pieces, I chomped on a few spicy flavored Spanish peanuts. The nuts were ok but the pizza was compelling! No matter. This is science and I was not about to give in on the first day.
After one day of eating nuts, I feel fine but have developed a “coated” feeling in my mouth. My stomach might feel a little off too but I don’t know if it is the nuts or the 8 pots of hot tea that I drank. Maybe I’m just staying up too late, who knows..
Day 2: Monday, January 24, 2005
Today, I had a thing called Dynamo mix complete with peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pecans and (bleah) soybean nuts. Manual soybean removal was required. Dinner was the rest of the butter toffee peanuts, yum!! I also pondered the idea that a donut could be a nut; perhaps in the next experiment.
Starting about 9 am, I felt a little sketchy all day. My mouth was pasty like I had licked a couple hundred envelopes & stamps. My stomach was also a bit off and I felt a general shakiness. I didn’t feel too smart either. I wonder if nuts make you dumb.
I ran 3 miles and felt really weak and groggy. But my head cleared right up after 5 minutes of practicing handstands. One day I’ll be able to hold one for over a minute without a wall.
In the evening was euchre. Eeked out a victory despite my obviously depressed IQ. By the time I got home all I wanted to do was go to bed. I really didn’t feel too well. 2500 calories of nuts today. 185 pounds. This experiment is not exactly pleasant. But neither is living on a life boat with tiger. (Apparently, I was reading “Life of Pi” at the time)
Day 3: Tuesday, January 25, 2005.
Pistachios were the nut of choice today. Supplemented with dry roasted peanuts, honey roasted cashews, salted sunflower nuts, glazed pecans and a big spoonful of crunchy peanut butter that was bought in South Carolina amidst Hurricane Frances, after which 4 people weren’t around to enjoy the Floridian sunshine, and so it goes.
Feeling much better today. Clearly my body is getting used to this nuttiness. Did 6 miles of running, 300 situps, 10 minutes of handstands while staving off the relentless droning of fatigue. I even feel brighter having finished my third book this year. A fabulous story about coral islands, pigs, and man’s decent into savagery. If you haven’t read Lord of the Flies, it’s well worth a read.
Weight is now 183, a full 4 pounds lower. I don’t put much stock in it though ’cause a 4 pound fluctuation is certainly within 2 standard deviations of my mean.
As reported on NPR this morning, scientists have yet to determine the cause of death of Peaches the elephant at Lincoln Park Zoo. And so it goes. I was reminded of the story unexpectedly about 9:44 pm in a loud, echoing gymnasium filled with enthusiastic volleyball players. The score was 13-12 in the only game we lost. My serve. I eyed our opponents and spied a littl’un, my target. Threw the ball high, jumped vertically and unleashed an ancient savagery, latent in my dominant arm. Before I landed the ball made a violent, resonating clang against the wooden bleachers on the other side; out. Moments later I sensed Peaches in the air all around me and was overcome with a flash of enlightenment. Eating nothing but nuts makes your flatulence smell like an elephant house.
More pistachios, but supplemented with a healthy serving of toasted coconut cashews. These pseudo-nuts melt in your mouth with a sugary sweetness reminiscent of the coconut crusted donuts I typically enjoy each workday morning. Last year I had 144 of ‘em.
Lunchtime I carried the pistachios to Panera, the land of outrageously priced soup and bread. Carrying food into a restaurant makes me uncomfortable but all great science requires suffering. My anxiety was only heightened as I watched my dining companion tear apart her hard crusted roll and slurp up her provocative potato cream soup. Though our conversation was fascinating (Peaches, talking pig heads, sorority sisters), I couldn’t help but notice the slowed, deliberate spooning motions clearly done to taunt me as I perpetually popped profuse pistachios.
After work, 3 miles, 250 situps, and 5 minutes of blood rushing headstands, still 183 pounds or rather, 83.2 kg. We were supposed to go metric in 1984. But perhaps that went the way of Ingsoc.
All day I felt good until the trip to Jewel. Here I felt a stabbing pain in my gut. Not one of intestinal discomfort but one of hunger. A ravenous hunger that could be satisfied by any of the innumerable store sights, bananas, apples, potato chips, 100 Grand Bar (the lowest calories of any mainstream candy bar). Alas, the 2 for $1 honey roasted and salted peanuts would have to do. And they did.
2700 calories. Pistachios, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter & almonds.
Pasty mouth is gone along with the air of Peaches. And so it goes.
6:34 Alarm. Eric & Kathy on Mix 101.9. hit snooze
Last day. Some might say 6 days doesth not a week make, but I say, what’s good for God, is good for me. On day 7, we rest. Apologies to the atheists out there. To the agnostics, “Make up your damn mind already!”
I had been saving some mixed nuts for this day. 1700 calories that could be eaten in one sitting. Its tin package, when shaken, produces a metal clink that sounds a bit like a maraca. On the work commute, I amused myself for some minutes by rhythmically shaking the can and singing “Guantanamera”. I know two words. Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera.
In some ways this was an unfortunate choice of weeks for this blasted experiment. I had to pass on 3 free lunches! I find free food tastes finer.
A handful of pistachios in the morning and 4 glasses of peach flavored hot tea. Lunchtime was a meeting with a company big wig, who ironically is losing much of his hair. Brought along the nut tin & did more “Guantanamera” on the walk over. Ate the entire can, the rest of last night’s sunflower seeds, and a diet coke. Introduction. “Hi, I’m Perry Romanowski and I work in R&D. I’ve been here for 151 months.” That’s a palindrome.
After the meeting I spent the rest of the day dreaming of new notions about hair conditioning, drinking 8 or more cups of hot tea, and visiting the lavatory. Life is good.
Short workout after work. 2 juggling miles in 15 minutes, 2 minutes of handstands, and 100 situps. Weight still 183. Felt weak.
Got home & left for bar right away. A new establishment on the north side of town called Merkles. The place was named after a ballplayer who cost the New York Giants a trip to the World Series. In the bottom of the ninth, he stopped short on his way to second base because he noticed his teammate on third base scored the game winning run. The Cubs tagged second base and Merkle was called out. The game ended in a tie and the Cubs went on to win that series and ultimately, the World Series. It was 1908, the last time the Cubs won it.
A number of the Nut Gallery were at the bar and much joy was had by all. Talking and drinking and listening to music and eating peanuts and dancing. The crowd was clearly wowed with my rhythmic prowess.
In the end, 4140 calories were ingested (3240 were nuts). For the next 12 hours, I was surrounded by the vapors of Peaches. But the nut experiment was ended.
Day 7, Saturday, January 29, 2005
Hypothesis Eating nothing but nuts for one week will cause observable differences in a human’s physiology.
Data Nuts eaten – peanuts, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pecans
Total calories – 16,630 or 2771 per day
Physical activity: 13.1 miles joggled, 870 situps, 19 minutes handstands
Initial weight – 187 lbs
Mental acumen: reduced
Discussion The hypothesis is proven to be true, although its vagueness practically guaranteed success. There were, in fact, noticeable differences caused by eating only nuts for a week. These include weight loss (4 pounds), reduction in intelligence, and fatigue.
Weight loss: While 4 pounds were lost during the experiment, experience suggests that the change is negligible. This amount of weight has been lost over the course of one day without doing anything! Interestingly, calories did increase and physical activity decreased. This suggests further investigation to see if you can increase nut ingestion, decrease physical activity and lose weight. It’s a diet many could embrace.
Mental: The most disturbing part of the whole experiment. Feeling the brain is not working right is a horrible, horrible experience. Interestingly, this observation is further backed up in a study done by Lih-Chu Chiou et al at the National Taiwan University in Taipei. They fed different groups of mice normal food and food that was high in fat. The male mice in the group fed the high fat diet had poorer memory and learning skills. It had no effect on the high fat fed female mice. Perhaps the results could be expanded to say that men shouldn’t live this way but it’s ok for women.
Physical: It was tiring! Maintaining a workout routine was much harder. My mouth felt awful! And my digestive system was “just not right.”
Thanks to the whole Nut Gallery. You made the experiment much more enjoyable for this researcher. If I think of a new experiment, I’ll let you know.