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  #1  
Old 01-16-2003, 06:15 PM
bluecanary bluecanary is offline
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Human Chow/People Kibble: Update

A little over 2 years ago, MrVisible opened one of the most intriguing threads ever on the SDMB: Why don't they make People Kibble?

The above thread, its companion IMHO thread, and various other discussions have all touched on the desire for a simple-to-prepare, fast, and above all nutritionally complete food.

1. Is there a market for Human Chow?

As I see it, there's definitely a market for some sort of human chow. MrVisible, Commander Fortune, LazarusLong42, jeyen, justwannano, toadspittle, Green Bean, SmackFu, caircair, Sunspace, Lynn Bodoni, Derleth, Tzel, Caldazar, LifeWillFall, Spiny Norman, Sam Stone, El_Kabong, Myron Van Horowitzski, Jrob, dil, Togepi no Miko, bluecanary, Phobos, featherlou, sliv, Fiver, drewbert, Czarcasm, zenith, hypergirl, fishcrawford, Troy McClure SF, Smeghead, Helena, Gerome, Iteki, Harmonix, interface2x, FlyingDragonFan, ski, CalMeacham, Legomancer, Coil, Cheesesteak, neutron star, Katisha, stargazer, Neidhart, Xavier, Sublight, Koffing, elfkin477, Kevin Partida, and broccoli! all expressed varying degrees of positive interest in some sort of perfect, all-in-one food on the SDMB (not always for themselves; see below).

Interest in Human Chow is not confined to the SDMB. Try searching on Google for 'People Kibble', 'Human Chow', or 'People Chow'. There's also a well-known pop-culture reference to Bachelor Chow in Futurama.

Target markets for Human Chow that have been suggested include:
  • Bachelors
  • Overworked People
  • Dieters
  • Computer Geeks
  • Students
  • Backpackers
  • Stoners
  • Vegan/Vegetarian
  • Survivalists
  • Soldiers
  • the Homeless
  • Famine victims
  • Prisoners
  • Astronauts

2. What would Human Chow consist of?

Many different possible "people kibbles" have been suggested, ranging from a "red pill" (fishcrawford) to "4-5 slim jims plus a basket of fries" (jesuslynch. I believe the three most worthwhile nominations are as follows:
[list=1][*]Purina (Mills) High Protein Monkey Diet is intended as a "constant nutrition complete life cycle diet" for all primates (it says monkeys on the website, but I don't see why, if that includes orang-utans, chimpanzees and bonobos, it shouldn't include humans. I'm not sure if it'd be OK to copy and paste the nutritional info for the chow to this post, but it's there on the linked website if you're interested. Small modifications could be made to the formula, which comes in extruded biscuits, to make it a) more palatable to humans, and b) more suitable for specific sections of the population e.g. dieters, young adults, vegan, high-exercise etc.
[*]Dilberitos don't appear to be as complete as the Purina Kibble, but on the other hand have the advantage of resembling human food rather than pet food (they are microwavable vegetarian burritos). They were devised by Dilbert creator Scott Adams and food technician Jack Parker and contain 100% daily value for most vitamins and minerals (no mention of proteins, fatty acids etc. though). They aren't quite what we're after, though.
[*]Prison Loaf is in need of a snazzy new name first and foremost. It is used for each and every meal for certain prisoners (the example linked to, which features a recipe just in case you fancied making some at home, is from Fairfax County Adult Detention Center in Virginia), is vegetarian (vegan?), and consists primarily of wheat bread, but also contains spinach, beans, (non-dairy) cheese and carrots.[/list=1]
What do you think? Is anyone up for bringing Human Chow to the masses?
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2003, 06:19 PM
Green Bean Green Bean is offline
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Wow. I was just thinking about Human Chow last night. In fact, I was thinking of trying to develop a recipe for a homemade meal replacement product myself.

I'm all for bringing it to the masses.
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  #3  
Old 01-16-2003, 07:23 PM
Tsubaki Tsubaki is offline
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wouldn't muesli bars constitute kibble? they don't require anything added to them.
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  #4  
Old 01-16-2003, 07:27 PM
Rhum Runner Rhum Runner is offline
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I remember reading that thread a long time ago, and frankly there are many many nights when I would love to be able to just grab a bowl of monkey chow and be done with it. Has anyone ever seen monkey food? Is it 'greasy' like dog food? What does it smell like? If it is just like a Saltine cracker kind of thing I could go for it, but if it is dog foodesque then I am out. I also note that they recomend serving 2-4% of body weight. For me that would be 3.5-7 lbs of food! (I am a 6' 5" 180lb male) That is a hell of a lot of food! I need something more concentrated than that, like all dietary needs, calories etc packed into 12-16 oz.
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  #5  
Old 01-16-2003, 08:22 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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I'd love it. I'd eat it if it were kibble-like, sure, and I'm sure a lot of people would, but to move it out of the `disaster relief and desperate' demographic, you'd need to make it look a little more appealing. Dilberitos sound somewhat better, but humans do need protein and lipids and even cholesterol (for hormones), so a completely `vegan' approach would be wrong in this instance. After all, we're talking about something you could live on for life if it came to that. (I know you could technically live on jujubees and licorice for life. It would be a very short life. Human chow should go beyond that and provide you with everything. The only need human chow shouldn't provide is water.)

Kibble-type and cracker-type foods have the advantage of being easily crushable and convertable into a paste for infants and the infirm. Dilburritos can, too, but probably only with more mess and work. Plus, Dilburritos don't have the shelf life I'd want (if they have to be frozen, that's a dead giveaway), and the ideal human chow shouldn't need any kind of preparation at all for the average person to eat it. I want human chow to feed everyone, to provide everyone with a certain baseline nutrition cheaply and efficiently. The Salvation Army should be able to buy it by the double-truckload and use just that to feed everyone in a given area.

I'd love to buy reasonably-priced human chow, no matter what it ends up looking like.
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  #6  
Old 01-16-2003, 09:27 PM
Sublight Sublight is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rhum Runner
I also note that they recomend serving 2-4% of body weight. For me that would be 3.5-7 lbs of food! (I am a 6' 5" 180lb male) That is a hell of a lot of food! I need something more concentrated than that, like all dietary needs, calories etc packed into 12-16 oz.
Monkeys may well have a higher calorie burn/body weight ratio than humans. Their info on caloric content says:

Gross Energy, kcal/gm - 4.07
Physiological Fuel Value, kcal/gm - 3.37
Metabolizable Energy, kcal/gm - 3.11

I'm not sure which one is applicable, but if you need 3000 kcal/day, that would translate to between 730 and 960 grams per day. Still more than you wanted, but not quite as unmanageable.
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  #7  
Old 01-16-2003, 10:21 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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What chew want

I still maintain that Clif Bar and Odwalla Bar answer the OP requirements and taste quite delicious too. What more could you ask for?

Now there's also Mojo Bar. Perfect!!!
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  #8  
Old 01-16-2003, 11:47 PM
El_Kabong El_Kabong is offline
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I'll take whatever someone comes up with, as long as it doesn't get soggy in a bowl of Jack Daniel's.
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  #9  
Old 01-16-2003, 11:57 PM
MrVisible MrVisible is offline
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Wow. It's really gratifying that this keeps popping up in people's minds. Thanks for bringing it back to the front burner, bluecanary, and thanks for all the research that went into your post.

Jomo Mojo, those bars don't live up to the criteria in the OP. Besides not being nutritionally complete, they aren't a meal replacement; they provide a short-term burst of energy, but don't leave you feeling full.

Something with more bulk, more dietary fiber, and more yumminess would be needed. And after watching the past two seasons of Unwrapped on the Food Network, I don't doubt that someone out there has a manufacturing plant that could turn this stuff out by the bushel.

It's come to my attention that the Red Cross and other famine relief organizations sometimes rely on high-protein biscuits for populations in need. This link has some discussion about the biscuits, some dissent as to their necessity, and (ta-da!) a nutrtional comparison chart of various biscuits and their availability. It even has the name of the manufacturer of the biscuits, Survival Industries, though I've had no luck turning up much information on the company.

As to the Prison Loaf, I've even been able to turn up the recipe, thanks to NPR. According to the article, the loaf "adheres to all nutritional guidelines, and even meets the needs of most special diets." But it's pretty disgusting. I have faith, though, that through the wonders of modern food processing, something with this simple a list of ingredients could be made palatable, and even tasty. Heck, anything can be made to taste like sour cream and onion. Here's the recipe:

Special Management Meal
Yield - Three Loaves

6 slices whole wheat bread, finely chopped
4 ounces imitation cheddar cheese, finely grated
4 ounces raw carrots, finely grated
12 ounces spinach, canned, drained
2 cups dried Great Northern Beans, soaked,
cooked and drained
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 ounces potato flakes, dehydrated
6 ounces tomato paste
8 ounces powdered skim milk
4 ounces raisins

Mix all ingredients in a 12-quart mixing bowl. Make sure all wet items are drained. Mix until stiff, just moist enough to spread. Form three loaves in glazed bread pans. Place loaf pans in the oven on a sheet pan filled with water, to keep the bottom of the loaves from burning. Bake at 325 degrees in a convection oven for approximately 45 minutes. The loaf will start to pull away from the sides of the bread pan when done.

As it turns out, I'm going to be out of work, doing some programming training, for the next several months. If anyone has any ideas on how to push this project forward, and I can be of any help, let me know. I'd love to see this thing come to fruition.
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  #10  
Old 01-17-2003, 04:46 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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It ought to be possible to make several different varieties/flavours, but all with the same basic nutritional breakdown in theory, it ought to be possible to formulate a recipe using bananas, nuts, oats/dried fruits etc that has a similar nutritional value set as another made from rice/wheat, cheese, beans (but not beef ).
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  #11  
Old 01-17-2003, 04:50 AM
Medievalist2 Medievalist2 is offline
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Ew gross!
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  #12  
Old 01-17-2003, 05:33 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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Has anyone ever tried Purina (Mills) High Protein Monkey Diet?

C'mon, with everything else we have on the Dope there's gotta be at least one zoo or animal lab employee around here...

I could see a fad where Monkey Chow starts to compete with ramen noodles as a survival food for college students...
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  #13  
Old 01-17-2003, 08:02 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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an interesting link:

Compact Foods

I've heard of MREs before, but the search that led me to the above link also turned up something called PORs (Packaged Operational Rations) - can anyone fill me in on the details of what these are?
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  #14  
Old 01-17-2003, 09:01 AM
Gravity Gravity is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrVisible It's come to my attention that the Red Cross and other famine relief organizations sometimes rely on high-protein biscuits for populations in need. This link has some discussion about the biscuits, some dissent as to their necessity, and (ta-da!) a nutrtional comparison chart of various biscuits and their availability. It even has the name of the manufacturer of the biscuits, Survival Industries, though I've had no luck turning up much information on the company.
Crap. As a diet-controlled diabetic, all the nutrition info listed at that link puts me over my meal-limit of carbs with any one of those bars.
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  #15  
Old 01-17-2003, 09:22 AM
Master Wang-Ka Master Wang-Ka is offline
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There is a sort of "people chow" already available. It's called Unimix, from what I understand, and I hear it's often used for disaster relief. It's something like cornmeal with added nutrients and oils, and can be used to make bread or porridge or whatever, or even eaten straight from the bag.

Admittedly, it doesn't sound much like what we're talking about.

So let's talk criteria:

1. It should meet all the nutritional requirements for an average human. I'm used to eating three times a day, so three servings should equal 100% of my USDA requirements.

2. It should be extremely convenient to serve -- no cooking, no preparation. Edible straight from the box, or pour into a bowl. At best, one should have the option of adding milk, or perhaps tap water to make a delicious gravy, or whatever.

3. It should be quite cheap. I'd feed the cats on tuna and chopped chicken livers if cat food weren't cheaper.

4. It should be readily available. Naturally, every store would have to carry the stuff, preferably in fifty-pound bags.

5. It should keep, travel, and store well, hence the fifty pound bags.

6. It should come in a variety of flavors; we're all going to get sick of Beef And Cheese after a couple of meals. Maybe the fifty pound bags weren't such a great idea.

7. It should match a wide variety of dietary preferences... there would be Baby Chow, Elderly Chow, Diabetic Chow, Vegan Chow, Lo Carb Diet Chow, Sugarless Chow...

...in fact, this whole idea is starting to sound pretty unwieldy. In fact, the only way I'm seeing that it will really work at all is if it has a relatively appealing taste... and sells for pennies a pound...
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  #16  
Old 01-17-2003, 09:25 AM
Kn*ckers Kn*ckers is offline
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People Chow is a wonderful idea! I'm all for it. Think of all the time and money it would save, as well as contributing to public health, by ensuring that people eat a well balanced diet. Sign me up!

Love, Kn*ckers



P.S.: Soylent Green is made from people!
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  #17  
Old 01-17-2003, 10:47 AM
Green Bean Green Bean is offline
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Wang-Ka: I'm going to have to disagree with your points 6 and 7. The point is to come up with something an average person can survive on. Additional flavors and formulations would be nice, and the idea of different formulations has a lot of merit, but I think the point is that it is a survival food, and everything else is just gravy (delicious gravy).
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Old 01-17-2003, 11:06 AM
MrVisible MrVisible is offline
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Wang-Ka, they already do all that. For dogs. Different flavors, different formulations, wide distribution, extreme shelf life, complete nutrition.

Why not for humans?
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  #19  
Old 01-17-2003, 11:17 AM
Green Bean Green Bean is offline
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I checked out Mangetout's Compact Food link, and that pretty much seems like People Kibble. There are several varieties, and it can be eaten straight from the bar or made into porridge.

So, People Kibble is being manufactured and used to some extent. But obviously not in the ways we are thinking of. You can't buy Compact Food at the supermarket.
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  #20  
Old 01-17-2003, 11:32 AM
ratatoskK ratatoskK is offline
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Actually, the Prison Loaf doesn't sound too bad to me. I'd eat it. There are plenty of times that I eat just because I have to and it's time to eat, not because I want a luxurious experience.
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  #21  
Old 01-17-2003, 11:59 AM
Rhum Runner Rhum Runner is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Green Bean
Wang-Ka: I'm going to have to disagree with your points 6 and 7. The point is to come up with something an average person can survive on. Additional flavors and formulations would be nice, and the idea of different formulations has a lot of merit, but I think the point is that it is a survival food, and everything else is just gravy (delicious gravy).
I disagree. The idea here isn't to feed the starving on the street, the idea is to appeal to the busy professional who doesn't want or have the time to cook and eat a full meal. He wants a full meal in a ready made package that requires no cooking and no clean up. The idea is to provide the calories and nutirients needed in as small and easy to consume a package as possible.
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Old 06-09-2003, 12:10 AM
juxta juxta is offline
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1) Solvent Green

2) Although it doesn't have everything you need many people exist almost completely on cereals. What would they have to add to say Total to make it a balance diet?

3) In one of my jobs I work with dogs. It's a pet peeve of mine that people will buy the top premium pet food for their poodle, and allow it no people food because it's not good for them, but cram their kids and themselves full of absolute junk.
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  #23  
Old 06-09-2003, 12:47 AM
Wisp00 Wisp00 is online now
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I love this idea As a college student, I would definately buy it, providing it was cheap enough. I see it as being in a cereal-like form, something you would simply pour in a bowl and eat.
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  #24  
Old 06-09-2003, 02:29 AM
Doomtrain Doomtrain is offline
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I have the perfect model for you guys to build on. Grape Nuts (the cereal). It's nicely crunchy, goes great in milk, but doesn't really taste like much of anything. But I, at least, could eat it constantly. If it wasn't so darn expensive.

But I see a variety of forms. Who wants to carry a little baggie of cereal when they can carry a Powerbar-ish People Kibble Bar in a pocket or backpack? That could be the on-the-go form. And maybe a one-meal "potato chip bag" form, for snacking on the couch. You eat the whole bag, hey, it's dinner!

Great thread!
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  #25  
Old 08-17-2003, 03:30 PM
Amberlei Amberlei is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Broomstick
Has anyone ever tried Purina (Mills) High Protein Monkey Diet?
I tried it once years ago on a dare. Tastes kinda like a very hard and somewhat fishy graham cracker. Not something that will ever rival ramen, I'm afraid.
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  #26  
Old 08-17-2003, 04:09 PM
NajaNivea NajaNivea is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Broomstick
Has anyone ever tried Purina (Mills) High Protein Monkey Diet?

C'mon, with everything else we have on the Dope there's gotta be at least one zoo or **animal lab employee** around here...

I could see a fad where Monkey Chow starts to compete with ramen noodles as a survival food for college students...
That's me! I work at the Center for Lab Animal Science at UCD. You might be able to find Monkey Chow at your local pet store, as it's often used to feed large parrots, iguanas, and crickets as well as non-human primates. It's sort of a brownish-yellow biscuit that is a little oily and tends to get crumbs everywhere. I've never tasted it, but I imagine it's rather corn-like. I can check the ingredients on the bag, as I'm on my way over to the primate center for the PM feeding as we speak

Peace,
~mixie
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  #27  
Old 08-17-2003, 07:39 PM
wdcsmwscaa wdcsmwscaa is offline
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Broomstick-

I have! I worked at an exotic bird 'store' (nothing like PetCo etc...The woman who ran it used to be an exotics vet at the San Diego Animal park and all sorts of other good things) And part of the bird's 'dry bowl' was monkey chow..many a late nights waiting for hatchlings to emerge we had MC and milk.

At that job I also ate mealworms, many varieties of fruit, raw beef, and flowers. It was an enriching experience, all right.
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  #28  
Old 08-18-2003, 01:36 AM
Troy McClure SF Troy McClure SF is offline
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What about Ensure?
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  #29  
Old 08-18-2003, 02:39 AM
MrVisible MrVisible is offline
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So, all that would have to be done is reformulate Monkey Chow a bit to customize it for human digestive systems, and morph it into tasty snack food form. That shouldn't be much of a problem, right?

And Troy, Ensure isn't exactly a filling meal replacement. But it is a testament to the potential for success of People Kibble, as well as proof that what we envision can be accomplished.

So... nobody here runs General Mills or Nabisco, huh?
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  #30  
Old 08-18-2003, 11:56 PM
Angel Heart Angel Heart is offline
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Ellen Buchman Ewald's Recipes for a Small Planet has quite an extensive section on loaves, from Savory Bean Loaf with Tomato Cheese Sauce to Savory Nut Cake. I haven't tried them but they've got to be better than Prison Loaf.
(Ewald's book was from back in the day when vegetarians were concerned that they'd die of protein deficiency if they didn't combine food groups at every meal. Quite a few of the recipies feature wheat germ.)
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  #31  
Old 08-19-2003, 12:36 PM
transitionality transitionality is offline
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You can make People Chow easily from easily available products.

Get store-brand corn flakes. Get Slim Fast, Ensure, or equivalent. Mix.

Nutritionally complete, cheap, tasty, plentiful food that takes moments to prepare.
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