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How to Make the Human Equivalent of Dog Food

in Health, LIfe

For the last three years I have had the idea to create, for lack of better term, dog food for people. A sort of kibble that had all of of your daily nutrients, was simple, and that could just be ‘poured out’ and eaten. It would be simple, cost-effective, and ideally not actually taste like dog food. This past weekend, I have made my vision into reality.

Michael’s Muffins were born. Each of these “muffins” contains 96 calories, 7 grams of protein, and a portion of each of your other essential daily nutrients.  They are made with 100% all natural, organic food and cost me $0.75 each to make.  I know my next batch will cost closer to $0.25 per portion.

The Food:

I wanted high protein food that followed the Paleo diet.  This means only meat, veggies, berries and nuts.

The Grocery List:

Using my favorite list making program and fit day, I put together what an ideal daily diet would require for nutrients, and then went shopping:

  1. Boneless, skinless, chicken breast
  2. Blueberries
  3. 1 cup unsalted almonds
  4. 6 Eggs
  5. 4 Tomatoes
  6. spinach
  7. 1 Large onion
  8. 3 Carrots
  9. 4 Celery shoots
  10. 10 Asparagus stocks

From here on in, it was simply a matter of ensuring the meat and eggs were cooked, and mixing everything together.

First, cook the chicken all the way through and then slice it into smaller chunks.

Throw it into the blender to create this lovely looking goo:

I went with 3 large carrots, about 75 grams each, and used a grater to get the pieces extra fine before throwing it into the blender. At this point, your concoction may be a bit dry.  Do NOT add any liquids! I made the mistake of adding a cup of water to the blender with both the carrots and the chicken, which made it faster to blend but watered down the muffins more than I would have liked. 

Next comes the spinach and tomatoes. These were very hard to puree, so pour the chicken-carrot mixture back into the blender with the spinach and tomatoes in order to help liquefy it.

Combine everything that’s been blended so far in a large bowl:

Now comes the celery, onion (use the grater to avoid crying!), blueberries, asparagus, and nuts. Blend them all together, creating a (very appetizing!) purple-gray colour when combined with the rest of the mixture. This mixture is heavier than the previous concoctions, so it helps the rest of the batter to thicken up.

We’re almost done! If you want to be fancy, beat the 6 eggs together and brush them over the muffins in order to help seal them.  For the rest of us, just scramble the eggs and add them to our total concoction.

Set muffin papers on your tray, and begin scooping each one full of the mixture. Everything was cooked in these, but I baked them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F to try to make them more solid and dry them out a bit:

The oven plan didn’t work and just made the muffins soggy, so I put them in the freezer to harden up instead.

Leave them to freeze for one hour, and there you have it!

The Taste:

I really had no idea what to expect in terms of taste, but it turned out alright.  The muffins just taste like spinach with a hint of chicken. That’s it. Nothing crazy at all. The texture is a bit more annoying.  Reheating the muffins doesn’t really work, so I ended up just eating mine frozen. I am working on a fix for this small setback.

The Science: 

The goal was to make these easy to consume snacks that were very healthy and could serve as a meal replacement.

I used fit day to determine what my total nutrient values were for all of the ingredients then broke it down on a per muffin basis. From there, I needed to know how many muffins I would need to eat to get enough of all my daily nutrients. For me, it worked out to be 14 muffins. After 14, I could eat them for additional calories, protein and nutrients as needed.

The following is the information for the total batch, or a single days’ worth for myself:


Nutrient Amount RDA RDA %
Vitamin A 3,417.20 mcg 900 380%
Vitamin A 59,273.70 IU
Vitamin B6 4.5 mg 1.3 344%
Vitamin B12 4.5 mcg 2.4 187%
Vitamin C 159.5 mg 90 177%
Vitamin D 2.6 mcg 5 52%
Vitamin D 104 IU
Vitamin E 51.3 mg 15 342%
Vitamin E 76.6 IU
Calcium 1,003.50 mg 1,000.00 100%
Cholesterol 1,559.30 mg
Copper 3.2 mg 0.9 361%
Iron 26.1 mg 8 326%
Magnesium 798.4 mg 400 200%
Manganese 7.1 mg 2.3 307%
Niacin 63.7 mg 16 398%
Pant. Acid 10.7 mg 5 213%
Phosphorus 2,541.10 mg 700 363%
Potassium 6,259.80 mg 4,700.00 133%
Riboflav 3.8 mg 1.3 295%
Selenium 203.9 mcg 55 371%
Sodium 3,300.50 mg 1,500.00 220%
Thiamin 1.7 mg 1.2 138%
Water 1,948.70 g
Zinc 15.5 mg 11 141%

The total batch (and my target daily intake) is 2392 calories, 128 grams of fat, 133 grams of carbohydrates, and 196 grams of protein. Vitamin D was the only one that didn’t hit our 100% level. It is always the hardest vitamin to get and most people do not get enough. I find it is easier to just take a 1000 IU Vitamin D supplement for the day and then just not need to worry about it.

For my Next Batch:

  • Oh yes, there will be another batch!
  • It will be the optimal diet for an entire week.
  • Steak and fish will be used to switch up the main meat.
  • I will add seasonal vegetables as they are available.
  • I won’t be adding any extra water to the mixture.

Meal Replacement Shakes:

The next round is going to be in the form of a shake. The muffins, unfortunately, had no binding ingredient so they were just too liquid to hold together. When I create my weeks worth of supplement, I will bottle it and freeze what I won’t drink within a day. This will make it easier to consume and generally nicer to work with.

I will post the pictures for this much larger batch as soon as it is done!

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie October 24, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I like the idea of this but not of it being a shake. It will turn into just another health-nut shake thing and be brushed away. What about being able to keep it crumbly or in a easy to heat up..bubble-n-squeak.. kind of texture?

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admin October 25, 2011 at 1:04 am

I think it brings a unique idea to the nutrition shake market. All natural ingredients that you can see and know, nothing else added etc. I am going to try a few differing variations for the next batch.

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Logan October 24, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Cool idea, I think you should stick with the muffin idea, but use a different kind of nutritive flour like Garbanzo bean or some other Bob’s Red Mill binder. Also, I’m wondering why you used muffin cups instead of just buttering the pan? The muffins cooks much better against the pan than the paper cups.

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EL October 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm

If you need a binder for the muffins, try adding the eggs raw. You would have to bake them in the oven for this, but it might improve the texture. This is how it works in actual baking.

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Vadim Ponomarenko October 24, 2011 at 3:05 pm

If you want actual muffins rather than pasty bricks, then you need two things:
1. Something to make them rise, and
2. Something to keep them from falling.

The first you can get with baking powder (or yeast+time), for the latter you need gluten. You can buy gluten in the baking section, and just mix some in. However, this seems contrary to the spirit of what you’re trying to accomplish, since this is extracted from wheat.

Therefore, I recommend instead of muffins you make a “bar” or “jerky” type product. Instead of high heat for a short time, which will only brown the surface, you need low heat (200-250) and several hours. Also, instead of muffin tins you need to spread your paste onto baking sheets, to maximize exposure to the drying air.

Good luck!

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admin October 25, 2011 at 1:05 am

Going to do this. Will post the results as soon as it is done.

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Ralph October 25, 2011 at 2:10 am

If you had mixed beaten raw eggs into the blended ingredients, they would have set up while baking, solving the solidity issue. Think quiche or custard.

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admin October 25, 2011 at 2:11 am

Quiche seems to the thing that keeps coming up over and over. The pre cooked eggs was the biggest mistake for sure.

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Ben Dover October 24, 2011 at 3:45 pm

This guy here has a recipe that should come out much better than whatever that just was: http://www.reddit.com/r/Cooking/comments/lmx9w/this_is_one_of_the_most_horrifying_things_i_have/c2u11g4

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admin October 25, 2011 at 1:08 am

Saw that. Thanks for the link. Will try it out.

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Dick October 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm

The cost is actually pretty ineffective. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good idea but there are probably other ways to do this(?)

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garth October 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm
Ray October 24, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Definitely add some flour, whether it’s nut or potato based, and put the eggs in the mixture raw. This should give you a much more muffin-like texture, because the eggs and flour bind the ingredients together.

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Guy Fawkes October 24, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I will pass on this.

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stochasticity October 24, 2011 at 11:43 pm
admin October 25, 2011 at 12:37 am

I am following along there answering questions! Someone stole my Karma.

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Mike October 25, 2011 at 4:41 am

If you were attempting to replicate dog food for humans, wouldn’t it make sense to dehydrate it into a more granola or kibble form. I think it might store better that way anyhow.

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Santos L. Halper October 25, 2011 at 5:42 am

soooo, you hate food?

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Lydia October 25, 2011 at 8:26 am

Try using pumpkin, just regular ol pumpkin in a can. It’s a great yeast type additive and stays with the idea of veggies. I use it instead of milk and eggs and oil for cakes, muffins, etc.

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Kristen January 21, 2012 at 12:14 am

Please write more posts!! <3 this stuff

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Shane Caldwell August 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm

I’d love if you’d update about cutting down the price of the muffins/shakes.
I’ve been interested in this kind of “perfect food” as well and as a college student it’d be immensely helpful to avoid meal plan junk food and keep myself afloat.

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Mjødtroll March 2, 2014 at 5:43 pm

I’ve been searching for something like this. I don’t get nearly enough vitamins as I should.

What I’m worried about is the taste of it. See the problem with me is that I’m extremely picky and don’t like vegetables at all, and so was kida frightened by the described taste.
Have you tried anything to create a different taste since this?

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