July 25, 2016

S'less Please

"S'less please."

The sickly sweet, over-the-top campfire confection known as a S'more is a perfect symbol for overconsumption. Sweet, glorious consumption. Extreme treats for extreme living.

Take a simple base (graham cracker), add some more (chocolate bar), then even more (roasted marshmallow), mash it all together in one dripping destructive mass and consume. Why stop? It feels good. Have some more. Go ahead, and forget about the consequences. YOLO!

But does it really feel good? These things make my teeth hurt just thinking about them. And it isn't just painful dental bills to be concerned about.

"Eating too much sugar raises your risk for gaining weight and the health problems that are associated with being overweight. You are more likely to suffer diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and many other health conditions when you indulge your sweet tooth too often."  - from Livestrong.com

I propose an alternative I call a S'less. Like with a S'more, you start with a graham cracker.

The next simple step is: eat it.

Nothing further needs to be done, because a graham cracker is enough. More than enough, actually, as the cracker alone contains one gram of sugar. So when you enjoy a S'less, you just have one.

If you are used to the S'more lifestyle, that probably sounds boring, or plain. But I have found that the healthier I eat, the less I crave for things, including sugar. In the same way, the more simply I live, the less I crave consumption, the sugar of modern lifestyles.

S'mores are said to have been named after everyone asked for "some more" after eating one. Because we are trained to want more. More S'mores, more everything. "More", as the lie goes, "is always better."

This is a good summer to make a switch from craving S'more to being satisfied with S'less. Around the campfire, and everywhere else. It is the healthier alternative.


  1. Anonymous7/25/2016

    The food industry are making billions out of addictive poor quality food. If you observe people consuming junk food it looks like heroin addicts. I was at a children's party the other day and watched in horror as the food was laid out, it didn't take long before a child was helped out crying in agony suffering from severe reflux. Like the tobbaco industry they know full well the stuff is addictive and dangerous.

    Support the whole food plant based diet for ever. Peace. Alex.

    1. I have yet to see a study finding that a whole food plant based diet causes cancer. Or obesity, or cardiovascular problems. And it is sustainable and tasty.

  2. Hi Gregg,

    one thing I've noticed over 30 plus years of practising macrobiotics (and many variations on that theme of seasonal, whole foods plant-based eating) is that the simpler your foods, the simpler your desires. When you eat really simply you just stop wanting stuff. I've found this fascinating over time. I wonder if others have noticed this correlation? I wonder if this is partly why Buddhist monks have a very simple diet?


    1. Anonymous7/26/2016

      Yeah, I think this way of eating helps settle the mind. As time moves on I've become much less interested in wanting things and the best things in life are free. If you practice meditation this diet really helps and the diet is so healthy. I've read a few books on macrobiotics and love the philosophy and seasonal flow. Diet is truly a important foundation for a simple way of life. All the best, Alex.

    2. Thank you for mentioning this, Madeleine and Alex. It is a way of eating that suits all people wherever they are at, according to local conditions and personal needs. So sensible.

      I often ask myself, "What would a monk do in this situation?" We like to hear what our spiritual leaders say, but don't like to do the things they do. Without fail, all of them eat simply, live simply, and want little. They are trying to tell us something - the same, consistent message over the past few thousand years.

      Imagine Buddha, or Jesus, as SUV driving, McDonalds snorfling, conspicuous consumers. It would dull their message, no? Climate change activists that fly all over the world should think about that. It is important to lead by example, like our leaders and teachers used to do.

      Now it is "do as I say, not as I do." What ever happened to personal sacrifice? It is good for the soul. And the planet.

  3. I eat and want to eat more. Some days, I just dump bags of cookies in the trash can. If I put the whole bag in the kitchen garbage, I will dig it out. Mostly, I just don't buy it. Addicting? Yes.

    1. This stuff should come with a warning label.

  4. Yes! Finally someone agrees with me about S'mores. I have never understood S'mores. I've tried a few over the years. My blood sugar dropped so low, I couldn't stay awake.

    For camping treats, I prefer an apple cut up with about 1/2 cup of thick oatmeal sprinkled on top, add a tablespoon was water so there is a steam to moisten the oats, and a splash of maple syrup all wrapped up in aluminum foil. Toss it on the fire. Ready to eat in about a half hour. Much less sugar and more nutrition. Works great in the oven at home by the way. (I love peeling on apples, but it works better to peel them for this recipe.)

    I occasionally get to go camping. Sometimes someone will come along with me and they will bring stuff to make S'mores. Invariably, not the all the marshmallows in a bag get eaten since so many are packaged in a bag. Leftovers usually go in the trash.

    I once heard that Cool Whip has the same chemical formula as plastic minus one element. I can't imagine marshmallows being any better than that. Eating plastic sounds unhealthy.

    I think graham crackers (aka S'Less) are nice. Smile.

    1. I love your campfire recipe! Super yum. Thanks for showing that alternatives can be just as tasty (perhaps even tastier), and so much more healthy.

  5. Madeleine and Alex, thank you for those comments. I haven't looked at macrobiotics in years. Will revisit. I love what you say about the simpler your foods, the simpler your desires and about diet being important foundation. I am going to make some changes soon, this will be a good place to start investigating.

    Practical Parsimony, Studies are coming out, lots of them on how addicting high fructose corn syrup is. So don't beat yourself up on this. Food manufacturers are doing all kinds of things to our food that makes us crave more and more. I try to stay away from processed foods as much as possible, but lately, my diet has involved some. Working on it...

    I like your plan of just not bringing it in the house. I do that with store bought cookies. Sometimes someone will offer me store bought cookies and I say, "Those are not allowed in my house." Because if they are here, the temptation to eat them is great. If I make cookies at home, I never use the amount of sugar the recipe calls for. I reduce and reduce each batch till I get the sugar amount down as low as I can with the cookies still tasting good. It's surprising how much less sugar is needed to make a tasty cookie. I rarely let candy come in my house as well.

    Best to you.

    1. It is impossible for me to put as much sugar in recipes as they call for. Making jam was a big wake up call for Linda and I. "How many cups of sugar?!" I couldn't do it.

    2. Anonymous7/28/2016

      You might try a strawberry or blueberry chia seed jam so no pectin is needed. If your strawberries or blueberries are ripe and fresh enough then you may not need any sugar at all. At the most a couple of tablespoons of honey or maple syrup will do nicely. It's thick, fruity and wonderful on toast or oatmeal and the chia has lots of fiber and some protein. Yum. Deva

  6. I laughed at "s'less" - it's so perfect, because I never thought about what s'mores meant. Unfortunately, I now want some chocolate to go with my graham, though I probably wouldn't bother with the marshmallows because of the gelatin and needing a special trip to find vegetarian ones.

    I think I need to reevaluate my candy-buying habit at work. Pretty sure I have been using the sugar and fat to bridge calorie deficits in my diet and gaps in my emotional processing skills.


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