Mono-mealing might seem like some new fad, but in actual fact it’s the most traditional, conservative way of eating on the planet. It’s also the key to perfect digestion, the nail in the coffin to addictive eating and, according to many, the path to spiritual enlightenment.
Let’s explore the benefits of mono-eating, why we’re designed to eat only one food at a time, the myth of variety, and how to eat mono…
Mono-eating is simply the practice of eating one particular food for an entire meal (say pears, for instance), in sufficient quantity to produce satiation until the next meal.
Some people might choose to go on an extended period of mono-eating, where they only consume one food in every meal for an entire week or month, but this is not necessary to attain the great benefits of simply eating one food per meal.
We are designed for mono-eating
Before the invention and practice of agriculture humans would have eaten their meals from one tree at a time. So, if they happened upon a tree of apples, they would have stopped and eaten their fill before moving on.
They never would have thought, “Gee, I feel like apple pie today. Why don’t I just collect these apples here and then walk two kilometres to where I know there’s an almond tree, pick a whole bunch, grind them up, then find some dates from another continent and then try to put these three together to make some ‘gourmet raw food apple pie’.
It just would never happen.
And that’s only 3 ingredients. How about a cooked apple pie with 10 or more ingredients?
It makes sense that our digestive systems are designed to cope with only one food at a time.
Consider the digestion of the ‘humble’ sandwich, usually a combination of bread (starch) with meat or cheese (protein) and possibly a condiment.
Unfortunately starchy foods require an alkaline digestive medium, where protein-rich foods require an acid medium. If you know your basic science, when acids and bases (alkaline) meet in any situation, including the stomach, they neutralize each other. Thus, this neutralization causes the digestion of food to be arrested.
In reality that ‘simple’ sandwich is likely a combination of 10 or more ingredients. The bread alone has seven (flour, water, milk, eggs, salt, sugar and oil), then add butter and two or three toppings and you have a hugely complex digestive nightmare.
It is little wonder there is an $8 billion a year antacid industry there to help us cope with the results of our poor food combining practices.
The myth of variety
The constant message from government-endorsed nutrition sources is that we must eat a variety of foods to make sure we are meeting our nutrient needs.
While I agree with the concept of variety I don’t agree that we need to achieve variety at every meal in order to meet those needs. The problem with variety at the level of the meal is that it impedes digestion, thereby also impeding absorption and assimilation of nutrients.
If, however, we eat one food and digest it perfectly, then eat a different food at the next meal, and the next, then we better assimilate the nutrients offered to us by nature, without any of the toxic bi-products of poor digestion.
Variety also often means exciting, flavour-filled meals, which are also filled with stimulants and excito-toxins, encouraging us to overeat.
The benefits of eating mono
- Eating mono meals is absolutely the best for optimal digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients. Eating one food stimulates the perfect digestive response for that particular food and allows for complete digestion.
- Eating mono forces you to eat the best quality foods. You would never put up with a whole meal of unripe bananas or acidic oranges, but if they were disguised by a range of other ingredients you might not be aware of their inferior quality.
- Eating mono allows the body to find it’s natural point of satiation. It triggers the satiety signals in the body and prevents overeating.
- Eating mono prevents addiction to stimulation, which comes from sampling a variety of tastes.
How to eat Mono
If you were to ask a raw vegan athlete how many bananas they eat for a mono meal you might fall off your chair when they tell you between a dozen and 18 pieces of fruit. But not everyone is expected to eat this way.
The quantity of fruit will vary from person to person. 4 to 5 bananas might be the perfect meal-size for a sedentary person or someone just beginning a raw food diet.
You’ll know that you’ve eaten enough of one type of fruit for a meal when…
a) You get clear signals towards the end of the meal that you’ve had enough.
b) You feel satiated for 3 to 5 hours after that meal.
We should be aiming for 2 to 3 meals per day – human digestion works best when we eat meals rather than snack all day.
I tend to aim for two mono meals of fruit (breakfast and lunch) and then go for a well-combined salad or soup meal for my dinner meal, when I’m looking for something more savoury.
Conclusion – It might seem like a strange a way to eat at first, and you’ll probably get some odd looks, but after trying it it’s pretty hard to go back. When you experience the lightness, mental clarity and exuberance that just eating one fruit per meal brings, you’ll want to do it again and again.
Have you tried eating mono, either meal by meal or for extended periods? Please share your experience in the comments section below…
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Anthea Frances is an author, raw food health coach and host of the Raw Life Summit series. Grab a copy of her free Balanced Raw Vegan Nutrition Checklist and start improving your health today!