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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Eating Mono Meals

I'm sure we have all heard that it's important to eat a wide variety of foods. Those fortunate enough to have access to amply amounts of food tend to combine many different foods into the same meal. Some meat, salad, sauce, condiments and spices served up between bread is a common sandwhich that contains foods from nearly all food groups. How does our body handle a cocktail of ingredients like this? Not terribly great! Meat requires different digestive enzymes and stomach PH than plant-based foods like vegetables and starchy foods like grains require a different environment again! The end result is that the body is not able to optimally breakdown and absorb nutrition from those foods. It can't create 3 contrasting digestive environments simultaneously! It is super important to digest food optimally. A person may put quality foods in, but if the body can not digest optimally, essential nutrients will not be absorbed. The key is to limit the amount of different foods that are combined in each meal. The optimal scenario is eating a meal consisting of only one type of food or a few foods closely related within the same food group. Dr Graham, in his book The 80 10 10 Diet, explains the digestive benefits of mono eating. A mono meal consists of eating only one type of food until satiety. This could be 8 bananas or 1kg of grapes or half a watermelon etc. When only one particular food is consumed in a meal, the body is able to create the optimal digestive environment required for the breakdown and absorption of the nutrients in that food. When the body digests efficiently, less gas is experienced and food passes more comfortably though the system. Because the body uses less energy for digestion, the person has more energy available for being active. You may be thinking that by eating mono meals, you may not be eating enough variety of foods. In fact, the opposite is true. Over the course of a day, week, season, year, if a person eats mono meals of whole fresh ripe raw fruits and vegetables when they are in season, a large variety of foods will inevitably be eaten.

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