Whenever some interesting nutritional phrase surfaces in the world or on the internet, it calls for delving deeper; most of us know we don't have all the answers,  and won't in this lifetime!  Bt with further investigation, one can definitely encounter the change that will revolutionize your basal state of health. 

Vegans, especially raw vegans, are quite outspoken and flexible in their journeys and striving for health,  and lately a new phase has been popping up- "mono meals", as made famous by YouTubers like FreeLee the Banana Girl. Their vegan lifestyle choice is inspiring, because they're willing to go to almost any extreme if it means following a cruelty-free lifestyle. But, is this sustainable? Is it ultimately more healthful? Today,  we'll explore the pros and cons of this particular vegan fad, with a few words of caution. 

Mono Meals vs. Mono Diets
There's a slight difference between mono meals and mono diets.

Mono meals are where you're consuming an entire meal of one food only. (ex: if you wake up in the morning and have a banana) Mono meals are extremely helpful for those of us with Crohn's, like me, who ALWAYS seem to need a little help with our digestion! Our bodies, for the most part, like to eat a very few foods at one time, because every food has a different biochemical content - it's own acid/base profile, it's own amount of time it takes stomach acids to dissolve it into chyme, how quickly it stimulates your stomach to dump food into your intestines for further digestion, etc. So to put it another way, two different foods = different digestion rates and end products; the risk of several different foods in a meal is dumping half-digested foods into the intestines, causing distress and sometimes spasms. If you eat one food at a time, it will all digest at the same rate into the same substrates. Only one task for your stomach, intestines, etc.

That being said, in some cases, combining two foods helps the digestion and absorption of both those food products. Research into food combining for digestion would be worthwhile for anyone more curious about this topic. Nevertheless, a maximum of 3 or possibly 4 food products in one meal is ideal. And, to be specific, I mean of any kind. If you make a steak with chives and butter, you're at your 3 food products. A steak dinner with loaded mashed potatoes and carrots and a caesar salad to start off and a soda can easily be a meal of over 30 food products or substrates! That's fine for a healthy person to do, but in a flare or during periods of diarrhea, minimizing the digestive strain would be quite advantageous.

The inherent risk of mono meals should be obvious - nutritional deficiency. Mono meals are helpful for digestion, but take a great amount of meal planning and strategy to get a proper balance. You need fruits, vegetables (especially non-starchy), nuts and seeds. All of these in their turn will add up to be enough protein, carbs, fat, and micronutrients - even without meat, as a Vegan. I highly suggest keeping ALL meals simple, but only having perhaps one mono-meal per day, preferably breakfast. Having a breakfast mono meal gets your body used to the fact that today is a new day, with more digestional work to do, without over-taxing it so early in the morning. If you have a "heavy" or complicated breakfast, your body will be sluggish the whole day long! You will have the rest of the day for a "varied" diet, getting all the macro- and micro-nutrients you need. But 'breaking the fast' is just for kick-starting your digestion and metabolism for the rest of the day and re-hydrating. (That's why I suggest fruit for breakfast. You could have 'just' eggs or 'just' steamed potatoes or other mono- foods, but fruits help re-hydrate after a long night of sweating and exhaling moisture.)

All snacks throughout every day should be mono-snacks by nature. A snack with multiple food products in it is treated by your body as a "full" meal, because it's taking a "full" meal's worth of effort to digest it! Snacks are to ward off hunger and give you a boost of energy - well, you will have the complete opposite of the desired effect if you slow yourself down with a digestional burden halfway through the day. If you're eating three solid (but simple) meals and a snack per day, you will have plenty of opportunity for a balanced lifestyle.

Mono Diets
Mono diets are things like "the lemonade fast" or the "grapefruit diet" - you're basically eating only one food, every day, every meal, short-term. Understand - this is a type of fasting, not feasting. It is beneficial to an extent to cleanse the body of toxins, but then should immediately be stopped. Ironically, doubling your water intake with a squeeze of lemon in it with an otherwise total fast of all food is more efficient in ridding the body of toxins. Also, there will be less misery, surprisingly, in a total fast, because eventually in a total fast your hunger cravings diminish and stop, whereas in a 'partial-fast' like a fruit cleanse, you're giving your body just enough kilocalories to make it even angrier, wanting more calories and more nutrients - it FEELS more deprived.

If that's the route you want to explore, however, go ahead: just know that it's for SHORT-TERM use only for the express purpose of either flushing out toxins or removing addictions cold-turkey. I in no way recommend mono diets for longer than about 4 days, max, and find them incredibly deficient. There's no justifiable 'balanced' mono diet - that doesn't even make sense. God created this whole world with foods of all kinds to give variety to our life and our meals. Each plant and fruit and seed gives a different micronutrient or substrate that we need.

Remember balance and simplicity, and enjoy the restorative benefits that come from your health-promoting, natural foods!

The Detox Mono Diet: The Miracle Grape Cure and Other Cleansing Diets
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