4. Mono Meals And Mono Diets
Primitive man, in his pristine life in the forest, probably ate one food at a time, depending upon the availability of the food. Eating only one food at a meal is known as a monotrophic meal. If all meals over a period of time consist of a single food, such as oranges or grapes or watermelon, this would be called a monotrophic or “mono” diet.
4.1 Advantages of Mono Meals
There are advantages to the use of monotrophic meals, and it is recommended that at least the first meal of the day be a mono meal and preferably be of one kind of juicy fruit or melon. Obviously, the digestion of a mono meal would not be subject to the adaptation problems that are sometimes experienced (even to a minimal degree) when so-called compatible foods are combined. For instance,
even when several subacid fruits are combined, there may be subtle or overt differences in degrees of alkalinity or acidity, or in liquid or sugar content, or in digestion time. Most fruits lend themselves very well to monotrophic meals. It would be advantageous to program at least one mono meal daily—for the first food of the day.
4.2 Mono Diets Not Recommended for Regular Use
I do not endorse the use of a monotrophic diet for extended periods or regularly for several days every week, nor do I endorse the regular or extended use of a diet consisting of all monotrophic meals, i.e., each meal consisting of a single food, e.g., one kind of melon for one meal, grapes for another meal, romaine lettuce for another meal, alfalfa sprouts for another meal. I do not believe this would be conducive to optimal nutrition, nor do I believe that all types of Hygienic foods lend themselves optimally to this usage. For example, romaine lettuce and nuts or seeds combine well; this combination has been observed to produce more efficient digestion of both foods.
Several days on a mono diet, followed by several more days on monotrophic meals, immediately following a prolonged fast—or, perhaps, during a flareup of digestive problems—may prove to be very beneficial. But people who implement diets consisting of all mono meals usually concentrate on fruit and neglect nuts and green leaves. This can be damaging, even disastrous. Such a practice may ultimately result in protein deficiencies and other serious pathological problems.
Dr. Herbert M. Shelton says (The Hygienic System, Volume II, Orthotrophy, Page 223): “As there are no pure frugivores, all frugivores eating freely of green leaves and other parts of plants, man may, also, without violating his constitutional nature, partake of green plants. These parts of plants possess certain advantages, in which fruits are deficient. Actual tests have shown that the addition of green vegetables to the fruit and nut diet improves the diet.”
In the June 1976 issue of Dr. Shelton’s Hygienic Review, Dr. Shelton says: “If man is a frugivore, as we have tried to demonstrate, then his natural diet should consist of fruits, nuts and green vegetables. The inclusion of tender, succulent green leaves, stems and flowers should not be considered a violation of his constitutional nature, as practically all animals in nature consume green foliage of one kind or another. For example, the frugivora consume large amounts of wild celery and other leafy plants along with their fruits and nuts. At times, even the carnivora consume large amounts of vegetation. Green leafy plants may be regarded as a wild card throughout nature. Whatever else an animal eats, whatever else it is specifically adapted for, some green leafy food is invariably included in the diet.
“Besides being specifically adapted to his digestive mechanism, fruits are also appealing to man’s visual, olfactory and gustatory senses. They require no cooking, no dressing, no seasoning, no utensils, and hardly any cultivation, considering the abundance of wild fruit trees. Could any other food be more natural for us? With the addition of nuts and green vegetables, the fruitarian diet is as nutritionally sound as it is biologically correct.”
Green leafy vegetables are more abundant in alkaline minerals than fruits. They are an excellent source of calcium, iron and other valuable minerals. They are rich in vitamins and contain small amounts of protein of the highest quality and biological value. They are the richest source of chlorophyll, such as only green plants can provide.
The analysis of chlorophyll shows it to be almost identical with the blood hemoglobin, except that the blood contains iron and chlorophyll contains magnesium. Increasing the amount of green leafy vegetables in the diet has been known to aid the body to correct secondary anemia.
The scientist, Frans Miller, wrote, “Chlorophyll has the same fast blood-building effect as iron in animals made anemic.” The regenerative effect of crude chlorophyll from green leaves (not pure chlorophyll) was demonstrated through numerous scientific experiments in this country and abroad. (See Viktoras Kulvinskas article on chlorophyll.)
Green leaves convert sunlight into food by a process called photosynthesis, aided by the green pigment chlorophyll. Photosynthesis is the production of carbohydrate, in the presence of carbon dioxide, water and light. Since only green plants can do this, they are the most important things on our planet,, because they make possible the continuity of life.
Dr. Virginia V. Vetrano says (Dr. Shelton’s Hygienic Review, January 1975, Page 116): “The Hygienic doctor has always advocated that some vegetables, particularly leafy vegetables, be eaten along with the fruit and nut diet, mainly because of the protein content in leafy vegetables. Most individuals have a difficult time adjusting to eating only nuts for protein and take an insufficient amount of protein at first; proteins of high biologic value are easily supplied by adding green vegetables to the diet.”
Dr. Vetrano has also repeatedly advocated the regular use of nuts in the diet—in fact, they were served at the Health School every day. She is convinced that this source of concentrated protein is a necessary part of the daily diet. She says that whole nuts should be used, but that freshly-made nut butter or ground nuts can and should be used, if an individual does not have good teeth. (Dr. Shelton’s Hygienic Review, February 1976, Page 135).
Dr. Shelton had many young people come to him during the time that Arnold Ehret’s dietary system (The Mucusless Diet) was in the heyday of its popularity. These young people had been on his low or no (concentrated) protein diet for several years or longer and were suffering from weakness, ease of fatigue, and transverse and longitudinal ridges in their fingernails. After studying their problems for a while, he came to the conclusion that the problem was nothing more than a protein deficiency. He fasted them for three days, added protein to their diets, and they all recovered. (Dr. Vetrano, Dr. Shelton’s Hygienic Review, October 1974).
I myself have repeatedly encountered individuals who, for as long as six months to a year after a fast, were becoming weaker and more enervated with each passing day—even having fainting spells. In every case, they had been convinced that concentrated proteins (nuts and seeds) were unnecessary, even inadvisable. When they added nuts and seeds to their diets, spontaneous and continuous improvement followed in every case.
Dr. Burton says (See his article “The Hygienic Diet” in Lesson 22): “I personally view the diet containing a large proportion of fresh fruits and vegetables, accompanied by three to four ounces of concentrated protein (nuts and seeds) as being the most satisfactory.” He says we should attempt to secure our nutrients from a wide variety of foods, though, obviously, not at the same meal.
True that protein deprivation has to be prolonged and extreme in order to produce obvious signs of its inadequacy. Dr. Burton also makes the point that the varying needs and capacities of individuals must dominate in establishing requirements.
Eat a variety of Hygienic foods. Overeating of citrus and other fruits may be more easily avoided if it is thoroughly understood that a meal program which includes a variety of Hygienic foods, including fruits, nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables, and sprouted seeds, is the best road to optimal nutrition.
It is not difficult to fall into the trap of the overeating of fruits. They are the most delightful of foods. They are also among the finest and best of foods, if properly used.
In many respects, I empathize and even tend to agree with those who maintain that the delights and nutritional value of fruits are unsurpassed. If, in addition, nuts, seeds and sprouts, and chlorophyll-rich green leaves are not neglected, optimal nutrition would be assured.
Dr. Esser really brings it all together with this sage observation: “Fruits and nuts are the perfect foods for man, but in the civilized areas of the world it is virtually an impossibility to obtain a sufficiently rounded supply for perfect nutrition and health. Therefore it is necessary to supplement them with vegetables. It will be found that vegetables are delicious and succulent.”
I know it was a great relief to me, after my 29-day fast, when I was (after almost two weeks on fruit juices and fruits) at last given something to eat that was not sweet. When I was permitted to have at least one salad meal every day, with nuts or avocado or coconut or raw sweet corn, my improvement, weight gain and energy multiplied.
Recap: Monotrophic fruit meals are excellent; a total, diet of monotrophic meals is not advisable. Since the usual monotrophic meal consists of one kind of fruit or melon, it would seem that at least one meal daily (or, at the very least, one meal every second day) should consist of several salad vegetables and a protein (or possibly a starch).
But keep it simple! The less complex our food mixtures, and the simpler our meals, the more efficient will be our digestion, ‘and the better our health. Few foods at a meal, with sufficient variety of different types of foods over the period of several meals to insure that the body gets all the nutrients it needs, is the ideal Hygienic food program.
Relationship of the diet to the acid-alkaline balance of the body: In general, the diet should consist of at least 75% alkaline-reacting foods and 25% or less of acid-forming foods. Most foods with high protein content are acid-forming. Adherence to a varied Hygienic diet, and to the other principles of Natural Hygiene (especially regular, vigorous exercise) will enable your body to adequately monitor its own acid-alkaline balance, since there is a buffer action in the organism which serves to maintain an equilibrium between alkalinity and acidity. Minerals play an important part in the regulation of this function.
Animal proteins, which contain sulfur, uric acid and other acid end-products, tend to leach the tissues of their alkaline salts. These alkaline salts (minerals) are particularly needed by the cells to buffer and render such end-products less acid, and thus less irritating to the cells and tissues.
The alkaline properties of vegetable and nut proteins help to maintain the acid-alkaline balance of the body. Thus, correct eating (and exercise) are the keys in maintaining the acid-alkaline balance. Eating vegetables helps to maintain your acid-alkaline balance. If only fruits are eaten, the balance tends to swing to the alkaline side eating only proteins swings it to the acid side. Bananas are neutral if you are in good health, but otherwise they are slightly alkaline.
4.3 Monotrophic Diets as “Elimination Diets”
“Elimination diets,” which can be mono-diets, are often referred to under the misnomers “juice fasts” or “fruit fasts.” Diets that are not stressful on the body and allow it to better perform its eliminative functions are sometimes useful when urgent symptoms require the temporary cessation of normal food intake, and it is not possible to go to bed and fast. However, the substitution of a long-term juice or fruit diet, when a fast is indicated, may be unwise and wasteful of the body’s energy, because this does not accomplish the striking long-term benefits of the fast with nothing but distilled water. Nevertheless, a temporary juice diet or fruit diet may be indicated in some cases. If serious problems exist, a professional Hygienist can help to make this choice or decision.
There are other types of “elimination diets” (some not monotrophic) that are sometimes prescribed where a fast must be postponed, or should not be undertaken at the particular time.
“Elimination diets” are low in proteins, carbohydrates and fats. This causes the cells to use stored reserves to meet their requirements. During such a diet, the body can eliminate toxic matters and accumulated wastes, but never as efficiently or thoroughly as it would during a fast. The fast is always more efficacious in eliminating toxic wastes than is any kind of elimination diet. Greater benefit can be expected from one week of a complete fast than from two or three weeks of an elimination diet.
Further, a mono diet (the use of one food only—such as citrus, grapes or watermelon) may result in the production of imbalances in the body. During a total fast, the body is better able to monitor its own nutrition in a more balanced manner from the use of nutriments stored in the body.
A total fast increases metabolic efficiency. For example, the process of energy release from glucose (stored as glycogen in the liver) which is at 25% efficiency when eating, is increased to 45°/o efficiency when fasting (according to Dr. Alec Burton).
On a monotrophic diet, there is often a tendency to feel hungry and unsatisfied, while, during a total fast, hunger pangs usually disappear.
As you can see, the uses of monotrophic diets are limited. (See Dr. Vetrano’s article “Mono-Eliminating Diets”.)