Chapter Four

 

Because the body does better with “little attentions, often repeated”, one big meal in the morning is not optimal for the day’s nutritional needs. For greatest efficiency, breakfast should be the largest and most nutritious meal of the day because the activity and well-being of the whole day is often determined by good nutrition in the morning. The role of the next meal is to supplement and be the second optimal meal of the day. Ideally the “dinner” meal is the secondlargest meal in the day. This meal, if eaten in the early afternoon rather than the customary noon hour, will not only benefit the digestion of breakfast, but will help to eliminate the need for a third meal.

The Connection Between Batch Mode Digestion and Fruits and Vegetables

Besides not overloading the system with one big meal a day, one of the advantages of having two or three meals a day is so that different and less compatible things can be eaten at different meals. Why is this important? The body works on the "batch" principle of processing. That is, when you put food in your mouth and begin chewing it, that mouthful (batch) must be all chewed completely before swallowing. Only then are you ready for the next mouthful. This batch principle is repeated in the stomach. The food eaten at breakfast, for instance, is all processed together until it is ready to be passed on to the small intestine. The stomach will not pass on any food until the whole batch is brought to the same point in processing. The stomach does not normally empty all at once in the same way that a mouthful of food is swallowed at the same time; however, all the stomach content is brought to the stage of being ready to be passed on to the small intestines together. Therefore, if even a nut is eaten between meals, all the food in the stomach must wait until that nut is at the same stage in processing before the stomach can finish its work. If one were to snack often throughout the day, breakfast could remain in the stomach for too long a period and begin to decay and ferment; likewise for lunch, dinner, etc. You can understand the discomfort when fermented food begins its journey through the intestinal tract.

Because of this "batch" principle of processing, it is better not to mix fruits and vegetables at the same meal. The reason for this advice is based on their respective digestive times. If the stomach contains a mixture of fruits and vegetables, the fruits have to be kept around longer than is optimal in order for the vegetable digestion to arrive at the same stage that the fruits arrived at earlier. Again, this delayed digestion is potentially complicated by fermentation and chemical change of the fruit sugars that are delayed from absorption and use by the body while it is waiting for the rest of the batch of vegetables to process. Fruits, being softer and containing a lot of water, are more easily and quickly digested. In contrast, vegetables have less water, less natural sugars and more fiber than fruits, thus having a longer digestive time. The time needed between meals to ensure the stomach is ready for the next meal is usually about 5 hours.

Food that takes a longer time and food that takes a shorter time to digest is best eaten at two different meals. A good way to do this is to have fruits and grains for breakfast and vegetables and grains for lunch or switch them around if desired.

On the Road

If you choose your afternoon meal to consist largely of vegetables, how can you be prepared if you are a busy person "on the road" or "at work?" The potato is a great vegetable that lends itself to eating away from home because a boiled potato, eaten like an apple, with the addition of a grain "butter" (such asMillet Butter, p. 74), can be very tasty. Boiled or baked squash is also tasty and attractive in appearance.

A word of caution is appropriate here. A boiled potato is a high fiber, whole food that is nutritious and low in calories, even with the addition of a grain "butter." Potato chips, on the other hand, are vastly different in fat, salt, and calorie content. Four ounces of whole potato has about 100 calories and about 6 mg of sodium while 4 ounces of potato chips have 644 calories and up to 1,000 mg of sodium. Potato chips are indeed a refined, processed food.

Good Fast Food?

A wonderful "fast food" that is delicious and nutritious is a hot thermos full of cooked beans or vegetable soup. Vegetable soup or beans and a whole-wheat sandwich with some nuts and/or dates for dessert, make a filling meal "on the road." Eating whole foods gives you the ideal combination of fats, proteins, and unrefined carbohydrates that come packaged with all the fiber, vitamins and minerals that are needed to metabolize the food. This is real nutrition!

Chew, Chew, Chew!

Whatever the circumstances of the meal, it is important that adequate time be taken to chew the food well and enjoy it maximally in the mouth. It is important to be relaxed while you eat and to enjoy your food. If you are not hungry—don’t eat. But the other side of that suggestion is not to eat when you become hungry if it is not mealtime! Do all of your eating at meal times and eat nothing between meals. Drink water only between meals. The paradoxical reality is that the disciplined person has more options as compared to the undisciplined person. Discipline is good. One of the most important "fringe benefits" of being disciplined is more options. Our bodies thrive on this and soon become adjusted to a regular program.

Why Bother?

What is the point of bothering to fix your own food? There are two reasons:

1. It may not be possible to get whole, unrefined plant food at many fast food places and restaurants. Excitotoxins* (hydrolyzed proteins, "natural proteins," MSG, and many other "taste enhancers") are added to many types of soups, salads, other dishes and even many canned foods. The only way toreally know what is in the food is to prepare it yourself. It is certainly worth the effort to know what you are eating!

2. It costs a fraction to prepare the food yourself as opposed to eating out. When you eat out, a vegetable plate may be less expensive than a meat plate; however, the same vegetable plate you prepare at home is going to cost still less. Food may represent 10% of your monthly budget if you eat at home, compared to 25% of your monthly budget, if you eat out regularly one or two meals a day.

*Further information on excitotoxins may be obtained on the web from these sites:

 

1) www.excitoxins.com 
2) www.holisticmed.com/aspartame 
3) www.google.com  - type in such words as "excitotoxins, MSG, aspartame, Russell Blaylock"

Dinner

A formal "sit-down" meal at home or where you have all the facilities to prepare a good afternoon meal could increase the options that are suggested above as an "on the road" afternoon meal, at the office or "on the job." The whole potato could be mashed and covered with a peanut or other nut-based gravy. Beans, peas, lentils, garbanzos or other legumes, pulses, or whole grains, cooked and seasoned tastefully, are filling and nutritious. Salads can be made from leafy vegetables with seeds or nuts added. Popcorn from an air popper with a little salt and nutritional yeast, toasted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, make a delicious adjunct to the second meal. Olives are also a healthy and tasty addition to the meal. The variety of grains, vegetables, and nuts cooked in different ways is endless. This is, in part, an answer to the often asked question: "If you don’t eat meat, dairy products, or drink cow’s milk, then whatdo you eat?" There is a vast array of options!

So let us prepare lunch. Here are some suggestions and menus to give you lots of ideas on how to get started! Have fun!

Suggested Lunch Menus for One Week

SUNDAYLarge salad, lemon juice & Herb Salt or sesame sprinkle or low-fat dressing;

Whole wheat spaghetti with vegetarian tomato sauce (remember to check the labels!) and Cashew Cheese;

Whole wheat bread, with Tahini Garlic Butter spread;

 

Caramel Corn.

MONDAY

Cabbage salad with lemon juice & Herb Salt or Sesame Sprinkle & low-fat dressing;

 

Sunflower Loaf, Baked potato with Tomato Gravy and sliced black olives, topped with Sesame Sprinkle;

Steamed broccoli;

Whole wheat bread with low-fat spread or Hummus.

TUESDAY

Large salad with guacamole;

Pinto or Black Beans;

 

Tamale Pie;

Baked corn chips ("Tostitos" has a baked brand) with Salsa.

 

WEDNESDAY

Raw vegetable platter with Sunflower Dressing (dip);

Baked sweet potato with Millet Butter;

Steamed spinach;

Whole wheat bread with low-fat spread or Hummus.

THURSDAY

 

Tabouli and Hummus;

Fresh Pea Soup;

Whole wheat Pita Bread;

Peanut Butter Cookies.

FRIDAY

 

Cream of Broccoli Soup. (Follow Frozen Pea Soup recipe using broccoli insteads of peas);

 

Oven Fries;

Nut Oatmeal Patties or "Boca Burger";

Whole wheat bun or bread, with lettuce, tomato, and onion.

SATURDAY

Large salad, lemon juice & Herb Salt or Sesame Sprinkle or low-fat dressing;

Country Gravy or Tomato Gravy over brown rice;

Sunshine Timbales;

Steamed zucchini & onion;

Whole wheat bread with low-fat spread or Hummus.

Recipes for the italicized foods above are found in chapter 10. These are just suggestions. If you want to try replacing them with other recipes instead, that is great! Be creative!

There is a wide slection of vegan cookbooks to choose from. Check your local health food store or the following possibilities for information:

 

www.adventistbookcenter.com (800) 765-6955 
www.hartlandpublications.com (800) 774-3566 
www.lmn.org/catalog (800) 245-1844 
www.starthealthcare.com 
www.weimarmarket.com (877) 934-6278 
Wildwood Book Store (706) 820-9955