Have you ever sat back and watched a toddler choose which foods will make up their “meal”? My son asks for cucumbers and cashews for breakfast quite often which is definitely not the norm. When given healthy choices they typically will choose foods that their body needs rather than the traditional breakfast, lunch or dinner food. We can learn from this. Meals are meant to be a combination of foods which satisfy the body’s needs to function and sustain health. Let’s start fresh by learning what our body needs rather than what tradition dictates. Who says that salads or soup are not breakfast foods while pancakes and Danishes are?
My son pretty much knows which foods I will allow him to eat at a meal so when it is meal time I like to wait and see what he asks for rather than offer waffles or cereal in the morning, for example. This morning he asked for dried green beans; a bowl of nutritional yeast mixed with olive oil and Celtic salt (eats with his fingers); hemp milk in a cup with some coconut water; followed a bit later by one of my raw cacao cookies topped with peanut butter. Most mornings he wants vegetables, especially raw carrots and cucumbers, and generally likes dried seaweed. One of his favorite snacks or meals is a bowl of my raw Cashew Dill Pate and a spoon and maybe some almond crackers to dip into it. Not your typical meals I know but they are nutritious, keep him healthy and remind me a lot of myself! Plus these meals are simple, not combining more than a few foods at a time which is also a very healthy practice. We tend to eat too many foods at one time making the meal more difficult to digest and more likely to cause acidity, gas and bloating.
What I am trying to convey is that if you listen to your body it might be craving foods that in your mind don’t make sense. By the time we are adults our minds have been conditioned to know which foods are traditionally accepted for each meal. We are a funny race…People don’t bat an eye when someone says they ate a doughnut, pastry or plate of French Toast and sausage but think you are strange for eating stir-fry and quinoa or salad, avocado and fish for breakfast. It is all in the mind!
Most people have a traditional concept in their mind as to which foods should be eaten at specific meals and the time of day. We are not born thinking that a Danish or pancakes and bacon is the ideal breakfast or that soup and salad are foods only for lunch and breakfast – we are conditioned from the time we are born to think that way. Who is to say that the best meal in the morning isn’t a green drink followed by a large salad and cooked quinoa? Or that a raw chocolate cookie or raw coconut, date and cacao balls aren’t a wiser choice in the morning?
Let’s talk about breakfast…Numerous studies have shown that alkaline foods in the morning are the best way to energize and cleanse the body. I think that one of the best alkaline foods in the morning is to of course start with a green drink (dried cereal grass, spirulina, algae, etc) along with vegetables. Really 70% or more of every meal should consist of a variety of plant-based foods (2 of those meals should include large salads) for optimal health, weight management and digestive health. So yes, a salad and bowl of soup or salad topped with eggs is an ideal way to start your day.
I am probably one of the strangest eaters, according to society’s standards, that you will ever meet. I eat according to what I feel my body needs. That is the key to this whole transition to a healthier lifestyle that I am always encouraging. The more natural and less processed your diet becomes the more your body will be able to cleanse, balance and tell you what it needs. You might be surprised what you begin to crave the more cleansed and balanced you become. I rarely eat large meals; am done with most of my eating by about 6pm; eat only small amounts of fruit and sweets; and eat tons of veggies balanced with quinoa, nuts and seeds, seafood, goat milk kefir/cheese and superfoods. And I love and crave it all! Most mornings I have an avocado with a sprouted tortilla or raw crackers; almond pate with my raw crackers; a large salad or a bowl of soup during the cold months.
The key is to not be religious about your eating. Just go with the phase of transitioning that your body is in and listen to it. If you need 6 small meals throughout the day then choose wisely and don’t treat each one like an empty-nutrition snack such as chips or sugar-laden granola bars. It is important to enjoy your foods but don’t forget that first you must eat to live and in order to live a long, healthy and energetic life your food and beverage choices matter and can dictate your quality of life.