Breakfast like a King Lunch like Prince Dinner like a beggar
But what does a king eat for breakfast, if he is on a whole-foods plant-based diet? How does he get enough callories? How will he ensure sufficient protein, and complete protein (complete amino acid profile) intake? Is that enough?
What about feeding the brain with sufficient fatty acids? The brain is around 60% fat. How does this king make sure he consumes enough fat, correct fat, fat that is not dangerous for his arteries, heart and liver? How does this king ensure he eats enough essential minerals and electrolytes?
If this king knows how good it is to space meals far apart, and that he should not snack until lunch, then how does he make sure he will eat a meal that won't leave him craving food before his regularly scheduled lunch?
Well, here is what we ate for breakfast a few days ago. Let's analyze our meal, and see what we can learn.
Water - our mornings begin with water, or at least they should. We try to remember to drink plenty water on an empty stomach, and we stop drinking at least 30min before sitting down to eat. This time gap ensures that the water is fully absorbed, and that there is no liquid in our stomachs to dilute stomach enzymes and acids. We take no drinks with our meals, to ensure that our hydrochloric acid is as strong as needed for effective digestion. The faster food digests, the least amount of fermentation (rotting) in the stomach.
Pancakes with wholegrain flour (I forgot to make this one with multigrain. Combining grains like adding oats, etc., is a great way to ensure that you get a complete amino acid profile (which is just fancy words for a complete protein). To compensate, I added some savoury granola to the topping-options for our pancakes. It was delicious. Fruit - fresher the better - not too many different kinds in one meal. We include neutral fruit for savory options, and herbs would have been a great add-on to get some leafy greens into the meal, but I was too cold to go outside and harvest some from the garden. Seeds are an obligatory add-on to our breakfasts. We vary them, and often use a blend of ground seeds. They provide essential fatty acids (fats) and minerals, not to mention the great proteins. Seeds areu almost a free-food in our home. You can have as many as you feel like. Nuts - we use these in moderation, but they are great sources for protein, minerals and healthy fats. I try to vary the type of nut, but almonds get 1st prize for nutrition. Abigail would eat 1kg cashews in one meal if I let her, so I don't always make them available free-form. Milk - plant-based milk is a great way to make a breakfast fill all the gaps in the appetite as well as the nutrition breakdown. There is such a variety to choose from. We make sure that our milk is sugar free, preservative free and non-GMO. Coconut cream is an occasional treat and adds a calorie boost with various other benefits, and works well for a thicker toping, like for strawberries and cream. And for those who worry that plant-milk is too expensive, feel free to contact me for contact details of great sources for affordable plant-milks. Worship time - our breakfast begins with time spent reading the Bible. For us, there is no better way to begin a meal than in thanks to our Creator and Provider. This has become a special family time.
V a r i e t y
So of course pancakes are not an everyday breakfast for us. But we try to make the most of the morning king-meal. With some planning, a little preparation and a deliberate choice in stocking our pantry, we usually have a three-course breakfast, consisting of:
a fruit salad or fruit platter with seeds;
multigrain porridge with honey or dates to sweeten and topped with a plant-milk (and more seeds if preferred), and
home-made wholegrain bread (usually multigrain and/or sourdough) with nutbutter, olive patte, legume patte, neutral fruit like tomatoe and cucumber, and/or sugar free fruit preserves.
This formula lasts us until lunch which is always a minimum of 5 hours away from breakfast, to allow for complete digestion of breakfast before asking the stomach to do more work. During the hour before lunch we start feeling hungry (excellent sign that the stomach is empty, which is when the stomach muscles rest and rejuvinate to prepare for doing more work). This is when we maximize the opportunity to drink fluids on an empty stomach, which then absorb before adding any more food. Drinking clear liquids (no milk) at least 1 hour away from meal times, is the most healthy way to hydrate.
Are you ready to try it out?
This may seem like a crazy amount of mission for a daily breakfast, but I dare say you will love it if you tried it. Since I am preparing two meals a day, never cooking dinners in the evening and done with family feedings way before evening time, preparing for this kind of breakfast is not a mission any more than our old way of eating 3 meals a day.
I challenge you - try it. Pack it. Prove it.
I look forward to hearing some feedback from your attempts at eating breakfast like a king.
Meal planning!? Really? This is a topic for a testimony? Well, feel free to take a breath of relief. This is not a lecture or meant to tell you what to do in your life. I plan to share my own experiences, and only that. My personal choices, changes, and the effects they have had on me and my family.
So... what is my family meal schedule? Let me start off by stating that I was a snacking queen. Working over 270 hours per month for some years, and later being unemployed in a foreign country for 18 months... no matter how busy I was or how much time I had at home, I ate something all the time. For years I would eat something or nibble something every time I walked past food in an edible form. I tried to stock my kitchen with mostly healthy and fresh foods (according to what I knew at the time) and of course took this as free license to snack throughout the day. I was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) over 10 years ago, and my ongoing symptoms of dizziness, bloating and frequent abdominal pains encouraged me to keep eating, feeling as though I need regular small samples of food rather than large meals. Of course I opted for regular snacks as well as large meals, and then accepted that I simply had symptoms that were here to stay for keeps.
In this article I will spare you the long details of my changed outlook, but you are welcome to view my personal testimony on YouTube at https://youtu.be/Pp9un7ef5S4 for more detail of why I ended up changing the way I lived.
Long story short, I learnt some new things. Turns out that the digestive tract, made up entirely of muscles (which I knew but somehow ignored), needs proper rest as much as any other muscle group. I totally understood the need for muscle rest. That ache in your calves or thighs when you try going for a run for the first time in years. The ache in your abs when you do sit-ups for the first time in months. The pain in your arm muscles when you carry your sleeping daughter for over an hour. Of course muscles get exhausted. And ultimately stop working. I have felt this countless times.... the quivering of muscles as they give in and fail to function any further.
Once I learned that my digestive tract muscles need rest just as much as any other muscle in my body, the penny dropped. I finally understood the value of regular, spaced meals and giving the entire digestive tract ample rest periods. And this is what we do now. As a family we make sure we space meals at the very least 4-5 hours apart (for fully plant-based meals). In between meals, we have completely stopped snacking. We drink clear fluids like herbal teas or water at least 1 hour away from a meal, and we allow enough time for food to digest fully, completely and without fermentation.
As a family (yes, including our 5 year old) we only eat two meals per day, and try to stick to regular meal times. We tried to squeeze three meals into a day, but that meant my little one ate shortly before bed, which I know is not ideal. So to ensure that we all go to sleep after our food has digested, we eat a very substantial breakfast, and slightly smaller late-lunch around 3pm. That way, our daughter has a gap between eating and her bed time, and my husband and I are good with just a hot drink at night. During the past almost-a-year of eating this way with only plant-based foods, we have all thrived, and my daughter has grown physically and mentally in ways that still astound us.
Now you may ask, "why does meal spacing really matter so much?". I will share more about the technical details later, but for now, I can tell you that for the first time in 20 years, I am bloating-free, dizzy-free, ache-free and totally transformed in energy levels. Yes, there are various factors involved in our family's transition. But if I could make one major suggestion to anyone who wants to know the most important place to start in renovating their health, I would suggest a start with meal schedules. Space your meals. Fill up your car's fuel tank in the beginning of the trip, rather at the end (i.e. breakfast must be bigger than supper), and give your guts a proper break between meals. This is golden rule number 1 for nutrition that supports true health. I have a gut-feeling that you will begin feeling better and better by the day.
Happy renovations everyone! It is a wonderful journey.
It is vital to remember that food does not absorb properly if it rots in the stomach or intestine. If digestion of one meal does not complete before the next food is eaten, the chemical interactions and rotting will release poisonous elements which are absorbed into the blood stream.
The most vital aspect of your diet is choosing a schedule for meals that allows
enough time (at least 5 hours) from end of one meal to the start of the next;
enough time for digestion, before you go to sleep;
as far as possible, regularity from one day to the next.
Revise the golden rules under nutrition, if you can't remember them.
If you are not yet sure if a plant-based diet is a good idea, I would like to remind you of the records of ages in the Bible. Before the flood, God only listed plant-based foods as appropriate to eat. During this time, people became so old that most of them died just short of a 1000 years old. Yes, you read correctly. You can go and look at the verses in the Bible - people became really old.
After the flood, when most plants and foliage had been destroyed in the flood and had not regrown fully, God made a provision by providing a list of clean animal meats, but note that the age of people drastically decreased directly after this provision had been made.
Articles such as listed on our Resources page, can be helpful in answering some of these questions. One thing is for sure - our bodies don't need meat to survive.
But we have to ensure that we eat sufficiently of the plant-based foods in order to be healthy. Keeping in mind that there are various things to AVOID eating, let us focus here on good things to include in your daily meal plans.
Let breakfast be your biggest meal. Your stomach can cope with larger quantities of food after a good, long rest period. If you made sure that your last meal yesterday was at least 2-3 hours before sleep time, and you rested your digestive tract completely after that meal, then you will be ready for a good sized meal at breakfast time.
You cannot drive cross-country and fill up the tank at the end of the journey. For the same reason, filling up your energy and nutrient requirements at the beginning of your day's activities, is the only way to meet all the body's needs.
Fruit provide quick boosts in energy, which is necessary at the beginning of the day. Keeping in mind that it is best to separate fruits and veggies, you will do well to make breakfast a fruity meal, and keep veggies for later in the day. However, vegetables take longer to digest, so be sure not to eat vegetables for supper if you choose to have a 3rd meal in the day. Since we are eating at 8am and at 3pm, veggies for our late lunch, works just fine. Also good to note, is that fruit should be minimized (i.e. smaller portions) for people with diabetes or obesity. Any other conditions where a person often has high blood sugar levels, warrants limiting fruit portions. Neutral fruit, like tomatoes, cucumber, olives, coconut, and avocado, can be enjoyed without any concern for raising blood sugar levels.
There are things you can add to meals to boost the nutrition of that meal, complete the requirements for fatty acids, amino acids and all other components necessary. These add-ons also ensure that you remain satisfied all the way until the next meal. Items like nuts, seeds and leafy greens are vital to include daily if you want to maintain a snack-free schedule and meet all nutrient requirements. They are versatile and you can include them in various forms, shapes and flavours.
Protein is often a concern on a plant-based diet. But it need not be. Almost all plant-based foods contain some protein. Combining 2 different grains with 1 legume, provides a complete protein. Any 3 grains together also provide a complete protein (amino acid chain). So adding legumes and multi-grain varieties to your diet, takes care of the protein question. Not to mention the wonderful varieties of nuts and seeds which contain good proteins.
All this considered, you may ask: okay, what do I put on a plate? A good formula for breakfast is:
Multigrain porridge - oats, spelt, barley, sorghum, millet, etc... enjoy the variety and explore different recipes
a generous serving of fruit (variety is good but not too many different kinds in one meal) - remember to limit sweet fruits in the case of diabetes, but be sure to increase neutral fruit portions
whole-grain bread with varied toppings (nut or seed spreads, sugar free fruit preserves, tomato and avocado, etc.)
2-3 table spoons of ground up seeds (e.g. linseed, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, etc.)
Multigrain or at least whole grains of some kind (e.g. brown rice, whole grain pasta, potatoes with skins, etc.) Explore different grains. Quinoa and Buckwheat and Barley and the likes, are all wonderful for variety.
Beans and legumes are great to include in meals at least 3-4 times a week. They are so versatile - have a look at recipes for inspiration. From stews to patties to "meat balls", the options are endless.
Veggies are essential for our diet. God added vegetables once Adam and Eve could no longer have access to the tree of life. They contain enzymes which are vital for life. Vegetables contain different nutrients when cooked vs when raw, so be sure to vary it and eat both raw and cooked varieties.
Include neutrals. Neutral foods include all fatty fruits, like avo/coconut/olives as well as certain neutral fruits such as cucumber, tomatoes, and all lettuce and herb varieties. Sprouts of all kinds are also neutral foods. These add super nutrition and bulk up the meal without any risk of excessive calories. In fact, on a plant-based diet, one can sometimes struggle to keep up with calories, so eat these freely.
Remember to add oils, but be sure to use them raw when ever possible. Try to pick out cold-pressed oils and add them to food after removing from heat source. Raw oils have wonderful nutrients and calories which are great to add. Cutting out all meat and dairy will cut away huge quantities of calories from your diet, so you can make up for these with healthy nuts, legumes, oils and grains.
If you include all these components together in each respective meal, you will likely find that you can eat a breakfast and a late lunch, with no difficulty maintaining 2 meals per day. If you choose to have a third meal for the day, it should be light, consisting of e.g. fruit and bread, and it should be very small. I like to explain to my daughter that at night we only eat a snack and only if we can safely do this more than 5 hours after lunch. Another good option for night time is a drink such a serial coffee (Barley Cup is my favourite) with plant-milk.
I hope this formula gives you a starting point for planning meals... Share your comments and experiences below.
Have you ever noticed that God states in the very first book of the Bible, what He originally planned for the human body to use as food?
I have often thought of it like opening a user manual. When you buy a new vacuum cleaner, computer, printer, oven, fridge... usually, the more expensive the item, the thicker the user manual.
Imagine buying a top-of-the-range washing machine with smart functions and special features, and the company tells you that there are no specific user instructions, no special care instructions and no prescriptions to the detergents to use. Would you trust the product?
God gave us an entire user manual, speaking to the price and value of our bodies and lives. 1 Cor 6:19 says: "Or do you not know that yourbodyisthetempleoftheHolySpiritwho is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?"
Does this mean I don't have the right to choose what I do to my body? Well, actually I do. I was created with free choice. But This verse clearly teaches that my body was bought at a price, which is the blood of Jesus. And if I say I accept His sacrifice, then I need to treat my physical body as the property of Jesus. Since God created us, would He not know how this body functions best?
When you buy a car, it may not come with a full user manual since your dealer takes on the duty of working on it to a large extent. But one thing always stated in your booklet for a car, is the fuel you should fill the tank with. Failing to follow this instruction, will ruin the machinery of your car. Right?
The very fist chapter of the very first book of the Bible, God states for the record, which fuel to fill our energy tanks with. Gen 1:29 "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of the tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." This instruction was given to perfect human beings. Would you have loved to have a body in perfect health?
In 1905 and 1906, a wise author noted: "Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect, that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet." "In grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts are to be found all the food elements that we need. If we will come to the Lord in simplicity of mind, He will teach us how to prepare wholesome food free from the taint of flesh meat."
Today, thousands of studies support the scientific evidence that a plant-based diet is indeed the most healthful, IF APPLIED WISELY.
In the follow few blog posts, I hope to share with you some resources that could support a healthy transition to a more plant-based diet. Yes, you can totally mess it up if you do it wrong. There are dangerous effects of eating a diet without sufficient nutrition. But if you do it right, you will be following God's original plan for the diet of mankind, which could only mean that it is the best interest.
"For I know that plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jer 29:11