The Mono Diet
Discover the Simplicity of Eating
Have you heard of the mono diet?
When did you last indulge in your favorite piece of fruit and really devoted time to enjoy every bite?
Have you ever tried to eat as many bananas, mangoes, melons or berries as you feel like in one go? And we are merely talking about binge-eating here.
The point is that trying to live on a mono diet a couple of times a week or even every day if you desire to do so, is a great, almost liberating experience from a nutritional standpoint. It can add an interesting spice to your eating habits when you'd normally combine a variety of foods to prepare a raw or cooked dish.
Typically, eating as much of one of your favorite foods in one meal is defined as a mono diet. It is a different experience to combining various foods in one meal.
Let's point out the benefits of a mono meal and the difference to traditionally prepared meals:
Some people do live on a mono diet for a while to detox and cleanse their system. This may only make sense for ultrarunners during the off-season or if you take a whole month off from sport. But I honestly wouldn't recommend living on a mono diet for too long. The sport requires that the body is provided with sufficient amounts of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein and fat.
While it is true that mono meals based on a selected fruit provide plenty of carbohydrates, there isn't enough protein and fat in these meals over longer periods of time.
A mono meal is about keeping it simple, pure and uncomplicated.
Before I tried my first mono meal I felt a little preoccupied. Would I really enjoy eating five, six or seven bananas in one go?
What effects would a fruit meal have on my digestion? How would my energy levels be after the meal?
And how did I feel? Energetic, happy in myself, lean and to my surprise, light in my body. Even though a meal like this is high in simple sugars, I didn't notice blood sugar crashes and as a result energy lows.
When is the best time for a mono meal?
Whenever you feel like it. It is considered a proper meal and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner. What happens when you eat a fruit mono meal is that you'll feel that your appetite is satisfied much sooner. You can't overeat on a mono meal. Some people can eat 10-15 (yes,15) small-sized bananas in one meal whereas others are happy eating 5-8. The same goes for other fruits such as mangoes, melon, grapes and apples.
Choosing fruit for a mono meal makes sense instead of eating carrots, lettuce or celery. A fruit mono-meal provides sufficient calories. Eating six or more bananas easily adds up to 600 and more calories, i.e. a considerable amount for one meal.
Here are some examples of fruits that best suit a mono meal after your training:
Cut 1-2 cantaloupe melons into cubes and indulge. Cantaloupes are known for their re-hydrating effects on the body. During the summer I often had a melon mono meal straight after a long run. A post-workout snack ideally contains 200-250 calories, plenty of carbs and only a small amount of protein and fat.
From 1 1/2 cantaloupe melons you get 53 g of carbohydrates, 5 g of protein, next to no fat and high amounts of sodium, potassium and calcium.
Watermelons, honeydew melon and cantaloupe can be eaten together in a mono meal. If you're sensitive only eat one kind of melon. Bananas naturally contain more calories than melons. If you opt for a banana mono meal, consume up to three after training and have a second meal consisting of (un)cooked foods and a little more fat and protein within 90 minutes of finishing your run. Mangoes are also on the list of favorites for a mono meal after training. 1 1/2 mangoes cut into pieces contain 260 calories, 68 g of carbs and 2 g of protein. Or substitute a warm cooked lunch for a mango feast and enjoy as many as you wish.
The mono diet can also include foods high in starches. Potatoes, bread and grains can be served as a mono meal. For the purpose of getting more vitamins into your body the focus lies primarily on fresh fruit rather than processed foods.
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