The Mini-Food Meal program is not a diet. It is an approach to eating that is designed to minimize any exacerbating influences of food and to promote health and vitality. The hypothesis is based on the assumption that the body can react negatively to foods for at least four reasons:
IMPAIRED DIGESTION: Food that is completely digested is absorbed as a MICRO-molecule. Food not digested adequately may be absorbed as a MACRO-molecule and does not provide nourishment. Your body must have food digested and absorbed a certain way or else your body will not recognize the particle as food. Furthermore, improperly digested food may activate the immune system to reject the macromolecular food particle since it doesn’t appear like the nourishing food it expects. If this rejection continues, a METABOLIC REJECTIVITY SYNDROME develops and a variety of symptoms such as depression, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint aches, clouded mentation, or inability to concentrate occur. Finally, a chronic degenerative disease develops. Impaired digestion not only promotes metabolic rejectivity through macro-molecular absorption, but also may cause SECONDARY MALNUTRITION since much of otherwise nutritious food exits through the intestines without ever being digested or absorbed. Usually no obvious signs of malnourishment are apparent, but reduced resistance to infections, prolonged inflammation, and other signs of subtle immune deficiency may occur.
PROCESSED FOODS ARE DIFFICULT TO DIGEST: The purpose of processing food is primarily to increase the shelf-life. Processing usually involves inhibiting or removing the natural enzymes and oxidants found within the food that cause spoilage. As a result our intestinal enzymes are prevented from digesting the nutrients out of the food as well. In addition, chemical preservatives, additives, colorings, as well as artificial fertilizers and insecticides used in farming infiltrate into the food. Many of these chemicals cannot be digested, metabolized, or detoxified.
POOR FOOD QUALITY: Foods that are high in calories but don’t contain their share of vitamins and trace elements are essentially empty. They merely provide fuel without supporting the metabolic processes required to digest and use them. Again the possibility of secondary malnutrition increases.
TOO MUCH OF THE SAME FOOD: When a food is eaten in large quantities or eaten over and over again, rejectivity symptoms often develop, even if the food is natural and nutritious. It appears the body does not tolerate anything in large quantities. Even excessive sunshine, water, and exercise can stress or harm the body. Food is no different. Since each food has its own unique nutrient composition, a small amount of a wide variety of foods provides a broad and balanced supply of essential nourishment while avoiding metabolic rejection.
The Mini-Food Meal concept evolved after reviewing hundreds of patient diaries and observing that when they ate foods either in large servings or repeatedly, over and over again, they developed symptoms thought to be evidence of metabolic rejection. Even foods considered nutritious or tolerable caused symptoms. However, when they began eating small amounts of a wide variety of foods their symptoms of metabolic rejection began to improve. Based on our patients’ experience, a list a low-risk and high-risk foods was developed. The lists are meant only as a starting point; what you eventually include in your diet may have some “high risk” foods and may exclude some “low risk” foods. Every person has his or her own unique high risk and low risk group. Your program will be unique for you. That’s why we call it a program and not a diet.
The purpose of the Mini-Food Meal program is to avoid the “rejection” syndrome seen when full quantities of a food is eaten daily and still provide a balanced and nourishing diet. According to the above hypothesis, eating small amounts of a wide variety of natural and unprocessed foods greatly reduces the possibility of developing a Metabolic Rejectivity Syndrome.
A DESCRIPTION OF THE MINI-FOOD MEAL PROGRAM
Each Mini-Food Meal is made up of small quantities of about eight different foods per meal. The complete Mini-Food Meal should include two proteins, one complex carbohydrate (grains, starchy vegetables, whole beans, etc) and five vegetables. Initially use only foods from the low-risk list attached. Up to four tablespoonfuls of a particular food can be consumed at any given meal. Natural, fresh foods of high nutrient value are essential to success.
If possible, begin with a 48 hour fast from food. This allows your body to stop ongoing metabolic rejection by eliminating further insults from food. Drink 8-10 glasses of purified water each day. Many notice they feel better when they have not eaten. It comes as no surprise that when you don’t feel well, something you’ve eaten may be making you feel sick.
For those who feel unable to fast completely, organic vegetable or carrot juice may be used sparingly. Rest or take it easy during the fast. Drink 8-10 glasses of purified water each day.
Keep a food-response diary beginning on the first day. This is the key to identifying what food(s) you are not tolerating. The diary will help you become aware of exactly what you are eating, and how much and often you are eating a particular food. In addition it will help you develop a keener sense of your health. In separate columns list the DATE/TIME, the AMOUNT & FOODS EATEN, and a brief note about your PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, and MENTAL RESPONSES. Use the example listed below. Only the food column should be detailed. List every item you put in your mouth (ex: vitamins, snacks, toothpaste, etc). Long descriptions of your responses are not necessary and may be counterproductive.
Begin with foods in the low-risk group. Getting to a diet that is limited only by avoiding your own set of high risk foods will be faster if you give your body a chance to return to a state of health. Although you may eventually tolerate some high-risk foods, I don’t recommend trying these initially.
Balance your nutrition each day. The total amount of food eaten should be estimated from how you feel and your anticipated energy needs. Remember that complex carbohydrates primarily supply energy. You may eat a complete meal or many parts of a meal every two and a half to three hours (four to six times a day). Individuals eating smaller amounts four to six times a day feel much better than when they eat three large meals a day. The amount eaten should be reflected in the variety of different foods rather than larger amounts of the same foods.
Time between eating is important to allow digestion and metabolism of the previous meal. This allows the body to have continuous energy throughout the day rather than a flood of food at one time that may stress the digestive processes.
The same eight foods may be eaten for up to three days in a row, then another set of foods can be introduced. Alternatively, by introducing four or five new foods into the group every second or third day, the taste for different foods is maintained without having to prepare a whole new set.
After eating any one food for three days, it is advisable not to use it again for three or four days even if you tolerate it. After several weeks of eating only foods from the low-risk list, a very small amount of a single food from the high-risk list can be added into a given three day cycle. If tolerated it can used in rotation with the other foods. Because rejection symptoms may occur from a few seconds up to many hours after eating, keeping a diary is essential to determining the association between symptoms and metabolic rejection of a particular food. Eating only a small amount infrequently has prevented intolerance to most foods even on the high-risk list.
Meals should be eaten slowly being conscious of thorough chewing. An enjoyable frame of mind and favorable surroundings beneficially influence digestion.
Many individuals have difficulty digesting their food whether it be from the low-risk or high-risk list. Many individuals do not produce enough stomach acid, which is important initial part of digestion. Apple Cider Vinegar or Betaine Hydrochloride are often helpful for individuals with insufficient stomach acid production. Others may have insufficient digestive enzyme production. Digestive supplements are worth considering if you have prominent gastrointestinal disturbances such as gas, cramps, bloating, indigestion, etc. While acid and digestive enzyme supplements are available at health-food stores, most don’t seem to work very well. I have selected a select few that provide consistent benefit. Remember these are only to be used with meals.
GUIDELINES ABOUT RESTAURANTS
The same concepts still apply. Don’t overeat. Take the remainder home for another meal. Look for pure unprocessed natural food. Avoid foods you do not tolerate – ask about the ingredients if necessary. Remember that you are paying to eat out for enjoyment, don’t risk your health for their convenience. Eat a balanced meal; perhaps they will split a portion of one item with another (ex: a half portion of rice and a half portion of vegetables instead of one or the other).
Most good steak and fish restaurants, health food restaurants, and restaurants with a good salad bar will fit into the mini-food program guidelines. French, Italian, Chinese, and Indian restaurants tend to have rich sauces, spicy foods, and fried entrees which may not be acceptable for you. Authentic Mexican food contains a small amount of a wide variety of ingredients, a so-called peasant meal. They are typically not a huge tostada or burrito as is often served in Americanized places.
This program emphasizes a WIDE VARIETY, SMALL PORTIONS, and FRESH & NUTRITIOUS FOODS. Hopefully you will be able to tolerate nearly everything on the low and high risk lists. These are only guidelines, what works for you depends on the portion size, frequency, and you. “I work or I’m busy” or “I’m not a very good cook” or “What about my family?” or “I eat out often” or “I don’t have a regular schedule” are all excuses from patients in the beginning. Most realize that it is simple, only the change is difficult. But like all things of significant value, some effort is required. Those that have optimum health earn and continue to maintain it. So can you.
Remember health is the harmony among many, many factors. A proper and nourishing diet is a large part but is often insufficient by itself. Choose a healthy lifestyle and attitude, nourish those aspects of your life that are enriching, and keep your life’s aggravations in perspective.
LOW RISK FOODS
* When beans are eaten with a whole grain, such as brown rice, millet, basmati rice, or buckwheat, they form a complete protein.
VEGETABLES: all non-sprayed and fresh vegetables including sprouts
OIL: Cold Pressed (expeller not chemically extracted) almond, extra-virgin olive, peanut, safflower, sesame, or sunflower. Raw unsalted butter is pure and unheated and generally a low risk food.
CONDIMENTS: Sea salt (Sea salt is vacuum dried at low temperatures and is an excellent source of trace minerals. Table salt is processed and additives are used to prevent caking), rice vinegar, herbs and spices of your choice, kelp. (Many commercial condiments such as ketchup and salad dressing contain high fructose syrup, additives or have processed/hydrogenated oils with trans fats- these should be avoided).
NOTE: Purified water should be used for cooking and be drunk liberally between meals. Purified water should be free of impurities and chemicals. We recommend that eight glasses or half your body weight in ounces of water be consumed throughout the day.
HIGH RISK FOOD LIST
ACID/CITRUS FRUITS: grapefruits, lemons, limes, oranges, pineapples, pomegranates, sour plums, cherries, tangerines, tangelos
SUB-ACID FRUITS: apples, apricots, cherries, fresh figs, grapes, kiwis, mangos, nectarines, papayas, peaches, pears, plums (prunes)
BERRIES: blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries, cranberries, gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries
SWEET FRUITS: bananas, dates, figs, grapes (raisins), persimmons
MELONS: cantaloupes, casabas, honey dews, watermelons
** FOODS TO ALWAYS AVOID **