Mono-diets & eating psychology
My mom had once told me that when she was a girl and my grandfather Ernesto was sick, he would eat a diet of only fresh fruit, an easily digestible and high-energy food, for a few days so his body could focus on healing.
Many years later, when I was in New Mexico studying with Rita Navarette, a traditional Mexican curandera (healer) she suggested that it can be healing to have a mono-diet of fresh melon one day per week to rest the digestive organs.
I smiled and immediately thought my grandfather.
My mother, too, has partaken in a mono-diet of Guarruz, a Colombian porridge-like stew of plain rice and water slowly boiled over a number a hours, as a gentle mono-diet therapy when the GI system is healing from food poisoning or diarrhea.
(though when I texted her to ask the correct spelling she told me she makes it whenever, just because she likes it) : – )
In the Ayurvedic tradition of India, practitioners suggest eating a mono-diet of kitchari, a porridge-like meal of mung dahl beans and basmati rice, one of the most easily digestible foods according to Ayurvedic science, for a specific number of days to help heal digestion and re-balance the body.
Here we find a multi-cultural wisdom woven through some body care practices.
In the modern nutritional world, filled with “body hacks” and diet trends, I take special interest in studying traditional healing practices, especially when you find trends across cultures. In the U.S. there is a habit of taking just about anything diet-related and filtering it through a collective lens fixated on body weight or perfect health.
That means that even ancient and beautiful dietary practices can turn into ‘diets’ and simply add to the already existing burdens and pressures around eating.
Because of this, a simple way of eating like I mentioned above is appropriate in certain circumstances (more about this here). Many people need to work on their relationship to food (which is why I strongly integrate eating psychology in this work) and without that side of things, end up running in circles with their eating. When eating psychology issues are worked out, you’d be amazed how much changes for the better.
For those that find themselves in the appropriate circumstances (especially when sick and gathering energy to heal), a simple diet or a mono-diet may be an intuitive and healing nutritional strategy that has been practiced in different cultural contexts based on what we might consider “the wisdom of grandmothers.”
I hope this gives you food for thought.
With love and respect,