This July I am embarking on the monomeal (MM) project, at least for breakfast. Actually the word “mono” is a misnomer, and I should really be calling it minimal instead, because I love nut butters far too much to exclude them from meals. Here is what the MM project is about, in Q&A style.
What is a monomeal?
A monomeal is a very simple meal comprised of single-ingredient, usually raw fruits. Simple as that! For example, a bowl of banana coins, melon balls or fresh pineapple chunks. You can search monomeals on instagram for more visual examples. Monomeals also include the philosophy of intuitive eating, where you eat as much as your body craves. You may eat one, or two, or ten bananas, until your body no longer craves for it.
What is your MM project about?
It is all about mindful, sensual and enjoyable eating. Every morning, I will choose a single ingredient to be the highlight of breakfast (not necessarily a true monomeal). To keep things simple, I have decided to follow the letters of the alphabet from A-Z chronologically. For example, A for Apple on day 1, B for Bananas on day 2 and so on. The meal itself involves exercising all your senses during consumption – appreciating its looks, inhaling its aroma, feeling its texture on your tongue, fully tasting it, as well as hearing and being aware of your surroundings, and most importantly, thoughts. Too often we like to crowd our bowls with a buffet of ingredients – nut butters, seeds, berries, cacao nibs, coconut sprinkles and bee pollen. It is a party of highly intense flavor combinations, but can you truly enjoy and appreciate the essence of each ingredient?
Of course, the MM project is also all about sharpening my photography skills (still life photography). With just some simple ingredients to use as “props,” I can focus on ensuring all the aspects of the shoot are as well executed as they can be – lighting, positioning, subject, backdrop.
How will you get all your nutrients on as you embark on your MM project?
For now the MM project only applies to meals at breakfast, for a start. Nevertheless, even if you mono eat for many of your meals, you’ll be receiving adequate variety in your food but over a few days instead of within one meal. If you lived on bananas alone and nothing else, you might well run short of nutrients. But your body is never going to let you live on bananas only – after a while you would naturally start feeling desire for another food – perhaps a citrus fruit, or some leaves, or avocado. Mono eating allows the body to become more finely attuned to what it actually needs, rather than the foods that our minds trick us into thinking we need.
Other benefits of the MM project
A simple life. I think the way people eat mirrors the complexity of their life; what happens on the plate happens in their lives. Committing to an mono- or minimal meal brings you in tune with simplicity. One texture, one flavor, one color and one experience. It will help you to hone in on the beauty and, paradoxially, the simple complexity of one food. What happens in the body resonates outward too. As you become more comfortable with monomealing or minimal meals, you might find yourself with greater focus and attention, such as reading one book at a time, having less tabs opened on your Internet browser. So you still think it is boring? Abundance is found in the depths of simplicity because we experience the inherent complexity. A seemingly intractable paradox but you’ll only understand if you try it out.
With simple meals that are settled in a jiffy, you’d get more free time to pursue other hobbies. There was a phase where I used to think cooking up a storm in a kitchen was fun, but it’s over. Perhaps because of my day job in the F&B, I barely want meal preparations to take 30 minutes or longer. I’m happy now that I can find time to think, write, and read (currently, The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling), and hang out a bit.
I suppose this MM project is simply a microcosm of the phase my life is moving into right now – towards minimalism, simplicity, and finding contentment in the simplest of things. And through this exercise, though it has only been three days, I find a fillip in the clarity of my thoughts, focus and attention span, and it is feeling real good.
I cannot resist a good quote and I’ll end succinctly with a graphic description from the Essene Gospel of Peace – a most interesting book about the healing miracles and health work of Jesus of Nazareth and other Essenes.
Cook not, neither mix all things one with one another, lest your bowels become as steaming bogs.
Ancient wisdom is timeless.