Our Ideal Diet menu plans in this chapter will consist of four 4-Day rotation diets, one for each season. This diet/eating plan may require some adaptation from our usual way of eating, and may not necessarily be an easy diet plan to follow.
For many people, it could be a very difficult shift, because it essentially includes no already prepared foods, such as pizza or sandwiches. Others will feel limited because they are used to more foods per meal, more variety, and especially the commonly consumed protein-starch meals, which personally I find the most challenging change to make in my diet. However, this diet is also potentially highly therapeutic for a variety of food-generated and digestive problems. It is also very helpful in normalizing weight and for the average person with some food reactions or allergies. Those who have usually eaten a variety of foods and who are healthy with good digestive function will probably not need to follow strict food combining or a strict rotation diet. This is to say that in order to make them more realistic to the average consumer the following diets and recipes are not exact to some of my previous rules of rotation and food combining. The recipe variances we have made in our food combining are usually minor, such as dried fruits or nuts with a grain breakfast. It is wise, though, to continue to eat simply of a variety of foods and to avoid the daily eating of specific foods, especially commonly allergenic ones such as milk, eggs, wheat, corn, soy, tomatoes, and oats.
The food charts shown later offer four Day s of sample meals for each season. With my guidance, Eleonora Manzolini has put together these seasonal menu plans and many delicious, yet simple, recipes. Even so, our suggestions may not all be to the liking of everyone. There are, of course, many other possibilities; feel free to adapt them to feed your heart, mind, soul, and of course, body. Creativity is an important part of nutrition. The sample menu plans and recipes are offered primarily to educate and inspire you to follow the principles of simple, regular, wholesome meals combined so as to best promote digestion and utilization.
For example, in reviewing the meal guidelines of the previous chapter, we see that breakfast is a meal composed of a simple carbohydrate (fruit) followed by a complex carbohydrate, such as whole grains. Some of our breakfast recipes are even a little more involved, with some fruit, grain, and even nuts combined. Often we may give more than one breakfast suggestion, and those wanting to follow stricter guidelines and eat lighter can just consume fruit in the morning, which may be followed in an hour or two by some starchy food. In the summer, this may be even more apropos. Even our complex breakfasts are still simpler than many people may currently eat, containing much less protein or fat, and allow our body to prepare for those heavier foods later. However, if our jobs require strenuous physical effort or we feel our bodies require more substantial foods earlier in the Day (this may be true when we do not eat anything after dark), some proteins can be used for breakfast. Eggs (poached or soft-boiled are best; over-easy with a small amount of butter is okay) can be eaten with toast or tortillas and some vegetables. One of my favorite (and heavier) breakfasts is two eggs over easy served on tortillas with alfalfa sprouts, diced tomatoes, a slice of avocado, and some salsa. However, I definitely do not support the typical American breakfast of bacon or sausage (no cured or lunchmeats ever) and eggs, potatoes, toast, and juice; it is excessive in food, fats, and protein.
Overall, these menu plans provide a modified, not strict, rotation diet; our suggestions and recipes may overlap some of the common foods. If a strict rotation diet is desired to help with food allergies, it will only take a little more discipline and adaptation from the provided plans. Clearly though, no foods are suggested at all meals, or even daily.
With the common American eight-to-five lifestyle, it may be difficult to have our main meal at lunchtime. Our business schedule does not allow us a 1:00–4:00 p.m. break for lunch and siesta time as in many other countries. Since this is the case, some of the menu plans can allow switches between lunch and dinner; yet, they will still be written as the main meal at midDay because this we believe is best nutritionally. As an example, on Day 3 of Spring, the fish lunch would need to be prepared the night before and taken to work. If this is not practical, the couscous dish can be eaten at lunch and the fish and vegetables prepared fresh for dinner.
Following the sample menus and recipes are seasonal food lists. These seasonal foods are primarily from the vegetable kingdom. Most animal foods are available year round, and in many parts of the world, with modern technology and improved storage, a lot of fruits and vegetables can be found outside their season. If we can consume about 50–75 percent of our foods as fresh and seasonal–that is, near the area where they are grown and at the time when they are naturally harvested—that will be a good beginning.
I am very supportive of vegetarianism, yet I realize that most people in our culture and the world do not choose to eat this way. To be realistic and also supportive of the omnivorous diet, some of the meals in the menu plans contain fish and poultry; I have included no red meats. I believe that if we keep our priorities and food groups in the right perspective, an omnivorous diet can be equal to or healthier than a vegetarian one, and often easier to follow as well as easier from which to acquire all the essential nutrients. Our menu plans and recipes are also low in milk products and eggs, foods that are best eaten only moderately by most adults. At the end of each season, following the menu plan and its specific recipes, I’ve included a few extra vegetarian recipes to replace omnivorous ones, a couple of fish recipes, and some that include eggs and dairy products to provide more choices. These extra recipes are either very unique ones, have special healing properties, or are good ones from books no longer in print. Otherwise, I will provide references for suggested recipes from other popular books.
It is more common now for both vegetarians and omnivores to be finding a new balance that combines many of the wholesome foods of the strict vegetarian with the avoidance of land animals and their by-products milk and eggs. Instead they consume the nourishing water animals, both fresh water and ocean fish. The quality of usable protein in fish is excellent, the nutrient content is high and the digestability is very good for most people. I have termed this diet “pescaveganism”—fish and strict vegetarianism—and it is the main diet I have followed for many years.
Seasonal food lists follow the recipes to help you with shopping and food awareness. These lists are taken from another project,
The Seasonal Food Guide poster and booklet, also published by Celestial Arts. Our menu plans and recipes are not taken exclusively from these seasonal food lists; that would be too difficult nowaDay s, and unrealistic. Many foods, such as the grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds store relatively well and are used commonly throughout the year by most people. Mainly, it is the fruits and vegetables that should bring out our seasonal awareness, and our recipes will give the suggestion that we are shopping for fresh, local produce as we hope you will. Many of our recipes will cross over seasonally, depending on the climate in which we live, and some of the additional recipes taken from other books, since they often provide a combination of foods, may likewise be used in other seasons if you wish.
In Staying Healthy With the Seasons, based on the Oriental Five Element Theory, five seasons are discussed. Yet here we have only four seasonal menu plans. The “fifth” season the Chinese call the “doyo,” meaning transition. It relates both to late summer as well as to the two to three weeks of seasonal change around the solstices and equinoxes. These are the times that I make some shifts in my diet—at least I take a closer look at it and ask myself whether it needs any changes to best support my energy and health and adaptation to the next season. Often I will write down a plan encompassing what I am doing and outlining the changes I wish to make. The equinoxes—moving into spring and autumn—appear to be the most significant shift periods of the year. At these times I usually will do a cleansing diet to rest from food and lighten myself up so I can be more aware of shifts happening in my life. In spring, I do a ten-Day Master Cleanser fast and then, in autumn, I usually take a few Day s or a week for a fast or cleansing diet of fruits and vegetables. Most people, unless they are too nutrient deficient, weak, or ill, can follow this type of program. It is outlined in Chapter 18 in some of the later programs, specifically
Fasting and General Detoxification.
Prior to the menu plans, recipes, and seasonal food lists, “some basics” will be provided by Ms. Manzolini and myself to help in creating our healthy diet. Simple utensil and shopping lists, basic cooking and storing ideas, and some general tips and shortcuts will also be included. A specific nutritional assessment will follow our seasonal menu plans, generated by recording each diet as it might be eaten over a seven-Day period, and then entering it into a computer to quantify the nutrient values. It then will print out the daily levels of fat, protein, and many vitamins and minerals, which I have summarized in the chart. This chapter ends with a glossary of new and unusual foods that may be found in some supermarkets and most health food stores. Natural food products have grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, and there are some very good products available (also some “junk”).
We hope all of this information will help you on your path to a new way of eating, or will allow you to fine tune your already health-oriented diet. Enjoy!