On a recent family trip, we visited Tryon Palace, built in 1770. We took a fascinating tour, including the kitchen of that time. Our tour guide explained that only two meals were prepared daily; one big meal for Governor Tryon and his family and one for the servants that lived and worked at the palace.
The main meal, dinner, was served between 2-4 pm. In the evening, supper was leftovers from the main meal, and breakfast the next day was leftovers from what wasn’t eaten at yesterday’s dinner and supper. Even the Governor of North Carolina had to stretch his meals while living in a palace.
I took from this experience that we consume way too much food daily, thanks to the advent of ultra-processed food. And we prepare way too many meals because the current dietary recommendation is to eat three meals and three snacks daily.
It’s soooo much work! And way too much food.
IT’S WHY WE’RE ADDICTED TO ULTRA-PROCESSED FOOD
Let’s face it, we all still eat bread and pasta because it’s delicious and convenient – and it’s hard to give up. That’s because it lights up our dopamine receptors in the brain, making us feel great, hence the addiction!
We also know that ultra-processed simple carbs are a sure way to excess weight, leading to inflammation and poor health. We’ve all felt the effects of giving it up for a moment, losing those few pounds and feeling more energetic. But then we go out with friends, get another taste, and BAM, addiction sets in, and we’re hooked again. Damn you, bread!
Sure, we’ve been eating bread for what feels like forever, but it was the only processed food on the table in Tryon’s time. Yes, sweets and cakes were also a thing, but only reserved for special occasions since sugar was too expensive for everyday consumption.
EAT AS PEOPLE DID 250 YEARS AGO
Let’s get back to basics in the kitchen and eat more simplistically.
Here’s the plan!
- Prepare one big meal daily. Depending on the size of your family, it should stretch for at least 1-2 days of eating. If you can’t stomach last night’s dinner, have a piece of fruit and boiled eggs for breakfast.
- Consider fasting at least one meal a day. Breakfast is often the easiest. It’s ok only to eat twice a day. After all, overconsumption of food is one of the leading causes of chronic illness in western society. It takes A LOT of energy to digest food, and we’re all so stressed these days. Fasting can give your digestion a break it needs for health and survival, especially if you balance protein, fat, and smart carbs properly.
- I don’t have to explain the benefits of eliminating ultra-processed food in detail. You already know! Give up one processed food in your pantry every month.
We all feel the pressure of getting healthy, whole, organic, better-for-the-environment food on the table. It’s much easier to use processed food instead. So, give yourself time to make small, daily, incremental changes, but keep at it. Don’t give up after minor setbacks. Small changes will make the habit stick, making it much more manageable in time.
Prepare one meal that will last a whole day, eliminate one ultra-processed food monthly, and consider fasting to remove the burden of choice.