She had read most of our site and done so much research on diets for reversing tooth decay. She had read our articles, “How to find the healthiest diet for YOU” and “How to reverse tooth decay with diet”, and she still had great questions.
So, in an effort to share more helpful strategies that you can implement immediately in your daily life, we’re creating a new series to discuss the role of diet in helping us live free from tooth decay and gum disease.
In this first article of the series, let’s explore one relatively simple diet-based action you can start today that will have a profound impact on your long-term oral and whole body health.
It’s all about optimizing our genetic expression
Thanks to the field of epigenetics, we now know that living a healthy, vital life is more about our environment and day-to-day habits than any predetermination by our genetics.
In other words, our daily choices and habits turn off or on various genes within our bodies. Eat foods that nourish us, turn on genes that express health and vitality. Habituate stress, turn on genes for inflammation, fat storage, and disease.
While this is a simplified explanation, really the takeaway is that we’re in control. We have the ability to make choices that express our genetic potential toward greater and greater levels of health and vitality. Pretty sobering, isn’t it?
So, this series is going to put forth several action items we can integrate into our daily lives to help move the needle towards more health and vitality (and better ability to stop tooth decay). And the first action is…
Eat a savory breakfast
Regardless of your dietary preferences and your opinions on which diet is the healthiest for humans, making your first meal of the day savory instead of sweet gets you started on a healthier path.
Kind of like the healthy habit of making your bed in the morning, having a savory breakfast sets your intent for making healthy food choices for the day.
After all, once the ‘sugar bugs’ in our bodies get a taste of something sweet, one thing is for sure… They will make it really loud and clear that they want more sugary foods, and the battle to resist sweet foods throughout the day will be your norm.
We’ve written pretty extensively on how sugar undermines our oral (and whole body) health.
In the article, ‘What causes tooth decay (and how to stop it)’, we explore how sugar helps disrupt our body’s natural mechanism to cleanse our teeth from the inside out. And in the article, ‘How teeth decay, the perfect storm between pH, sugar, and microbes’, we dive into how sugar causes problems directly in the mouth, too.
So, instead of wrestling with your sugar demon all day, start the day with a savory meal that has a healthy balance of protein, carbs and fats. (Here’s a link to the next article in this series, which emphasizes the importance of increasing our intake of healthy fats.)
Here are just a few of the many benefits of starting with a savory breakfast:
- Increased energy throughout the day
- Greater mental focus and clarity
- Improved mood
Starting to sound enticing?????
Incidentally, if you want to take a deeper dive on this subject of how to stop tooth decay and remineralize your teeth, we invite you to download our FREE eBook, How to Stop Tooth Decay and Remineralize Your Teeth. This free guidebook is loaded with simple-to-apply actions to help anyone who is looking to live a cavity-free life.
How to break the SAD breakfast routine…
Cold cereal, bagel, toast and jam, oatmeal, pancakes. All SAD (Standard American Diet).
Full disclosure here: we both grew up eating cold cereal for breakfast. From our view, cold, commercially-processed cereal in commercially-produced milk nears the epitome of the wrong way to start a day.
We all get it.
If we want different results than what’s normal, we have to make different choices.
In this case, breaking the sweet breakfast norm is critically important for shifting from whatever version of SAD you habituate to a diet for health and vitality.
So, how can someone start to make the shift to savory breakfasts?
Two actions here; one inner and one outer…
Step 1: Reframe your meals
First, try changing your view of the meals throughout your day. Rather than having the labels of ‘breakfast, lunch and dinner’, try giving them generic labels like ‘meal 1, meal 2, and meal 3’.
We first came across this ‘reframing’ of meals from our professional friends Dallas and Melissa Hartwig in their excellent book, It Starts with Food. These folks are the geniuses behind the Whole30 movement (which OraWellness products are proud to be a part of).
This inner shift of awareness helps us shake up our cultural programming of what foods we ‘should and shouldn’t’ have for a given meal.
For example, when I think of what ‘breakfast’ is from the view of the culture in which I was raised, my mind goes to cold cereal or (on a special day) french toast or pancakes.
And lunch? Well lunch is a sandwich of course.
You get the point.
So, rather than having to buck the mental associations we have from our childhood with the terms ‘breakfast, lunch and dinner’, try just viewing the meals of the day as what they are: meals 1, 2, and 3, or morning, midday and evening meals.
In this way, we can step out of our internalized cultural norms and won’t feel strange eating a savory first meal.
Step 2: Have a cup of soup for breakfast (err, meal 1 :))
Ok, what do we ideally want in a first meal of the day?
We want to feel nourished.
We want to feel full throughout the morning without being weighed down by a heavy meal.
We want something simple.
We want breakfast to be easy and quick!
And, between getting ready for work (or getting the kids ready for school) or whatever your morning energy pull is, maybe ‘easy and quick’ should have been mentioned first in that list.
Voila. Leftover soup to the rescue.
It’s savory. It’s nourishing. It’s quick. It even fulfills our desire to have a cup of something warm in the morning to warm our belly (without the caffeine or sugar).
Whenever possible, we like to have examples from history to provide us some empirical evidence that the solution we propose has merit.
In this case, we once again turn to Dr. Weston Price and the work he did with healing tooth decay in many children. In one particular experiment, the children were fed a rich stew once daily along with Dr. Price’s now-famous vitamin combination of high vitamin butter oil and cod liver oil, a glass of raw milk, and biscuits made from freshly ground wheat.
No need to reinvent the wheel.
“So how do you have soup for meal 1?”
I’m sure you’ve realized this…
It takes less than double the time to prepare twice the size of meal.
In other words, if we’re going to make a meal for 4 people, we could make that same meal for 6-8 people with the addition of just a little more prep work.
So here’s the game plan to make it super quick and easy for you to have soup for breakfast…
Once a week, make soup stock.
If you’re in a pinch or time is seriously limited for you at the moment, you can buy stock, but it’s never going to be as inexpensive, delicious, or nutritious as homemade stock. Do what works for your life.
Our preferred base is bones from animals raised locally and on pasture. We also always stock the bones when we bake a turkey. In many ways, bone broth is just so great for both oral and whole body health. However, if you choose to eat a plant-based diet, make a rich vegetable stock from scratch.
With just a little prep work and some time in a crock pot, you’ll have 6-8 cups of the base to make a week’s worth of your savory ‘meal 1’.
Then one option is to make the stock into a big pot of soup and ladle it into containers to freeze and use throughout the week.
Our preferred option is to freeze the stock in quart containers and make the soup fresh.
Then while making dinner, you can toss the extra veggies, seasonings, meats, beans, whatever into a pot on the back of the stove, add a quart of stock, and you have savory breakfast ready for the next few mornings.
One of the easiest ways to enrich the soup du jour is to put any leftovers from yesterday into the soup. You know, when you’ve already eaten the leftover and there’s still a little leftover? Rather than trying to find the enthusiasm to enjoy the double leftover, chop it up and add it to the soup.
Making some Mexican food? Prep a little extra and make a spicy soup.
Doing Italian? Make a minestrone.
One of our family’s favorites is from Vietnam, called Pho (pronounced ‘fuh’) which we make with sautéed beef and veggies in a warming, herb-rich stock base with fresh ginger and turmeric.
You can serve this nourishing meal with rice noodles if you eat some grains. Recently, we’ve been really enjoying making Pho with ‘zoodles’ made from spiralizing zucchini. While zoodles are a little more time consuming to make, it’s a fun way to enjoy noodles without the grains.
So, try starting your day with a savory cup of soup.
The combination of nutrition, simplicity, and starting the day with a warm, nourished belly could make all the difference in your long-term path to optimal oral health and whole being wellness.
What about you? What have you learned about avoiding sweet breakfasts? Have you found other strategies helpful? Please share them in the comments so we can all continue to learn from one another!
For the next article in this series on diet and cavity prevention, check out, “Why eating healthy fats is our #1 diet hack to heal cavities“.
Helpful, Related Resources:
How to stop tooth decay and remineralize your teeth [Free eBook]
Why eating healthy fats is our #1 diet hack to heal cavities [article 2 in this series on diet and cavity prevention]
How to find the healthiest diet for YOU [article]
What causes tooth decay (and how to stop it)? [article]
How teeth decay – the perfect storm between sugar, pH, and oral microbes [article]
Whole30.com [great diet based resource]