Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Sometime in the late 80's I went to see a holistic health practitioner named Lonny Brown about my migraine headaches which had started when I was 20.  I got one every other weekend, either on Saturday or Sunday. The pattern was almost always the same:  a brutal 24 hour headache on the right side of my head.

I went to a number of doctors and no medications ever helped, so I went to see Lonny. He saw clients at his house. He was thin with a lovely beak nose and a head of bushy black hair. His living room had lots of pillows and plants and Indian throws on the furniture. I really don't remember much else about the visit or what he suggested I do for my headaches. Whatever it was, it didn't work, most likely because I didn't follow his advice. However, one thing he asked me which I've never forgotten is whether I ate breakfast. I answered that I always did.

"Are you always hungry in the morning?" he asked.

"No, not always."

"Why do you eat when you're not hungry?" he asked.

My answer was probably something like, "I thought breakfast was the most important meal."

His advice: don't eat if you're not hungry. It's funny to think back now how that seemed radical to me at the time, and though it didn't help my migraines, it did help me rethink breakfast and other meals.

Over the years I have followed contrary advice, but I always come back to that simple idea and I'm now applying it with my daughter who, at 16 years old, leaves for school each day at 7:15 without breakfast and sometimes comes home at 3:30 and still hasn't eaten.

I get up by 7:00, and I usually get hungry by 10:30 or 11:00, so at first I worried that Alice was eating a candy bar between classes and just didn't want to tell me (she does have a sweet tooth). But no, she assures me that some days she just isn't hungry. On days when she is hungry, she eats a quesadilla or mollete, maybe a fruit salad. (This is Mexico and real food is just as easy to find as junk food both at school and close to it.) Alice is normal weight, sleeps well and gets up in the mornings without complaining. She's seldom sick, does well in school, and has an active social life, so I've decided not to worry about the way she eats when she's not at home. When she is home I serve her meals that are at least 1/2 vegetables and I make sure there's always fresh fruit available. Also, she often buys fresh corn tortillas for herself and prepares them with homemade beans and salsa. I'm convinced that not nagging her about breakfast has let her know that I think she's a responsible person, and I don't forget to praise her when she makes sensible food choices. (I also try not to criticize when she makes lousy ones -- but I'm not as good at that.)

I have Lonny Brown to thank for my peace of mind about letting her do her own thing. It's opposite from the way I was raised. My mother never let me leave for school in the morning without a glass of juice and at least a piece of toast with a cheese slice on it or a bowl of cereal. Her opinion was in line with this article: The Importance of Breakfast: Diabetes Forecast Magazine which claims people who eat breakfast are more successful and less likely to be overweight.  Maybe my daughter and I are just the exceptions that prove the rule, but I don't think so.

Here's an article by Dr. Mercola about breakfast which is very much in line with my thinking: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/01/breakfast-mistakes.aspx.

As I was writing this post, I googled Lonny Brown and I see that he's still in the same area and has written a couple of books that sound interesting. If I was back in New Hampshire and still got migraines (I don't) I'd go see him again. You have to be a certain kind of patient to work with a holistic doctor and that wasn't me in the 80's. It is me today.

RELATED POSTS: Rethinking Breakfast


  1. Hi Cydie! Thanks for the nice shout-out on your blog. So delighted to hear that you have found your way to health and are passing on the wisdom of natural living to your daughter. Eating on clock time is a "modern" commercial/industrial convention, as is the myth of "three square meals a day." Millions of years of genetic programming support a daily regime of working hard, eating once a day, and resting equally as often. I also practice and recommend systematic caloric restriction and therapeutic fasting. (see my first book "Self-Actuated Healing"). I take it you cured your migraines the metabolic way, through good nutrition. I've been vegetarian since 1970, which gives you some clue about my age. :-) Carry on, Cyndie, the world benefits from sharing your healing experience. With you for Wellness, ~ Lonny

  2. A 2016 update: My daughter just got accepted into the veterinary program at the national university in Mexico City -- a fabulous opportunity. (In Mexico, you go right into professional school from high school.) She's still not eating breakfast.


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