It would seem that eating sub-optimal food is a right of passage for a man. Chicken wings, hot dogs, pizza, chips, and of course beer, all accompany your typical North American Super bowl Sunday (or any day that involves watching sports). To eat a clean meal while getting together with your male friends almost seems taboo, like you just shouldn’t do it. I may be a woman, but I grew up with brothers. I see this in my male clients and friends, through the men in my family and watch my husband struggle with the same mentality-real men eat whatever they want.
Viewing entries in
Feed Your Body
One of my favourite snacks has always been crackers. Unfortunately, most crackers are pretty unhealthy and not a great source of nutrients on their own. Crackers from a box are processed, refined and stripped of their nutrient value. On top of that, they are often filled with vegetable oils like canola, safflower, sunflower or cottonseed oil which are unstable inside the body. Most boxed crackers are full of refined carbs and unhealthy fat but have little to no protein or fibre content- the more you eat, the more you keep eating!
I am absolutely IN LOVE with these fish cakes. They are so easy to make and they taste like they're straight out of a restaurant (if I don't say so myself)! I created these because I wanted a variation on salmon that tasted great and wasn't so boring. These will definitely hit the spot! Here's the ingredients you'll need:
It's January! New year, new you, and new goals to achieve.
"This year I'm going to lose weight and get fit. I'm going to change the way I eat and exercise 5 days a week. I'm finally going to lose this extra weight once and for all"!
Sound like you?
You, and millions of others, are making the decision to get healthy this year. And good for you! Even though many new years resolutions end up fading out by March, the initial drive to get healthy is a huge component of how successful you'll efforts will be.
It seems like there are more and more articles coming up in the news about sugar consumption, and the risks that excess sugar poses on our health. While this realization is nothing short of common sense, people still have the notion that sugar consumption, is no big deal.
Just like cigarettes were once considered "safe", and even recommended by physicians, sugar is following suit. With study after study showing the damage that sugar causes on our liver, health professionals still say that consuming sugar in moderate quantities is safe.
As you look at the way majority of people consume food, it’s easy to see that if we don’t change not only the way we eat food, but the way we view food on a whole spectrum, we are truly in for a rude awakening. We’ve made a mess of our food system to say the least. All you have to do is look at your local grocery store shelves to see that the food that’s being consumed in abundance isn’t really food at all.
How many times have you gone on a specific diet, lost weight, and gained it all back?
If you're involved in the stock market, I'm sure you've heard all about Weight Watchers soaring prices after Oprah took a 10% stake in the company buying 6.4 million shares and being awarded to buy 3.5 million more. The stock more than doubled in it's worth and she made an estimated 70 million dollars in just one day!
How many times do you look in the mirror and see one more thing that has fallen, drooped, or bulged just a little bit more than it did the last time you looked?
The further we get into the aging process, the faster it seems to go. Now I know that I'm only 26 years old (27 in 3 months), but I have noticed over the past few years that I, am indeed, aging... just like the rest of the world. What, I am not immortal!?
Have you ever been on a diet that claimed to be the "holy grail" of all diets? Have you ever tried so hard to lose weight, get a better body, eat as clean as you possibly could, only to find you fail?
You are not alone.
This year, as in previous years, hundreds of thousands of men and women will make a New Years resolution to lose weight, get fit, and eat better only to find they fail and go right back to their old habits and ways of life. The reason why most of them fail is for one reason alone... they forgot to change their mindset first.
What does Christmas mean to you?
The holidays are among us and there is more cheer, laughter, and love than any other time of the year in most cases. Along with a surplus of joy there is also a surplus of food, and not just an abundance of carrot and celery sticks with extra brown rice and lean chicken breasts, but an array of savoury, sweet, fatty, and salty dishes…usually packed into one delicious meal!
Trans Fats What are Trans Fats and why are they so bad for me?
Trans Fats are literally found in hundreds upon hundreds of foods that North American consumers buy on a daily basis. They are in breads, cereals, cakes, cookies, chips, crackers, ice creams, frozen dinners, dressings, sauces, and many more foods that you may not even know that you're regularly consuming.
How would your life change if you knew that half the groceries you were buying had poison in them?High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
What would your life be like if you didn't have to worry about what you ate? What if you knew that everything you bought was made with top quality ingredients and was completely beneficial to your wellbeing? Unfortunately, we do not live in a world governed by these principles and there are foods you need to stop eating, like yesterday.
Have you ever finished a meal only to find yourself snacking half an hour to an hour later? You are not alone! I hear countless stories from clients who have a tendency to snack after they've finished a meal, and most often, this meal is supper. So why are we still grabbing for snacks after we've eaten? Are we really still hungry, did our bodies not get what they needed throughout the day, or is it something else? "What am I doing wrong"!? This is the frantic cry I hear ALL the time. So lets take a look as to why one might be continually snacking or feel like they need to continue eating after a meal, particularly in the evening.
Hello again my faithful followers and readers! This week I will be discussing just one topic I have been thinking and talking about for quite some time now. It's the topic pf gluten free diets, and why they are and are not beneficial. A lot of people I talk to automatically believe that if a food gluten free, it must mean it's healthy. This is not always the case though... 7. Gluten Free Means Healthy
This is a very widely discussed topic throughout the nutrition world, the fitness world, and throughout the world in general. Gluten free has become a posh way of eating regardless of gluten intolerance or not. So what is gluten exactly? What is gluten intolerance, and is gluten free really the way to go?
I have been asked by clients numerous times about gluten free, and of course, I have tried it for myself. I ate gluten free about 95% of the time for about 2 years. Am I still gluten free? No, I am not, not because I don't think gluten allergies and sensitivities are real, but because I don't have one.
What is gluten?
Gluten is the protein found in the endosperm of wheat. Glutens job is to nourish the plant embryo during germination and also contributes to the elasticity of the dough when you bake with it. Gluten is composed of two proteins being gliadin and glutenin and isn't just exclusive to being found in wheat products, but other grains such as rye, barley, oats, and other various crossbreeds.
What is the difference between gluten allergies sensitivities?
When someone is allergic to gluten it is called Celiac Disease. When they eat anything containing gluten, their body will create an immune response that damages their intestines and prevents them from absorbing vital nutrients. According to The National Institute of Health, about 1 in every 141 people have Celiacs Disease (in the United States). In more recent research, scientists have come across another potential form of intolerance called non-celiac gluten sensitivity where common symptoms of celiacs disease are present, but the intestines aren't damaged. This could include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, joint pain, skin conditions, etc..
Obviously if you are celiac, or know 100% that you have a gluten sensitivity, then by all means, please eat gluten free, but if you aren't, then why would you think you need to adopt a way of eating that is quite frankly, unnecessary? Following a gluten free diet when you don't have to can have it's drawbacks if you aren't careful. Often gluten free foods are made with refined, unenriched grains and starches which makes them high in caloric value, but low in nutrient value. Gluten free diets can also lack adequate amounts of fibre and other vitamins and minerals such as calcium, folate, iron, phosphorus, B12, zinc, and more.
So why the craze around gluten free??
Generally people will start feeling better when they stop eating gluten not because of the gluten itself, but because of the increased amount of gluten containing treats being expelled from their diet. This means that cookies, cakes, pasta, bread, and french fries are all gone. Whenever you cut out something from your diet, your body is going to respond or react. For example, when you happen to cut out sugar, your body just so happens to react in way that includes but is not exclusive to: weight loss, mental clarity, improved sleep, improved digestion, improved skin health, improved dental health, lack of anxiety, lack of mood swings, etc.. So is it the breads fault we are feeling sick, tired, and are overweight? Maybe, but most likely not, seeing as celiac disease affects 1% of the population.
My take on eating gluten free is this: if you are celiac or have an extreme sensitivity, cut out gluten and adopt a gluten free diet, but make sure you are eating a well balanced and healthy diet, not just loading up on gluten free junk food. If you aren't celiac or have any sensitivity, eat gluten containing foods in their truest form, being their highest quality. This means: eat organic whole grain products that are unrefined and unbleached. Enjoy a bowl of large flake oatmeal, have a piece of whole wheat toast with an egg on it, these are fine. Eat gluten contain foods in moderation because like anything else, too much of something never turns out well.
Ask yourself what truly may be making you feel ill in your life. Is it gluten or is it maybe some animosity going on with your spouse? Is it gluten making you sick, or could it be the fear of losing your job, the mountain of debt you're in, or the fact that you just lost someone close to you? Life is calling us to wake up, listen, and take an inventory of what's going on. Are you sleeping enough, are you dependent on caffeine, sugar, or alcohol. Are you harbouring resentment or do you need to forgive someone in your life? What are your symptoms and how are they teaching you, calling you to evolve? These are all contributing factors that can cause symptom or disease in the body, not just the food you eat itself. Don't mask the real issues of your life by trying to change something in your diet, it will never work.
We continue on with more falsehoods we've been believing for far too long when it comes to our health and well being. Here are your next two points: 5. The Perfect Diet Exists
I hate to break it you, but there is no "holy grail" way of eating. I used to spend hours upon hours of my days researching the "perfect" way to eat. What foods I was allowed to have, what foods were on my "naughty list", what carbs did to the body, how much protein I should consume... I measured everything down to the oz. and every calorie of food was accounted for, even my chewing gum.
My goal was to find the absolute perfect diet. A diet where I wouldn't crave sugar or caffeine, where I would have the energy and stamina of a teenager, where I would have the most optimal digestion and never have stomach pain, or bloating, where my skin would be clear all the time, my sleep would be the perfect 8 hours and I would always feel rested, and where my weight would just naturally float down to what I envisioned to be the perfect size and shape. This was my mission, and I chose to accept it.
What I found out was very different then what I thought I would though. I never found the perfect diet because the perfect diet doesn't exist. No matter what I tweaked or changed, or how many carbs I cut out, no matter how much dairy, gluten, eggs, nuts, soy, you name it, that I didn't consume, I still experienced fatigue, bloating, digestive complaints, restless sleep, and weight that would initially come off but go right back on again. I used to think that "If I was just more Paleo, or if I just didn't eat that piece of bread, or have those extra almonds" that I would finally achieve nutritional enlightenment, but what I found out was there is no absolute in the way we eat.
We get really down on ourselves when we can't follow a specific plan that we think will change our world forever. "Why can't I just stay on this stupid plan, why is it so hard to not have milk on my cereal instead of almond milk"? These diets seem simple enough, and basic to say the least, so why are they so unsustainable? The answer:
The one constant we have in life is change. We are continuously evolving everyday. Our age changes, our moods change, our interests change, our minds change, so why don't we allow the way we eat to change? Well you can be certain that you have changed the way you eat, and will continue to change the way yo eat. I'm fairly certain you don't drink milk from your mothers breast anymore, nor do you eat baby food...unless you're on the "baby food diet" ;)
Our diet changes when we are sick, when we are training for an event, as we age, it's dependent on our geographic location, the season... Our diets where never meant to stay stuck on one program. Staying on a specific meal plan for the rest of your life means you are resisting the need for your spirit, soul and body to evolve. You are defying your own biology when you dig your heels down and call yourself "Paleo, Low Carb, Vegan, Vegetarian", etc. Do I think any of these strategies are wrong or bad in any way, no, on the contrary I think they are all fantastic, but what if those diets weren't meant to be taken so literally. What if we are actually supposed to take components of each, experiment, have fun, and incorporate each system in accordance to where we are at in life and then move on when it's time to move on?
I encourage you to experiment with different methods of eating but not to go into extremity. Extremity in anything never works out well because we put a plug on change. We deafen to where life is calling us and where we need to accept change. Where to stay and where to move are all hindered when we go into extremes. There is no perfect diet, there is only the best way for you to eat on any given day, and that's going to be subjective to your environment and how you respond to that environment.
6. Organic Means Healthy
I am an advocate of eating sustainably and humainly raised foods. I believe in eating foods that aren't genetically modified, processed and refined, or manufactured for mass consumption. That being said, just because a food product says it's organic doesn't mean that it's necessarily healthy for you.
For example, look at Tostitos chips. They are made with hydrogenated fats and are a refined carbohydrate. They aren't the healthiest option to say the least. Now they have come out with chips that are "baked" and ones that are "wholegrain". This may make the chips seem healthier but they are still the same food. The same goes for organic labels on packaged foods. You can buy a package of cookies but organic sugar is still sugar, organic wheat flour is still wheat flour, they all have the same effects in the body.
Yes, the standard for organic is higher than its counterpart, but it's important to really read the ingredient labels on those foods and take into consideration the amount of processing that's gone into each product. People make the mistake of going into a natural food or health food store and thinking everything is fair game, everything must be good for them because it says organic. This just isn't so.
When choosing fresh produce, nuts, eggs, meat, and diary, I believe organic or locally raised food is definitely 100% the best possible option because of the nutrient value and the way the food was produced. Anything that is pesticide free, herbicide free, sustainably raised, or raw is going to have a much higher nutrient value because of the soil that those vegetables or fruits were grown in, the lack of herbicides and pesticide which strip foods of their value exponentially, and the lack of hormones given to the animals I am choosing to consume, who aren't from feed lot farms feeding on high amounts of corn that goes undigested thus fermenting in their guts. This is why I choose organic or local for these food products.
Anything that is produced for mass consumption, organic or not, is not my first choice. Again, packaged cookies or chips are still cookies and chips. Don't be deceived into believing that everything that says organic means healthy or good for you.
This week we will be looking at the next two lies/deceptions we've been fed by the health and fitness industry. I hope you are getting as much out of these as I am! 3. Fat in Food Makes You Fat
This is a reoccurring theme we've been hearing since the late 70's-early 80's. Interestingly enough this is when obesity rates also started to skyrocket. What happened when the food industry started to take fat out of our diets, is that they had to make foods palatable enough for us to eat, and they did this by adding more sugar.
People have been blaming fat in foods for making them fat, but as we cut out more and more fat, we seemed to get heavier and heavier. Not only does a low fat diet effect your weight, but all the added sugar (particularly high fructose corn syrup) is not being processed by the liver and going straight into fat stores.
What happens to the body when it doesn't have an adequate amount of essential fats is truly shocking. Here are just a few symptoms of sub-clinical to clinical fat deficiency:
- redness around the eyes
- bry brittle nails
- dry hair
- skin rashes
- trouble sleeping
- hormonal challenges
- food cravings
- weight gain
- inability to lose weight
Mix a low fat diet with one that is high in sugar, and it's predictable that a person would gain weight.
Fat is essential for us to live. Our cells are predominantly made out of fat. Our hormones are proteins and fats. If we don't have adequate amounts of fat in our diet, the cell walls become rigid and less permeable, meaning hormone transport is made harder. If you know anything about hormones, then you know that when they aren't functioning properly, all is not well, especially when it comes to weight loss.
All fat, however, is not created equal. The fat that's in processed foods is not like the fat found in nuts, seeds, meats, or high quality dairy products. Oils like cottonseed or canola are highly unstable in the body and are known to induce inflammatory responses. This is because of their processing. You wouldn't sit and eat a bowl of cottonseed, so why are we consuming the oil? The amount of processing that some of those oils go through opposed to say something like olive oil, is so drastic that they ca become rancid in the process. They are then injected with hexane to get rid of the rancid smell and nicely stored on the grocery store shelf for your consumption...
Fats like avocados, raw nuts, full fat organic dairy, high quality meats, coconut oil, nut oils, these are highly and readily available for the body to use. The less processing, the better. Period. As far as dairy goes, there is processing and heat can be disruptive to the molecules (that's not my area of expertise), but I believe that buying full fat, organic products far supersedes their low fat, conventional counterparts.
If you experience any of the symptoms above and you know for a fact that you are either not consuming enough healthy fats, or have the toxic dietary belief that fat in food makes you fat, it may be time to have another look. Do the research for yourself. Watch documentaries like Fed Up, or The Bitter Truth and make your own calls.
4. Calories in/Calories Out
I guess it may go without saying after reading my last post, but not all calories are created equally. Isn't it interesting how a low fat diet can contribute to weight gain or an inability to lose weight? What makes that interesting is that:
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
1 gram of carbohydrates or protein = 4 calories (each)
If fat is higher in calories, then wouldn't it make you gain weight? The answer is that because of these findings, not all calories are created equally.
I'm sure you've heard people say that it take 3500 calories to burn 1Lb of fat. So if you eat a low calorie diet and exercise more than you consume, you should be able to lose a pound to two pounds per week. Simple right? Not so much. Not only is weight loss a lot more complicated than that and complely subjective to each individual and their environment, but not all calories do the same thing inside of the body.
In the documentary Fed Up, Dr. Robert Lustig compares a can of soda to a handful of almonds. Each product contains the same amount of calories but have very different reactions inside the body. The soda has no fiber or fat and goes straight into the bloodstream spiking insulin. Not only does it spike insulin, but the fructose it contains cannot be absorbed by the liver so it has no other choice but to drop into fat storage. The almonds on the other hand are full of fat and fiber and breakdown in the body much much slower and are fully processed by the liver. As you can see, not all calories are the same.
What the health fitness industry claims is that as long as you "burn" more calories than you eat, you'll lose weight. Well this may be true to a certain extent, it also isn't at the same time. The body may initially lose weight (most of which is water), but will quickly plateau or even regress the long a low calorie diet is maintained. The body goes into survival mode through long periods of starvation and stores the little food it does receive in its fat stores, and for a good reason...it's keeping you alive through the next drought or season where food isn't plentiful. Weight gain in this instance is a good thing, it's what our bodies were created to do. Survive.
The problem is though that we don't have famine or drought, not in North America, so when we go on restrictive diets that beg us to "fall of our wagons" and we choose to binge on the very things are bodies have a hard time processing (like high fructose corn syrup or poor quality oils), you better believe the body is going to pack on the pounds, and not in a good way.
Not all calories are created the same because not all humans are created the same. How we digest food, how we eat food, how the food is grown, all effect it's caloric value. And because all of that varies, the calories in calories out methodology is highly outdated and moronic to say the very least. Not only does counting calories not work, but it keeps the body in a state of constant stress because of the fear associated with eating more than your allotted calories for one day. I don't think I need to go into anymore detail about the stress response, but we know that metabolism is directly effected the more stress we are under.
Instead of focusing on the amount of calories in a food, focus on the quality of that food instead. Don't get sucked into the trap of calories in calories out. It's just not that simple. We are not machines, we are organic human beings, start treating yourself like one.
The more I hear about different ways to lose weight, different diets to try to find that "perfect way of eating", or all the miracle pills, powders, surgeries, and strategies to help you finally lose that weight and achieve your full potential, the more I want to take a stand. I'm done being angry about contradicting information in the health industry because it will never go away. One day you'll hear that eating low fat is the way to go, the next day low fat is the worse thing you could do. One day coconut oil is better than anything else, the next day it's not. So with all of the contradicting information we have, what can we TRULY believe?
I will be discussing some of the most common "health" claims you've probably all heard at some point or another and explaining why they can be extremely deceiving and how some them are downright lies we've been fed to keep us unhealthy, overweight, and living in fear.
1. Exercise More + Eat Less = Weight loss
This is probably one of the biggest deceptions that we've been told when it comes to weight loss. And the worst part about it is that 90% of the world believes it. Does exercise burn calories? Yes. Does eating food add calories? Yes. But we are more than just calorie burning machines. We are organic human beings who need more than just a math equation to function optimally. I want everyone to know that I am in favour of movement. The body was created to move and to move beautifully and functionally. What I am not in favour of is how so many of us use exercise. We use it to punish the body into submission when we feel we have an extra pound or two to lose, we exercise out of a place of disgust with our bodies, and we create a stress response that will end up lasting for far too long. This means that the entire time we are exercising, we are creating an even bigger stress response and singling the body to stop the production of lean muscle and to start inhibiting the body of burning fat. If we are in this state, a state of self loath, our negative thinking creates stress in the body. Because exercise is a stress in itself (even though it's a good stress), and overabundance of it is a recipe for disaster. We tend to really go for it in the gym when we feel the need to be somewhere with our bodies, so we push and we push hard. The central nervous system literally takes a beating, the psyche takes a beating, and our hormones take a beating. Mix this with a low calorie diet used to "lose weight", and you have the perfect storm.
When you restrict the body of calories or any nutrients for that matter, the body becomes undernourished on every level and has no other option but to slow down. It slows down the metabolism to utilize the little food it's being given, it slows down the immune system because we aren't getting the vital nutrients we need for it to ward off infection, it slows down the digestive tract, the reproductive system, and it slows down the rate in which we burn fat and build muscle. The body is literally just trying to survive in this state. Not only are we physically undernourished, but we are emotionally and spiritually undernourished. This is itself perpetuates the already raging stress response that's going on.
Anything that puts the body in a stress response will inhibit its ability to shape shift. Period. When I talk to my clients about exercise, I encourage them to adopt the word "movement". Exercise has a very rushed and frantic connotation for most people, but movement gets us to tune into body wisdom and what the body needs specifically each day for each individual. Does that mean I don't agree with going to a gym to workout? Absolutely not. As long as it's for the right reason. Why are you exercising right now? Is it to lose that belly fat, trim your thighs, lift your butt? Or are you doing it for the health of your body? It's ok to want to look good, there's nothing wrong with wanting to put your best foot forward and feel sexy, but when it's done from a place of criticism and judgment, and a place of "not good enough", the body will predictably fight back. You won't lose the weight you want, your body won't change in a sustainable way, and you put your health and your body at risk for injury and disease.
2. No Pain/No Gain
I have lived a life of many struggles, and I always thought (and sometimes still do) that I've got to live life from one struggle to the next. I always thought that if I'm not struggling, I'm not making any progress, that everything has to be a fight. I found out that this was a very toxic belief that I had to purge. What happens in life when we live from one struggle to the next is our perception of success becomes dysfunctional. We then create unnecessary drama so that our situations feel more "normal" for us, and we sabotage our efforts. Consider this postulation though, life is not meant to be a struggle, but a journey.
This became very real for me when I chose to stop lifting weights. I had this no pain no gain mentality where I always had to work really hard, sacrifice my energy and time, my health, or whatever it took just to be "fit". While I continued to live in this routine, my body started to fight back and I gained weight. I would exercise even harder thinking that just a few more sets of exercises or twenty more minutes on the treadmill would do it, but to no avail. When I started to listen to what my body was telling me, I started to slow down (it pretty much forced me to). I started to walk instead of run, and I started doing Pilates. If you know anything about Pilates, you know that although it's not easy, it's defiantly not fast...it's slow...really slow. This was a big leap of faith for me to take. "What if I don't sweat each time, what if I don't feel my legs aching the next day, what if it doesn't make me gasp for air"?!?! These were all the thoughts going through my head. What happened when I finally let go? My body let go. I stopped weighing myself everyday, I stopped restricting my food intake, and I stopped compulsively exercising. I do Pilates 4 times a week, walk a few times a week, and eat food that is high quality and that gives me pleasure. This was my outcome. Needless to say, what I was doing wasn't working for me, and it would have continued to not work for me. It was only after I slowed down and listened to my body that I finally gave it the chance to change.
Another situation that this rang true for me was with the way I ate. I thought that I always had to be on some form of diet or another to truly get the body I wanted. With every diet I tried, I failed. Nothing worked sustainably, and it never would have. I started to eat foods that I enjoyed. Finally I was able to eat what my body truly needed and wanted, and what happened when I let go of my restrictions is that my body naturally gravitated towards certain foods and away from certain foods. I've always eaten healthy but I had all sorts of notions about "good" and "bad" foods. For example, one thing I found out was that my body doesn't like coconut, and that my body likes dairy. I don't care how many Paleo hacks say coconut is the miracle food, for my body, it's not. I react when I eat coconut, but when I cook with butter or cream, I don't get bloated and my tummy doesn't hurt. You tell me who's right, Paleo protocols or my body wisdom? Eating food doesn't have to be a struggle to get your body to where you want it to go. When we have pleasure (and I'll talk about the importance of pleasure in another article), the body switches from a stress response into a relaxation response. Does that mean I'm saying to gorge yourself on cookies and ice cream? No, no I am not, if you think that's what I'm saying, you need to grow up. But the body was designed to receive pleasure. The moral of the story, I work diligently at what I do, but I don't kill myself. I do some form of exercise 5-6 times a week but I don't brake my back to do it. I eat healthy, high quality food that I prepare with love, but I eat what I want and what my body says it needs on any given day. I do not follow one specific diet, I refuse to live in extremity anymore.
It's time we start putting a little more faith and trust in our bodies. It is trying to relay information to you all the time, we are just too busy to give it a word in edge wise. It doesn't matter what any weight loss or diet strategy claims, it won't work if it's going against what your body actually needs. When we put faith in our body wisdom, we activate the relaxation response and turn off the stress response. This just so happens to be the state where the body naturally lets go of unnecessary weight and is able to function optimally on every level.
Hello all my faithful followers, I apologize I haven't blogged for a few weeks. Thank you all for your patience while I continue to learn through my psychology studies.
I want to talk to you about rhythm today. Life is all about rhythm, and rhythm is life. Everything we do follows a particular rhythm, from the sun rising to the sun setting, from our blood pumping in and out of our heart, and from the breath that goes in and out of our lungs, we as humans, are rhythm.
Our bodies are created to follow rhythm in everything we do, and in terms of eating, our bodies follow what science calls "bio-circadian nutrition". Circadian rhythm refers to our sleeping pattern, or our rhythm with the sun and moon as we sleep, so bio-circadian nutrition, like circadian rhythm, also works in tandem with the sun.
Our metabolisms are organic, and we are organic as humans. We live harmoniously and are closest to our homeostatic level when we flow with nature.
In the morning our metabolism is like a small fire, if we put too much wood on the fire, we will snuff it out, but if we give it small amounts, our fire can ignite. Eating a smaller, nutritious breakfast is the best way to stoke the fire. As the sun rises to its highest point, our metabolism also rises to it's highest point, this is between the hours of 12-130pm (high noon). Knowing this, we can then gage when our biggest meal should ultimately be. As life ebs and flows, so our metabolism follows throughout the day. Between the hours of 2-4pm our metabolism starts to drop, which then shouldn't come as a surprise that most people start to crave sugar or caffeine around this time of the day. This is very good news because it means that you don't have a willpower issue, your body is actually just following its natural rhythm! Between 5-9pm your metabolism starts to rise again signalling the time to eat your last meal of the day. Lastly, between the hours of 1-5am, your metabolism is at it's lowest, which means calorie burning potential is also at it's lowest.
Now I know that life gets in the way and we can't always eat our biggest meal at noon, but we can use the information about an ebbing and flowing metabolism to help us understand our physiology better. Remember though that the most important thing about eating is to be in a state of relaxation. Eating a big meal at noon while talking over a stressful business meeting compared to eating a larger dinner in a peaceful environment will not win due to meal timing. I believe that in the long term bio-circadian nutrition is an extremely helpful and beneficial concept to grab hold of if for nothing else but to work in harmony with nature.
Working night shifts are not natural or organic to the body, nor is eating a bunch of food very late into the night (or early depending on how you look at it). I'm not saying not to work night shifts, especially if that is your job, but I am saying it is not a natural way for the body to conduct itself.
Start to experiment with bio-circadian nutrition and see how your body responds, and start to notice all the areas in your life that follow a natural rhythm.
In today's day and age we are made to believe that if we have a symptom, like heartburn or a stomach ache, that we have a problem. Although these ailments can be frustrating, they are at the same time trying to convey information to you. When we can take a step back and analyze our symptoms and actually welcome them as a message, we can move forward to find a solution. For example, let's take a look at heartburn. Heartburn is usually caused by one of four ways:
2. Fast eating
3. Consuming too much food in one sitting
4. Poor food quality
It's important to note that the latter two are usually a result of the first two. So when you take a step back and start to analyze your symptom of heartburn, which areas in your life may be contributing to it? Maybe right now you have been stressed about money because the economy isn't doing too well so you work long hours trying to prove that you are worth keeping around. You take little time for yourself throughout the week to do anything that satisfies you, let alone to eat a proper meal, and when you do eat, it's in front of a computer screen where you sit stressed out looking at your next big project deadline. As you eat in front of the screen, you are completely unaware, not present, and more likely to consume too much food. You choose meals that are quick and that can be eaten very quickly (which adds to the stress response you're already in). And as we've learnt about stress, let me remind you, that blood is shunted away from the gut towards the extremities to prepare the body to fight or flee. So now not only are you in a stress response from being stressed about money and work, you add to it by eating way too fast, way too much, and choosing poor quality foods to satisfy your need for speed, to be a workaholic.
Now let me ask you, is heartburn the problem? Is heartburn the problem, or is it a solution to a bigger problem? Maybe heartburn, in this case, is a solution or the cure to fast paced living. Maybe fast paced living, being a workaholic, not taking time for yourself or your family is the problem and not the heartburn.
Maybe you've had digestive issues for the past week. Look back to a week ago and see if anything has changed in your life, not just diet but life. Maybe a week ago you got into a fight with your spouse and haven't reconciled it inside of yourself even though you both said you were over it. Maybe you are still holding onto some unforgiveness. Unforgiveness creates bitterness, strife, and anxiety which quickly turns into a full blown stress response if we don't tackle it head on. So your digestive issues are not the issue, maybe unforgiveness is the issue and digestive complaints are the cure to tell you that you're harbouring feelings of unforgiveness that will always lead to unwanted symptoms.
These are just two example of how life and diet are so closely related. When you are dealing with a symptom, just know that it is the cure for something else. Something else is going on in your inner world that is manifesting as symptom. Start to go Sherlock Holmes on your symptoms an do some self discovery when something comes up instead of self medicating. Don't put a bandaid on the cure to the real issues. Am I saying that every upset stomach is caused by resentment or strife, no I'm not. You could have eaten a bad piece of sushi and now you have a tummy ache, that's completely different and not what I'm talking about. When a symptom persists or is chronic though, we need to take a deeper look as to why it's there.
Slowing down and listening, and becoming in tune with our bodies, is one of the most powerful weapons we have. No one knows your body better than you do, so it's high time you start listening and discovering what you are trying to relay to yourself.