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Nutrition

Nutrition

Posted: April 3, 2014 | Nutrition

 
The study of nutrition involves complex science, and deciding the best way to eat for your body can be confusing when faced with conflicting information. Remember you are the resident expert in your body, and if you pay attention to what your body is telling you, you will find the diet that works best for you. Regardless of what ‘style’ of diet you choose, when and what you eat can have a big impact on your energy level, how soundly you sleep, how well you recover from your workouts, and your overall health.
 

I would like to share some information about the proportions of your plate and the overall timing of your eating. Much of this information I have gathered from Kathy Abascal’s excellent book To Quiet Inflammation. Her book is an awesome resource and contains a lot of useful information. I am going to distill down just a few of the concepts here that I think are particularly interesting and relevant, but if your interest is piqued, I encourage you to get her book and attend her class series. You can visit her webiste here.
 

1. EAT BY PROPORTIONS, NOT CALORIES

Eat as much as you want but build your plate so that it contains 2/3 fruits and vegetables and 1/3 combined protein and grain. The vegetables and fruits are densely packed with nutrition, are loaded with antioxidants, and balance the acidifying nature of the grains and protein.
 
2. EAT EARLY AND STOP EATING 2-3 HOURS BEFORE BED

Research shows that when people wait until later in the day to eat, they eat more calories than if they spread them out over the day. It can be helpful to think of your body like a wood burning furnace – you need to fuel it for your energy needs during the day, not for when you are sleeping.
SO… Eat like a King for breakfast, a Prince for lunch and a Pauper for dinner….
 

Kathy Abascal discusses this at length in her book. The main reason for not eating at night is the impact on 2 hormones cycles – leptin and growth hormone.

  • Growth Hormone is responsible for growth and repair and helps us maintain muscle mass as we age. As adults, we only get one predictable burst of growth hormone. This occurs at night, several hours after we go to sleep. If we eat before going to bed our bodies release insulin which in turn shuts down the growth hormone. Not good right!? We want to maintain all the muscle mass we can!
  •  

  • Leptin works with the brain to affect appetite and metabolism. Ideally leptin levels in the body are at a peak at night so that we don’t have an appetite, and at their lowest in the morning so that we feel hungry and take in fuel for the day. Unfortunately when we eat later at night this cycle tends to get flipped, leaving us without an appetite in the morning. Furthermore, it has the unfortunate consequence of also flipping the melatonin cycle – one of the hormones that helps us sleep well. This can leave you sleepy during the day and not sleeping well at night. Also, not a good scenario, but a familiar one.

3. EAT OFTEN BUT AVOID GRAZING
By eating 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, your glucose stays level, and you avoid reaching a state of intense hunger when you are apt to overeat and / or make poor food choices. However, it is also important to avoid grazing all day because each time you eat, your pancreas secretes insulin, and without time to digest and regulate glucose levels using all of the hormones involved, the body becomes ‘stuck’ in an insulin state. Eventually the body becomes insulin resistant, a very unhealthy state to live in. Insulin resistance causes the body to store more fat, creates more inflammation (think muscle and joint pain), promotes cell growth with a higher incidence of cancer, and is the precursor to diabetes.
 

In summary:

  • eat lots of vegetables
  • stop eating 2-3 hours before bed
  • avoid grazing all day

EAT LIKE A KING FOR BREAKFAST, A PRINCE FOR LUNCH AND A PAUPER FOR DINNER.
 

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Fitness
Exercise
Nutrition

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