Our bodies are designed to not constantly eat…
When we consistently eat, graze or snack, the body never gets time to rest inbetween meals, as it’s too busy digesting, leaving limited time for healing and going through the daily detoxifying processes that is a necessity for overall health. If we revert back to how our ancestors lived, they certainly did not frequently graze or eat, and relied on large hearty meals, packed with nutrition, to meet their physical lifestyle. They sometimes would go hungry, hunting for their next meal, which great strength was required!
You may have come across the concept of eating 5-6 small meals a day, is the best method of consuming your foods.
Depending what you eat, can lead to sugar and energy fluctuations. A lot of instances these constant meal type diets have more grains, refined foods and starchy foods, versus healthy fats, proteins and vegetables. The higher refined carbohydrates / starches also cause the blood glucose levels to increase.
Thinking back to when I tried eating more meals, I was constantly hungry, I was eating much more then I ever had, and always felt tired and sluggish. This was because my body was constantly in digestion mode, and dealing with sugar handling issues from too many starchy carbohydrates.
If we flip the other side of the spectrum, and eat much less, then this also can set the stage for extreme cravings to hit later on in the afternoon, or worse – very late in the evening. These cravings will hit, because your body does not have enough fuel to function, and suddenly your brain will be sending you violent signals to eat anything in sight!
So how do we cut down on the snacking, sustain energy levels, whilst making sure we eat enough?
- Start with a good breakfast that has good quality fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
- Avoid refined foods that rob your body of nutrients.
- Aim for your breakfast to sustain you until your lunch time. Once mastered, do the same for lunch and dinner.
- For small snacks when really necessary, opt for vegetalbes with a teaspoon of nut butter, a small piece of protein such as a boiled egg, tuna or piece of meat. Small handful of soaked nuts goes along way. Be mindful you are not consuming too many nuts in one sitting, these are just one of those foods that is easy to mindlessly eat without noticing how much you actually consume. It is best to consume nuts with a small piece of fruit (green apple) or vegetable (carrot), as the fibre will help you feel more satiated.
- Dinner time has arrived, also opt for another body loving meal – with the same template as above. Aim to have enough on your plate, to avoid hunger in the late evening.
In general, if we use the method of how our ancestors ate, by eating more nutrient dense meals in their proper forms and ratio, our body will be able to skip a meal without too much impact. This can take a while for the body to reach that point, just keep in mind, this is the goal.
For more information on what a healthy plate looks like, you can see the guidelines here. This question comes up a lot in my nutritional therapy practice. Also useful to understand which carbohydrates are right for your body.
There is always exceptions to those who really do thrive on having 6-8 meals a day. This could be due to your bio-individual needs, or you are one of those blessed olympic athletes that needs precision when it comes to fuel at particular times of the day.
Are you often starving mid-morning or in the afternoon?
Do you constantly snack?
Try it out, add more “punch” to your plate.
Start to notice that you naturally do not want that extra meal or snack, whilst at the same time giving your Digestion a well deserved rest!
You’ve got this!