Watch any daytime talk show and you will see a commercial for a Special K bar or fiber cereal promising a day full of energy and a slim waistline. That’s appetizing for sure but is starting your day with a breakfast bar and whole grain cereal delivering its promise of energizing you? Does your waistline look like the woman in the commercial? If you answered no to either or both of those questions, then keep on reading – we’ve got some great alternatives to carb-heavy, low calorie breakfasts.
What many of us don’t realize is that what we eat is just as important as when we eat it. The right timing can play an important role in regulating our adrenals and cortisol levels – especially when it comes to carbohydrates. Remember, cortisol is a hormone that has a huge effect on your energy levels. This is also important for weight loss because when your body gets stressed out from too much sugar or carbohydrates, it stores fat, especially around your belly. Right timing can also have a profound influence on your sleeping patterns which is great news for you night owls out there! So when is the best time of day to eat carbs?
When you eat that Special K cereal bar in the morning you’re not left with lasting energy because a breakfast high in carbs, especially refined carbs, spikes your blood sugar and in turn, drops your cortisol levels (think drop in energy). When that happens, you end up feeling cranky and your body goes into fat-storing mode. Messing with your cortisol through poor dietary choices can also affect your sleep because the cortisol hormone is the direct opposite of the melatonin hormone which ensures a good night’s rest. If cortisol is high at night then your melatonin is low. That’s good for partying all night, not good for getting much needed rest.
But, alas, there are some simple rules for changing what you eat and when you eat it that can help you lose weight and burn fat. Dr. Alan Christianson covers this in depth in his new book The Adrenal Reset Diet. The idea is that you need to restore your adrenals and regulate your cortisol rhythms in order to burn fat, lose weight and rest right.
Eating Carbs is as Easy as 1-2-3
Dr. Christianson uses the Jackson Five song ABC, it’s easy as 1-2-3 to explain how and when you should eat carbs. His rule is each meal should consist of a serving of fat and protein but the kicker is that you should eat one serving of carbs at breakfast, two servings at lunch and increase to three servings at dinner. A breakfast with fat and protein supports your morning cortisol levels and sets you up with energy for the day to help you utilize the fat as fuel for energy instead of just the carbs.
When it comes to lunch, Dr. C recommends that you increase to two servings of carbs to make sure that you maintain your energy for the rest of the day. Too much carbs will leave you passed out at your desk while too little will require cortisol to pump your blood sugar up. As for dinner, you’re eating more carbs. The reason is that you want to keep your blood sugar levels stable during the evening and while you sleep. If you don’t have enough blood sugar for the night ahead of you, your body is going to have problems repairing itself while you’re sleeping. Have you ever wondered why you wake up in the middle of the night or have a hard time falling asleep? It may just be because your blood sugar is unstable at those hours and cortisol is taking over and waking you up at the same time.
T + W Ideas for Meal Plans
Here are some ideas for setting up your meal plan for the day to balance your blood sugar, maintain a healthy weight and get a good night's sleep. Remember, eating is supposed to be fun, so get creative in the kitchen. We have a lot of great recipes up on the blog, to keep things interesting and give you variety.
Two eggs cooked in grassfed butter with two pieces of bacon. Another idea is 3 organic chicken breakfast sausages with half an avocado. We also have a great super low carb smoothie recipe which would work too because it is high in fat and protein with minimal amount of carbs.
Squash, turkey and broccoli or tuna with raw veggies and tahini.
Roasted chicken (with the skin) along with lots of veggies cooked in the schmaltz, plus a half a sweet potato or ¾ cup of brown rice.
We’d love to hear about what you’re eating throughout the day! Come on over to our Facebook page and share some of your favorite meals with the rest of the T+W community.