You constantly think about it. Read about it. Talk about it. You shop for it, cook it, eat it, enjoy it, agonize over it. Sometimes you throw it away. You love it. Hate it. Want it. Need it. Wish you didn’t.
Want to know something new about your obsession? Something about it will help you:
- Drop a dress size in 2 weeks
- Sleep better even if you can’t sleep longer
- Keep and use the nutrients you eat instead of, um, processing them away
What you eat and when you eat it could make you fat. Maybe it’s not new and you already know it. But what are you doing about it?
Heidi Mitchell, Wall Street Journal writer, penned an article investigating the relationship between what we eat and how we sleep. I’m as obsessed about food as you are, so I devoured her article, as reprinted in the July 3, 2013 edition of The Globe and Mail newspaper.
Ms. Mitchell writes that “researchers still don’t know all the reasons why poor sleep is correlated to weigh gain” but she does mention some foods that interfere with sleep and should not be eaten late in the evening – aged cheeses, processed meats, soy sauce, high protein foods and fatty treats (like potato chips). Why? Because they take a long time to digest.
There are foods that help with serotonin and melatonin production and thus help you to sleep – such as small quantities of unprocessed turkey (remember the Seinfeld episode where he fed his girlfriend turkey dinners so she would fall asleep and he could play with her collection of GI Joe dolls?), skim milk (warm with honey before bedtime, or cold before dinner), almonds, bananas and yogurt.
The secret to better digestion, good sleep and not getting fat is not just what you eat, but when you eat it.
Does this sound familiar? You gulp a large coffee while you rush around getting ready for work in the morning. As soon as you get to work, the hunger pangs come. So you run out and grab a muffin or a donut and another coffee.
Lunch is squeezed in between meetings or errands – a quick sandwich or salad or burger. By dinner time, you’re exhausted and really hungry. So you pick up some fried chicken, or order a pizza, wash it down with some wine or beer, watch some TV and go to bed.
That is exactly what NOT to do. Flip it around. Eat more, earlier in the day, and wind down by dinner time. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.
If you’re pushed for time in the morning, have2 breakfasts, like I do. Eat some fruit with yogurt at home, then have a bowl of instant oatmeal or multigrain toast with peanut butter at the office. For lunch, have a bowl of soup and a Chicken Caesar salad. Or a loaded tuna sandwich on whole wheat roll and fruit salad.
Go ahead and indulge in a mid afternoon – but keep it healthy. Apple slices dipped in peanut butter. Cottage cheese with crushed pineapple. A cluster of grapes and a handful of raw almonds.
For dinner, try to eat no later than 7:30 PM. Set a nice table for yourself. Enjoy a baked salmon filet with lots of stir-fry veggies. Or throw together a salad and eat it with homemade pita chips and hummus. Or make an omelet with asparagus, red pepper, chives and goat cheese plus some multi-grain toast. Go ahead and indulge in a glass of wine or beer – preferably before you eat. Sip a glass of warm water with lemon with your meal.
Your digestive tract will be happy and reward you with better sleep, clearer skin and shinier hair. With a lighter workload overnight, your stomach will wake up emptier. You may even find yourself craving food to, you know, break the night-time fast.
And that outfit you just spent a fortune on a few weeks ago? It will actually fit again!
EASY PITA CHIPS
6 small whole wheat Middle Eastern style pita rounds
Spices – garlic powder, paprika, lemon pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pita rounds into 6 or 8 pieces. Brush lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and spices of your choice. Bake on a cookie sheet for about 7 minutes – but keep your eye on it so to prevent burning (every oven is different, and some prefer less toasted). Enjoy immediately or keep in sealed container for up to a week. Great with hummus, guacasalsa (mashed avocado mixed with spicy salsa) or other dips.