I finished my lunch and waited for the inevitable wave of intense desire to sleep. I usually felt it about 20-30 minutes after eating. I took an energy shot when the lethargy and fatigue hit – I wasn’t going to make it through the day without some caffeine.
I knew this wasn’t right. Food is supposed to be energizing, not draining. On top of which, I was eating super clean. I was doing all the right things. And yet, I struggled with low energy and felt tired a lot. And I was constantly hungry – food didn’t seem to last. It didn’t make sense!
Turns out I was eating all the wrong foods for what my body uniquely needs. Once I learned what foods were best for me, my energy began to transform. Now, I feel energetic, full, and fully present.
This is what I want for you: to learn what YOU should be eating so that you can feel energetic and fully present.
If you’re a high-performing woman who feels tired all the time, your food could be a potential reason why you struggle with low energy – even if you’re eating clean.
I help my clients figure out their food in three simple steps:
1 – Discover what foods are right for YOU.
2 – Discover what foods cause inflammation and imbalances in your body.
3 – Learn how to tune into your body so that you can give it what it needs all the time.
Let’s explore this first step: discovering what foods are right for you.
How do you know what YOU should be eating?
Should you be keto? Paleo? Vegetarian? Vegan? 40-30-30 macronutrient balance? Mediterranean diet? DASH diet?
How about the, “screw it I can’t figure out what to eat nothing works so I’m just going to eat Ben & Jerry’s for three meals a day” diet?
Food can feel so frustrating. …but it doesn’t have to.
“When we don’t understand how specific foods affect us, eating becomes a daily struggle. We struggle to feel satisfied, to fight the ‘battle of the bulge,’ or just to feel decent from one hour to the next.
Once you recognize your metabolic individuality, however, everything changes. The balance shifts…suddenly you’re the one in control of food, it’s not in control of you.
Eating right is no longer a complex challenge and food is no longer your adversary.
When you know how to choose foods that effectively sustain your body’s unique style of functioning, eating is what it should be – easy and enjoyable.” – Dr. William Wolcott
While there are certainly universal nutritional truths, every one of us has genetically and biochemically unique nutritional needs.
When you are eating based on what your body really needs, you experience…
– energy – you stop feeling lethargic and unmotivated.
– focus – you stop feeling scatter-brained, forgetful, and spacey.
– balance – you stop having mood swings and struggling with irritability.
– health – you use food to prevent and overcome chronic health issues.
The thing is, you might eat all the best and highest quality organic food, exercise regularly, drink plenty of water, get sufficient rest and take the finest supplements…
You are still not going to feel well, be well or experience optimal health unless you obtain the nutrient balance that is right for you.
Eating in a way that captures your unique chemical and genetic makeup and nutritional needs:
- prevents chronic health conditions by promoting balance.
- addresses health issues at a deep level, geared toward building health by correcting imbalance that is the root of chronic health problems.
- offers a highly integrated approach to building health by providing the right nutrients that your body needs at the sub-cellular level – the cells have the nutrients they need, so the organs have the nutrients they need, so the systems have the nutrients they need, and subsequently the whole body has the nutrients it needs.
- relies on the body’s innate intelligence, since the body was designed to exist in balance and heal itself.
Eat to balance your body’s dominant tendencies.
The body is a system of systems. While every system in the body affects and is affected by what you eat, there are two systems that have the greatest impact on your dietary requirements: your autonomic nervous system and your oxidative system.
You should eat food that balances your body’s dominant tendencies. You tend to be…
- either parasympathetic or sympathetic dominant (autonomic nervous system),
- either a slow or a fast oxidizer (oxidative system).
The autonomic nervous system is the master regulator of metabolism, and the oxidative system is responsible for intracellular energy conversion: turning food into energy at the sub-cellular level. Today I’ll just focus on the autonomic nervous system.
Autonomic Nervous System
The autonomic nervous system controls all involuntary activities in the body like your heart beating, digestion, breathing, tissue repair and rebuilding, regulation of body temperature, and immune activity.
It is broken into two branches – sympathetic branch and parasympathetic branch.
The sympathetic branch is your fight, flight, or freeze – this branch does things like dilate your pupils, increase your heart rate, raise blood sugar, turn off digestion and suppress the immune.
The parasympathetic branch is your rest and digest – this branch does things like contract your pupils, lowers your heart rate, lowers blood sugar, increases digestive secretions and intestinal motility, heals and restores.
The purpose of eating is to balance your dominant tendency.
Someone who is sympathetic dominant (fight/flight/freeze) digests slowly.
→ To balance this dominance, this person should eat a greater proportion of foods that are easy to digest: healthy carbohydrates.
Someone who is parasympathetic dominant (rest/digest) digests very quickly and tends to have a strong, even excessive appetite.
→ To balance this dominance, this person should eat a greater proportion of foods that take longer to digest, like high-nutrient proteins and clean fats.
How can you tell which one you might be?
There are certain characteristics – tendencies – associated with each dominance.
Please note: this is an oversimplification for the sake of brevity. There are myriad factors that also affect these tendencies – social programming, subconscious conditioning and mental models, past trauma, environmental factors – and others.
These are tendencies, not hard-and fast rules.
Autonomic Nervous System – Sympathetic Dominant
If you are sympathetic dominant (fight/flight/freeze), your physical tendencies may include indigestion, heartburn, insomnia, hypertension, high blood pressure, and low appetite. You may have an angular facial structure, and a tall, thin appearance.
Your behavioral tendencies may include excellent concentration and focus, high intrinsic motivation, emotional cool-ness, irritability, nervous energy, and a tendency to be more socially withdrawn.
Do these tendencies describe you? If so, you may be sympathetic dominant. You will feel your best energy when eating a higher proportion of healthy carbohydrates.
Your diet should include:
- Whole grains, such as brown rice, oats, and quinoa
- High-starch vegetables such as sweet potatoes
- Medium-starch vegetables such as beets, radishes, squash, and zucchini
- Low-starch vegetables such as broccoli, leafy greens, and cucumber
- Any and all kinds of fruits
- Legumes such as chickpeas, beans, and lentils
- Lean meats such as chicken and turkey breast and lean pork
- Light seafood such as tuna
- And low-fat dairy items such as Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and low-fat milk.
You should avoid or sparingly consume:
- Nuts and other high-fat snacks
- Red meat, high-fat fowl such as duck, and high-purine meat (dark meat or organ meat)
Your best meal plan is likely vegetarian or Mediterranean.
Autonomic Nervous System – Parasympathetic Dominant
If you are parasympathetic dominant (rest/digest), your physical tendencies may include being prone to diarrhea, allergies, low blood sugar, irregular heartbeat, chronic fatigue, cold sores, and excessive appetite. You may have a more round face and skull, and a shorter, wider build.
Your behavioral tendencies may include lethargy and procrastination. You may be slow to anger, warm emotionally, and socially outgoing.
Do these tendencies describe you? If so, you may be parasympathetic dominant. You will feel your best energy when eating a higher proportion of healthy fats and high-nutrient proteins.
Your diet should include:
- High-purine organ meats, beef, bacon, and dark meat
- High-fat seafood such as salmon, dark tuna, and oysters
- Whole-fat dairy such as milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, and milk
- High-fat nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts and pistachios
- Some whole-grains such as brown rice and spelt
- Non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, cauliflower, and mushrooms
- Some high-starch vegetables such as peas, artichokes, and potatoes
- Lower-glycemic fruits such as avocado, olives, green apples, and bananas
You should avoid:
- High-glycemic foods such as white rice
- Fruit juices and citrus fruits
Your best meal plan is likely Keto or Paleo, or a plan specifically designed to be low-glycemic.
Eat for your best energy.
Eating based on what your body needs is the starting point for transforming your energy and your health. The benefits include:
- Food converted to energy rather than stored as fat.
- Sustained energy and endurance throughout the day.
- Satiety – feeling full and satisfied.
- No cravings for sweets.
- Elimination of digestive problems unrelated to gut dysfunction.
- Improved athletic and physical performance.
- Improved concentration.
- Renewed sense of well-being and positive outlook.
- Decreased irritability, anxiety, depression, and nervous hyperactivity.
- Prevention of chronic disease.
- Improved resistance to colds, flus, and other infections.
- Reversed chronic or degenerative health disorders – the body will heal itself if you give it what it needs.
- Slower aging.
By treating food as your most powerful medicine, you will balance your body chemistry and begin to get your energy back!
Through the process of my own health investigation, I learned that I am a parasympathetic dominant who needs high-purine meats and clean fats as my primary sources of energy. …I was a vegetarian at the time.
Being a vegetarian is awesome – IF it’s the right diet for what your body needs. It wasn’t the right diet for me.
This informed change started me on the path of energy transformation and has continued to make a huge difference in my energy, my health, my performance, and my happiness.
Knowing what YOUR body needs can make a huge difference for you, too.
I am super excited to announce my newest program offering, Transformation Foundation, which focuses entirely on nutrition!
You can stop missing your life. You can get your energy back so that you can feel fully present, be optimally productive, and crush it at life.
What change to your nutrition are you committed to making today?
P.S. If you want to learn more about the Transformation Foundation program, so that you can feel fully present and optimally energetic, then schedule a call with the Health Detective today and stop missing your life!
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