One should eat to live, not live to eat. MOLIERE
A cake at night can help the hard-working athlete to fuel up his muscles; for a sedentary person it can be a nail to the coffin…
Stress and fatigue can trigger hunger even if you have enough energy in the bloodstream. Avoid them and think before you eat
Stress results in hormonal response and they can negatively affect the quality of meat. It matters whether the animals have quality food and free move.
Proteins and healthy fats make you sat and they keep hunger and insulin under control They should be dominant in the evening meals.
Insulin decides whether the energy is stored in the muscles or in fat tissue. Do not irritate insulin with simple carbs.
Most important muscle for nutrition is the intestinal wall. Its permeability decides whether the nutrients get absorbed into the blood or excreted.
I follow this meal-plan on ordinary days. I do not say it is the best in the world but it works for me and delivers results: I get my work done; I have energy for workouts and going out. It allows me some flexibility. Here is a sample meal plan with explanations and on the bottom are general rules for eating and staying fit.
Greek yogurt with nuts and protein powder. Black tea, one table-spoon of sugar.
- if I do heavy workout in the morning or expect an active day, I add some muesli
- on holiday days I like to have some cake or sweet pastry or pancake with my yogurt. The best time for sugars is in the morning, mainly if you are active during the whole day, because you burn them off. If you are attracted to eat some kind of desert at night, save it for the next morning.
Alternatively, in London I used to have an omelette from two eggs and a slice of cheese on wholemeal toast and it made me full for the whole morning. I prefer this kind of breakfast if I have heavy exercise session in the morning or when I know that there will be no time for lunch.
Boiled rice, can of tuna or roasted chicken, vegetables. (pic. roast beef and couscous)
- I cook the rice in the morning or the evening before.
- I prefer tuna chunks from Lidl, the 150 g netto weight gives you about 35 grams of protein and in case it comes in vegetables oil, also some fat.
- Usually I roast several pieces of chicken or occasionally beef on Sunday and save some for Monday and Tuesday, the days when I have the most workload (Mondays) and heavy workouts, because I am fresh after the weekend. For vegetables – tomato, canned beans or corn.
- Sometimes I go for a pizza – I eat half for a light lunch and save half for dinner, to be eaten with fish or cottage cheese (see below). I am open for any lunch alternative, but this works best when I want to eat something nutritious and do not waste time and money in restaurants.
I get a white yogurt from a shop, some fruit and protein powder. Easy and good. If someone celebrates birthday or whatever, I eat cake with the yoghurt.
- Sometimes I have a protein bar.
Dinner (or the evening meal – supper)
I get a piece of wholemeal bakery product and vegetables (tomatoes, beans, carrot – I eat carrot). As a source of protein I use cottage cheese, can of tuna, or any other meat product.
- Once in a while (usually on Tuesday after weightlifting) I go for a kebab – chicken.
- Few times a week I buy a slice of pizza (or save half pizza from lunch) and eat instead of the wholemeal bakery.
During the day
I eat fruit, nuts and occasional snacks in form of few pieces of chocolate, biscuits or whatever that I get. I do not buy this stuff on purpose, all of it is gifts. In the evening I drink milk.
I recommend this video
1, Know when to eat simple carbs.
- in the morning, because you have the whole day to burn them off
- around physical activity, because it will be used to refill energy and not stored in fat.
2, Drink enough water
- about 60 percent of our body is water and even small loss (2 percent) can have negative impact on our mental and physical performance or metabolism.
- pure water is the best. Avoid sugary drinks and even juices. Rather eat whole fruit – it contains fibre, which helps digestion and metabolism.
3, Learn about yourself and keep hormones under control.
- if you are nervous in the morning until you get a cup of sweet coffee and something sweet (muffin, croissant or in the better case sweet yogurt), your metabolic flexibility is attached to the constant delivery of carbohydrates. It is more typical for women. In that case, you should eat some carbs right in the morning in order to get energy. Remember: Eat a portion of protein and healthy fat with each meal. It will make you feel sat and prevent you from eating too much carbs.
- if you do not need breakfast and can work well without energy, your metabolism is both slowed down – which is bad and you should speed it up by several smaller portions of food during the day.
- or, you are effective in using fats as a source of energy and do not need constant flow of carbs. Usually, men fall into the second category. Just do not forget to eat and do not make supper the last meal of the day. I advise you to have at least a smoothie or protein drink or yogurt drink for breakfast and some fruit mid-morning. Few hours later follow with lunch that contains proteins, carbs and veggies, snack and dinner.
4, Hunger is caused by the brain’s response to stimuli.
- hormones, especially under stress and fatigue, can make us feel hungry even when we have enough energy. Try to think first and approach each meal in a calm way. It can prevent over-eating or eating something full of calories and low in nutrition.
5, Eat locally and take care about the animals
- the more you know about the life of the cow or if you grow your own herbs in the garden, the more sure you can be about their quality. Animals that have the freedom of movement and are fed with grass have better meat than animals stressed in the cages, fed on corn. Stress level affects the quality of the meat. Cattle kept in the EU should not be fed by artificial hormones or antibiotics.
6, Proteins are the building blocks of our body.
- moreover, they make us feel sat and can prevent over-eating. I prefer animal sources, because people are carnivores, not plants. If you are a vegetarian, combine several plant sources to get the full spectrum of amino-acids – the building blocks of proteins. For example rice with beans.
Tuna steak, salmon and mackerel.
Tuna is an endurance swimmer, therefore its meat is rich in protein, low in fat and well supplied by blood – the red colour. Salmon and mackerel contain more fat and the healthy omega-3 acids – if they are fished from wild ocean. (salmon kept on farms does not have so much of omega-3)
Protein drinks are used to deliver building blogs to muscles in order to improve growth. However, not only muscles are made of proteins. Protein drinks make us feel sat due to high protein/low carb content and avoid insulin hike.
7, Eat carbohydrates around exercise.
- carbohydrates are the source of energy and are transported by insulin.
Complex carbs – rice, wholemeal bakery, potatoes, and vegetables elevate the insulin level just moderately.
Simple carbs – sweets, fruit, chips, processed food, cakes…elevate the insulin too much.
Insulin is the hormone responsible for taking the energy from food into the blood. First, in form of glycogen goes into muscles. Exercise makes them empty and more energy fits in – that’s why the best time for simple carbs is around the workout. If the muscle cells are already full, insulin stores some energy in the liver and the rest will be converted into body-fat.
A cake eaten at night after a three course dinner will end up here – unless you did really exhausting physical activity during the day.
8, Fats are needed for production of hormones and can be used as a source of energy.
- prefer healthy fats, such as omega-3 fats in fish (salmon, sardines, and mackerel) or olive oil. But quality home-grown bacon can enrich our diet, from time to time.
9, Most important muscle for nutrition is the intestinal wall.
- Its permeability decides whether the nutrients get absorbed into the blood or excreted. Processed foods, preservatives, medication and stress can negatively impact the permeability of our guts.
- Enzymes and bacteria are responsible for processing the nutrients that we ingest. Try to consume acidophil milk, kefir, sauer kraut, miso or kimchi.
10, Alcohol contains calories & alters hormones
- Half-litre of beer contains app. 150 calories, 0.4 shot contains between 50 (white alcohol such as vodka or tequila) and 90 calories (coloured drinks). Moreover, alcohol slows down the metabolism, because the body treats it as poison and wants to process it as fast as possible.Occasional cup of wine or beer is OK. But consider the above facts, whether they match your goals