I’m not an expert on food science - or any science for that matter. In fact I even took college science classes with the English as a Second Language kids - but that’s a story for another day. But I am going attempt to write a very basic post on the Daily Guidelines of the Whole 30 program.
Whole 30 Thoughts of the Day
Sounds simple enough right?
Well I’m going to share with you how not following these guidelines led me to hormone dysfunction.
Eat Three Meals A Day and Don’t Snack
I definitely got my three meals a day in, as well as snacks between each meal. And loosely use the term “snacks” because of the size of those snacks could easily have qualified as meals.
Looking through old food logs (see there’s value in keeping these things!) I realized that I was eating about every two hours.
Well after reading “It Starts with Food” again I learned that "it takes 4-5 hours between meals to have the optimal hormonal response." What that means is that the body needs time to make the glucagon work and keep leptin at normal levels.
Huh? What’s glucagon and leptin? That was my reaction when I read that, so I went to trust old Wikipedia and found these explanations (click below to read):
Basically they’re hormones that help regular blood sugar and are tied to the rhythm of your eating schedule.
When you start your eating too early or late in the day, it throws off the leptin pattern, which maintains your cortisol levels.
It’s all too scientific for me to explain so my basic takeaway was, "Eat the right foods, at the right times which will curb your cravings and won’t disrupt your hormones."
Since I was a believer in being “rungry” ALL the time, I ate often which disrupted my hormones and led to Adrenal Fatigue, Hypothyroidism, high levels of cortisol, etc.
Basically I was out of whack and suffering from insomnia, IBS, leaky gut and other things that felt as terrible as they sound.
During Whole 30 1.0 in January, I was able to get to a place where I didn’t feel the need to snack anymore. Unfortunately, when I went off the program so did that habit. But I know that if I stick to the plan I’ll get back to that place again in about a week or so. Until that happens I’m trying to make good choices with the snacks by eating hard boiled egg whites or toasted coconut chips.
Start with Breakfast
Its advised to eat Meal 1 within one hour of waking up.
This one is a little tricky for me because I am a morning runner and usually only eat half a banana before I run (or sometimes nothing at all) and save “Meal 1” for after the run.
I’m still working out how to time all of this but I do make sure that my breakfast is the kind that’s recommended - comprised of protein, fat and veggies.
One thing that I had to adjust to was cutting back on (NOT cutting out) fruit. Fruit has a lot of sugar, which leads you to crave more sugar. I was definitely someone who overdid fruit at breakfast so now I just limit myself to half a banana or a handful of blueberries.
Stop Eating a Few Hours Before Bedtime "Make dinner the last meal of your day.”
I thought this was pretty straightforward but then I recalled all the snacking I used to do before bed. I learned that doing that messes up your leptin (that word again) levels and “impedes hormone releases” which you need for recovery.
Sweets before bed impacts your insulin levels, which affect your sleep patterns and cause a blood sugar crash in the middle of the night.
This explained why I would always wake up at 2 am completely starving and unable to go back to sleep. It also explained why I had a hard time recovering from workouts!
Now I try to have dinner around 6 pm, then a shake with some of the supplements that Dr Ponce has prescribed right after dinner - but still a good 2-3 hours before bedtime.
To keep my blood sugar levels stabilized, Dr Ponce also advised me to also have protein one hour before bedtime, so I eat a hard boiled egg (whites only). Ever since I started doing this I’ve slept so much better - more restful and right through the night.
Whole 30 2.0: Day 3 – Wed, May 28
Successfully stuck to the program and only had one snack mid-morning. None needed in the afternoon!