The Body Ecology Diet (BED) Column
......with Donna Gates
For most of us, the holiday season is about celebration. It’s a time to relax. It means more food and more eating. Unfortunately, come January, it may also mean a larger waist size.
- People gain 5-10 pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
- People do not lose this weight once they acquire it.
- Those who are already overweight or obese are at a higher risk.
The easiest way to guiltlessly slide through the holidays (and maybe even shed a few pounds) is to let go of the feast-or-famine mentality that so many of us embrace.
Eat so that your cells have energy. Eat so that your body has an opportunity to repair itself and to cleanse. Eat for your health.
Step 1: Stop Counting Calories
When it comes to weight loss, many of us still believe that we can lose weight if we eat fewer calories than what we use throughout the day.
While calorie restriction may give you results, these results are often limited.
When we restrict something like food, we are fiddling with the hormones that regulate hunger and satiety.
We are also ignoring more important things that have a tendency to skyrocket as we skimp on meals, such as inflammation and blood sugar control.
When the hormonal system and immune function are flexible and well-balanced, the body is better equipped to deal with small daily stressors. However, when we restrict calories over a long period of time, we tend to make poor choices in food. And we may actually deprive the body of the very nutrients that it needs to thrive.
Before thinking about the number of calories in your food, first determine whether or not your body can tolerate the food. You know that food is more trouble than it is worth if you:
- Feel bloated or gassy
- Develop acne
- Get stiff joints
Over the holidays, choose foods that are packed full of nutrients. For example:
- Turkey with the skin on
- Bone broth
- Flourless gravy
- Homemade ghee from grass-fed butter or coconut oil
- Eggnog made with eggs from pasture-raised hens
Step 2: Balance Blood Sugar
Going hungry, delaying meals, and using stimulants like coffee, energy drinks, and chocolate to get through the day is stressful on the body.
Too often we go through the motions of food restriction and then rebound, or binge, later. This pattern can go on for months and eventually leads to a disordered relationship with food.
You may find that cravings and episodes of overeating happen less once your blood sugar levels are under control. You know your appetite is driven by swings in blood sugar when you are hungry a few hours after eating.
Insulin resistance promotes high blood sugar and fat storage. Be on the lookout for weight gain around the middle; this may be a sign of insulin resistance.
To get rid of sugar cravings, drink a small glass of coconut water kefir or InnergyBiotic. The sour taste drives away the need for sweets.
Other ways to kick sugar cravings and control blood sugar include:
- Reduce or limit the amount of starchy foods and sugars that you eat.
- Avoid the physiological stress of skipped meals.
- Get good quality sleep each and every night.
- Avoid too much alcohol.
If you must drink alcohol, be sure to mix in a fermented beverage like coconut water kefir or InnergyBiotic. Or, enjoy a fermented drink later in the evening or the next morning since beneficial bacteria can help to repair any inflammation in the gut that alcohol causes.
Step 3: Avoid Trigger Foods and Trigger Situations
Many of us already know that certain foods are addictive. And if we don’t know it, we can certainly feel it.
Foods that contain wheat gluten, cow dairy, and sugar can be especially addictive.
Much of the time, these foods are also heavily processed. Not only are these foods biochemically addictive, but they are packaged, designed, and sold to be irresistible.
Additionally, pain, insomnia, depression, fatigue, and even some medications can all influence our desire for food.
Knowing our trigger foods and trigger situations can help us to break out of a vicious cycle of food restriction and overeating. We can evaluate every aspect of life and cultivate satiety - not just with food but also in relationships, in work, and in sleep patterns.
Step 4: Supercharge Your Digestion
Strengthening digestion takes 3 steps:
- Follow the Body Ecology Principles of Food Combining and 80/20. Only eat until you are 80% full and create an alkaline meal with a plate that contains 80% land and sea vegetables (non-starchy).
- Get the assistance your body needs. In order to maximize digestion and assimilation, enzymes should be specifically designed to support each stage of the digestive process: from your stomach (Assist Full Spectrum and Assist Dairy and Protein) to your small intestine (Assist SI).
- Bring in the cleanup crew. Beneficial bacteria and beneficial yeast found in fermented foods - cultured vegetables and probiotic beverages - will unlock the enzymes in your foods and boost amino acid absorption. Repopulating the inner ecosystem with good bacteria is essential to proper digestion and detoxification.
Step 5: Eat for Your Health
With the holidays just around the corner, so many of us jump into the season with either a long list of food restrictions or with reckless abandon.
This holiday season, remember that your personal history with food, a leaky gut, how well you sleep, your level of stress, and your eating patterns can all influence how much body fat you carry.
Rather than eating to look a certain way, eat for your health. The rest will fall into place - naturally!
What To Remember Most About This Article:
While the holidays can be a time of relaxation and celebration, it’s easier than you think to pack on the pounds. People are estimated to gain roughly 5 to 10 pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.
The best way to make it through the holidays with your health intact is by eating mindfully with 5 helpful tips:
- Stop counting calories. Restricting food can affect hormones that control hunger. It can also lead to poor food choices and nutrient deprivation. Instead, eat nutrient-rich foods over the holidays that will benefit your health like bone broth, sauerkraut, and turkey with skin.
- Balance blood sugar. Overeating is less likely to occur when your blood sugar is stable. You can control swings in blood sugar by reducing the sugar you eat, not skipping meals, and getting enough sleep each night.
- Avoid trigger foods and situations. For many people, sugar, gluten, and cow dairy can be incredibly addictive. Avoiding trigger foods and situations can prevent overeating and bring balance to diet, relationships, and even sleep.
- Supercharge your digestion. By following the Body Ecology principles of food combining and 80/20, assisting digestion with enzymes like Assist Full Spectrum, and repopulating the gut with friendly bacteria from cultured vegetables and probiotic beverages, you can support your digestive health throughout the holiday season.
- Eat for your health. Eating nourishing foods should be for the sole purpose of supporting your health rather than getting to your “goal weight.”
1. JA Yanovski, et al. A prospective Study of Holiday Weight Gain. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2000; 324 (12): 861 – 867
Learn more from The Body Ecology Diet book: