About 14 years ago, I read a book called “The Abs Diet.” As many diet books did for me when I was only 18, I hung on to every word and followed every rule.
One of the biggest rules of the Abs Diet was:
Eat six times a day.
I was to alternate larger meals with small snacks (i.e. a snack two hours before lunch, another one two hours before dinner, and one more two hours after dinner).
Each meal must contain at least two of the 12 Abs Diet Powerfoods, such as almonds, beans, spinach, instant oatmeal, eggs, peanut butter, raspberries, olive oil and whole grains.
Like any diet, my Abs Diet obsession was short-lived. I found another shiny new diet (I believe the next book I read was “Skinny Bitch”) and moved on.
But for whatever reason, one thing I clung on to was that first rule.
Eat six times a day.
Well, honestly, I loved the idea of anybody giving me permission to snack more, graze more, and never stop eating.
But doing a little research (both self-experimentation and reading) has caused me to really question this conventionalism.
The reason that everybody from Shape Magazine to the school nutritionist are vying for small meals throughout the day is to combat the cranky, hangry blood sugar swings that so many people experience. They want you to consume food regularly to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
However, our blood sugar levels wouldn’t be so volatile if we just ate real, unprocessed foods. When you eat tons of sugar, your blood sugar levels spike. When your body has to exert a lot of energy to keep the blood sugar levels from skyrocketing, the blood sugar plummets.
When you’re eating foods that aren’t high in sugar, you no longer HAVE TO eat every couple of hours.
In fact, square meals are much better for you.
Why? Well, every time you eat, your body has to process your food. When you eat continuously throughout the day (nuts, crackers, chips, etc.), your body can’t work fast enough to get through all of it.
When you eat three meals a day, it has plenty of time to process. Waiting till you are hungry before you eat enables your body to metabolize much better.
Also, because of the snackers that we are, many times our body stops understanding what it feels like to be hungry.
It’s 10 am? I’m feeling peck-ish. It’s 1:00? I need something sweet. It’s 3 pm? I need to get me some popcorn to get me through this meeting. It’s 5 pm? I’m FAMISHED. Let me snack on these chips before dinner.
Your body doesn’t know how to be hungry anymore!
We can actually feel moderately hungry and moderately full all at the same time.
REMINDER: I AM NOT A DOCTOR, A NUTRITIONIST OR A DIETITICIAN. JUST A GIRL WHO LIKES TO USE FOOD TO KEEP HER FEELING GOOD. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING CHANGING YOUR DIET.
All of this brought me to give it a try. For a few weeks – not really a definitive start and finish – I would make a promise to myself to make my breakfast, lunch and dinner a little bigger and fuller; and my snacks non-existent.
Believe me, it pained the snacker in me to do this. I have a whole drawer of nuts, seeds, coconut chips and jerky and an entire pocket in my purse dedicated to Lara Bars and Ginger Candy that will be very unhappy with me if I find this to be true. But I think it’s worth a try….
My Original Eating Schedule
- Smoothie at 7:30 AM
- Hard Boiled Eggs at 10:00 AM
- Desk snacking until lunch time (i.e. nuts, seeds, coconut shreds, jerk)
- Salad with protein at 12:00 PM
- Apple or Whole Milk Yogurt at 2:30/3:00 PM
- More desk snacking
- Fridge Grazing at 6:00 PM
- Dinner at 7:30/8:00 PM
My New Eating Schedule – 1 Week Later:
- Big Ol' Omelet with half an avocado at 7:30 AM
- Salad with protein at 12:00 PM
- SOME desk snacking (I'm not going to be a Nazi about it)
- Dinner at 7:30 PM (with added protein)
How I Feel:
- I haven't felt that 10:30/11:00 AM grumbly hunger pangs.
- I am enjoying my meals much more (food tastes so much better when you're hungry for it).
- And I am recognizing how much my constant snacking at work was much more mental than it ever was a physical hunger. I snack when I'm nervous. I snack when I'm bored. I snack when I'm stressed. Time to dig deeper, Stacey! Figure out the root of the problem rather than eating it.
- Last but definitely not least, I've felt a marked difference in my digestion.
Okay, now for the fun part. Recipe time!!
I don’t know about you, but the part of the day I find myself snacking the most is mid-morning. Around 10:30 am, my stomach is grumbling so loud, the Account Team on the third floor can hear it (I’m on the second floor).
Which is why I felt it fitting to give you a really good hearty breakfast to start your day with – and keep you going – until it’s time for a hearty hearty lunch.
Turmeric Egg Scramble Recipe
I know what you’re thinking. Scrambled eggs? Real original Stacey. But I actually believe scrambled eggs can be very difficult and take quite a bit of technique. So I've gone into great detail below to show you how I make MY scrambled eggs. Oh. And I added my favorite anti-inflammatory ingredient, TURMERIC! What a great way to start the day. Hope you like them as much as I do. Eat well my friends.
- ¼ cup onion, chopped
- 1 -2 tablespoons grass-fed butter or ghee
- 2 Cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 3 eggs
- 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric
- Pinch of S&P
- 1/2 avocado
- Cherry tomatoes (the "cherries" on top, get it?!)
- Whisk your eggs with the pinch of S&P and turmeric and set bowl aside.
- Saute your chopped onions in your fat of choice until they are just a little bit softer (you will be continuing to cook them with the eggs, so don’t overdo it here).
- Add in your sliced mushrooms (and more fat if you need it). Let them sauté for another 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms have browned slightly (again, don’t overdo it here, the hot eggs will cook them even more).
- Add another knob of butter or ghee to the pan (don’t be scared of the good fats).
- Pour the egg mixture in the pan and move it around a bit at first.
- Then, let them sit for about 10 seconds, and then move them around again. (It took me years to perfect this very scientific technique).
- Repeat until they begin to set. And then stir continuously until they are cooked as you like them. (My opinion: I always underdo it a little because it inevitably will sit on the hot pan and continue to cook while I get myself together before it ever makes it to the cool plate).
- Top with sliced avocado and cherry tomatoes and you've got yourself one awesomely delicious SQUARE MEAL 🙂
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