Did you know that what you eat can instantly affect how much stress you are creating in your body?
With only a few changes you can sleep better, increase your energy through your own shift, find tough decisions easier to make and become a calmer, more balanced Police Officer.
To understand how, we first need to go over a few quick things.
All food is made up of three macronutrients: fat, protein or carbohydrates.
Foods are either one of these or a combination. And each macro is used for different things in our bodies.
It’s really important that we understand exactly what they’re used for to be able to pick the right foods to balance our blood sugar and get rid of cravings which increase our energy and help us function at maximal output.
How Macros Are Used In Our Bodies
Fat is used for hormones, your brain as well as to ensure that food is satisfying while it keeps you feeling fuller longer. It also supports your adrenals (stress regulator).
Protein supports your skin, hair, nails, immune system gut lining and all other muscles and organs in your body. It’s also really important for metabolism. (how your body burns the food)
Carbohydrates break down into quick energy. They basically digest down into sugar, which is the easiest thing your body can use for energy. Often your body craves this when you are stressed as during every “crisis”, glucose (sugar) is pumped into your body as fuel to fight or flight.
If you keep those three things in mind when you’re looking at macros going forward it will help you understand how to best fuel your body.
Let’s talk about how important it is now to choose your fat and your protein at breakfast.
What happens is fat protein and carbohydrates digest differently and this effects energy, blood sugar, and fat storage. Carbohydrates digest very, very quickly. They basically give quick energy within 30 to 45 minutes. Protein takes a little longer, say two to three hours, and fat takes the longest to digest at say three to four hours.
I’m going to run through a little scenario for you so that you get the idea.
Let’s say you have a carbohydrate-based breakfast like a piece of toast with jam or a bowl of oatmeal or a bowl of cereal with milk. Those are pretty classic breakfasts, right? Or even a fruit smoothie with yogurt and juice. Pretty classic run of the mill breakfast options.
What happens is that your body digests that whole breakfast really quickly and pretty much all at once meaning all of the sugar that those carbohydrates break down into hit your bloodstream all at once.
When the carbohydrates hit your bloodstream, your body sends insulin and insulin goes and picks up those sugars, and its’ job is to deliver them to the working muscles so they can be used for energy. The problem is that it’s a LOT of energy being delivered all at once.
When all that energy is attempting delivery, the muscles are going, ‘well we don’t really need all that energy because I’m just starting my day and haven’t done anything that needs that much energy.
So your body stores this extra energy as fat for you to use later.
Not only have we stored that breakfast as fat, which is really annoying, but also because all of that energy (sugar) was sent to the blood at once, and insulin swooped in and took it all to the working muscles and then stored it as fat, your blood sugar is now too low which stresses out your body.
Since your body is very smart and very adaptive, your body causes you to crave things that are going to build your blood sugar up as quickly as possible, which is, you guessed it carbohydrates.
And then the vicious cycle continues. That’s what I call-
The Blood Sugar Rollercoaster
Every time you start your day like this, you are setting yourself up for constant crashes and carb cravings throughout the day. It really shows itself up around that 2 o’clock mark or 6 hours ish after you wake, where you tend to get exhausted, your brain is foggy and you can’t focus on simple tasks. You want to hide and have a nap. You’re craving chocolate and sugar. You need a coffee.
So instead, what you can do is leave the carbs out at breakfast time.
Leave the Carbs Out At Breakfast Time
Stick to fat and protein that release little bits of energy with little bits of sugar/glucose coming in and taking little bits of energy to the muscles. This way the muscles are able to use that energy because it’s a manageable amount, and you never have that blood sugar dip and subsequent carb craving.
Getting a handle on your breakfast to me, is arguably one of the most important things when trying to decrease your stress, sleep better, gain back your energy and avoid burn out.
Next week, Keep an eye out for Part 2 of Eat Your Stress Away where we delve into dinners and how to maintain your energy throughout the day.
If you have questions join my Private Lifestyle and Stress Management group where myself and an amazing group of police officers and their families work each week on tips and tricks to increase their energy, decrease their stress so they can sleep better, feel better at work and more engaged when with your family.
The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.