If you're one of the millions of people who suffer from low blood sugar, you probably have been advised to eat frequent, small meals throughout your day. Believe it or not, this advice is totally the opposite of what traditional Ayurvedic medicine recommends. As you've likely heard me say a million times, Ayurveda teaches that the root cause of all disease is improper digestion. So with this focus, you can trust Ayurveda to have a very thorough understanding of what optimal digestion is! What I'm about to explain to you may be contrary to what you've heard, but if you'd like to uncover the underlying cause of your blood sugar instability, check this out.
What Happens When You Eat Frequently
In our society, food is everywhere. It's almost hard to avoid eating all the time! Except breakfast, which people tend to skip. (Click here to read about the importance of breakfast.) But let's say you eat breakfast, and then around 10 am you have a muffin, or fruit, or nuts. Healthy snack, right? Well your digestive fire, your metabolic process, now turns its attention to the new food coming in. The problem here is that during the 5 or so hours between meals, you are really supposed to be burning fat, not new food.
Fat is our calm, stable, non-emergency fuel.
Stored in there, too, are all the fat-soluble toxins from the environment. So fat burning is totally crucial! Not just for weight loss, but to detoxify our bodies and also release the essential fatty acids and stable fuels that regulate our blood sugar levels, and in turn our mood and energy level. If we're constantly giving our digestion new food to focus on, then we never enter fat-burning mode.
You're Hungry, You're Eating Frequently, and Your Body Is Starving
Another thing that happens when you eat frequently is you never completely digest your food. The result is what Ayurveda calls ama. Ama clogs your intestinal tract and prevents you from properly absorbing nutrients from your food. It is reflected in a thick coating on your tongue. When you aren't getting all the nutrients in your food, your cells actually become malnourished. So then you feel hungry all the time because your body is actually starving for nutrition and so constantly asks for food to try to get some!
Blood Sugar Affects Mood, Energy, and Sleep
Some of the most common health disorders in our society are anxiety and depression, fatigue, insomnia, and poor digestion. All of these symptoms can be related to blood sugar! Diabetes and obesity are epidemics, sugar is everywhere, and people are eating constantly all day. See the connection? Within two weeks of switching to a three-meals-a-day lifestyle, people notice significant improvements in all these areas. They get more nutrition from what they're eating and therefore they're hungry less often. Weight loss naturally results from achieving this balance.
Making the Switch
If you're used to eating frequently, the switch to three meals might seem scary. "Won't I be a cranky monster?" you might ask.
The key is to eat really good, solid meals.
Eat a full meal of wholesome, unprocessed food that will last you until the next meal. If you get hungry during the afternoon, drink some warm water or tea. Warm water aids digestion and assists in the detox process. You may find your entire eating schedule shift toward an earlier lunch and dinner. This is great, as late dinners aren't digested well (read more about this here). It'll take a few days to transition, but as your cells start to receive the real nutrition you need, your hunger will stabilize along with your blood sugar.
You will be amazed at the changes you will experience as you cut out constant snacking. (Not to mention the money you'll save outside the home.)
This is radical but traditional advice.
It may be totally the opposite of what much of modern medicine is telling you, but it comes from a science that has withstood the test of thousands of years. Our world is different now, but our bodies are still designed to get nutrition from food. So make the most of your efforts to eat healthy food, and get the most nutrition out of it!