I recently picked up a copy of Amelia Freer’s Eat. Nourish. Glow. after seeing some great recommendations on Instagram. And I was not disappointed!
Amelia’s recommendations are sensible and sound and generally follow a real food / primal / paleo slant, although she is careful not to call out any particular food tribe, focusing on getting her readers to think about the whys, the whats, the hows and the wheres of what they’re eating.
Her thinking on snacking has really stuck with me. The more I learn about the body and its processes, the more I realise how much mainstream nutrition and diet advice is doing us a disservice. Amelia tackles common thinking around snacking and says there are actually very few reasons to snack if you’ve eaten three proper meals with lots of protein and good fat.
When I read this, it was like one of those cartoon moments when the lightbulb goes off over the head! Here’s the science: When you’re constantly snacking, you’re never giving your digestive system a break. Your pancreas will need to keep producing insulin to help your body regulate blood sugar, especially if you give in to mainstream advice and snack on things like fruit and yoghurt, which your body breaks down relatively quickly. As Amelia says, “a permanent presence of insulin will put our bodies into fat storage mode.”
She also says, “we know that the human body was not designed to consume a constant supply of food. It was designed to endure regular periods of fasting…we have convinced ourselves we need to keep grazing and the food manufacturers and supermarkets are only too happy to reinforce this idea. The truth is: if you are snacking, you are eating more than you need.”
So I’ve pledged to myself to try and stop snacking. I eat a big breakfast, full of protein, good fats and veg, which usually gets me through to lunch. It’s the afternoons that tend to be trickiest for me. I eat lunch around 1 o’clock and at the moment, it’s a big ass salad from Chop’d that’s doing the trick. But then I don’t get home until 7pm…and by 6pm, my mind is starting to say, “feed me, feed me.” And this is precisely the moment that Amelia says that a small snack is okay. But these can’t be just any snack, they should be “real foods, such as apple slices with hazelnut / almond butter, cherry tomatoes with walnuts or avocado with seeds and lemon.”
So just eat real food and make sure you eat enough at mealtimes to keep you going!