Have you ever done or are doing a food elimination program? I spent so many years focused on food elimination programs and waking up every day stressed about what to eat or not to eat. These programs offer some relief and support by taking out high inflammatory foods, but I still felt like I was focusing all of my mental energy on trying to do it right. Can anyone relate? All of the popular and extreme diets are trying to help us find our natural rhythms but are doing it a bit too…extreme. We are meant to eat a variety of foods and focus on what supports us the most in the moment versus feeling trapped in our minds focusing on if we are doing it right every second of the day.
A few of the main nutrition plans that eliminate certain food groups that have been the most researched are the Mediterranean Diet, Vegetarian (Vegan) Diet and Paleo Diet. Most people tend to try to follow just one. What if you are meant to balance them all? At first this could feel overwhelming, but after practicing for a bit, you can experience liberation and develop a deeper understanding with your body so you don’t have to overthink ever again.
We have upgraded the Conscious Nutrition Food Tree again! The new tree incorporates these 4 different Meal Types. We will be releasing the NEW Food tree, video and whole document next week, stay tuned!
From left to right are the different Meal Types:
- Protein Meals: The chicken leg is for the carnivores and the beans are for the vegetarians. Either protein combined with veggies and fat makes it a Protein meal. Do you eat protein because you think you have to or is it a habit or do you consume protein to feel grounded, satiated, comforted or fulfilled? When you are craving these sensations try to take 5 deep breaths first to relax your stress hormones and nervous system, then consume this amazing meal.
- Starch Meals: The pumpkin signifies the squash family, which is my favorite starch for us. Starches along with veggies and healthy fats are a Starch Meal. When diets exclude this beautiful food group, I get a bit worried, we need the fiber. In the 80’s, we all consumed processed carbohydrates which caused heaps of distress to our digestive tracts, neurotransmitters and cellular walls. Starches can help us feel calm, rested, supported and comforted. Before you reach for a starch meal, take those 5 deep breaths, then enjoy fully!
- Combined Meals: The fish and the sprout of grain along with veggies and fats signifies a combined meal. This meal type is the most consumed by the American culture. Burgers and fries, burritos, pizza and eggs and hash browns etc. We we consume this meal type when our stress hormones or blood sugars are too high and compromised stomach acid, we do not digest this meal type as well and tend to feel bloated. However, if you exercise a lot, experience anxiety or have low energy, this meal type is wonderful for you to implement and notice how you feel.
- Vegan Meals: The green sprout signifies a meal with just vegetables and fats. This meal does not have a starch or a vegetarian protein included. Why? This meal can help you RESET your digestion by not taxing your organs to break down complex starches or proteins. Implementing this meal type can be a bit frightening for people because they feel restricted or are in a habit to always have a meat or potato with a meal. Try this meal type when you are craving something light, not that hungry and need mental clarity and curious how your body will feel with this lighter meal.
How to practice the different Meal Types:
- Take 5 deep breaths to relax your nervous system and prepare your digestive tract to receive food.
- Pay attention to what sensations your body is experiencing from the cues above and try adding that Meal Type
- Try rotating the different Meal Types for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For example: Protein breakfast, Starch or Vegan lunch, Combined dinner (especially if you are dining out). Or if you want to take it to the next level try the Conscious Nutrition’s 3-week RESET program where we practice a different Meal Type each week and minimize Combined meals. Then during week 3 we bring back a combined meal to see how your body responds.
What are the benefits of rotating different Meal Types?
- VARIETY! We deserve pleasure and variety. I know so many people following the Ketogenic Diet and are not eating fruit. As I am sitting here on an organic tropical fruit farm, I would not want to be in that head space. Instead of the extreme diets, there are times in your life you may want to try variations of the Meal Types. This week, I am feeling lighter and fresher, thus practicing more Vegan meals. Next week while I am working more on my computer, I may need grounding meals and will implement more Protein and Starch Meal Types.
- Organ RESETs: Our organs need breaks. We accumulate so much stress in our lives, whether it is financial, emotional or physical. When you listen to the cues your body is giving you, you can support your organs to rest and function more efficiently. For example, if you are noticing extra mucus in your nose and throat in the morning, try a Vegan breakfast including sour and astringent vegetables or fruits, so your lungs can clear out the excess heat to prevent your immune system from becoming taxed and lead to a cold or bronchitis. Here is one of my new favorite smoothies that will be included in the RESET program.
- Deciphering when your body is hungry and NOT your brain: As a professional emotional eater, I have a tendency to eat when my brain and emotions are hungry. When we practice feeling safe and implementing the different Meal Types we will begin to notice our TRUE hunger signals. Observing your tummy growl versus your blood sugar dipping is an essential component to feed true hunger. If you are noticing a blood sugar dip, try adding in some veggie juice, herbal tea, a spoonful of nut butter and then wait for a period of time to see if your stomach begins to growl to choose a Meal Type.
Please let us know how your Meal Type experiment goes! I am in Kauai staying at Olana organic farm for the next couple of weeks, keep an eye out on our Facebook page for a video tour of the farm!
Heather Fleming, C.C.N
P.S. Whether you are a beginner with the RESET program or a professional, we will be adding in new recipes, meal planning, an optional Intermittent Fasting challenge and self-care tips that will help you release inflammation and support your nutrition for the rest of your life. Can’t wait to see you on October 1st. We meet every Monday @ 5 pm PST for 3 weeks (all calls recorded for your listening convenience), along with daily support in the private Facebook community. Email me (info @ consciousnutrition.com) for more information or click here to sign up!