What is a Complete Meal?

Ok, tis the season. Everywhere I go I hear about a diet program someone is doing or thinking about doing. I can’t wait to over hear someone say “Oh, I don’t follow a specific plan, I experiment with and listen to my body as I am Conscious about my Nutrition”.

I learned in school that a complete meal contains the essential amino acids we need to get from food so our bodies can make the non-essential amino acids. (Upcoming Blog regarding Essential Amino Acids coming soon) This is great to have guidelines, but I do not know many people counting their amino acids daily:) Also, with this general guideline, they did not take digestion issues,  an individual’s constitution, or quality from the source of amino acids in consideration. Then we have all the diets out there that tell you what you need from Carbohydrates, Proteins, & Fats to make a complete meal and how many of these meals to eat a day. No wonder everyone is confused. Knowledge is power, however Self Awareness is ESSENTIAL.

As we are experimenting with different meal plans and different combinations to nourish our bodies, we still have to check in with your body before and after each meal.

Before pow-wow with yourself:
Am I craving hot or cold food?
Am I craving sweet or savory?
Am I craving a Protein or Starch (Vegetarian) or Combined Meal? Check out our YouTube video for more information on these meal types
Even if you packed a salad for lunch and your body is craving soup. Still check in, I have a sense you will still be craving soup that night and now you know what to make for dinner.

After pow-wow with yourself:
Am I satiated?
Do I feel tired or is my energy level up?
Am I bloated or does my tummy feel flat?
Am I craving sugar?

If you do not feel energized after a meal, it could be caused by many variables:

  1. Not enough of a macro or micro nutrient
  2. Poor absorption in the digestive tract
  3. High blood sugar and insulin sensitivity
  4. Not enough quality the meal or day before
  5. Stress hormones are flaring up

One day of this every few weeks is ok, you are a human being. If this is daily, this is the time to give your body support.

When you are following a strict diet you are usually not connecting. However, most diets offer quality foods while taking out lower quality foods which can help you feel better initially.  But for the long run you need to CONSISTENTLY check in.

When you consistently check in you will notice your own natural rhythms. For example:

  • You may not be as hungry on Mondays, after the weekend when your eating could have been off your usual schedule. Your body may need a bit of break to catch up on Monday.
  • You may notice that you feel bloated after too much meat in one day.
  • You may not crave as much meat on certain weeks due to your hormone cycle, both men and women:)
  • A meal you thought was “healthy” leaves you feeling bloated and tired.

I challenge you to play with your edges. On a day when you are not as hungry try a meal that just has Vegetable and healthy fats in it, like Veggies with Coconut curry. I bet you will feel sustained and great after and the next day. On a day when you are extra hungry and want to experiment with different meal combinations, try having @ least 2 cups of veggies and an extra serving of healthy fat or protein vs. having a protein and starch together. The more activity and the better your digestion is working try combined meals and compare how you feel.

You are complete,

Heather Fleming, C.C.N.