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Why Am I Tired After Eating?

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Eating a meal is designed to give your body energy to get through the day. That’s why it’s a little confusing when it does exactly the opposite and instead makes you lethargic and sleepy.

Feeling tired after you eat is quite common, and there are a number of reasons why your food can be the opposite of fuel. The first? Digesting a meal is a lot of work.

“If you think about it, our bodies are a well-oiled factory,” says Melissa Perst, DCN, RDN, CSR, nutritionist at the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. “It works like this: the food comes in and continues on a conveyor belt. Various machines are used to break down food, package it for specific purposes, and move it to places that help your body continue its work. Of course, that costs a lot of energy, which can make someone feel tired. ”

In addition, insulin – a hormone made by your pancreas that controls your blood sugar – has a huge impact on your energy levels after you eat. When you swallow, your insulin levels go up to make sure your blood sugar levels are where they should be, explains Perst. “When this job is done, insulin levels drop, which can make people feel tired. It’s a normal process and drowsiness shouldn’t last that long, ”she says.

To avoid this post-meal slump, Perst suggests including a mix of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean protein in every meal, and opting for foods that are less saturated fats, high in fiber, and minimally processed. Get your body moving every day, get at least seven hours of sleep every night, and stay hydrated to keep you going until bedtime.

Still feeling tired after eating and wondering why? Ahead, seven reasons you might be ready to hit the hay after lunch.

1. You drank alcohol while you ate.

Your glass of wine may make you feel sleepy after you eat. Alcohol is a sedative, which means it can make you feel quite energetic, according to Harvard Health experts.

“Alcohol suppresses our central nervous system and makes us feel sleepy,” explains Perst. “This calming effect doesn’t last long, but drinking alcohol just before bed disrupts the sleep cycle, which means you won’t get a very restful sleep.”

So stick to just one drink a day if you’re a woman and a maximum of two if you’re a man – or skip the alcohol altogether if you find it regularly affecting your energy levels.

2. Your meal was high in fat and carbohydrates.

Comfort foods are delicious but can often make you feel sluggish if they’re high in fat and carbohydrates. This is often due to the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which is secreted from the small intestine.

“When you eat a piece of cheese pizza, which is usually a higher fat and higher calorie food, CCK is released and helps the body break down the protein and fat in that piece,” says Perst. “Some research has shown that there is a link between the increase in CCK after a high-fat meal and feeling sleepy a few hours later.”

When you eat foods known to increase inflammation, such as red meat or sugary sweets, your body can release cytokines (agents that help your immune cells communicate with each other) such as interleukin-1 (IL-1). “Research has shown that higher post-meal IL-1 levels are linked to post-meal drowsiness,” says Perst.

3. Certain hormones are unbalanced.

“If foods rich in tryptophan are eaten in large quantities with a meal, especially foods rich in carbohydrates, you may feel tired a few hours after eating,” explains Perst. Put on your classic nap after Thanksgiving.

Tryptophan is often found in turkey, chicken, milk, bread, chocolate, canned tuna, cheddar cheese, peanuts, oats, and more. The essential amino acid helps your body make the relaxation hormones serotonin and melatonin, Perst explains. Because of this, it has even been researched to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia.

4. Or you had a pretty big lunch.

Sometimes the feeling of tiredness after you eat has more to do with how much you ate than what you ate. The reason is simple: “The bigger the meal, the more energy your body needs to break it down,” says Perst. If you use up all of that energy, it can lead to fatigue. So try reducing your portion sizes and reaching for a protein-rich snack if you get hungry between meals.

5. A hidden food intolerance could be to blame.

Food intolerances or even full-blown food allergies are often associated with unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach cramps or diarrhea. But occasionally, a food intolerance that you may not be familiar with can make you feel obliterated.

Regardless of whether you have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, “you can feel tired after eating foods that contain gluten, as it can trigger an allergic reaction,” says Perst. This can limit your body’s ability to properly supply itself with the food you have ingested, leading to fatigue.

6. Your caffeine addiction is doing you a disservice.

Your morning cup of joe will add some pep to your step, but not for too long. The stimulatory effects of caffeine usually have a half-life (the time it takes your body to excrete half of the caffeine) of three to five hours after you drink it, which means you will feel your coffee rush by 8 a.m. Come by – you guessed it – at lunchtime. So the feeling of fatigue depends less on what you had for lunch than on the time of your first cup of coffee in the morning.

7. You may have an underlying medical condition.

If you’ve ruled out all other options and are still constantly tired after eating, it may be time to speak to your doctor to see if an underlying medical condition could make your symptoms worse.

Someone can feel tired when they have a problem that can affect the absorption of nutrients from food, like anemia, says Perst. Additionally, hormonal imbalances, insulin sensitivity, or idiopathic postprandial syndrome (IPS) could be worth investigating, she says.

With IPS, symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) appear two to four hours after you eat, but your actual blood sugar is in the normal range of 70 to 120 mg / dL, explains Perst. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include tiredness, tremors, sweating and palpitations, drowsiness, or even panic attacks.

“The symptoms of IPS are similar to hypoglycemia, but are usually less severe. While we don’t know what causes IPS, we do know that certain things, like eating foods with a high glycemic index like sugar, drinking a large amount of alcohol along with normal glucose levels that drop too quickly after eating, do IPS can contribute, ”she says.

There are many other reasons why you can be tired at any point in the day. So if you find yourself feeling tired all the time, make an appointment to make sure all of your health markers are where they should be.

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Healthy Eating

To prevent brain fog at work, watch what and how you eat

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I am a nutrition psychiatrist and for me the phrase “you are what you eat” takes on a whole new meaning. As I wrote in Fast Company, what we eat indelibly affects our cognitive performance and work efficiency. But I encourage everyone to take nutritional mindfulness one step further and examine how we eat.

The concept of mindfulness, or non-judgmental awareness, fits seamlessly into one of my pillars of nutritional psychiatry: body intelligence – a body-conscious version of IQ. When we take a moment while eating our daily meals to listen to our body and mind , we can develop a keen awareness of the elements of our diet that will benefit us most. This enables us to consciously choose the foods that best enable our focus, alertness and productivity while consuming delicious, brain-healthy nutrients.

The following nutritional tips can help you harness the many brain-boosting benefits of food to maximize productivity in the workplace.

Eat to beat and prevent brain fog

Common post-meal triggers for brain fog are consumption of foods high in simple carbohydrates (think of processed and refined foods that cause blood sugar drops), high caffeine intake, and unknown allergies or undiagnosed digestive disorders. Brain fog and uncomfortable gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms after a meal containing gluten can be signs of celiac disease, a condition in which the immune system causes an attack on the digestive tract due to gluten. Even in people without celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity can cause problems, especially if you have a foggy mind, headache, or body ache after consuming gluten. Other gastrointestinal problems, such as undiagnosed bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine (SIBO), ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease, can also be responsible for these symptoms.

Avoiding these triggers can bring immense relief. Consider adjusting meal composition by cutting down on simple carbohydrates and consuming more foods rich in protein and fiber to optimize the nutrients that keep blood sugar levels stable. Both protein and fiber are known to improve glycemic control. And since our gut microbes live on fiber, a high-fiber meal means extra love for your stomach. Think about adding vegetables, berries, beans, nuts, seeds, legumes, lentils, and healthy whole grains with lower glycemic values ​​to your diet. You can only get fiber from plant sources and not from seafood, poultry, dairy products, or meat.

I believe in “adding the good” because as soon as we feel an improvement, we also begin to let go of habits that are not serving us. Maximizing whole, nutritious foods and reducing your intake of highly processed foods is an important element of eating to increasing productivity and defeating the brain fog. Avoiding inflammatory foods can actually lead to better energy after eating; Research shows that blocking markers of inflammation helps reduce post-meal fatigue. And the benefits of consuming a variety of phytonutrient-rich fruits and vegetables are limitless. One of the pillars I share is the 80/20 rule, which allows for some flexibility in nutritional discipline. Focus 80 percent on whole, real foods high in fiber, healthy fats, and high-quality, clean protein from good sources. The remaining 20 percent leave room for maneuver to take life as it comes. We all need dietary space for some food freedom in order to bring about the most sustainable lifestyle changes that actually endure.

Mindful eating also improves concentration

With all the fuss about mindfulness, it should come as no surprise that practicing mindfulness is also beneficial for executive function and productivity. But mindfulness goes beyond traditional meditation: it is really a shift in our approach to all things that is rooted in non-judgmental perception of the present moment. Preparing food, as well as eating it, is indeed a mindfulness practice in its own right. It actually serves a dual purpose in this way in that it nourishes the body in the immediate sense and at the same time strengthens our mental strength through the practice of mindfulness. I recently worked with Headspace on meditations that revolved around mindful eating.

Meal planning maximizes time through the work week

Productivity needs planning. It also takes a lot of self-confidence. Sugary snacks and caffeinated drinks seem like the only things that seem to boost your energy through the day, but remember that whatever goes up has to come back down too. Prioritizing sleep and reducing stress can help you regain that vital energy and stop relying on those less healthy options. And to support your body’s vitality, planning nutrient-rich, easy-to-prepare meals for the week saves time and ensures nutritious meals are prepared in real time.

Self-care, especially through our food, which helps us maximize our productivity.

Start the day right: If you enjoy writing, consider affirmations or gratitude to start your day. If you enjoy moving around, think about a refreshing sequence of sun salutations. Or, if you want to sip in peace, think of steaming coffee, green tea, or a nourishing cup of golden milk.

If you tend to wake up with a lump in your stomach, consider doing mindfulness exercise or fast running, jogging, or a treadmill session to relieve that tension and release some endorphins. A prayer, meditation, or mindfulness exercise are also some good ideas

Stay hydrated and drink some citrus or berry-flavored water throughout the day. This is a great source of moisture along with powerful antioxidants from the fruit.

Get up and move around: some ideas include walking during your scheduled breaks, doing stretches, spending some time in the sun to get your vitamin D boosted, or taking a yoga break or a quick workout.

Practicing breath work is also an effective, science-based way to relieve anxiety and feel more productive.

Sleep hygiene is also crucial for a productive head start. Eat early for dinner so your food can be digested before bed. Avoid shopping at night and standing under bright artificial lights that will keep you activated instead of preparing you for rest, and turn off your devices at least 30 minutes before bed to prepare for sleep.

Eating healthier diets for the brain goes hand in hand with constant practice of mindfulness. While research has shown that both independently increase productivity in the workplace, sharing the strengths of both offers immense potential for achieving our best at home, school, and work.

Dr. Naidoo will host a workshop on the relationship between food and mood on September 27th, the Fast Company Innovation Festival. To learn more about the event and to purchase tickets, please visit the festival website.

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Healthy Eating

‘It’s all about the healing from within’: Cooking for recovery at Leonard Cancer Institute in Mission Viejo

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Jonathan Gelman, Head Chef at Mission Viejo’s Providence Mission Hospital, believes in the power of food.

“That’s our motto, so to speak,” Gelman said. “It’s about healing from within.”

Gelman worked for years as a chef in exclusive resorts such as the Ritz-Carlton. He joined the hospital staff a year ago to challenge existing notions of “hospital food”.

“I was led to create something healthier, better presented and more varied,” Gelman said.

Now he’s teamed up with Kailey Proctor, an oncology nutritionist at the Leonard Cancer Institute in Mission Viejo, to start a brand new cooking series filmed in the Leonard Cancer Institute’s McDermott Family Kitchen. The two aim to make eating healthy easier, especially for patients undergoing cancer treatment.

“I just love working with patients and using food to manage the side effects of treatment,” said Proctor.

She has been a nutritionist for six years and has worked in patient oncology for the last two years. In November she was certified in oncological nutrition.

Leonard Cancer Institute oncology nutritionist Kailey Proctor in Nadyne’s kitchen on Tuesday.

(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

The Leonard Cancer Institute offers radiation oncology, imaging services, and medical oncology. The institute emphasizes the role of diet in treating cancer as the disease places additional nutritional requirements on the body.

At the McDermott Family Kitchen – sometimes referred to as Nadyne’s Kitchen for the McDermott family member the kitchen was dedicated to – registered dietitians provide patients with nutrient-rich meals that aid in lasting remissions.

Nadyne’s Kitchen also provides a space for dietitians to offer cooking demonstrations and educational programs such as Gelman and Proctor series that can be streamed live.

“We’d often come up with a theme for the episode and then Chef would work on some recipes and then I would come and do some kind of oncology spin on it,” said Proctor. “That’s why we focus on the symptoms that patients have and help with the prescriptions to cope with them.”

The team shoots a new video every month and most recently put together an episode with a “Taste of Fall” menu.

“These recipes we make are very simple,” Gelman says later. “A butternut squash soup that is very simple and can be frozen in portions for later use. And then we make a braised short rib with cannelloni beans and some Swiss chard. So really healthy, lots of good fiber and lots of good protein. “

A butternut squash soup with some sliced ​​avocado at the Leonard Cancer Institute.

A butternut squash soup with sliced ​​avocado created for the Leonard Cancer Institute video “Taste of Fall”.

(Sarah Mosqueda)

The two mix roasted garlic, onions, and butternut squash into a smooth soup, which Gelman scoops into a bowl. They talk about what to do if the food tastes bland or metallic and how to find ways to increase the calories or add protein.

“You could add a spoonful of olive oil, butter, or even some sliced ​​avocado to add some heart-healthy fats and about 100 extra calories to this soup,” suggests Proctor.

“Crab would be good too,” jokes Gelman.

“Crab would add protein too,” adds Proctor.

They decide to top the soup with avocado cubes before tasting.

“This is my favorite part,” says Proctor into the camera.

Proctor said that talking to patients about good eating habits is effective, but demonstrating good eating habits can be even more effective.

“It is one thing for me to tell a patient, ‘This is what you should eat, this is how you do it,'” she said. “But for them to actually see it and see how it is prepared and get different ideas or examples on how to prepare certain meals, what tools they use and what will help them during treatment is a really great thing . ”

Making the recipes manageable and easy is also part of their goal, Gelman said.

“Part of the focus with every series we do is simplicity,” Gelman said. “To be able to do things when you don’t have the strength or the stamina to do it. Maybe you show some batch cooking, where they can prepare a little meal for the week and make it as easy as possible. “

Gelman and Proctor have hosted six courses to date, and the filmed episodes can be viewed on the Providence Mission Hospital website and LinkedIn profile.

Mission Hospital Chef Jonathan Gelman and Leonard Cancer Institute Oncology Nutritionist Kailey Proctor.

Providence Mission Hospital Chef Jonathan Gelman and Leonard Cancer Institute Oncology Nutritionist Kailey Proctor have launched a new cooking series teaching healthy recipes to cancer patients.

(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“We’ll probably have a Taste of Fall Desserts next month,” Gelman said, “and at some point when we get through COVID there will be more live classes.”

Proctor said the feedback on the series has been positive and she looks forward to helping patients regain a sense of autonomy through cooking.

“Patients often feel that things are out of their control while in treatment, and I love the fact that we are focused on them and what they are in control of,” said Proctor. “You can still enjoy food during the treatment.”

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Trisha Yearwood’s ‘Un-fried’ Chicken ‘Is So Good’

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Trisha Yearwood enjoys southern staples like fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and other dishes to go with your ribs. However, there are times when she wants the taste and texture of these favorites with no added calories. One of the most popular recipes for her Food Network series, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, is for “unroasted” chicken. It’s a simple technique for making meat crispy on the outside and tender on the inside that diners will love in a snap.

Trisha Jahrholz | Discovery press

Un-Fried Chicken is a simple weekday meal

Yearwood says this particular meal is easy for a weekday meal. It comes together pretty quickly and makes a great main course for kids and adults alike.

The country superstar uses white meat, boneless chicken breasts for this dish. They’re leaner and quicker to prepare than traditional bone-in chicken.

“Fried chicken is a staple in the south and you have to have it. But it’s not the healthiest. There’s a way to get the fried flavor of chicken without actually frying it, ”explained Yearwood.

She makes a mixture of buttermilk and hot sauce. After sprinkling the chicken with salt and pepper, she adds it to the buttermilk dredge. It’s a great way to tenderize chicken and can be cooked the night before it’s served.

Yearwood said there was no need to deep-fry, let the oven do the job

In a bowl deep enough to hold the mixture for coating, add breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, lemon peel, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Brush the chicken well and place in the refrigerator to set.

When you’re done, bake the chicken to the degree you want it cooked.

“This is not one of those things that people are going to say, ‘Oh, you did this well,'” she said. “I don’t want people to say, ‘This is really good for you.’ I want people to say, ‘That tastes good’. “

Trisha Yearwood’s tips and tricks for a healthier diet

The healthier versions of Trisha Yearwood's recipes are available on the Food Network website.Trisha Jahrholz | Jason Kempin / Getty Images for ACM

Yearwood shared her tips and tricks for healthier eating in an interview with NBC’s Today.

“I think the most important thing I’ve learned from trying to cook healthier is not to use any lower-fat substitutes like skimmed milk or to skip butter or cream. For me, I enjoy the flavors, and I prefer a bit of the good stuff and control the portions – that’s why I don’t use any sugar substitutes, ”the country superstar revealed.

“Besides that, I love dairy-free milks like almonds, and I love how you can turn raw cashews into a cream. I make this black bean lasagna, the Garth [Brooks] loves, and it’s layered with a vegan “ricotta” that I make from tofu, cashews, basil, and olive oil. This is not only good for vegans; It’s like, oh, that’s SO good and even tastes better than regular ricotta cheese, ”explained Yearwood.

Trisha’s Southern Kitchen airs Saturday noon EST on the Food Network.

The full recipe is available on the Food Network website.

RELATED: ‘Trisha’s Southern Kitchen’: Trisha Yearwood’s Mac and Cheese is a creamy, dreamy comfort food

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